Social programs

CSC offers a variety of social programs to assist offenders to adjust to incarceration and prepare for community reintegration. While certain structured social programs are offered nationally, unstructured social activities may vary depending on institutional need and suitability. The unstructured social activities include, but are not limited to, leisure and recreational activities, sports, hobby craft activities, cultural activities, and library services.

The ultimate goal of social programs is to help offenders make personal changes in their lives by encouraging them to learn about their strengths and the areas that need improvement. They:

  • Teach personal interaction and development skills;
  • Allow offenders to build life skills;
  • Promote positive and healthy lifestyle choices;
  • Teach offenders how to use their leisure time constructively and in a pro-social manner; and
  • Target factors that may impact offenders' ability to successfully transition back into the community.

Social program officers (SPOs) perform a wide variety of tasks that impact offenders. Their work includes:

  • Facilitating social programs;
  • Providing recreational, social, cultural and personal development activities;
  • Coordinating volunteer activities.

Community Integration Program (CIP)

The CIP is delivered to male offenders within one year prior to release. Offenders who have identified challenges in their community functioning or employment, as well as offenders being detained passed their statutory release date, are to be referred to this program. The program provides male offenders with information and skills to help prepare for their release and support their transition into the community.

Culturally-based content is available throughout the program manual for Indigenous offenders participating in the CIP.

Research suggests that the first year following release is critical for offenders. As such, the CIP directly targets offenders’ community functioning needs, such as:

  • Employment;
  • Housing;
  • Physical and mental health;
  • Problem solving;
  • Social skills;
  • Money management; and
  • Stress related to community release.

Social Integration Program for Women (SIPW)

The Social Integration Program for Women (SIPW) is designed to help women offenders plan for a successful transition into the community. The SIPW assists women offenders in addressing concerns related to their upcoming release and social reintegration. The program is aimed at helping participants identify their strengths and areas in need of improvement. Participants will learn (and, in some cases, review) practical skills to maximize the potential for success.

The goal of this program is to target community living issues or other barriers to reintegration. Some of these may be:

  • support systems
  • social networks
  • employment
  • identification
  • parental stress
  • healthy relationships
  • setting goals for their community reintegration

Structured Intervention Units (SIU) Social Program

The Structured Intervention Units (SIU) Social Program is for male offenders who cannot be safely managed in a general inmate population. It is based on an individualized approach, and includes skills-based modules and activities that:

  • Consider the reason for the offender’s transfer in an SIU;
  • Teach skills to cope with specific obstacles that are affecting their ability to remain in the general population; and
  • Help make constructive use of their leisure time.

The main objective of this program is to facilitate inmates’ reintegration back into the general inmate population as soon as possible. The social activities in this program are also geared towards alleviating potential feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation in the SIUs.

Policy and legislation

Commissioner’s directives and guidelines

CD 700 Correctional Interventions applies to all staff involved in correctional interventions. It outlines their responsibilities and the procedures associated with the correctional intervention process.

CD 760 Social Programs and Leisure Activities gives the framework for social programs and leisure activities for offenders.

CD 711: Structured Intervention Units lays out the procedures and framework for the SIU Social Program.


Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Sections 3, 3.1, 4, 5(b), 15.1, 26, 76, 77, 79 and 80 outline information about programs for offenders.

Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations, Section 102 states that CSC must include program requirements for inmates in their correctional plans.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Sections 36, 37(1) and 37(2) outline information about programs for offenders in the Structured Intervention Units.

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