How to Survive Prison in Canada and How do their Penal System Work?

By | February 1, 2016
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Canada is a great country. The main goal of its penal system is not to punish, but to reform and rehabilitate. How to survive prison in Canada and how do their penal system work?

Well, the Correctional Service of Canada is the government agency responsible for implementing the penal system.

Canada no longer imposes capital punishment. In fact, the last death penalty execution in Canada was way back in 1962. The correctional and penal system of Canada assigns prisoners to facilities with different security levels. Offenders with a sentence of 24 months or less are held in pre-trial correctional facilities.

The Correctional Service of Canada is a government agency that’s responsible for the rehabilitation and incarceration of convicted offenders with a sentence of two years and more. Its headquarters is in Ottawa and it was established in 1979. As of writing, the current commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada is Don Head who has worked as a correctional officer since 1978.

There are two types of sentence in Canada – determinate and indeterminate. A determinate sentence usually has a fixed sentence date called warrant expiry. This date is imposed by a court judge. An indeterminate sentence is usually called life sentence. Ideally, the offender with a life sentence spends his days in a correctional facility until death. However, the court can impose a minimum number of years of imprisonment before the offender can apply for conditional release to the Parole Board of Canada.
Here are the types of correctional and penal facilities in Canada:

1. Minimum Security

This institution usually has no fences or walls. It has no armed prison officers and there are no security towers. The restrictions on association and privileges are very minimal. The inmates in this facility are usually non-violent and they are typically on the work-lease program that allows them to work during the day.

2. Medium Security

This facility is surrounded by razor wire fences. You can also see a lot of armed guards around the area. Most inmates in this facility pose a risk in their communities. Inmates in medium security facilities are asked to participate in various correctional and rehabilitation programs.

3. Maximum Security

This facility is for prisoners who have committed serious offenses and pose a great threat to the community. This facility is secluded and only a few authorized personnel are allowed to go on.

There are a number of prison facilities in different provinces in Canada, including:

•Nova Institution for Women

This is a federal prison for women. This is located in Truro, Nova Scotia. This facility handles different kinds of offenders and it can accommodate up to 70 prisoners.

•Atlantic Institution

This facility is located in Renous, New Brunswick. It was opened in 1987.

•Dorchester Penitentiary

This is a maximum-security penitentiary located in Dorchester, New Brunswick. This facility also houses offenders that are in need of psychiatric treatment.

•Special Handling Unit

This is the super maximum prison facility in Canada. This is located in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec. There are about 90 prisoners inside the Special Handling Unit or SHU. This facility houses murderers, serial killers, and terrorists.

•Grand Valley Institution for Women

This women’s prison is located in Kitchener, Ontario. It houses 130 women. This institution was involved in controversy when a teenage woman named Ashley Smith strangled herself while she’s on suicide watch.

• Beaver Creek Institution
This is a medium and minimum security prison located in Gravenhurst, Ontario. This facility houses 717 inmates.

• Collins Bay Institution

This is located in Kingston, Ontario and this is facilitated by Correctional Services of Canada. This is a multi-level prison. The main prison has medium security. But, some parts of the prison have minimum security. It also has a 96-bed maximum security.

• Millhaven Institution

This is a maximum-security prison located in Bath, Ontario. This prison contains around 500 prisoners. Over the years, there has been a number of violent incidents inside this institution. The J unit of the Millhaven Institution is considered as the most dangerous place in Canada.

• Drumheller Institution

This is a medium-security prison located in Drumheller, Alberta. This facility can accommodate up to 500 prisoners.

• Mission Institution

Mission Institution is a medium-security prison in Mission, British Columbia. This prison currently accommodates more than 200 prisoners.
• William Head Institution
This minimum security correctional institution is located in Metchosin, British Columbia. This was established in 1959 and it currently houses less than a hundred prisoners.

•Ferndale Institution

This is also a minimum-security prison and it is located in Mission, British Columbia. Many offenders in this institution are on pre-release status. Prisoners in this facility are generally well-behaved and have negative drug test results.

How to survive prison in Canada and how do their penal system work? Well, the penal and system in Canada is based on French and English system. It has a balanced mix between civil law and common law tradition. The penal system of Canada is covered under its Criminal Code.

To survive prison in Canada, here are a few tips that can help you out:

1. Show respect to other inmates.

This is the number one and most important rule. Do not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. This will keep you from getting hurt or killed while you are serving your time. Do not cut in line or call other people names.

2. Avoid illegal drugs.

Although correctional facilities in Canada are pretty secured, there are still cases of illegal drugs, so it is important to avoid getting involved in drugs at all cost.

3. Do not gamble.

Gambling inside the prison can get you in trouble. So, if you want to survive prison, you must avoid this.

4.Do not associate with gangs.

Remember that the primary purpose of prison is rehabilitation and not punishment. To make the most out of your time in prison, you must not get involved with gangs. Getting involved with gangsters can also get you in trouble and can potentially get you killed.

5. Do not borrow things from other prisoners.

Other prisoners will sometimes lend you stuff and then they’ll ask for something in exchange later. So, try your best not to borrow things from other prisoners.

This article answers the question “how to survive prison in Canada and how do their penal system work?”. Surviving in prison is not easy but it is doable. You just have to practice respect and uphold the golden rule.

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