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Monday, November 18, 2019

Fraser Regional Correctional Centre
An inmate’s complaint about an unreasonable decision led to a policy revision.

James was detained at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC). He had chosen to represent himself in court. As he was preparing his legal arguments, FRCC denied him access to incoming mail. James complained to the centre and was informed that it was their policy to not allow inmates to receive any photocopied or printed internet materials by mail. James felt that the reasons provided were unclear and knew that other correctional centres allowed this type of material to be sent, by mail, to inmates.

As a self-represented inmate, James felt this policy would have a negative impact on his ability to defend himself in court, and he felt that the centre’s policy was unreasonable and unfair.

We investigated whether the FRCC was following a reasonable process by preventing James from receiving printed materials. The FRCC explained to us that they had experienced illegal drug smuggling into the centre in the past through drug-infused ink on printed materials. In order to ensure safe operation at the centre, they decided to restrict inmates from receiving these types of documents. We questioned whether internet and photocopied materials posed a higher or more specific risk than other printed materials that the centre permitted inmates to receive.

As a result of our investigation, the centre reviewed its policy and concluded that it would no longer restrict inmates from receiving printed or photocopied materials from the internet. However, to ensure safe operation, these materials will be screened for contraband or other inappropriate material in the same manner as other non-privileged communication material.

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