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

CORCAN is a key rehabilitation program at CSC. It contributes to safe communities by providing inmates with skills training while serving their sentence. This is a CORCAN shop where inmates get on-the-job training. Welding, furniture construction, or print services are all examples of what you might find at CORCAN.

It’s through this training that inmates gain employment skills that will help them find jobs in the community when they are released. CORCAN focuses on four business lines: Manufacturing, Textiles, Construction, and Services.


Welding areaCORCAN shops are equipped with industry-grade machinery and equipment that enable offenders, and CORCAN as a business, to learn and grow together. Highly-trained instructors teach inmates hands-on skills, such as welding, that will help them find meaningful work upon release. In the furniture building workshops, inmates produce office furniture such as desks and chairs. This develops carpentry skills such as measuring, cutting, sanding and finishing, as well as skills related to quality control and working in a team environment. Most CORCAN shops are ISO-certified.


Outdoor construction areaCORCAN instructors are skilled tradespersons and many hold trade designations. Instructors train inmates in framing, drywall, plumbing, electrical, and other related disciplines. Inmates can then use these skills to work with community colleges, construction trade unions, and other partners, such as not-for-profit or charitable organizations. The training offenders receive is certified and recognized in the industry, improving their chances of getting a job. In addition to the technical skills that come with certified and on-the-job training, inmates also learn valuable communication skills, teamwork skills, personal skills (such as dependability), time management skills, and organizational skills.


Textiles samplesInmates are given opportunities to develop trade skills through hands-on participation in CORCAN workshops such as sewing stations. Using industrial sewing machines, inmates learn the piecemeal production of items ranging from clothing to mattress covers. Many instructors serve as role models for inmates, by showing them the value of hard work, and producing quality products and services for customers. These skills prepare offenders for real work experience on actual production lines once they are released back into the community.


Laundry facilityCORCAN provides inmates with training and employment opportunities for different services such as industrial laundry operations and printing. For example, inmates can learn to work in high-volume laundry facilities. This involves managing equipment, handling material, and distribution. The print shops produce forms, business cards, and other material for CSC and other government departments. In some cases, training is certified. CSC also produces and distributes various office supplies, including file folders and related storage products.

Tool Crib

Tools are stored in a secure cabinet known as a tool crib. All tools must be accounted for by staff while in use, and returned at the end of the day. Each tool has a specific spot in the tool crib to show which tools are in use. For illustrative purposes, this tool crib is shown as open and missing a few tools, as they are currently being used in the CORCAN area. Only authorized staff members have keys to the tool crib.