Lesson 12: The Corrections System


Grade Level

8-12; exercise caution when showing the video to your students as it may not be suitable for your class.


1-3 periods

Lesson Plan (PDF)


When a person is charged with an offence s/he may have to spend time in custody before the disposition of the matter. After a person is convicted of an offence s/he may be sentenced to time in prison. The Corrections System deals with both of these cases and is run by either the provincial or federal government. Students will learn some basic facts about the corrections system and will also watch Broken House, a video about life in a youth prison.


Upon completion of this lesson, students will:

  • Become knowledgeable about the corrections system
  • Understand the difficulties in balancing the interests of society and the accused when the sentence is imprisonment
  • Understand what life could be like for a youth who is serving time in prison
  • Understand the impact of making good decisions

Focus Questions

  1. Can accused people spend time in prison prior to their trial?
  2. What factors does a judge consider when deciding that the offender should spend time in prison?
  3. What types of prisons are there?
  4. What is parole?
  5. What is mandatory supervision?
  6. What issues does a young offender have to deal with in prison?

Teaching Summary

Topics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6: Imprisonment in the Criminal Justice System, Youth and Adult Custody Before Trial, Youth and Adult Custody After Trial, Federal and Provincial Prisons, Conditional Release Programs & Pardon

For these topics, students with complete Activity 1: Introduction to the Corrections System, which involves reading Handout 1: Overview of the Corrections System and then answering the questions on Handout 2: What do I know about the Corrections System?

Topic 7: Broken House - Life in a Kid’s Prison

For this topic, students will complete Activity 2: Broken House - Life in a Kid’s Prison. They will view a video called Broken House which takes place in a youth detention centre. The film was written, directed and filmed by a group of seven youth who were imprisoned for committing violent crimes. Broken House is about the choices youth make and how the circumstances of their lives affect those choices and what the resulting consequences can be. The film explores many themes and a study guide contains questions on the film’s effect generally or more specifically on a number of themes such as responsibility, loss of freedom, jealousy and anger, victimization in jail, making decisions, and violence and its unintended consequences.