Resumption of inmate visits in federal correctional institutions

From: Correctional Service Canada

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) announced today that inmate visits have begun to gradually resume across the country with the first sites having re-opened on July 9, 2020.

Our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees, inmates and the public. A number of infection prevention measures will be in place for inmate visits. Prior to being allowed to enter an institution, visitors must undergo an active screening, including a temperature check. Visitors are also required to wash their hands before entry, wear a mask and practicing physical distancing at all times. Visitor spaces will be cleaned and disinfected before and after each visit.

Those wanting to visit a federal inmate are encouraged to review the new measures and requirements. Visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance and there are limitations on the number of people permitted, and the duration of visits.

A webpage has been developed to provide information on when each site will be open for visits. We encourage the public to check the website regularly for updates. If, at any time, there are new or suspected cases of COVID-19 in an institution or unforeseen circumstances at the site, this could affect visitations. Those planning a visit should always confirm their visit with the institution before travelling.

As a preventative measure, on March 13, 2020, CSC went down to critical operations to reduce the amount of people coming and going from institutions to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19. As a result, CSC suspended visits to institutions, in-person programming, temporary absences (unless medically necessary) and international transfers.

As restrictions start to ease across the country, CSC created a governance structure that includes labour partners and stakeholders to inform decisions on the resumption of activities. CSC constantly monitors the public health situation in each region, including community transmission, and makes decisions to increase access to sites based on risk levels. CSC also consults public health and local occupational health and safety and inmate committees prior to implementing any plans.

Correctional programming has resumed in many institutions and Elders and Chaplains have started returning to sites to support inmates. Citizen Advisory Committee members, lawyers and contractors are also starting to return for in-person work with inmates.

These are first steps and we will continue to monitor this evolving situation and adjust our measures and operations, as needed, based on the latest public health evidence.

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