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How does canteen work in provincial jails?

Prisoners in provincial jails in Ontario can purchase items from their institution’s canteen.

Items must be purchased using money held in the prisoner’s trust account. This account consists of the money the prisoner had in their possession on their admission to the institution and any money the prisoner receives while incarcerated. Family and friends seeking to provide a prisoner with canteen money should contact the prisoner’s institution, since the process for providing canteen money and maximum amount that can be provided differ between institutions.

Prisoners are only allowed to spend up to $60 worth of items per week, unless they get permission from the Superintendent. The specific items that are for sale will differ from institution to institution, but generally these include snacks, hygiene products, etc. Prisoners will need to ask staff to learn about what the institution has for sale and the prices.

Some basic hygiene products are provided to prisoners at no cost, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, comb, deodorant, razor and shaving cream, and feminine hygiene products. However, the canteen may offer some other additional options that prisoners can purchase.

Prisoners are only allowed to keep so many personal hygiene products in their cells. Anything over the limit needs to be placed in the prisoner’s personal property. If a prisoner is found to have more than the allowed number of products, they may be found responsible for a misconduct and sanctioned.

It’s worth noting that canteen is a privilege. If a prisoner is found to have committed a misconduct, the Superintendent may take away the prisoner’s right to purchase items from the canteen for up to 120 days. The Superintendent can impose this sanction on its own or in addition to others (loss of other privileges, change of program or work activity, change of security status, a reprimand, and/or revocation of a temporary absence permit).

Provincial institutions are not responsible for any canteen items that are lost or stolen.

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