Canada proposes increasing prison disciplinary fines

Federal prisoners earn very little in wages or welfare while in prison. Working prisoners are required to pay for room, board and the telephone system as well as fees for the Inmate Welfare Fund, over the counter medications, stamps and stationary. Many are trying to save money to support their families or to prepare for a successful release to the community.

The federal government is proposing increasing the fines for disciplinary convictions to up to $50 for minor charges, $100 for serious charges and $200 for repeat offenders. Prisoners can be charged for relatively insignificant conduct such as disobeying a justifiable order of a staff member, cell visiting or being disrespectful toward a staff member. A fine for a serious charge could represent more than one and a half months’ income, or almost three months’ income for a repeat charge.

Prisoners’ Legal Services made submissions to the federal government regarding these proposed amendments. You can read our submissions here.

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