Structured Intervention Units - Building on change (October 2022)

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Organization: Correctional Service Canada

Date published: October 2022

Use of SIUs

A transfer to an SIU is always a last resort, used only when all other alternatives are exhausted. Alternatives may include:

Transfers to SIUs are only authorized and approved when the following legal criteria are met:

On average, there are approximately 150 inmates in an SIU on any given day, which represents 1.2% of federal inmates in Canada.


Structured interventions and correctional programming are tailored to address each SIU offender’s specific risk factors and institutional behaviour.

There has been a notable increase in the percentage of offenders who were transferred to SIUs who have since successfully reintegrated into the mainstream offender population, from 56% in 2020-2021 to more than 66% as of March 2022.

Data collection

CSC recently updated the SIU-LTE desktop application to better track the day to day interventions in the SIU. Upgrades to the SIU Mobile application are also underway. This has improved CSC’s data collection and augmented our ability to monitor and report on results with more precision.

Health Care

Each individual is referred to health services for a health assessment, including mental health, within 24 hours of being transferred to an SIU. Individuals in SIUs are seen daily by a health care professional to monitor their health care needs. Individuals in SIUs are offered health and mental health assessments throughout their stay in the SIU.

Overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black offenders in SIUs

CSC is committed to the successful reintegration of all offenders, including Indigenous and Black offenders.

Indigenous offenders

Black offenders

CSC is continuously monitoring offender representation within the SIUs and examining trends to identify the causes behind the overrepresentation. These findings reinforce that interventions offered to Black offenders should be culturally adapted and focused on their respective areas of need in order to address the issues leading to them being in the SIU. CSC is exploring intervention options for Black offenders in SIUs.

Women in SIUs

Women in SIUs have consistently been less than 0.6% of the total mainstream offender population, which has consistently been less than 4 across the country and 0 on most days.

Indigenous offenders in SIUs receive individualized and culturally appropriate interventions through their interdisciplinary team, which includes Elders/Spiritual Advisors and Indigenous Liaison Officers.


SIUs are subject to external oversight by the SIU Implementation Advisory Panel (IAP) and Independent External Decision Makers (IEDM).

CSC continues to review and respond to the ongoing feedback from partners and oversight bodies, including the IAP. CSC is committed to an ongoing dialogue with the IAP.

In recent months, members of the IAP have visited CSC institutions and SIUs, meeting with staff and offenders. Additional visits are planned.

As of May 31, 2022, there have been over 4,150 reviews by an IEDM. IEDMs review offender cases on an ongoing basis, in real-time, and provide recommendations related to an offender’s conditions and duration of confinement. Their decisions are binding.

Time out of cell and interaction time

All offenders in SIUs are offered the opportunity to spend a minimum of four hours a day out of their cell, and two hours a day for interaction with others.
Offenders receive multiple opportunities each day to leave their cells.

Offenders in SIUs regularly interact with:

There are a wide variety of opportunities:

Many SIU sites benefit from significant involvement by volunteers and community organizations.

They offer:

Staff work closely with offenders who refuse to leave their cell or the SIU to determine cause, and to develop a plan to support their return to the mainstream offender population.

Success stories

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