Correctional Service Canada: Correspondence And Telephone Communication

Learn about Correctional Service Canada: Correspondence And Telephone Communication

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Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada gave following directives for inmate telephone communication under Sections 85 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) and its Regulations (CCRR)


National Headquarters shall be responsible for the selection, installation and maintenance of a national inmate telephone system. Access to telephones, through an inmate telephone system, should be provided, on a fair and consistent basis, to help maintain family and community ties and to provide a direct link with families in the event of an emergency. To ensure consistency, standards for inmate access to telephones and the use of an inmate telephone system are provided in Annex "B".

Telephone calls between inmates and members of the public may be intercepted (interception is defined as the listening to and/or recording of a conversation by some mechanical devices) if both of the criteria outlined in subsection 94(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations are met, and in accordance with Commissioner's Directive 575, entitled "Interception of Communications Related to the Maintenance of Institutional Security" (

The telephone monitoring system provides the Institutional Head or designate with the ability to manage, supervise and control inmate access to the inmate telephone system and its use for communication with members of the public. Telephone communication is a part of the overall program of reintegration into the community, similar to visits and temporary absences. Telephone calls for humanitarian purposes, such as illness, death in the family, or birth of a child, shall normally be provided without delay.


An inmate may be prevented from communicating with members of the public by mail or telephone when: the Institutional Head or designate believes, on reasonable grounds, that the safety of any person, both in the institution and the community would be jeopardized; or the Institutional Head or designate is satisfied that the intended recipient of the communication, or the parent or guardian of an intended recipient who is a minor, does not want to receive communications from the inmate. Where an inmate's application to have a telephone number added to his or her call allow list is disallowed or an approved telephone number is blocked, pursuant to paragraph 20, the inmate shall be promptly advised of the reasons, in writing, by the Institutional Head or designate, and shall be given an opportunity to respond.


Inmates shall be given the opportunity to retain legal counsel in accordance with Commissioner's Directive 084, entitled "Inmates' Access to Legal Assistance" (


Telephone calls to those identified in Annex "A" as authorized privileged correspondents, shall normally be granted. Such calls shall be provided, subject to operational constraints, during normal business hours. Inmates are required to provide reasonable notice, of no less than 24 hours, of their wish to communicate by telephone with privileged correspondents. However, the Institutional Head or designate may decide, depending on the circumstances, that the reasonable notice is not required. Calls between inmates and privileged correspondents are normally confidential. They may however be subject to interception if both of the conditions stipulated in subsection 94(2) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations are met and in accordance with Commissioner's Directive 575 ( Should the Institutional Head or designate determine the need to restrict access to telephone communication with privileged correspondents; he or she shall communicate the rationale for the decision in writing to the inmate and to the person concerned. Copies shall be forwarded to Regional and National Headquarters. Inmates or the recipients of the calls shall normally be responsible for the cost of telephone calls. The Institutional Head or designate may authorize the use of government telephone network lines by inmates for emergency situations such as serious family illness or death, or for any other special circumstance.


The following is a list of authorized privileged correspondents and shall normally include the office and/or staff thereof.
i. Solicitor General of Canada
ii. Deputy Solicitor General of Canada
iii. Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada
iv. Chairperson of the National Parole Board
v. Correctional Investigator of Canada
vi. Assistant Commissioner, Performance Assurance of the Correctional Service of Canada
vii. Governor General of Canada
viii. Canadian Human Rights Commission
ix. Commissioner of Official Languages
x. Information Commissioner
xi. Privacy Commissioner
xii. Members of the House of Commons
xiii. Members of the Senate
xiv. Members of the Legislative Council for the Yukon, the Northwest Territories or the Nunavut
xv. Members of provincial legislatures
xvi. Provincial ombudspersons
xvii. Consular Officials
xviii. Judges and provincial court judges of Canadian courts, including the registrars of those courts
xix. Legal Counsel
xx. Privacy Coordinators of federal departments



1. Standards will be developed to permit the Institutional Head or designate to control and supervise inmate telephone communications.


2. Institutional Standing Orders shall set out the following:

  1. procedures for assignment of Personal Identification Number (PIN) to each offender;
  2. procedures for establishing or amending an inmate's authorized call list (Call Allow List) - normally this should be processed within 15 working days of the inmate's written request;
  3. information to be provided on the authorized call list which shall include the address and name and relationship to the inmate;
  4. procedures for establishing, posting, and amending the Common Access Telephone List of up to a maximum of 35 telephone numbers;
  5. procedures for determining the time periods, during the week and weekend, that the inmate telephone system will be activated;
  6. procedures for the activation of the Call Duration Feature when there is a high demand for use of telephones so as to ensure equitable access;
  7. requirement that inmate telephones be positioned to permit line-of-site supervision by staff;
  8. procedures to ensure the confidentiality of private information provided by the inmates on their application to have a telephone number inserted on the authorized call list;
  9. procedures to ensure that the terminals associated with the inmate telephone system are held in a secure area;
  10. procedures to ensure that information derived from the inmate telephone system is accessed only on a need to know basis; and
  11. provision of access to a maximum of 40 telephone numbers on the authorized call list.


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