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

This is a medium-security cell. Daily life is much like that in maximum-security institutions, however inmates have more freedom to move between common areas. While the layout and style across institutions may vary, cells are secured with an electronic door accessible by the control post. The average room is equipped with a bed, sink, toilet, desk and shelving units. Inmates here are managed with the goal of eventually moving to a minimum-security institution, and encouraged to take ownership of their rehabilitation. A typical day usually includes correctional programs, education programs, or job training.

Personal Effects

Personal effects in a medium-security cell

Inmates are allowed to keep various approved personal items in their cells such as personal clothing and hygiene items, pictures, cultural or religious items, games (that have no internet connection), books, and certain hobby craft items. The list of items allowed varies based the security level of the institution. All items are inspected prior to being given to the inmate. Each inmate’s items are recorded and tracked on a personalized list. Inmates are not allowed to give, trade, loan, rent, or sell personal property to other inmates. Unauthorized items will be confiscated by Correctional Officers, and an institutional charge may follow against the inmate. This could result in a minimal fine or imposed restrictions.


Each institution and security level has a canteen, where inmates can purchase personal items or snacks from an approved list. Inmates use their own personal funds to purchase items.

As inmates work in the canteen, it supports the notion of accountability and provides inmates with job experience. There are separate canteens for maximum-, medium-, and minimum-security institutions.


This is a cell designed to accommodate offenders with a physical handicap. It is larger than an average medium-security cell, and equipped with features to make it accessible for someone with a disability.