Commissioner's Directive

Management of Seized Items

PURPOSE

  • To provide direction for the seizure, safekeeping, forfeiture, return and disposal of contraband and unauthorized items

APPLICATION

Applies to staff involved in the seizure of contraband and unauthorized items

RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. The Institutional Head/District Director will :
    1. establish a process for the seizure and control of contraband and unauthorized items
    2. designate seizure control officer(s) responsible for the management of contraband and unauthorized items
    3. designate a seizure control area for seized items.
  2. The Security Intelligence Officer is responsible for completing an Incident Report when contraband is seized or an offender has been found to be in possession of contraband.
  3. In the community, if applicable, the Area Director or Parole Officer Supervisor will designate an individual responsible for completing an Incident Report.

PROCEDURES

  1. The possession of contraband constitutes a security incident and necessitates the completion of an Incident Report pursuant to CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents.

Seized Items

  1. When an unauthorized item or contraband item is seized, a copy of the Contraband/Unauthorized Item Seizure Tag (CSC/SCC 0482) will be issued to the person from whom the item was seized as soon as is practicable.
  2. The item will be submitted to the designated seizure control officer or to the person in charge of the community-based residential facility.
  3. In addition, the seizure control officer will:
    1. complete a Contraband/Unauthorized Item Seizure Tag (CSC/SCC 0482)
    2. complete the chain of custody portion on the evidence bag as applicable
  4. Items will remain in the possession of the person who made the seizure until placed in a secure evidence locker or turned over to the seizure control officer. In addition, a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) will be completed before the seizing officer leaves the facility.
  5. To ensure continuity of possession, each person coming into possession of seized items will complete the chain of custody portion on the evidence bag as applicable.
  6. The seizure control officer will ensure that all seized items are kept in the designated seizure control area.
  7. Only the seizure control officer will have access to the designated seizure control area.
  8. The seizure control officer will maintain the Contraband Control Register (CSC/SCC 0483) and record all transactions regarding seized items.
  9. The Contraband Control Register will be retained on the appropriate operational file (3030-12) in accordance with departmental Records Disposition Authorities.

Return or Forfeiture of Seized Items

  1. If the owner of the seized item is known, the seizure control officer will notify the owner in writing as soon as practicable that the item has been seized.
  2. The seizure control officer will hold or transfer to the custody of the police or court any item seized that is required as evidence in a disciplinary or criminal proceeding, until the disposition of the proceeding.
  3. An item will be returned to its owner where:
    1. the item is not or is no longer required as evidence in a disciplinary or criminal proceeding
    2. the item has not been forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada
    3. the item is within the control of the Service
    4. the owner requests that the item be returned to him/her within 30 days after being notified of the seizure
    5. possession of the item would be lawful.
  4. The offender will be given a reasonable opportunity to make arrangements for the disposal or safekeeping outside the penitentiary/facility of a seized item that would constitute contraband or an unauthorized item, where its possession outside the penitentiary/facility would be lawful.
  5. The seized item will be forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada where:
    1. the Service does not know who the owner is and 30 days have passed since the seizure
    2. possession of the item would be unlawful
    3. in the case of an owner who is an offender, possession of the item by the offender would constitute possession of contraband or an unauthorized item and the offender has not arranged for the disposal or safekeeping of the item outside the penitentiary/facility after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so.
  6. When the owner is an individual other than an offender, the forfeiture can be cancelled and the item returned to the owner when:
    1. the owner applies in writing to the seizure control officer within 30 days after the forfeiture of the item
    2. it is determined that the owner was not involved in the events that resulted in the forfeiture
    3. possession of the item by the owner would be lawful.
  7. Where the owner is an offender, the seizure control officer may cancel a forfeiture when:
    1. the offender submits an application for the return of the seized item to the seizure control officer, within 30 days after the forfeiture
    2. the seizure control officer determines that the forfeiture would cause undue hardship to the offender
    3. possession of item by the offender would not constitute possession of contraband or an unauthorized item.
  8. Where a forfeiture is cancelled, the seizure control officer may authorize the offender to possess the item in the penitentiary/facility; however, arrangements for the disposal or safekeeping of the item outside the penitentiary are also an option.

Disposal of Seized Items

  1. The seizure control officer will complete the Contraband Control Register (CSC/SCC 0483), and dispose of items as follows:
    1. money will be remitted to the Receiver General for Canada
    2. drugs, narcotics, firearms, explosives and ammunition will be turned over to the police force of primary jurisdiction after the required administrative or disciplinary actions have been completed. The police officer receiving these items will sign the Contraband Control Register (CSC/SCC 0483)
    3. items that may be considered of unusual or of historic value to the Service may be offered to the CSC Museum in the Ontario Region. Items that could be used as learning support as visual aids should be offered to the Regional Staff College
    4. all other articles will be disposed of through the Disposal Operations Group of Public Works and Government Services Canada
    5. proper notation of the disposal will be made on the Contraband Control Register (CSC/SCC 0483).
  2. When disposing of articles of religious significance, the Aboriginal Elder/Spiritual Advisor, Chaplain or representative of a religious group will be consulted by the decision-maker as to the proper disposition of the item(s) that is respectful of the individual’s beliefs. If an agreement cannot be reached between the decision-maker and Elder/Spiritual Advisor, Chaplain or representative of a religious group, the Institutional Head will make the final decision. For definition of medicine bundle, refer to CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders.
  3. Items that pose a potential threat to the security of the institution if retained on site will be disposed of in the appropriate manner, with the circumstances of the disposal fully documented.
  4. Seized items not turned over to the police will be retained at the facility until the completion of all criminal, administrative or disciplinary procedures.
  5. All items will be disposed of annually or as required.

ENQUIRIES

  1. Strategic Policy Division
    National Headquarters
    Email: GEN-NHQPOLICY-POLITI@CSC-SCC.GC.CA

Commissioner,

Original signed by:
Don Head

ANNEX A: CROSS-REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS

CROSS-REFERENCES

CD 566-7 – Searching of Inmates
CD 566-8 – Searching of Staff and Visitors
CD 566-9 – Searching of Cells, Vehicles and Other Areas
CD 566-12 – Personal Property of Offenders
CD 568 – Management of Security Information and Intelligence
CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders

DEFINITIONS

Contraband (section 2 of the CCRA):

(a) an intoxicant;

(b) a weapon or a component thereof, ammunition for a weapon, and anything that is designed to kill, injure or disable a person or that is altered so as to be capable of killing, injuring or disabling a person, when possessed without prior authorization;

(c) an explosive or a bomb or a component thereof;

(d) currency over any applicable prescribed limit, when possessed without prior authorization; and

(e) any item not described in paragraphs (a) to (d) that could jeopardize the security of a penitentiary or the safety of persons, when that item is possessed without prior authorization.

Unauthorized item: any item that is not permitted by policy or by written order of the Institutional Head and that an inmate possesses without prior authorization.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.