Corrections Essay

The Correctional Service of Canada(CSC)is a federalagency responsible for incarcerating and rehabilitatingmostcriminal offenders in Canada.The Commissioner of the CSC is appointed by the Prime Minister and answers directly to the Minister of Public Safety.The Penitentiary Act of 1868 brought prison a number of prisons under federal control.However, the provincial governments (there are ten provinces and two territories) generally have the responsibility for administering the criminal justice system, including most police services, courts, and some correctional facilities (Roberts, 1998).Theprovinceshavesole control of facilities housing offenders sentenced under two years. The federal facilities house the more serious offenders, sentenced totwo yearsor more.The Canadian penal systemlies between two correctional traditions: the British and the American.Itis stronglyinfluenced bythe Auburn system in New York and the Philadelphia system in Pennsylvania.Canada has about 234 prison facilities between the federal and the provincial systems.Even though a numberof correctional facilitiesareunder the federal government control, theprovinces staff and administerthe dayto day services.Theywork together in both a cost sharing and manpower sharing relationship.
The Federal Level
Whenan offender is sentenced to two or more years, they automatically go under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada.The CSC is dividedintofiveregions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie and Pacific.The CSC has a total of57institutions broken down in each of the five regions.Those institutions arethenbroken down in minimum, medium and maximum security institutionsfor both men and womenas well as community correctional centers.The average population of maximum and medium security institution in Canada is considerably smaller than their counterparts in the United States, never exceeding 500 inmatesand generally averaging around 300-400prisoners, dependingon the type of the institution (Griffiths et al., 1980).The minimum security institutions have even smaller population, usually around 20 offenders. As of2013, 14,761 inmates are under the control of the CSC(International Centre for Prison Studies, 2013).
The Provincial Level
Whenan offender is sentenced to less than two years, which includes fines andcommunityservices, theyare under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.Pretrialservices and remand facilities for offenders confined until their trial or who could not meet bail conditions imposed by the court areprovincial responsibilities(Griffiths et al., 1980).All youthful offenders not serving over two years in prison are also under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.Eachprovince operatestheir own facilitiesexcept in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, which are under the direction of the federal government.There are currently 177provincialcorrectional facilities stretched across the ten Canadianprovinces and territories.As of 2013, 23,843 inmates are under the supervision of the provincial governments(ICPS, 2013).There are a wide variety of physical facilities operated by the provinces: many of the institution are old and there is often little segregation of offenders awaiting trial,from those who have been convicted(Griffiths et al., 1980).Someprovinces, evenusepolice holding cells to house sentenced inmates.
Canadian prisonsare becomingovercrowded,which is placing enormous pressure on the whole system. According to ICPS, 2013, the provincial prison system is sitting at 100.1% capacity.The Canadian prison system can house a total of 38,604 inmates, which means they arewell over capacity.Many inmates have reported that they had to share a cell with one or more inmates.There has also been a decline in government spending oncorrections, which isalso putting a strain on the prison system. Reducing the prison population has emerged as agovernment priority sincecorrections,account for one-quarter ofthe total criminal justice budget (Roberts, 1998).As a result, judges are expected to imprison less offenders or adapt a go “soft”approach.Many of these softer approaches being developed are through community-based sanctions.The offender will remain at liberty provided that he abides by certain mandatory and optional conditions imposed by the court (Roberts, 1998)
Canadian prison populationgrowthtrend
Prison Population Total
Prison Population Rate
As of 2013
Source:International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS). World prison brief, Canada.Dec.2013,Web.

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