Escapes from Correction Service of Canada Institutions
- Our government takes escapes very seriously and public safety remains the paramount consideration.
- In the event of an escape from a federal penitentiary the Correctional Service of Canada notifies the police and the public, and works closely with local police to locate the inmate as quickly as possible.
- The Correctional Service of Canada thoroughly examines the circumstances of the escape and makes any adjustments as required to prevent similar incidents.
- The Correctional Service of Canada regularly assesses all offenders’ security classification to ensure that they are placed at the appropriate security level.
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has numerous measures in place to minimize the number of escapes from its institutions and works closely with the police in the event of an escape.
Procedures Following the Capture of an Inmate
Following the capture of an inmate who has escaped or who was unlawfully at large, they will be detained at an institution, at the appropriate security level, in the region of the arrest. The region in which the inmate is recaptured is responsible for determining the appropriate placement and security level. Readmission procedures may differ by region.
Offenders who escape can be criminally charged for that escape, as stated in Section 145 of the Criminal Code. Additionally, pursuant to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, offenders can be institutionally charged for doing anything for the purpose of escaping or assisting another offender to escape.
In addition to potential disciplinary charges, CSC will consider security reclassification for the offender, based on information that they were involved in an escape attempt/escape or assisted another offender to escape/attempt to escape.
Security Classification and Security Levels
CSC is responsible for managing the risk inmates present. Since different inmates require different degrees of control, CSC operates institutions at three levels of security: maximum, medium and minimum. Institutional adjustment, escape risk and public safety ratings are considered in all placement decisions as part of the security classification procedure.
All inmates entering federal custody undergo a full assessment and referral process to identify their program and security needs. Only those offenders who are assessed as having a low risk to public safety are placed in a minimum-security institution.
One of the major factors that CSC takes into account when considering the transfer of inmates to lower-security level facilities is the progress made in addressing the needs identified in their correctional plan, which outlines what they must do to address the factors that led to their criminal behavior. All transfers of inmates to lower levels of security occur only after CSC has duly considered public safety.
The security measures in place at any institution shall reflect the degree of control required to maintain the good order of the institution and to protect staff, inmates and the public. CSC takes the possibility of escapes by any means, including those by helicopters and other aircraft, extremely seriously. There are a number of operational practices in place to prevent incidents from occurring and to intervene in the unlikely event that such attempts are made. Proper measures were put in place in order to designate and have restricted air spaces applied to areas where federal penitentiaries are found. In addition, CSC regularly reviews the use of innovative security tools that enhance its capacity to limit and prevent escapes. These exact measures and design features in use at any specific facility cannot be disclosed for safety and security reasons.
The inmates who escaped federal institutions across the country represent about 0.1% of the total inmate population. The number of escapes tends to fluctuate from year to year. In recent years, efforts by CSC to promote active security, encourage positive interactions between employees and inmates, enhance risk evaluation quality and ensure effective case management practices may have had a positive impact in reducing the number of escapes.
Prepared by: Jessica Martineau, Officer Parliamentary Relations, 613-943-1726
Approved by: Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissioner, Communications & Engagement, 613-995-6867
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