Judges do not send offenders to particular prisons or penitentiaries. The federal and provincial corrections services employ classification officers who are responsible for determining which facility is appropriate for a particular offender.
For sentences of less than two years, provincial corrections staff classify offenders. For sentences of more than two years, federal corrections staff classify offenders. Classification officers generally first consider how great the risk is that the offender will escape and the risk of harm to the offender or others. For example, offenders convicted of violent offences are sometimes in danger from other prisoners and require protective custody Several other factors are taken into consideration when classifying offenders, including their age, character, gender, type of crime, and past criminal record, and the space available in the facilities.
PROVINCIAL CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS
Each of the provinces of Canada has a provincial correctional branch. The range of services provided by these branches generally include
providing facilities and personnel to supervise prisoners sentenced to less than two years;
supervising prisoners who are temporarily locked up while awaiting court appearances (in some provinces, this task is maintained jointly with municipal authorities);
supervising provincial offenders who are on probation in the community; providing facilities and supervision for offenders convicted under the Young Offenders Act.
Provincial correctional systems have a range of security levels available to imprison offenders. These range from closed-custody to open-custody facilities, and in most cases, also include community correctional facilities.
Closed custody is reserved for prisoners who are regarded as dangerous (usually based on their pattern of offences) or who are likely to attempt to escape or become a management problem to either the corrections staff or to other prisoners. Prisoners who require much psychological care or who need protection because of the nature of their offence are separated from the main prison population in protective custody. Those in protectivecustody have no contact with the general prison population.
Open custody is considered to be less secure. Generally, offenders convicted of nonviolent crimes who are not escape risks and who are not considered a danger to themselves or to others are placed in these facilities. An offender who is originally placed in closed custody may be reclassified into open custody, depending on his or her progress. Open custody facilities are often semi-isolated forest camps or farms where offenders can serve their sentences engaged in such work as forest management and maintenance, and fanning.