Message from the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada

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End of an Era, the closing of the Prison for Women in Kingston

The closing of the Prison for Women signifies the end of an important chapter in the history of corrections for women under federal sentence in Canada. Further, its closure symbolizes the culmination of a process that began in 1990 with the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women and its report, entitled Creating Choices.

The closing of the Prison for Women marks another important milestone with respect to the commitment that I made early in my career as Commissioner to change the face of women's corrections. With the opening of five new women's facilities during the last decade and the introduction of many new programs designed specifically to meet the needs of women offenders, we have made an important contribution to our Mission to provide safety, respect and dignity for all.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and its partners in the criminal justice system can take great pride in what we have accomplished. Women offenders in custody now live closer to their families and support networks. They live in humane but secure and safe environments, most of them in community-like accommodation where they are responsible for their daily living needs. They receive individual and group counselling and other services from qualified professionals. Many of them are involved in educational and training programs. For Aboriginal women, unique programming is being provided at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. This concept has spread to the other women's facilities. Women's corrections is now a very important and distinct part of what we in CSC do.

In closing the Prison for Women, I would like to pay tribute to the staff and management team who, throughout the years, have worked so diligently to meet the challenges of working with a small, unique group of offenders. Your efforts have not only contributed to the mission of this institution, they have also helped make this new beginning a reality.

Ole Ingstrup
Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada