Notice to lawyers: Important updates to Correctional Services Regulations
Correctional Services Regulations have been updated as a result of amendments to the Correctional Services Act in late 2014. The new regulations will come into force on March 31, 2016.
One section of the Regulations being updated relates to the recording of offender phone calls and video visitation. The changes to the Regulations will not impact the privileged calls between offenders in custody and their lawyers, as these calls are, and will remain exempted from recording or monitoring in any manner.
By way of a reminder, the existing and the continuing process to ensure lawyer’s calls are exempted from recording requires lawyers to advise Correctional Services of the phone numbers offenders use to call their lawyers.
After the Regulations come into force, privileged video visitation will become available between offenders and their lawyers. Correctional Services staff will be in touch closer to March 31st to discuss the video visitation process for lawyers.
The amendments to the regulations being made are meant to ensure the Regulations remain current. The changes to the regulations update the staff professional code of conduct, internal offender disciplinary procedures, additions to the list of privileged protocols for monitoring non-privileged offender phone conversations and video visitation, searches, and screening offenders for intoxicants who are on conditional release. The Regulations will come into effect on March 31, 2016 and will become available on the Registry of Regulations website.
As of March 31, 2016, all non-privileged phone calls and video visitation will be passively recorded. Only the superintendent may authorize the restriction, interception, and monitoring of an offender’s communication (listen to the communication); specifically, the superintendent must have reasonable grounds to believe that:
- the offender is involved in an illegal activity;
- the offender is harassing, intimidating or causing harm to others;
- the offender is communicating with an individual who is under 19 years old, and the individual’s parent or guardian does not wish that individual to receive communications from the offender;
- the communication indicates that the offender may be participating in an activity that may jeopardize the safety, security or operation of the correctional facility;
- a court order restricts or prohibits communication between the offender and another person;
- a person has indicated to the superintendent that they do not wish to receive communications from the offender;
- the person who is liable for the charges for communications between the offender and another person has indicated to the superintendent that they do not wish the communications to take place;
- the communication is prejudicial to the best interests of the person contacted or to public safety
In case this change raises any questions among Society members, please call or contact me at your convenience.