Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

Prisoners and the media

Federal prisoners and media should be aware that Correctional Service Canada has a policy on media relations.

Media representatives are supposed to inform CSC prior to conducting media activities, including interviews. Prisoners are also responsible for updating their Parole Officers about interviews and other media activities.

The Warden or District Director must give final approval, in consultation with the Regional Deputy Commissioner. To grant an interview, it must be determined that:

  • participation in the interview won’t negatively effect the prisoner’s participation in their Correctional Plan and will not have a negative undue influence on
      1. their behaviour
      2. how they conduct themselves and how they demonstrate respect for other persons
      3. their ability to obey penitentiary rules and/or respect the conditions governing their conditional release
      4. their participation in programs
      5. the meeting of their court-ordered obligations, including restitution to victims or child support
  • the prisoner has not demonstrated a prior pattern of glorification of the offence
  • the interview can be conducted with minimal disruption to the functioning of the operational unit and will not jeopardize the security of the operational unit or present a risk to the safety of any person
  • the media representative has submitted a request (written or oral) to the operational unit head and Regional Media Relations Office
  • the offender has provided his/her written consent prior to the interview.

If the request is granted, staff will try to ensure the interview is done in a location that offers privacy, ensures the safety of the journalist and prisoner, and that will not cause disruptions to the institution.

If the communication will be via telephone, prisoners will be provided reasonable access to a telephone. The costs of the call must be paid for by the prisoner or media outlet, which is to be sorted out beforehand.

If an interview request is denied, then prisoners are entitled to a summary of the information considered and reasons for the denial. The decision can be challenged through the grievance procedure and eventually through a judicial review.

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