Special Handling Unit

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Special Handling Unit
Location Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec
Coordinates 45°45′01″N 73°51′42″W / 45.7503966°N 73.8617706°W / 45.7503966; -73.8617706Coordinates: 45°45′01″N 73°51′42″W / 45.7503966°N 73.8617706°W / 45.7503966; -73.8617706
Status Active
Security class Super Maximum
Capacity 300 approx.
Population 90 (as of 2008)
Opened 1984[1]
Managed by Corrections Canada
Director Warden

The Special Handling Unit is Canada's highest security (super-maximum)[2] prison. It is co-located with the Ste-Anne-des-Plaines Institution (maximum security) and the Regional Reception Centre, at the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) complex at Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec (a short distance from Mirabel International Airport). As of 2008, there were 90 prisoners at the SHU.[3] It is nicknamed "the SHU" (pronounced 'shoe').

The X shaped facility is surrounded by fencing which is in turn surrounded by farms.

Inmates are always handcuffed in the presence of officers. When escorting inmates, officers are unarmed to prevent inadvertently placing a weapon in the vicinity of the prisoner, however they do carry pepper spray. Inmates must progress through programs in the SHU before being transferred back to the general population of other maximum security prisons; however, some inmates are considered to be too high-risk to be eligible for this and are detained in the SHU for longer periods.

Notable inmates of the Special Handling Unit[edit]

Current inmates[edit]

Former inmates[edit]

  • Guy Paul Morin (murder, 1992-1995; exonerated and released)
  • Clifford Olson (serial killer, 1982-2011; died of cancer September 30th, 2011)
  • Ali Dirie (terrorism, 2009-2011; died in Syrian civil war, 2013)
  • Karla Homolka (serial killer, 1993-2005; released after 12 year sentence)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Correctional Service of Canada - Publications - Let's Talk". Csc-scc.gc.ca. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  2. ^ Amellal, D. The Special Handling Unit: High Security, Special Expertise, Safety and Security - Inside CSC Institutions. Let's Talk, Correctional Service of Canada. Retrieved on: 2011-09-04.
  3. ^ "Institutional Profiles". Csc-scc.gc.ca. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 

External links[edit]