Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Offender programs and services

Offender Programs and Services

There are a variety of programs and services available to inmates and offenders who are remanded or sentenced in correctional facilities, or who are under community supervision through probation and parole.

Correctional programming is designed to assist offenders to correct or change behaviour related to their offending in order to hold them responsible for their behaviour and promote public safety.

We offer four main types of programming intended to affect positive inmate and offender change:

  • life skills programs
  • rehabilitative programs to address issues such as substance abuse, anger management, etc.
  • education and literacy programs
  • work programs.

For more information about adult offender rights in Ontario correctional facilities, read the Inmate Information Guide for Adult Institutions.

Life skills programs

Life skills programs address a variety of healthy living needs in short, often single session programs. Life skills are available at most institutions and many Probation and Parole offices and are delivered by ministry staff, contract agencies and/or volunteers. Life skills programs include:

  • core life skills (budgeting, gambling, goal setting, problem solving, supportive relationships, substance use, etc.)
  • employment related (job search, computer skills)
  • parenting.

Rehabilitative programs

Rehabilitative programs by design address criminal behaviour and factors that can contribute to re-offending. They include programs to address:

  • anger management
  • anti-criminal thinking
  • substance abuse
  • domestic violence
  • sexual offending.

There are several levels of rehabilitative programs for each of the five areas above that respond to the inmate/offender’s level of risk, motivation, legal status and individual characteristics. These include:

  • orientation/introductory level programs
  • intensive programs
  • maintenance programs.

Treatment programs

Treatment programs are one type of rehabilitative program to address specific offender needs. These programs are offered at selected institutions where offenders apply to attend. Treatment programs are available to address significant mental health issues, sexual offending, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc.

Education programs

Educational opportunities are available to inmates and offenders through a variety of partnerships that include but are not limited to, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Provincial Schools Authority, community colleges and school boards and community literacy organizations. Educational programs are delivered by teachers, continuing education instructors, literacy instructors and Ministry volunteer literacy tutors.

Educational programs are in one the following four categories:

Adult basic literacy programs, for individuals with no or limited reading and writing skills. These programs are delivered by literacy instructors employed by school boards, community colleges or community literacy organizations or by trained ministry volunteer literacy tutors.

High school programs, for individuals working towards acquiring secondary school credits leading to the Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Diploma. These credit courses are delivered by qualified teachers employed by school boards.

Self study programs, for individuals wanting to (a) enrol in high school, community college or university correspondence courses or (b) prepare for the General Education Development testing program that leads to the Ontario Secondary School Equivalency Certificate. Application and administrative fees and learning materials for these programs are paid for by the individual.

Other educational programs, such as English as a second language, other types of specialized language instruction and the Academic and Career Entrance program, are available at some institutions.

Locating inmate educational records

Find information about locating the educational records of inmates who are currently, or have participated in, any of the high school credit courses offered in our institutions that count towards obtaining the Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Work programs

Work programs are intended to provide practical skills in a real life environment in order to assist inmates to prepare for return to the community.

  • all institutions provide “work programs” such as kitchen work, laundry, cleaning, grounds, etc.
  • some institutions provide “industry programs” such as auto/small engine, Cook Chill, woodworking/carpentry, licence plate manufacturing, metal fabrication, textiles, etc.

In addition to programs, Corrections also provides a variety of services to inmates to meet a range of basic needs including medical care, counselling, psychiatric, spiritual and religious care, recreation, crisis intervention, etc. Volunteers play an important role in providing various services as well.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Canadian Red Cross Society

We are committed to ensuring that all inmates within our care and custody are treated fairly, with respect and have access to all the same services and supports as they would in the community, including those held on behalf of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

As part of this commitment, a Letter of Understanding has been signed between the ministry and the Canadian Red Cross Society (CRCS), which outlines the monitoring role that the CRCS will have in provincial correctional facilities where immigration detainees are held on behalf of CBSA.

The CRCS, through its Detention Monitoring Program, will provide independent monitoring of detention facilities housing ‎detainees on behalf of CBSA, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

The CRCS will begin working under the new formal agreement in the fall of 2015. All CRCS personnel are specifically trained volunteers and staff and will visit facilities to review:

  • treatment of detainees (by staff and other detainees)
  • conditions of detention
  • ability for detainees to contact and maintain contact with family members
  • legal safeguards.

Ontario is committed to an open and transparent correctional system, and we look forward to continuing our work with the CRCS under this new formal arrangement to ensure those held on behalf of CBSA‎ within our care and custody are treated fairly, with respect and have access to all the same services and supports as in the community.