The correctional process

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) oversees an offender's correctional process through several stages:

1. The assessment

  • The correctional process begins at sentencing.
  • To administer the sentence and fully prepare the offender for returning to the community, we conduct an extensive assessment of the offender as soon as possible.
  • Based on this assessment, we establish a detailed correctional plan to help the offender address the reasons behind their criminal behaviour.
  • The offender is first admitted to an assessment unit at one of CSC's regional reception centres.
  • On average, offenders remain at the reception centre from 70 to 90 days while all necessary information is collected. This includes:
    • information provided by the court
    • information relating to prior offences at the provincial level
    • other factors like family, education and employment history.

2. The correctional plan

  • When the assessment is complete, correctional staff put in place a correctional plan based on the offender's identified risks and needs.
  • During this process, the security classification (minimum, medium or maximum) is also determined. This classification considers:
    • institutional adjustment
    • escape risk and public safety
    • the penitentiary where the offender will be located.
  • The correctional plan is updated throughout an offender's incarceration.

  3. Case management

  • Case management at a penitentiary is a dynamic process. It is how CSC manages each offender's case.
  • Case management includes:
    • assessing, counselling, planning programs for, and supervising an offender throughout their sentence
    • assessing an offender's needs and developing and implementing a correctional plan and interventions to meet those needs
    • providing clear behavioural expectations for an offender to be met within specific timeframes
    • regularly assessing an offender's progress in relation to their correctional plan
    • encouraging an offender to demonstrate progress through responsible behaviour
    • putting controls in place to ensure that an offender's correctional plan is realistic and viable.

4. Parole supervision

  • As day parole, full parole or statutory release eligibility dates approach, case preparation begins. This happens with the cooperation of members of the community where the offender will be released under supervision.
  • Community members often include family, friends and volunteers.
  • The correctional process does not end with the offender's release – it continues in the community.
  • Just like in the penitentiary, offenders on parole work with a case management team that may include a parole officer, health care professionals, volunteers and an entire network of support.
  • Offenders still follow their correctional plan while in the community.
  • The correctional plan is updated to indicate progress and compliance with the conditions imposed by the Parole Board of Canada.

5. The end of the process

  • For most offenders, the correctional process ends on either their warrant expiry date (the end of their sentence) or on the expiry of a long-term supervision order.
    • Long-term supervision orders are imposed by judges in some cases because of the nature of an offence. These orders can impose up to 10 additional years of supervision.
  • Offenders serving life sentences are the exception. They remain under CSC's jurisdiction for life whether they are incarcerated or in the community.

Updated January 2017