Resumption of inmate visits in federal correctional institutions
July 16, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – 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.
“Maintaining the health and safety of inmates, staff and the public remains our top priority. We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation and efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in our institutions and look forward to carefully and gradually resuming visits, which are so important for inmates and their families.”
Anne Kelly – Commissioner – Correctional Service Canada
CSC has its own health care services in its 43 institutions across the country. It works closely with public health partners in each region and is equipped to monitor, assess, test and treat inmates, as needed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, CSC had COVID-19 outbreaks at five institutions. All outbreaks have been declared over by public health. CSC has put in place a number of preventative health measures and publishes test results of inmates to keep the public informed.
CSC follows strict infection prevention and control measures and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All workers and inmates are provided with masks. Additional PPE, such as gloves, gowns and face shields/goggles, is available to those who require it.
In past months, CSC conducted independent, expert-led infection prevention and control (IPC) and environmental health reviews at all of its 43 institutions. CSC is implementing recommendations and lessons learned.
CSC continues to expand its testing of employees, offenders and their contacts as part of a comprehensive testing strategy. This includes more testing in areas with higher levels of community transmission. Testing is offered to all inmates who have come in contact with a symptomatic or positive individual
Ongoing contact with family and support networks is part of the successful reintegration of offenders. During COVID-19, inmates are also encouraged to maintain regular contact with their support networks by phone and video-visitation.
Correctional Service Canada
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