Beyond the Fence: A virtual tour of a Canadian penitentiary - Visitors area

There is a designated visiting area within each correctional institution. Visiting with family, friends or community members encourages inmates to develop and maintain important relationships that prepare them for their return to the community. It also helps to lessen the negative impact of incarceration on family relationships. Visiting rooms are not always organized the same way, but in general, the visiting area is made up of a collection of tables with attached chairs. There is a family area for those with children.

There are several different types of visits. Some visits take place face-to-face, while others are conducted over the phone behind glass. There are also private family visits. No matter what kind of visit is scheduled, safety of visitors, staff and inmates is a top priority.


Security in the visiting areaVisits are monitored by Correctional Officers at all times. There is usually a glass partition between security and the visiting area that is similar to a two way mirror. The visiting area is under constant visual surveillance. Correctional Officers only interrupt visits in special circumstances, to ensure the safety and security of inmates, staff, and visitors.

Closed Visiting

Closed visiting areaThere are closed visiting areas available as an alternative to the regular visiting area. This option may be imposed if the Correctional Manager on duty determines that there may be a security concern with the visit. This visiting area is designed with a glass partition between the visitor and the inmate, making this a no contact visit. A phone is used to communicate during the visit.


MicrophoneThere is a microphone at each table to record conversations that take place during visits. However, as per policy and legislation, these conversations are only intercepted if explicitly approved by authorized staff members (such as the Warden or Deputy Warden).

Family Area

Family AreaThe visiting area has a family section designed for those with young children. There are toys and a television for children to use. No rough play is permitted and noise should be kept to a minimum so as not to interfere with other visitors.

Private Family Visiting

Private Family Visiting unitPrivate Family Visiting is also available, and encourages inmates to maintain family ties. Eligible inmates have the opportunity to use special units within the confines of a correctional institution to visit with a loved one, such as a partner, parents, or child, for up to 72 hours. Most units are simple two-bedroom structures with a kitchen, washroom and living area. Additional screening of both the inmate and visitors are required before the visit can take place, and the units are monitored by CSC staff.