Correctional Service Canada
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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Cross Gender Monitoring Project

h) Privacy

We were very disturbed by the number of times women were seen naked or barely clothed by male staff. This appears to be largely due to incidents where women did not know officers were present in the units, or due to insufficient time to cover themselves between the time males knocked at the cell door and the privacy curtain being pulled aside. These privacy curtains are on the outside of the rooms and are to be down only when a woman is in some state of undress. They are not to be down and women are to be fully clothed when formal counts are expected. Women complain, however, that these formal counts are often not exactly when expected, and that informal counts might occur at any moment. Some cells have no way for a woman to protect her privacy in the event that staff member does look in. While women are expected to be properly clothed at all times, they do need to have showers, change their clothes and engage in personal hygiene.

Recommendation #5:

When privacy curtains are down, staff should knock and then wait for a reply that the woman is ready for the curtain to be pulled aside. Unless, there is a reason to believe an emergency is occurring, this respect for a woman's privacy and dignity must be paramount.