Information for visitors: Searching and visiting changes

As of July 1, 2015, changes have been made to the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR), Searching and Visiting, to help keep drugs and other contraband out of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) penitentiaries.

You should know that:

  1. Staff are now able to conduct routine non-intrusive searches and routine frisk searches of visitors when they enter or leave a secure area of a penitentiary, in addition to entering or leaving the penitentiary.
  2. Staff are now able to conduct routine non-intrusive searches, routine frisk searches and routine strip searches of inmates when they enter or leave a secure area of a penitentiary, in addition to entering or leaving a penitentiary.
  3. Staff will also conduct routine non-intrusive searches and routine frisk searches of inmates now entering or leaving a work or activity area.
  4. Wardens may impose a "closed" visit (with a physical barrier) or suspend or cancel a visit, including a private family visit, if he or she suspects on reasonable grounds" that the visit may jeopardize the safety and security of the penitentiary. "Suspects on reasonable grounds" replaces "believes on reasonable grounds" under the new CCRR changes. The difference between suspects and believes is the degree of certainty the decision-maker has concerning the facts. "Suspects" is based on possibility rather than probability.

What is a secure area?

Wardens have the responsibility and authority to designate areas of the penitentiary that are secure. (For example, the Warden can make a confined area of a penitentiary, such as a principal entrance or gym, a secure area.)  Secure areas will be well-marked with a sign explaining that routine searches may be done when entering or leaving that area.

How is a closed visit determined?

When you enter the penitentiary, you will be searched by a CSC employee. If they receive a positive result on any search tool, such as an ion scanner, a Correctional Manager will perform a Threat Risk Assessment to decide whether the visit is opened or closed.

The Correctional Manager will interview you in a private area with a witness. You will be allowed to explain the positive search result, including reasons for having products or medication.

The Correctional Manager will review the interview, along with other available information, such as your history or behaviour. Based on these factors, law and CSC policy, a final decision about whether the visit is open or closed will be made by the Warden.

What happens if my visit is refused or suspended?

If your visit is refused or suspended, you will be promptly told in writing:

  • The reasons the visit was refused or suspended.
  • That you have five working days once you receive a notice to reply either in writing or verbally.
  • Once we receive your reply, a review will be conducted within five working days.
You will be told the final decision within 15 working days after the review.