Commissioner's Directive

Visits

POLICY OBJECTIVE

  1. To provide a mechanism for inmates to develop and maintain positive community and family relationships, to assist in meeting the objectives of their Correctional Plan and facilitate their timely reintegration, while contributing to the protection of society.

AUTHORITIES

  1. Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), subsection   2(1) and sections 4, 40, 59, 60, 71 and   72

    Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR),sections 90, 91, 92 and 93

    Privacy Act, subsection 6(2)

APPLICATION

  1. This Commissioner's Directive applies to all individuals involved in the inmate visiting process.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. When a complete suspension of the visiting rights of all inmates in a penitentiary has been authorized by the Institutional Head as per section 92 of the CCRR, the Regional Deputy Commissioner will:
    1. review the complete suspension on or before the fifth day of the suspension; and
    2. ensure that the complete suspension is submitted to the Commissioner for review no later than the 10th  day of the suspension.
  2. The Commissioner will review all cases of complete suspension of visits no later than the 14th  day of the suspension, as per section 92 of the CCRR.
  3. The Institutional Head will:
    1. authorize a complete suspension of visiting rights for all inmates where the security of the penitentiary is significantly jeopardized and no less restrictive alternative is available in accordance with section 92 of the CCRR;
    2. ensure visits are available to all inmates;
    3. identify the composition of the Visits Review Board, which will normally include the Security Intelligence Officer;
    4. in consultation with the Visits Review Board:
      1. specify the procedures and conditions for visits and ensure they are communicated to all inmates, visitors and staff,
      2. specify the procedures for inmates to request interviews with institutional personnel, official visitors and representatives of organizations engaged in the delivery of approved interventions,
      3. establish the visiting hours for the institution,
      4. review and approve all decisions related to visits (may waive the security screening under special circumstances),
      5. approve visits with inmates being treated at an outside health care facility (approval is also required by the head of the medical facility where treatment is being provided), and
      6. authorize the use of a physical barrier and/or visual supervision of a visiting area by a staff member or a mechanical device. The supervision must be carried out in the least obtrusive manner necessary in the circumstances.
  4. The Assistant Warden, Operations, or the Manager, Operations, will ensure that:
    1. information related to visits, including security intelligence information, is shared with the appropriate staff as required;
    2. information related to family violence prevention and about CSC Victim Services is made available to all visitors; and
    3. visitors are advised of institutional rules and procedures for visiting inmates prior to commencing visits, including the type of searching and security that they should expect upon entry into an institution.
  5. The Assistant Warden, Interventions, will ensure case management information related to visits is shared with the appropriate staff as required.

PROCEDURES

  1. Visits will normally:
    1. be scheduled at least 24  hours in advance;
    2. not interfere with the inmate's participation in his/her Correctional Plan; and
    3. be limited only by the institutional schedule, personnel resources and available staff.
  2. Visits by privileged correspondents (see list in CD  085 - Correspondence and Telephone Communication) will be held in an area where the inmate may communicate with the visitor in private.
  3. Visits with inmates by legal counsel on official business will take place in a manner ensuring confidentiality and be subject to provisions of CD 568-10 - Interception of Inmate Communications.
  4. Consular and diplomatic officials will be permitted to visit inmates who are nationals of the country they represent.
  5. Aboriginal community officials or representatives, as identified by the Aboriginal Liaison Officer, will be permitted to visit inmates who are members of the community they represent or if the inmate plans to return to that Aboriginal community. This includes representatives of urban organizations that assist offenders on conditional release.
  6. A minor child must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

Eligibility

  1. All inmates are normally eligible to participate in non-contact visits unless their entitlements to visits have been suspended as per the section below entitled “Refusal or Suspension of Visits” or restricted as part of a segregation sanction imposed pursuant to paragraph 44(1)(f) of the CCRA as a result of a serious disciplinary offence.
  2. All inmates are normally eligible to participate in contact visits unless:
    1. their entitlements to visits have been suspended as per the section below entitled “Refusal or Suspension of Visits” or restricted as part of a segregation sanction imposed pursuant to paragraph 44(1)(f) of the CCRA as a result of a serious disciplinary offence;
    2. a risk assessment on the security of the institution and the safety of individuals has not been completed; or
    3. as per section 90 of the CCRR, the Institutional Head believes on reasonable grounds that a barrier is necessary for the security of the penitentiary or the safety of any person and there is no less restrictive measure available.
  3. Other inmates and staff members are not eligible to participate in visits with inmates.

Visitor Security Screening Process

  1. All visitors will normally complete the Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) (CSC/SCC  0653E) for the purpose of security screening.
  2. Visiting applications will be reviewed to determine if a visitor is also visiting other inmates at the same and/or different institutions. If a visitor is unable to provide adequate justification for visiting another inmate, authorization for visits will not be granted. The information will be shared with the institutional and community Security Intelligence Officer, who will assess potential risk.
  3. A verification of the Canadian Police Information Centre files will be conducted and subsequently updated at least every two years for all active visitors. On the basis of this check and following a review of possible restrictions, the Institutional Head or designate will decide whether or not visitor clearance will be granted.
  4. If the person who signed the Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) (CSC/SCC  0653E) and the Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) Child Safety Waiver (CSC/SCC  0653-1E) is an active visitor and there has been no change according to the Canadian Police Information Centre check, the forms will remain valid for the next two years. If the person has not visited during the two-year period, the applicant must resubmit a Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) (CSC/SCC  0653E) for approval.
  5. Both the legal guardian and the minor child must be approved as visitors as per the above paragraphs. The legal guardian will also complete the Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) Child Safety Waiver (CSC/SCC  0653-1E).
  6. When an approved minor reaches the age of majority in the province in which the institution is located, he/she must resubmit a Visiting Application and Information Form (Inmate) (CSC/SCC  0653E) for approval.
  7. Where an individual is not approved to visit an inmate, both the applicant and the inmate will be promptly informed in writing of the decision.
  8. All visitors will be searched in accordance with CD  566-8 - Searching of Staff and Visitors.

Refusal or Suspension of Visits

  1. A visit may be refused or suspended by the Institutional Head or designate as per section 91 of the CCRR, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
    1. during the course of the visit, the inmate or visitor would:
      1. jeopardize the security of the penitentiary or the safety of any person, or
      2. plan or commit a criminal offence; and
    2. restrictions on the manner in which the visit takes place would not be adequate to control the risk.
  2. Where a refusal or suspension is authorized, it may continue for as long as the risk continues, and:
    1. the inmate and the visitor will be promptly informed in writing:
      1. of the reasons for the refusal or suspension as per CD  701 - Information Sharing, and
      2. of the fact that they have five working days upon receipt of the written notification to make representations (verbally or in writing) for reconsideration of the decision. The title of the person to whom they should address their representations should be indicated;
    2. upon receipt of the information presented by the inmate and/or the visitor, a review will be conducted within five working days; and
    3. the inmate and the visitor will be informed of the final decision within 15  working days of the date of the review. The notice will also inform the inmate of his/her right to grieve the decision as per CD  081 - Offender Complaints and Grievances.
  3. Following a decision to refuse or suspend the visit, a reassessment of the risk will be completed upon receipt of a new application from the visitor:
    1. no less than every six months after the decision; or
    2. as soon as possible, when new information is obtained that could change the decision.

Commissioner,

Original signed by

Don Head

ANNEX A : CROSS-REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS

CROSS-REFERENCES

DEFINITIONS

Age of majority :
the age at which a person is considered to be an adult by the province or territory where the institution someone wishes to visit is located.
Contact visit :
direct contact between the inmate and his/her visitor(s), conducted in an open area where no barrier separates the inmate and the visitor(s) and where constant surveillance can occur.
Family violence :
assault, abuse or other harm that occurs within the family relationships, such as physical assault, psychological/emotional abuse, deprivation and financial exploitation. It is any behaviour that leaves the victim feeling helpless and hopeless or takes away his/her dignity and self-respect. It also includes psychological trauma experienced by children who witness violence perpetrated against other family members.
within the context of bringing minor children into a penitentiary to visit an inmate, a legal guardian can be anyone who has reached the age of majority of the province where the institution he/she wishes to visit is located, has completed a visiting application and been granted permission to come into the penitentiary, and has obtained a signed authorization from the custodial non-inmate guardian/parent.
Minor child :
any individual under the age of majority.
Non-contact visit :
visit conducted behind a glass or some other form of physical barrier between the visitor and the inmate. No direct contact is permitted. For criteria for determining if a barrier is required, see section 90 of the CCRR.

ANNEX B : AGE OF MAJORITY

N.B.: Some provinces and the territories are not listed, as CSC does not have institutions in those sites.

For more information

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