Commissioner's Directive

Inmate Committees


  1. To define the roles and responsibilities of the Inmate Committee and to establish the procedures to be followed when conducting committee activities.
  2. To articulate the process with respect to the selection of Inmate Committee members.


  1. Corrections and Conditional Release Act, sections 73 and 74 and subsection 98 (1)


  1. CD 566-7 - Searching of Inmates

    CD 568-3 - Identification and Management of Criminal Organizations

    CD 726 - Correctional Programs

    CD 860 - Inmate's Money

    CD 890 - Inmate's Canteen


  1. To assist in the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates into communities as law abiding citizens.
  2. To establish a means for inmates to provide input regarding institutional operations, thus contributing to safe and secure institutions.


  1. The Institutional Head will be cognizant of the responsibilities and activities of the Inmate Committee.
  2. The Institutional Head will normally ensure the existence of an Inmate Committee and that it operates on a continuous basis in the institution for which he or she is responsible. All institutions, including Regional Treatment Centres, should normally have an Inmate Committee. In situations where this is not practical or feasible, measures must be implemented to ensure that open communications and consultations are maintained with the inmate population through alternative mechanisms.
  3. The responsibilities of the executive members of the Inmate Committee shall be consistent with the CORCAN Generic Work Description.
  4. The Inmate Committee will make recommendations to the Institutional Head on decisions affecting the inmate population, except decisions relating to security matters.
  5. The Inmate Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Institutional Head or delegate regarding the use of the Inmate Welfare Fund, as per CD 860 - Inmate's Money.


  1. The Institutional Head shall designate a staff member, normally the Social Programs Officer, to serve as management's Liaison to the Inmate Committee.


  1. Members of the Inmate Committee will not benefit from any special privileges. They are subject to all regulations and directives in the same way as other inmates.
  2. An Inmate Committee is a representative body. As such, it should reflect, wherever possible, the cultural, spiritual and ethnic background of the inmate population.
  3. The Inmate Committee will include at least two (2) elected executive members:
    1. Chair;
    2. Secretary-Treasurer.
  4. A third elected executive member, a Vice-Chair, may be authorized at the discretion of the Institutional Head.
  5. Other inmates may be members of the Inmate Committee as directed by the Institutional Head. The composition of the Inmate Committee should be reflective of the inmate population and consistent with all areas of the institution, including segregation and Secure Units.
  6. The Institutional Head may authorize the creation of alternate committee(s) to represent inmate issues using alternative mechanisms where such a requirement exists, based on but not limited to incompatibles as well as numeric, cultural and religious considerations.
  7. Where applicable, range/living unit representatives will liaise with the unit's Correctional Manager regarding issues that involve the range/living unit. These representatives are responsible for ensuring that information is properly communicated to their range/living unit. Range/living unit representatives may also serve as liaisons between the inmates of their range/living unit and the Inmate Committee. In such instances, the representatives are responsible for communicating issues of concern to the Inmate Committee.


  1. All executive members of the Inmate Committee will be elected by secret ballot.
  2. Elections will be coordinated by the Assistant Warden, Intervention. They will be held on the ranges/living units under the supervision of the Liaison and the unit's Correctional Manager.
  3. Inmates interested in serving on the Inmate Committee will submit their names and position of interest to the Liaison at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the scheduled election. The Liaison will then submit the list of candidates to the Institutional Head for approval. These candidates are subject to the criteria outlined in paragraph 32.
  4. The Liaison will ensure that the list of candidates for election is posted in ranges/living units or transmitted to the overall population at least one (1) week prior to voting day.
  5. The candidates receiving the most votes in their respective categories (see paragraph 15) will be elected to these positions.
  6. Elections will normally be held at least once a year except in exceptional circumstances.
  7. By-elections to fill vacant positions must be held within a reasonable period of time, normally within two (2) months of the vacancies. The Institutional Head may also assign an inmate to a vacant position, on an interim basis, pending the next election.
  8. Executive Inmate Committee membership will normally be limited to two (2) consecutive terms. The Institutional Head may approve extensions. The Institutional Head also has the discretion to limit the number of consecutive terms for non-executive Inmate Committee members.
  9. The Institutional Head may approve the creation of sub-committees to the Inmate Committee. The Inmate Committee executive will nominate and submit the names of prospective sub-committee members to the Institutional Head, for approval, through the Liaison.
  10. Sole or unopposed candidates for executive positions will not be automatically elected by acclamation. Institutional management reserves the right to poll the general population or to refuse the appointment of a candidate based on the criteria outlined in paragraph 32. In such instances, the inmate must be provided with a written reason for the decision, to which he or she will have the opportunity to respond.
  11. The selection of range/living unit representatives, where appropriate, will be held in accordance with the conditions set out by institutional management. These selections should normally be supervised by the unit's Correctional Manager and take place on the same day as the executive elections.
  12. Range/living unit representatives, where appropriate, will be selected by the inmates living in the same range/unit. The selection must be supported by the unit's Correctional Manager.


  1. Any inmate is eligible to be a candidate who:
    1. submits his or her name and position of interest to the Liaison;
    2. is willing to work varied hours of work;
    3. has been residing at the institution for at least three (3) months within the last year prior to the date of the election;
    4. has at least four (4) months of incarceration to serve prior to his or her release date, if known, or approved transfer;
    5. has not resided in the Special Handling Unit during the past six (6) months;
    6. is compliant with his or her Correctional Plan;
    7. would not normally be precluded from being a member of an Inmate Committee as a result of being a member or associate of a criminal organization as outlined in CD 568-3;
    8. agrees to accept the responsibilities incumbent upon the position of a member of the Inmate Committee; and
    9. has demonstrated a commitment to reasonably resolve issues in conjunction with the institution's management team as well as with the other members of the Inmate Committee.


  1. Each voting station will be monitored by both a staff and inmate volunteer(s) who will act as scrutineers. The unit's Correctional Manager and/or his or her delegate(s) should normally act as the staff scrutineer(s). The inmate volunteer(s) will act as inmate scrutineer(s) and must not be a candidate for the election.
  2. Inmates interested in acting as scrutineers will submit their name to the Liaison a week prior to the date set for the election. The final list of inmate scrutineers will be released at least three (3) days prior to the voting day.
  3. On voting day, inmates will receive a ballot on which they will indicate the candidate of their choice for the positions to be filled. The ballot will then be placed in a sealed box under the supervision of the scrutineers.
  4. When the poll is closed, the votes will be counted by the scrutineers under the supervision of the Liaison.
  5. Elected candidates reserve the right to refuse a position to which they have been elected. In such instances, the candidate with the next greatest number of votes will be offered the position.


  1. The positions of Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary-Treasurer of the Inmate Committee will normally be full-time paid positions.
  2. The range/living unit representatives may be paid positions at the discretion of the Institutional Head.


  1. Unless precluded by extenuating circumstances, the Inmate Committee will meet with institutional management, including the Institutional Head or his/her replacement, at least four (4) times per year. The Liaison will attend all meetings.
  2. In addition, the Inmate Committee will meet with the Assistant Warden, Intervention and/or the Liaison at least once a month to discuss institutional programs, activities and expenditures of the Inmate Committee. The Inmate Committee, through consultation with the Institutional Head or his/her delegate, will attempt to resolve as many matters as possible through regular channels before they are added to the agenda.
  3. The secretary of the Inmate Committee and the Institutional Head or his/her delegate should normally exchange their agenda items at least five (5) working days before the scheduled meetings.


  1. Minutes of each meeting will be kept and will reflect the rationale and discussion for decisions concerning each item. The minutes will be reviewed by the Institutional Head and the Chair of the Inmate Committee from whom approval must be obtained.
  2. Minutes of the meetings will be distributed as follows:
    1. to the Institutional Head and his or her management team;
    2. to each Inmate Committee member for posting in the ranges/living units;
    3. to the Chairperson of the Citizens' Advisory Committee;
    4. in sufficient quantity to ensure the institutional staff are informed; and
    5. in an electronic format to be made available on the institution's InfoNet site.


  1. The Chair or Vice-Chair of the Inmate Committee may meet with inmates in the segregation area or Secure Unit in compliance with the process described in paragraph 46.
  2. Inmates in the segregation area or Secure Unit who wish to meet with the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Inmate Committee should normally submit a written request to the unit's Correctional Manager for approval.
  3. The Chair or Vice-Chair of the Inmate Committee will be permitted to meet with the inmate in question in accordance with the threat and risk assessment procedures of the institution. He or she may meet with only one inmate at a time.
  4. The Chair or Vice-Chair of the Inmate Committee will, upon his or her arrival and departure from the segregation area or Secure Unit, submit to a frisk search as outlined in CD 566-7 - Searching of Inmates.
  5. The Chair or Vice-Chair of the Inmate Committee will not be authorized to meet with inmates who are confined in the segregation area or Secure Unit for the purposes of an administrative or disciplinary investigation without written permission of the Institutional Head or his/her delegate.


  1. The Inmate Committee shall have a work space for its use in conducting committee activities. It is the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that the office is secure when leaving. The office will be subject to search at any time. The institution will provide the materials required for the normal operations of the Inmate Committee.


  1. Any proposals for new projects or activities must be consistent with the objectives of this policy whereby their implementation will benefit inmate/institutional operations and contribute to a safe/secure institutional environment.
  2. The proposals must be developed in a format that includes:
    1. the objective of the project or activity;
    2. a description of the project or activity;
    3. anticipated costs both in terms of financial and human resources; and
    4. timeframe for implementation.
  3. The Inmate Committee may submit proposals for special projects or activities to the Liaison for consideration. Upon review of the proposal, the Liaison will make a recommendation to the Institutional Head from which a written decision will be rendered to approve or deny the proposal.
  4. Proposals for special projects will be submitted through the Liaison together with his or her comments, in accordance with a timeframe prescribed by the Institutional Head.
  5. The project or activity may not be initiated prior to its approval by the Institutional Head.


  1. The Liaison and his or her delegate will normally be the only persons authorized to place external telephone calls for members of the Inmate Committee.
  2. Telephone calls to staff members in specific departments will, in all cases, be made to the officer in charge of the department or his/her delegate.
  3. With the exception of calls to privileged correspondents for matters of direct concern to the Inmate Committee and internal calls, departmental staff may listen to telephone conversations of the Inmate Committee members as per CD 575 - Interception of Communications Related to the Maintenance of Institutional Security.


  1. The Inmate Committee must submit an annual report to the Institutional Head in accordance with a timeframe prescribed by the Institutional Head. The report is to be used as both a planning and evaluation tool with respect to those activities for which the Inmate Committee is responsible.
  2. The Institutional Head has the discretion to establish the format of the annual report; however, it must provide an evaluation of the activities under the auspices of the Inmate Committee during the previous year. The report must outline any new activities and/or changes to existing ones proposed for the following year. The report must also identify how new and/or proposed changes to activities can be achieved.
  3. The report will be distributed in the same manner as the minutes of the Inmate Committee meetings (see paragraph 44).


  1. The Institutional Head may remove a member of the Inmate Committee where:
    1. the member's committee activities pose a threat to the security of the institution or to the protection of staff, inmates and the public;
    2. the member abuses his or her committee position to achieve ends which are inconsistent with his or her mandate; or
    3. the member fails to adhere to his or her Correctional Plan or demonstrates deteriorating institutional behaviour.
  2. Where an Inmate Committee member is dismissed, the Institutional Head shall inform, in writing, the affected inmate of the reason for the decision to which the inmate member shall have an opportunity to make representations verbally or in writing.
  3. Any, or all, of the representatives may resign at any time when they feel it may be in their best interest, or in the best interest of the inmate population. Individual resignations will normally be submitted though the Liaison to the Institutional Head.


Original signed by:
Don Head



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