Care, Custody and Supervision

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is responsible for administering sentences of a term of two years or more as imposed by the court. CSC is also responsible for managing institutions of various security levels and for supervising offenders under conditional release in the community.

How the process begins

Once a sentence is imposed, an intake assessment takes place. This assessment:

  • determines the offender's risk level and needs
  • ensures that their initial placement is at the appropriate security level.

Intake assessments are used to identify:

  • the factors that drove an offender to commit the offence
  • the risk an offender poses
  • an offender's needs in terms of correctional services.

Based on the information collected in the intake assessment, CSC develops a correctional plan that sets out rehabilitation activities and programs for the offender.

Types of Institutions

Maximum security

  • The perimeter is well defined, secure and controlled.
  • Inmate movement and association are strictly regulated and most often monitored.

Special Handling Unit (SHU)

  • This type of facility incarcerates male inmates who pose an ongoing danger to the public, staff and/or other inmates, and who cannot be safely managed at any other maximum security institution.
  • The perimeter is well defined, secure and strictly controlled.
  • Inmate movement and association is strictly regulated and controlled with a high degree of monitoring.

Medium security

  • Inmate movement and association is regulated and normally monitored.
  • The perimeter is well defined, secure and controlled.

Minimum security

  • The perimeter is clearly defined but not normally directly controlled.
  • These institutions are like small communities where inmates reside in housing units, normally in groups of eight to twelve.
  • This creates a sense of responsibility and prepares them for life in the community.


  • These institutions house maximum-, medium- and minimum-security offenders.
  • All women offender institutions and Regional Treatment Centres are multi-level security.

Clustered institution

  • A group of separate units of different security levels administered by one Institutional Head.
  • Clustered institutions differ from multi-level institutions in the separation of the various security levels in relation to accommodation, structured activities and inmate movement.
  • The perimeter of clustered institutions will vary depending upon the security level of the units associated with each institution.

CSC-operated Healing Lodges

  • Environments designed for Indigenous offenders.
  • Emphasis is placed on spiritual relationship and the value of life experiences of staff and community members who act as role models.
  • CSC-operated healing lodges/healing villages are either minimum (men) or minimum/medium security (women) facilities

Section 81 Healing Lodges

  • Operated by the community or partner organizations under an agreement between the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and an Indigenous community, for correctional services to Indigenous offenders for payment by the Minister.
  • Section 81 facilities accept both minimum security classified inmates (rare cases medium security) and offenders under conditional release (i.e. day parole, full parole).
  • Provides a structured living environment with 24-hour supervision, cultural programs, and interventions with the purpose of safely reintegrating offenders into the community.

Community Correctional Centre (CCC)

  • A federally operated community-based residential facility.
  • Provides a structured living environment with 24-hour supervision, programs, and interventions for the purpose of safely reintegrating offenders into the community.
  • Accommodates offenders under federal jurisdiction who have been released to the community for these reasons:
    • unescorted temporary absence
    • day parole
    • full parole
    • work release
    • statutory release
    • long-term supervision orders.

Updated January 2019

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