Prison Law Strategy

Our Prison Law Strategy outlines Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) initiatives to expand access to justice and increase our ability to respond to the needs of incarcerated individuals.

Although incarcerated people have the same legal needs that any Ontarian may experience, additional legal needs of incarcerated people arise from the circumstances of their incarceration and from the application of correctional policies and processes. The incarcerated population is overwhelmingly and increasingly made up of persons from already disadvantaged or marginalized backgrounds and communities, and they face further disadvantages when detained in overcrowded, understaffed, and potentially harmful facilities.

Our Prison Law Strategy seeks to:

  1. Increase knowledge by helping incarcerated people become more aware of our services and their rights, and by helping our staff better understand incarcerated people and their needs.

  2. Improve and expand legal aid services for incarcerated people. This includes making legal aid accessible within prisons and streamlining the certificate application process.

  3. Address needs through advocacy, partnerships, outreach and collaboration. This includes developing restorative justice models, improving how we collaborate with other stakeholders, and establishing our legitimacy as a source of Prison Law expertise.

Through this strategy, our goals are to better access and respond to the needs of incarcerated individuals, improve our relationships with local institutions, address prisoners’ rights issues, and reduce the number of re-offenders.