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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The Cross Gender Monitoring Project
3rd and Final Annual Report

e) The Legal Context

The policies and practices identified and discussed in this report are developed and operate within a complex legal structure. The staffing of prisons is governed and affected by a wide range of legal rules, both statutory and common law. There are a huge number and range of laws relating to the treatment of prisoners and staffing issues, however a comprehensive legal analysis is beyond the scope and mandate of this project. Some of the recommendations put forward in this Report may require legislative amendments or applications to the Public Service Commission for dispensation. A thorough legal review will need to be conducted to determine precisely what is needed to facilitate implementation of the recommendations.

The following provides a general overview of the legal context within which the policy decision on cross gender staffing of women inmates is to be made and with which it must comply. There are five legal areas of key importance for the purposes of this report:

  • International Law
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Employer Liability
  • The Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Each of these is briefly discussed below.