Beyond the Fence: A virtual tour of a Canadian penitentiary - Medium-security range

Medium-security at CSC institutions provides inmates with additional opportunities to demonstrate increased responsibility and accountability. This supports inmate rehabilitation while they continue to be managed in a controlled environment. While the site is fenced, the rules are less restrictive than in maximum-security facilities. An average medium-security facility is divided into units, each with several ranges, although every institution is different. This institution has what’s known as a “direct observation unit”, and it’s organized with upper and lower ranges. Each pair of ranges has shared washers, dryers, showers, kitchenette, and facilities for offenders with disabilities. There is a central area from which the correctional officers monitor the activity on the range.

Observation Area

Medium-security observation areaThis is a central area for the Correctional Officers to monitor activity on the range. Officers are not armed, although firearms and/or other devices used to manage a crisis are available – under lock and key – in specific locations.

Kitchenette and Laundry

Medium-security kitchenette and laundry areaIn most medium-security ranges, inmates have access to a common kitchenette which consists of a fridge, microwave, toasters and freezer. Each range contains washers and dryers for inmates to wash their clothing, and washrooms are also accessible from the range. All ranges in CSC institutions include cells and showers for inmates with disabilities.

Responsibility Units

Kitchen in a responsibility unitNot all medium-security institutions have a tiered range. This is an example of what are sometimes referred to as responsibility units. Inmates here are managed with the goal of eventually moving to a minimum-security institution. The secure unit is organized in pods where up to 10 inmates share a common area, washroom and kitchen. Inmates prepare their own meals. In most cases, one inmate is the designated cook for the unit. Correctional Officers monitor these units to ensure inmate movement is safe and controlled. Officers are not armed, though firearms and/or other devices used to manage a crisis are accessible in secure areas if required. The doors are unlocked each morning so that inmates can attend their programs, and are locked again at night.