Response of the Correctional Service of Canada to the 41st Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2013 - 2014

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of the federal correctional system, as defined in law, is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by carrying out sentences imposed by courts through the safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders; and by assisting the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens through the provision of programs in penitentiaries and in the community (Corrections and Conditional Release Act, s.3).  On a typical day during 2013-14, CSC was responsible for 22,969 offenders, of whom 15,215 were in federal custody (including temporary detainees) and 7,754 were supervised in the communityFootnote 1. During 2013-14, CSC managed 53 institutions, 16 community correctional centres, 92 Parole Offices and sub-offices and employed over 18,000 people.

Over the last decade, CSC has faced numerous challenges stemming from a more complex and diverse offender population profile, resulting in new pressures on the Service and its operations. In response to the requirements of managing a changing offender profile and in achieving quality public safety results for Canadians, CSC will continue to focus on 6 key priorities as outlined in its Report on Plans and Priorities: 

  1. Safe transition to and management of eligible offenders in the community;
  2. Safety and security of staff and offenders in our institutions and in the community;
  3. Enhanced capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders;
  4. Improved capacities to address mental health needs of offenders;
  5. Efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership;  and
  6. Productive relationships with increasingly diverse partners, stakeholders, and others involved in public safety.

AN INVESTIGATION OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONAL CENTRES

Recommendation 1:

I recommend that CSC develop a comprehensive pre-release planning strategy that includes mandatory meetings between offenders and their institutional and community parole officer, a process to ensure an offender's official documents (birth certificate and health card) are available prior to release, and a handbook identifying programs, services and supports available in the release community.

CSC will be updating the overall pre-release planning strategy in concert with the Service's structured assessment and intervention framework.  A draft of the revised pre-release planning strategy will be reviewed by April 2015.

Recommendation 2:

I recommend that every CCC have consistent access to the necessary resources, including nurses, social workers, and psychologists, to ensure access to appropriate services and care.

CSC will compile a compendium for each CCC of applicable health services that are accessible to offenders by March 2015.  In addition, any gaps in accessible services will be assessed for alternative service delivery, including greater use of tele-health services.

Recommendation 3:

I recommend that CSC develop a national training plan specific to employees working in CCCs.

CSC continues to offer national training for employees working in CCCs. Employees receive a variety of training in order to prepare them for their responsibilities, including the Parole Officer Induction Training (POIT), as well as the Parole Officer Continuous Development (POCD) Program, and more specialized training such as Managing Offenders with Long Term Supervision Orders, and Community Personal Safety.  Some positions receive additional position-specific training, such as Fundamentals of Mental Health, Supervising Community Professionals, Managing Community Incidents and Search training.

Given that there are diverse training needs for this interdisciplinary group of staff, and considering of the complex and diverse profile of offenders in CCCs, a training review will be conducted to help identify any training gaps and recommendations will then be made to address these. The training review will be completed by March 2015.

Recommendation 4:

I recommend that CSC develop a national partnership strategy for CCCs which includes creating an inventory of services and partners that are available, identifying gaps in partnerships (e.g., cultural groups), a communications plan that educates and informs community members, and a timetable for monitoring and reporting on these activities.

CSC has already taken measures to develop a National Integrated Engagement Strategy.  The strategy will identify priorities for engagement on an annual basis and provide advice and guidance that will assist with identifying partners and establishing relationships in order to better achieve the shared objective of effectively reintegrating offenders into society while safeguarding the public.

CSC will undertake an examination of its Stakeholder Information System (SIS), and share existing stakeholder and partnership data for use by CCCs, which will assist them in partnership development.

CSC will also develop a communications strategy for CCCs with the goal of increasing public awareness, which will include activities to help educate and inform community members. It is anticipated that this will be in place by April 2015.

Recommendation 5:

I recommend that CSC conduct an operational audit of resources allocated to community corrections and CCCs specifically. The outcome of this audit should help inform reallocation decisions and the development of renewed monitoring and reporting strategy for CCCs.

As part of its 2014-2017 Audit Plan, CSC is planning an audit pertaining to the Management of Community Accommodation for Offenders. The preliminary objective will be to provide assurance that the management framework in place supports the effective placement of offenders in the community. It is anticipated that the framework will be completed by summer 2015.

Recommendation 6:

I recommend that CSC establish a working committee with the Parole Board of Canada to examine best practices and guidelines regarding the appropriate use of residency conditions for offenders released on statutory release and offenders on a long-term supervision order.

CSC in conjunction with Parole Board Canada (PBC) will examine the evidence, best practices, and guidelines regarding the use of residency conditions for offenders during 2014-15 fiscal year.

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Recommendation 7:

I recommend that CSC move forward the completion date of the electronic health information system. This may require new or reallocated funds.

CSC is progressing with a pilot project in Ontario Region for an open-sourced electronic health information system to determine whether it meets the Service's needs. The pilot project began in October 2014.

Recommendation 8:

I recommend that CSC's review of chronic health conditions be integrated with and inform a comprehensive prevention strategy to reduce premature mortality.

CSC will work with the Senior Medical Advisor, the National Public Health Medical Advisor, the National Senior Psychiatrist, institutional physicians and psychiatrists, CSC's healthcare professionals, external experts and the National Essential Health Services Advisory Committee toward developing an integrated comprehensive treatment and prevention strategy by December 2015.

Recommendation 9:

I recommend that efforts to ensure identification, ongoing monitoring and treatment of HIV infection in CSC facilities be a priority and that relevant systems to ensure timely and effective diagnosis and treatment are put in place.

CSC continues to reinforce the importance of identifying, monitoring, and addressing HIV within federal correctional facilities. All new offenders are offered screening for infectious diseases upon admission and throughout their incarceration. This includes screening for HIV, and other infectious and contagious diseases.  CSC's screening process was updated in 2013 to be consistent with the latest Public Health Agency of Canada's HIV Screening and Testing Guide.  CSC will continue to work with the Public Health Agency in regards to advancements in the identification, monitoring, and treatment of all infectious and contagious diseases.

Recommendation 10:

I recommend that CSC develop a comprehensive integrated model to treat offenders with concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders.

CSC has adopted a multi-pronged approach to strengthen services to offenders with mental health and addiction issues in the federal correctional system.  Through a multi-disciplinary case management team, offenders' needs are continuously assessed and identified in their correctional plans so that appropriate interventions are provided including those which address both substance abuse and mental health disorders. 

CSC will continue to provide offenders with access to a continuum of mental health services from health care professionals (e.g. nurses, psychologists, and social workers).  In addition, the current Integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM) and Women Offender Correctional Program Model will be incorporating a program that responds to the learning needs of those with mental health considerations. CSC will look to have this integrated approach evaluated during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

DEATHS IN CUSTODY

Recommendation 11:

I recommend that CSC reconsider its response to the Office's report on the mortality review process to more specifically address the concerns about the lack of rigour, independence, credibility and timeliness in how the Service currently investigates natural case fatalities.

CSC has taken steps to address this recommendation. As part of the approach to revise CSC's mortality review process, CSC consulted with the United Kingdom Prison Ombudsman about its deaths in custody investigative process.  Subsequently, CSC implemented a revised Mortality Review process, effective April 2014, which will be reviewed over a 6 month period in order to determine whether additional changes are necessary.  In addition, the external Senior Medical Advisor's role has been expanded and will now include chairing the Mortality Review Committee. As part of this role, the Senior Medical Advisor will provide input to the decision of whether or not to review a mortality as a natural cause death, provide guidance and direction to the nurse reviewing the medical chart, and sign off on the final report.

Recommendation 12:

I recommend that CSC issue a Request for Proposal to secure palliative community services and accommodations to allow terminally ill offenders to die with dignity in the community.

CSC will continue to review each palliative care case and examine options available under the law and policy in conjunction with Parole Board Canada and service providers.  As well as assessing the needs of the offender, CSC will continue to assess public safety needs and take into consideration the views of victims.

CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT

Recommendation 13:

I recommend that the Correctional Service develop and implement a National Strategy for Young Offenders in collaboration with external stakeholders with expertise in service delivery to young adults. The Strategy should address the need for policies, programs and services tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of offenders aged 25 and under.

CSC is currently reviewing this recommendation and its implications and will be responding by December 2014.

ABORIGINAL CORRECTIONS

Recommendation 14:

I recommend that CSC conduct an audit to assess whether Aboriginal Social History factors are being adequately considered in case management records and decisions.

CSC initiated a research study entitled "Examination of Aboriginal Social History ("Gladue Factors") in Case Management and their Influence on Decision Outcomes for Aboriginal Offenders" that will be completed this fiscal year. The research will be compiled into a report by March 2015, and is intended to better inform the Service about policies and initiatives to improve staff training as well as how to take into account cultural factors when making correctional decisions for Aboriginal offenders.

FEDERALLY SENTENCED WOMEN

Recommendation 15:

I recommend that CSC implement CHILD LINK at all regional women's facilities.

CSC is currently expanding CHILD LINK to the Atlantic (Nova Institution) and Prairie (Edmonton Institution for Women and Regional Psychiatric Centre) Regions and is anticipated to be implemented in fall 2014. Following this, CSC will proceed with the expansion of the initiative to remaining women's facilities. It is anticipated to be in place by end of the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Recommendation 16:

I recommend that CSC conduct a review of double-bunking assessments and assignments in the Secure Units.

CSC will be examining the double-bunking assessments and assignments in the Secure Units as part of the overall review of the long-term accommodation plan update that will be completed by March 2015.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Corporate Reporting System

Return to footnote 1 referrer