Changes to administrative segregation and mental health policy

July 31, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Correctional Service Canada

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has made important changes to the way inmates with significant mental health needs are managed, and to the policy framework for administrative segregation.

As of tomorrow, August 1, 2017, there are specific groups of inmates who will not be admitted to administrative segregation, as well as additional groups that are not admissible unless there are exceptional circumstances. The following inmates are not admissible to administrative segregation, and instead will be managed under CSC’s policy to preserve life and prevent serious bodily harm:

  • Inmates with a serious mental illness with significant impairment, including inmates who are certified in accordance with the relevant provincial/territorial legislation
  • Inmates actively engaging in self-injury which is deemed likely to result in serious bodily harm
  • Inmates at elevated or imminent risk for suicide.

In addition, the conditions of confinement in administrative segregation will ensure the allowance of essential items upon admission, personal property within 24 hours, daily showers, and a minimum of two hours daily outside of the inmate’s cell.

“We are always looking closely at the way we manage federal corrections, to learn where we can make improvements.  These policy changes will make a tangible and immediate improvement to inmates with complex mental health needs, and to the way we manage administrative segregation.” stated CSC Commissioner Don Head.

Two CSC policies have been updated; Commissioner’s Directive 709 – Administrative Segregation, and Commissioner’s Directive 843 – Interventions to Preserve Life and Prevent Serious Bodily Harm. These changes were made following consultation with internal and external stakeholders.


Quick Facts

  • CSC invested $80 million in fiscal year 2016/2017 to support the treatment and management of federal inmates with mental health needs.In fiscal year 2015-2016, approximately 93 per cent of newly-admitted offenders were screened by CSC’s computerized mental health screening system.  Of these, 26 per cent were flagged as needing further mental health assessment.Recent CSC research on the prevalence of mental disorders among incoming male offenders found the rate for a current diagnosis for a major mental illness (including at least one of the following: bipolar disorders, major depression, and psychotic disorders) is 12.4 per cent.

Associated Links


CSC Media Relations
(613) 992-7711
[email protected]


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