Searching Of Inmates
Issued under the authority of the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada
- Policy Objectives
- Annex A: Cross-References and Definitions
- Annex B: Institutional Search Plan – Searching of Inmates
- Annex C: Strip Searching of Women Inmates
- Annex D: Dry Cell Procedures
- Annex E: Transgender Searching Requirements
1. To provide direction for the searching of inmates to prevent the introduction and possession of contraband and unauthorized items.
2. To ensure the Correctional Service of Canada uses measures that are consistent with the protection of society, staff members and offenders and that are limited to only what is necessary and proportionate to attain the purposes of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
4. This Commissioner's Directive applies to staff conducting and managing inmate searches at all institutions including Community Correctional Centres, except where noted.
5. The Institutional Head/District Director will:
- approve the Search Plan;
- ensure persons conducting searches of inmates are properly trained; and
- ensure searches are documented and reviewed as required.
6. The Institutional Head will:
- authorize exceptional powers of search, as per section 53 of the CCRA;
- inform the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Institutional Operations, prior to any body cavity search;
- ensure that a Standing Order is established outlining the dry cell procedures, required training on how to operate the dry cell apparatus and the provision of the appropriate protective equipment; and
- inform the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Institutional Operations, when the placement of an inmate in a dry cell under section 51 of the CCRA, exceeds 72 hours.
7. The Deputy Warden/Associate District Director will ensure Post Orders are established and will maintain procedures directing the searching of inmates.
8. The Assistant Warden, Operations/Area Director will ensure:
- the development of the Search Plan, as per GL 005-1 – Institutional Management Structure: Roles and Responsibilities; and
- searching equipment is available and functioning.
9. The Manager, Community Correctional Centre, will assign staff to conduct searches.
10. The Correctional Officer/Primary Worker will:
- conduct searches of inmates as per the Search Plan; and
- complete the Search Log (CSC/SCC 0845), Post-Search Report (CSC/SCC 1365) and the Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) as required.
11. The Search Plan will include, but not be limited to, all the elements outlined in Annex B.
12. In Community Correctional Centres, a section in the Search Plan concerning the routine searching of inmates is not required.
13. Any required security examination of Aboriginal medicine bundles, religious and spiritual articles or other sacred objects will be accomplished by having the owner manipulate them for visual inspection by the examining officer. In the owner’s absence, an Elder, an Elder’s representative (who is not an inmate) or a religious representative will inspect or manipulate the contents for inspection.
14. Searches of transgendered inmates will be conducted as per Annex E.
15. If, before or during the course of a frisk search, a male inmate objects to being searched by a female staff member, where reasonably practicable, a male staff member will perform the search.
16. Notwithstanding subsection 49(4) of the CCRA, a male staff member will, under no circumstances, even in an emergency, conduct or witness the strip search of a female inmate, but will contain the situation until such time that female staff members arrive to conduct and witness the strip search.
17. Notwithstanding subsection 49(4) of the CCRA, a strip search, whether routine or non-routine, will be conducted in a private area, out of sight of others, by a staff member of the same sex, and in the presence of a witness. This witness will also be of the same sex as the individual being searched. This ratio may be augmented in the case where an inmate is uncooperative at the time of the search.
18. Strip searching a compliant woman inmate will be performed in accordance with Annex C.
Exceptional Power of Search
19. As per section 53 of the CCRA, the Institutional Head/District Director may authorize a frisk search or strip search of all the inmates in the penitentiary or any part thereof where he/she is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
- there exists, because of contraband, a clear and substantial danger to human life or safety or to the security of the penitentiary; and
- such a search is necessary in order to seize the contraband and avert the danger.
20. The search will be authorized in writing using Search Authorization (CSC/SCC 1366).
Body Cavity Search
21. Where a staff member believes on reasonable grounds that an inmate is carrying contraband in a body cavity, the staff member may not seize or attempt to seize that contraband, but will inform the Institutional Head.
22. As per section 52 of the CCRA, if the Institutional Head is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an inmate is carrying contraband in a body cavity and that a body cavity search is necessary in order to find or seize the contraband, the Institutional Head may authorize, in writing, a body cavity search to be conducted by a qualified medical practitioner, if the inmate’s written consent is obtained.
23. The inmate will be given reasonable opportunity to communicate with legal counsel, if desired, by telephone, before the inmate’s written consent to the body cavity search is sought.
24. The medical practitioner will conduct the body cavity search under appropriate conditions, suited to a consensual non-emergency examination, once consent has been obtained.
Use of X-Ray and Dry Cell
25. As per section 51 of the CCRA, where the Institutional Head is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an inmate has ingested contraband or is carrying contraband in a body cavity, the Institutional Head may authorize in writing one or both of the following:
- the use of an X-ray machine by a qualified X-ray technician to find the contraband, if the inmate consents in writing and consent of a qualified medical practitioner is obtained; and/or
- the detention of the inmate in a dry cell as per Annex D, with notice to the institution’s medical staff, on the expectation that the contraband will be expelled.
26. The inmate will be given reasonable opportunity to communicate with legal counsel before being given the opportunity to consent to the use of X-ray or will be provided with the opportunity to retain and instruct legal counsel without delay upon placement in a dry cell. The detention in a dry cell will conform to Annex D.
27. The Search Log (CSC/SCC 0845) and Post-Search Report (CSC/SCC 1365) will be completed in the following circumstances:
- non-routine frisk or strip search of an inmate or a group of inmates;
- routine strip search in which the use of force occurred;
- use of a dry cell or an X-ray machine;
- body cavity search;
- emergency search (without prior authorization) of an inmate; or
- one or more items are seized.
28. Every Institutional Head who authorizes an exceptional search of any inmates pursuant to section 53 of the CCRA will prepare and submit to the Regional Deputy Commissioner and the Director General, Security, as soon as practicable, a Post-Search Report (CSC/SCC 1365) about the search.
Contraband Seizure Tags
29. When contraband or unauthorized items are seized as a result of any search, the person who seized the item(s) will complete a Contraband/Unauthorized Item Seizure Tag (CSC/SCC 0482), attach it to each item and place the item in the secure evidence locker or turn it over to the custody of the seizure control officer, as per CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items.
30. When seizing 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 a proper treatment of the items which is respectful of the individual's beliefs. Disposition of these articles is in accordance with CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items.
31. Strategic Policy Division
Original signed by
Annex A: Cross-References and Definitions
- CD 084 – Inmates’ Access to Legal Assistance and the Police
- CD 566 – Framework for the Prevention of Security Incidents
- CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items
- CD 577 – Staff Protocol in Women Offender Institutions
- CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders
- CD 800 – Health Services
- GL 005-1 – Institutional Management Structure: Roles and Responsibilities
- CSC Manual on Religious and Spiritual Accommodation
- Body cavity search:
- the physical probing of a body cavity, in the prescribed manner.
- Emergency search:
- where a staff member (a) believes on reasonable grounds that an inmate is carrying contraband or carrying evidence relating to a disciplinary or criminal offence, and that a strip search is necessary to find the contraband or evidence and (b) believes on reasonable grounds that the delay that would be necessary in order to obtain the approval of the Institutional Head, or to comply with the gender requirement, would result in danger to human life or safety or in loss or destruction of the evidence, the staff member may conduct the strip search without authorization and without complying with the gender requirement.
- Frisk search:
- (a) a manual search, or a search by technical means, of the clothed body, in the prescribed manner, and (b) a search of (i) personal possessions, including clothing, that the person may be carrying, and (ii) any coat or jacket that the person has been requested to remove, in accordance with any applicable regulations made under paragraph 96(l) of the CCRA.
- Non-intrusive search:
- (a) a search of a non-intrusive nature of the clothed body by technical means, in the prescribed manner, and (b) a search of (i) personal possessions, including clothing, that the person may be carrying, and (ii) any coat or jacket that the person has been requested to remove, in accordance with any applicable regulations made under paragraph 96(l) of the CCRA.
- Strip search:
- (a) a visual inspection of the naked body, in the prescribed manner, and (b) a search, in accordance with any applicable regulations made under paragraph 96(l) of the CCRA, of all clothing, things in the clothing, and other personal possessions that the person may be carrying.
Annex B: Institutional Search Plan – Searching Of Inmates
|Search Subject||Search Type||Location||Frequency||Reasonable Grounds – Suspicion and/or Belief||Prior
|Person Responsible for Authorization||Search Log / Reports (date, etc.)|
|Inmates||Body Cavity||Required||Yes||Yes||Institutional Head||Yes|
|Inmates||Dry Cell||Required||Yes||No||Institutional Head||Yes|
*** If contraband or unauthorized items are seized, complete forms Post-Search Reports (CSC/SCC 1365) and Contraband/Unauthorized Item Seizure Tag (CSC/SCC 0482).
Annex C: Strip Searching Of Women Inmates
In the case of routine strip searches, the visual inspection of the naked body of the compliant woman inmate will normally be conducted in a two step process.
In the first step, the woman inmate being searched will be asked to remove all clothing that covers the upper torso, and a visual inspection of the body will occur. Once this area is searched, a shirt/top (either her own or institutional issue) will be returned to her to put on. In the second step, the woman inmate will then be asked to remove all clothing that covers the lower half of her body. Once this area has been visually inspected, she will be given clothing to cover her lower body (her own or institutional Issue).
Although the visual inspection of the naked body is being completed in two steps, it is in keeping with the legislation that governs this practice. Specifically, section 46 of the CCRA requires a visual inspection of the naked body in the prescribed manner.
The prescribed manner is outlined in section 45 of the Regulations whereby a visual inspection of the person by a staff member, in the course of which inspection the person being searched will undress completely in front of the staff. There is no requirement to be completely undressed all at once during the strip search as long as the woman has in fact been undressed completely during the process.
In the case of a woman being provided with a security garment, clothing will not be returned after each step given the potential risk for self-injury. The security garment should be provided immediately following the strip search.
In all cases of strip searches, the woman being searched may be required to open her mouth, display the soles of her feet, run her fingers through her hair, present open hands and arms, bend over or otherwise enable the staff member to perform the visual inspection.
A privacy barrier must normally be employed when conducting a strip search.
Strip search of women inmates must be conducted in accordance with CD 577 – Staff Protocol in Women Offender Institutions.
Annex D: Dry Cell Procedures
Once the Institutional Head authorizes the dry cell placement, the Correctional Manager will complete the Search Authorization (CSC/SCC 1366).
Upon placement in a dry cell, the inmate will be provided with written notice of the reasons for the placement.
The Correctional Manager will notify Health Services and document this in the log book.
The Institutional Head will review each placement in a dry cell on a daily basis. The inmate may make written representations for consideration at the daily review.
The inmate will be provided with adequate bedding, food, clothing and toiletry articles.
Reasonable access to medical, spiritual and psychological assistance should be provided and a medical professional will visit the inmate daily. Activities permitted will not compromise the recovery of the contraband.
The inmate will be monitored continuously by a Correctional Officer. This process may be assisted by camera surveillance. The Officer will report any request made or consent given by the inmate and any other observations using the Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875).
- The dry cell will be thoroughly searched prior to admitting the inmate into the cell.
- A strip search of the inmate will be conducted, prior to his placement in the dry cell, according to the provisions of subsection 49(3) of the CCRA.
- No food item should be wrapped in plastic wrap; pour juice or milk into a cup.
- Every food tray must be visually inspected prior to the meal and searched upon completion of the meal.
- Anytime the inmate is removed from the dry cell, it must be searched prior to the inmate being returned to that cell.
- When the inmate is sitting on the toilet, instruct him/her to keep his/her hands above the toilet in plain view of the Correctional Officer.
- Have the inmate throw the used toilet paper into a garbage can lined with a clear plastic bag.
- The inmate must be viewed the entire time he/she is on the toilet.
- The inmate will be provided the opportunity to clean his/her hands.
- If any item is seized, follow the procedures outlined in CD 568-5 – Management of Seized Items.
- Rinse out the toilet and return it to ready status.
- Complete a Post-Search Report (CSC/SCC 1365) and a Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) for every bowel movement to record whether anything is found.
- A Statement/Observation Report (CSC/SCC 0875) is required at the completion of every shift indicating samples provided or not provided and any other behaviours or observations.
- Call Supply and Institutional Services to ensure a full and thorough cleaning of the toilet takes place as necessary but, at a minimum, this must be done at the end of an inmate's stay, before a new inmate is admitted to the dry cell.
- Once it is determined that contraband may have been expelled, the Correctional Officer will notify the Correctional Manager and initiate the process of operating the dry cell apparatus, putting on the protective equipment and searching for contraband. Any contraband retrieved will be handed over to the Security Intelligence Officer or placed in an evidence locker. Chain of custody procedures must be adhered to.
ANNEX E: TRANSGENDER SEARCHING REQUIREMENTS
This annex will assist institutions in developing protocols for the searching of transgender inmates. A sample protocol is included for reference.
Searches will be conducted in a manner consistent with the CCRA. The procedures of this CD also consider the privacy and dignity of the individual being searched.
Given the above, where an offender has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder as per CD 800 – Health Services, the searching of transgender inmates, especially strip searching, will take into consideration the mixed gender physiology of those individuals.
To respect the dignity of the inmate, individualized protocols for searching will be put in place through consultation with the inmate.
Searching Protocol of Transgender Inmates
Note: The direction offered below is specific to pat-downs and security searches individualized for one male to female transsexual inmate residing in a men’s institution.
Inmate X has been spoken to regarding being searched (e.g. pat-downs, strip searches). Inmate X has indicated he is aware of his options and wants to have the pat-down search completed as it would be on any other inmate in the institution. With regard to a strip search, again Inmate X has indicated he is aware of his options but wants the strip search completed as soon as possible as normally done in the institution.
With the above consultation and understanding in place, male or female officers completing a pat-down search with respect to Inmate X will complete a thorough search by dealing with the bra as any other article of clothing. The bra line will be searched moving up from the bottom around the bra line to the top and down the middle between the breasts. Have Inmate X pull the bra away from the body so any contraband will fall out.
With respect to a strip search, male officers will ask Inmate X if he accepts that the search be completed by male officers. If so, the male officers will complete the search. If Inmate X has concerns, then a pat-down search will occur followed by male officers completing the search of the lower body leaving the top clothed, allowing the inmate to dress – the inmate will be fully observed at all times during the turnover to female officers. The female officers will then complete the search of the upper body leaving the lower body clothed.
The Institutional Head thanks the Correctional Officers for their understanding and professionalism as they continue to undertake responsibilities in the searching of inmates within our institution.