Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

Do prisoners in provincial jails receive security classifications?

In the federal correctional system, each prisoner receives a security classification (minimum, medium, or maximum). Legislation and regulations set out how security classifications are assigned, and the exact criteria is set out in the Commissioner’s Directives.

The criteria that are used to classify provincial prisoners are far less clear.

In the provincial correctional system, a prisoner may be placed in a maximum or medium security custody program. Some institutions are solely maximum or medium security, but others may contain some combination of maximum, medium, and/or minimum security units. That said, minimum security units are rare.

In maximum security custody programs, restrictions are continuously imposed on prisoners’ liberty by physical barriers, close staff supervision, and limited access to the community. In medium security, prisoners are subjected to less stringent restrictions on their liberty.

Many prisoners in remand are placed in maximum security units by default. After being sentenced, a Classification Officer is supposed to meet with each prisoner and prepare a Classification Report. This report will outline where the prisoner will serve their sentence.

A provincial prisoner’s security classification can be important. Prisoners in maximum security are subject to more restrictions, and they also may have access to fewer programs, interventions, and privileges (like open visits).

Prisoners who disagree with their security classification can put in a Request Form to the Superintendent. If the Superintendent upholds the classification decision, then it may be possible to seek judicially review.

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