The Correctional Process: From A-to-Z
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, (CCRA) oversees an offender’s correctional process through several stages, until the offender’s warrant expiry date.
The correctional process begins at sentencing. To administer the sentence and fully prepare the offender for returning to the community, the CCRA requires CSC to carry out an extensive assessment of the offender as soon as possible. Based on this assessment, CSC establishes a detailed correctional plan to help the offender address his or her criminogenic factors.
The offender will first be admitted to an assessment unit in a regional reception centre. On average, the offender remains at the reception centre between 70 and 90 days while all necessary information is collected from various sources. This includes information provided by the court, information relating to prior offences at the provincial level, or other factors like family, education, and employment history.
THE CORRECTIONAL PLAN
At the end of the assessment period, correctional staff put in place a correctional plan based on identified risks and needs factors. During this process, the security classification (minimum, medium or maximum) is also determined. This classification corresponds to three factors (institutional adjustment, escape risk, and public safety), as well as the penitentiary where the offender will be incarcerated. The correctional plan is updated throughout incarceration.
At an institution, case management is a dynamic process that includes interventions to assess, clarify, counsel, plan programs for, and supervise an offender throughout his or her sentence. This includes: ongoing assessment of an individual offender's needs and the development and implementation of individual correctional plans and interventions to meet those needs; the provision of clear behavioural expectations for the offender to be met within specific timeframes, as well as regular assessment of the offender's progress in relation to the program plan; encouraging the offender to demonstrate progress through responsible behaviour; and controls in place to ensure the continual viability of the individual program plan.
In 2008, CSC launched an ambitious strategy to strengthen its contribution to public safety. As part of its ongoing Transformation Agenda, CSC is streamlining its case management processes and maximizing existing program capacity to help ensure offenders have earlier access to the programs they need to complete their correctional plans.
As day parole, full parole or statutory release eligibility dates approach, case preparation begins in co-operation with 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 institution, offenders 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, which is updated to indicate progress and compliance with the conditions imposed by the Parole Board of Canada.
END OF THE PROCESS
With the exception of lifers, who remain under CSC’s jurisdiction for life whether they are incarcerated or in the community, the correctional process ends on the offender’s warrant expiry date or on expiry of a long-term supervision order (in some cases, because of the nature of the offence, a judge may impose an order of up to 10 additional years of supervision).
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Additional information about federal corrections in Canada is available on the Web site at