Beyond the Fence: A virtual tour of a Canadian penitentiary - Program room / Classroom

Incarceration alone does not produce the long-term changes that many offenders need to lead productive, law-abiding lives in the community. Correctional programs, in institutions and in the community, are essential to helping bring about positive changes in behaviour. Institutions offer program rooms like this one, where inmates can take various correctional programs and education programs depending on their needs. Those who actively take part in their programming are less likely to reoffend, and can learn a variety of skills that help them find meaningful work in the community.


Standard room for correctional and education programsCorrectional programs are offered to help inmates take responsibility for their actions. They have access to a variety of programs designed to address their risk factors. Education programs offered up to grade 12 and some post-secondary courses are available by correspondence. Unless they have already done so, inmates are required to complete their high school equivalent as part of their Correctional Plan.

Inmates are assessed for the admission criteria and are referred by their Parole Officer, Behavioural Science Technician or teacher, and the Correctional Intervention Board to determine suitability for the program.

Offender accountability is a two-way commitment. CSC provides inmates with the opportunity to learn skills needed to correct behaviour, but it’s up to each offender to use these tools and opportunities. A range of motivational strategies are used to help inmates see the value of participating in these correctional programs.


Institutional library

This correctional facility’s medium-security unit is equipped with a library and has the assistance of a librarian. In some maximum-security units, the librarian offers a variety of books on a cart that are exchanged weekly. Fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as CSC’s policies and legal reference material are available to inmates. In addition to this any title or reference is available on request upon approval and if deemed appropriate by staff.

Hiring an offender

Employment in the institution is varied and includes opportunities such as kitchen worker, cleaners, or CORCAN skills development. Inmates are assigned by going through an application process, which includes an assessment phase and interview. Potential candidates are screened by CSC officials before they are placed in a position.

Inmates are expected to attend their assignments each day unless they have an authorized absence. They can lose their assignment if they are absent too often, or regularly fail to complete their assigned tasks. Skills development is essential to rehabilitation. It prepares inmates for real life situations and helps them prepare for life in the community as law-abiding citizens.


Outdoor yardInmates can spend some recreational time outdoors in a yard or in a gymnasium. The number of inmates that can be in the yard at a given time may be limited. Recreational time is only given once work and program times are finished.