Response of the Correctional Service of Canada to the 43rd Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2015-2016

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 2015-2016, CSC was responsible for 22,872 offenders, of whom 14,639 were in federal custody (including temporary detainees) and 8,233 were supervised in the community. CSC is responsible for the management of 43 institutions (comprised of six maximum security, nine medium security, five minimum security, 12 multilevel security, and 11 clustered institutions), 91 parole offices and sub-parole offices, and 15 community correctional centres. CSC also manages four healing lodges (included in the 43 institutions) and works in partnership with Aboriginal communities to support the reintegration of Aboriginal offenders back into the community. CSC 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 six key priorities as outlined in its Report on Plans and Priorities:

  • Safe management of eligible offenders during their transition from the institution to the community, and while on supervision
  • Safety and security of the public, victims, staff and offenders in institutions and the community
  • Effective, culturally appropriate interventions and reintegration support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders
  • Effective and timely interventions in addressing mental health needs of offenders
  • Efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership in a changing environment
  • Productive relationships with diverse partners, stakeholders, victims' groups, and others involved in support of public safety

Health Care in Federal Corrections

  1. I recommend that CSC consult with professional colleges, licensing bodies and accreditation agencies to ensure operational policies do not conflict with or undermine the standards, autonomy and ethics of professional health care workers in corrections.

    In 2016-2017, CSC will continue to routinely consult with relevant professional organizations on policy-related issues. For example, CSC has consulted with professional colleges on a number of subjects including: clinical supervision, information-sharing practices, CSC emergency protocols, use of telemedicine across provincial jurisdictions, and issues related to professional liability protections.
  2. I recommend that CSC develop, publicly release and implement an older offender strategy for federal corrections in 2016-17 that addresses the care and custody needs of offenders aged 50 or older. This strategy should include programming, reintegration, public safety and health care cost considerations.

    The development of a strategy that addresses the care and custody needs of older offenders will begin in fiscal year 2016/2017 and will be completed in fiscal year 2017/2018.
  3. I recommend that CSC create a national action plan to address dental waitlist concerns, restore funding for preventative dental health care and improve access to dentistry services in federal penitentiaries.

    Based on a site-by-site review of dental waitlist, CSC has implemented an approach to address dental waitlist concerns, and these waitlists will continue to be monitored nationally. The scope of dental care services offered will be in accordance with the National Essential Health Services Framework.
  4. I recommend that CSC enhance harm reduction initiatives including the re-introduction of safe tattooing sites and the implementation of a needle exchange pilot and assess the impacts of these measures on inmate health, institutional substance miss-use and security operations.

    CSC provides a broad continuum of disease prevention initiatives including treatment, health promotion, and harm reduction related to infectious diseases. CSC will continue to explore evidence-based interventions in the context of a correctional environment.
  5. I recommend that CSC work collaboratively with community groups that have proven expertise in providing treatment services and supports for FASD-affected individuals to address significant gaps in assessment, programming, treatment and services to these offenders in federal corrections.

    CSC is currently supporting Bowden Institution to engage in a partnership with a community-based group regarding FASD-affected individuals. In fiscal year 2016-17, CSC provided funding for seven (7) specialized assessments for offenders with suspected FASD.
  6. I recommend that CSC's gender dysphoria policy be updated to reflect evolving legal and standards of care protecting the rights of transgender people in Canada. Specifically:
    • upon request and subject to case-by-case consideration of treatment needs, safety and privacy, transgender or intersex inmates should not be presumptively refused placement in an institution of the gender they identify with.
    • the 'real life' experience test should include consideration of time spent living as a transgender person during incarceration.

      In Spring 2015, CSC revised its policy with respect to transgendered inmates (Guidelines 800-5, Gender Dysphoria), in order to better reflect current international standards, updated diagnostic tools and terminology.

      In fiscal year 2016-17, CSC will initiate a review of its policies to ensure the rights of transgender inmates are protected, including consideration of safety, security and privacy related to placement. This review will be undertaken while CSC closely monitors the progression of proposed legislative changes through Parliament, and policy revisions will be subject to consultation. The Gender Dysphoria guidelines were revised to recognize time while incarcerated as "real life" experience.
  7. I recommend that CSC develop a new, separate and distinct model from the existing Situation Management Model to address medical emergencies and incidents of self-injurious behaviour in partnership with professional mental health organizations.

    In 2015, CSC reviewed the Situational Management Model (SMM). Although the review found that the model is fundamentally sound, the model was subsequently enhanced through policy amendments and training, resulting in improved support for staff when intervening with inmates who have mental health issues. In fiscal year 2016-17, CSC will consult with professional mental health organizations regarding other potential enhancements to the current SMM, specifically for inmates receiving intensive mental health services in CSC treatment centres and intermediate mental health units.
  8. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety direct CSC to develop additional community partnerships and negotiate exchange of service agreements in all regions that would allow for alternative placement and treatment arrangements other than incarceration for significantly mentally ill federal offenders. These arrangements and agreements should be in place by the end of the current fiscal year.

    This recommendation is directed to the Minister of Public Safetyand Emergency Preparedness. However, CSC will continue to explore alternative placement and treatment arrangements where possible in conjunction with provincial authorities.
  9. I recommend that internally allocated specialized complex case funding should not be used as an alternative to seeking placement in an external treatment facility and that the CSC allocate funding for treatment beds commensurate with diagnostically identified needs.

    Referrals to external psychiatric hospital beds are considered on a case-by-case basis, and are reviewed by the National Complex Mental Health Committee. In cases where an offender does not consent or is not accepted to a provincial psychiatric hospital, complex case funding can be secured to address their complex needs. Requests for complex case funding are reviewed by both the Regional and National Complex Mental Health Committees.

Prevention of Deaths in Custody

  1. I recommend that CSC retain, as a mandatory requirement, that a psychological review/autopsy be conducted by a registered mental health clinician into each and every prison suicide.

    All Board of Investigations (BOI) convened into incidents related to a suicide include a mental health professional on the Board. In the case of an investigation related to a suicide, a Mental Health Review is completed by a mental health professional, and is included in the BOI report. The Mental Health Review presents the case in broad analytical terms. In addition, select aspects of the case may be given more in-depth analysis by the mental health professional completing the Review.
  2. I recommend that CSC publicly release the third Independent Review Committee report on deaths in custody and the action plan responding to the report's findings and recommendations.

    The third Independent Review Committee (IRC) report on non-natural deaths in custody and the Corrective Measures and Management Action Plan (CMMAP) responding to the report's recommendations will be posted on the Internet as recommended. Updates to the action plan will also be posted as they become available.
  3. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety work with provincial and territorial counterparts to create an independent national advisory forum drawn from experts, practitioners and stakeholder groups to review trends, share lessons learned and suggest research that will reduce the number and rate of deaths in custody in Canada.

    This recommendation is directed to the Minister of Public Safetyand Emergency Preparedness. However, CSC will explore hosting a forum, in 2017-2018, of experts, practitioners and stakeholder groups to identify best practices internationally on reducing the rates of deaths in custody.

Conditions of Confinement

  1. I recommend that:
    • The removal, display or threatened use of a chemical and inflammatory agent should be properly and immediately reinstated as a "reportable" use of force in CSC's use of force policy and review framework.

      CSC's current policy identifies the use of inflammatory agent or the direct aiming of the delivery system at the inmate as a use of force.
    • CSC should conduct an immediate review of the factors behind the increasing use of inflammatory agents in CSC facilities and assess whether additional review and accountability controls are required to ensure their safe and proper use.

      A review of the use of OC spray will be undertaken to identify whether additional control measures are required and will be completed by early 2017-2018 fiscal year.
    • CSC policy should require shower and wash as soon as possible following the use of or contamination by an organic inflammatory agent, with any delay of more than 20 minutes requiring notification of the Institutional Head.

      CSC's policy currently states that inmates will be decontaminated as soon as possible. CSC will examine policy amendments to notify the officer in charge of the institution and the health care staff should there be a delay in implementing the shower/wash routine.
    • After each and every use of an inflammatory or chemical agent, the canister should be weighed and the volume discharged duly recorded. Officers should be held to account for the use(s) and volume of inflammatory agents discharged for each incident. These records should be shared regionally and nationally on a quarterly basis.

      CSC will review the current control measures of OC Spray to ensure staff are held to account for the use(s) of volume of inflammatory agents discharged for each incident.
  2. I recommend that CSC suspends the introduction of the new inmate purchasing system, and proceed with in-depth, meaningful consultations with all stakeholders, including this Office, Inmate Committees and front-line staff.

    CSC will continue its ongoing consultation process in the Fall of 2016 as it continues to improve the inmate purchasing system and inform the next iteration of the National Supplier Catalogue. This consultation process includes inmate committees, staff members and suppliers, and in the past has resulted in amendments to the National Supplier Catalogue, increasing the availability and reducing the price of some items.
  3. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety initiate a review of the inmate payment/allowance system in federal corrections.

    This recommendation is directed to the Minister of Public Safetyand Emergency Preparedness. However, CSC will initiate a review of the inmate pay/allowance system and submit a report to the Minister by December 2017.

Indigenous Corrections

  1. I again recommend that CSC appoint a Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections.

    As CSC's most senior executive directly reporting to the Commissioner of CSC, the Senior Deputy Commissioner (SDC) is responsible for Indigenous Corrections. She provides vision and leadership across the Service, reinforcing a shared responsibility and accountability of all senior executives for correctional results for Indigenous offenders. This shared accountability is important as part of the integration of Indigenous corrections as one of CSC's key priorities.

    In addition, the SDC is responsible for key national files of critical importance to CSC. She is the decision maker for offender admissions and releases at the Special Handling Unit (SHU), delegated authority for the Commissioner's referrals for detention and for final decisions on the final grievances from offenders. In exercising this authority, the SDC is able to influence the decisions of senior executives in the Regions, particularly with regard to the consideration of the Aboriginal social history of offenders, while at the same time directly assessing compliance and progress. This responsibility positions the SDC to develop strategies, refine policies, and recommend improvements to address the unique circumstances of Indigenous offenders across the organization.

    Given that the SDC is the most senior executive in CSC reporting to the Commissioner and has significant influence in planning, monitoring and adjusting organizational priorities at EXCOM, the SDC is best positioned to continue to lead Indigenous Corrections.
  2. I recommend that the Service develop new culturally appropriate and gender specific assessment tools, founded on Gladue principles, to be used with male and female Indigenous offenders.

    Research on the validity of current assessment tools used by CSC with women and Aboriginal offenders will continue to be undertaken, and the need and feasibility of developing new culturally appropriate and gender specific assessment measures founded on Gladue principles will be examined.
  3. I recommend that CSC's National Aboriginal Advisory Council (NAAC) review gaps and barriers to increased participation of Elders in federal corrections and publicly release its recommendations by the end of the fiscal year.

    CSC continues to work collaboratively with the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) to improve services for Indigenous offenders.

    Based on the recommendations made by Elders, CSC is reviewing its approach to engaging Elder Services, including the contracting and selection process. CSC is also focussing on the development and implementation of an orientation package for Elders, along with training that will introduce Elders to CSC including the role that they will play as a key member of the case management team.

    CSC will post the minutes of NAAC meetings, as well as the report on Elder Vulnerability so that the summary of these discussions is publicly available on its external website.

Safe and Timely Community Reintegration

  1. I recommend that the Integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM) be immediately and independently evaluated against key performance outcome measures including: day and full parole grant rates; number of and reasons for Parole Board hearings that are waived, cancelled, postponed or withdrawn; reasons why release delayed until statutory release; percentage of inmates held until statutory release in minimum security.

    As part of CSC's Five Year Departmental Plan, CSC will undertake an evaluation of Correctional Reintegration Programs and Offender Case Management through a process which is independent and impartial. This evaluation will provide credible, timely and neutral information on the ongoing relevance and performance of the integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM). The terms of reference and methodology are currently being developed and the evaluation will consider key performance outcome measures. Sound evaluations, based on the standards elaborated by the Center for Evaluation Excellence (CEE), offer the insight and detailed information required to support improved management practices and achieve results.
  2. I recommend that CSC develop a three year action plan to meet demand for meaningful work, increase vocational training skills and participation in apprenticeship programs.

    CSC will continue to align vocational training with Labour Market trends by working with provinces, specialized community organizations, and industry partners to support the skills and trade development of offenders throughout the employment continuum. This will lead to the development of CSC's three year action plan in 2017-2018.

    In 2017, CORCAN will also carry out a pilot project that will see Employment Counselors placed in three male institutions for the purpose of implementing and analyzing employment programs and processes within our institutions.
  3. I recommend that, in the coming year, CSC review temporary absence criteria, resources and staff support and develop an action plan to facilitate improved access to the community through increased use of Temporary Absences and Work Releases. Performance measures and indicators supporting transition from the institution to the community should become a standard feature of subsequent CSC Reports on Plans and Priorities.

    CSC policies identify the criteria for Temporary Absences and Work Releases that are consistent with the Act and Regulations. CSC recognizes that Temporary Absences and Work Releases play an important role in the reintegration process. A gradual, structured and supervised release process represents an effective means of contributing to public safety. During 2016-17, CSC will initiate a review of the overall Work Release program to explore ways to improve efficiencies.
  4. I recommend that:
    • CSC update and renew inmate libraries so that they are compliant with policy and comparable to the services, materials and technologies available in community libraries.

      Institutional libraries support all institutional programs and address offenders' needs for recreational, cultural, spiritual, educational, and information materials. CSC currently updates the content of the institutional libraries to ensure that they are compliant with policy and that offenders have access to the current laws, policies and resources. As well, CSC will continue to explore the use of tablet technology as a means to address this recommendation.
    • CSC ensure that copies of law and policy are current and updated as necessary, and made available in both print and electronic formats.

      Presently, copies of law and policy are made available to offenders either electronically via institutional library computers or in print format upon offenders' request.
    • CSC explore safe, practical and innovative ways to expand access to the widest variety of electronic information, technology and communication possible in a correctional setting.

      CSC is currently in the process of consulting teachers, Chiefs of Education and Regional Education Managers to identify the software and electronic resources currently being used in institutions, in addition to those which would best support education programs. CSC also plans to review options and the potential benefits surrounding the use of electronic-readers and electronic-books to support computer literacy and education programs during FY 2016-2017.
  5. I recommend that CSC implement a comprehensive pilot project providing for monitored email, tablets and laptops in the coming fiscal year to assess security issues, privacy issues and costs, with the goal of full implementation within three years.

    CSC is currently exploring potential pilots to provide for monitored email, tablets and laptops within a secured environment.

Federally Sentenced Women

  1. I recommend that CSC focus efforts on developing protocols and arrangements with provincial child welfare/protection agencies to ensure referrals to and assessments by these external bodies are completed in a timely manner.

    During 2016-17, CSC will support the Women Offender Institutions to develop protocols and arrangements with provincial child welfare agencies in their respective provinces. The development, content and parameters of these agreements will be subject to the agreement of the respective Child Welfare Agency and in consideration of their provincial legislation and procedures.
  2. I recommend that CSC significantly enhance access to the community for women residing in the Minimum Security Units through increased use of temporary absences, work releases, employment and vocational skills training programs.

    CSC will continue to monitor the corporate results related to temporary absences, work releases, employment and vocational skills training programs

    During 2016-17, CSC will initiate a review of the overall Work Release program to explore ways to improve efficiencies and enhance access to the community for inmates.
  3. I recommend that access to case management team members be increased for women residing in the Minimum Security Units, including mandatory frequency of contact and consultation standards and that transfers to the main multi-level facilities should only be used when all other less restricted alternatives have been considered.

    CSC will review the policy surrounding case management meetings with inmates in order to clarify and strengthen the institutional Parole Officer responsibilities with respect to contact with inmates.

    The placement of women inmates classified as minimum security in living units will continue to occur based on infrastructure at the particular site, bed space availability and the specific needs of the individual inmate.
  4. I recommend that CSC enhance partnerships with community groups and organizations to deliver programming, opportunities and activities for women residing in the Minimum Security Units in the community and that this activity be monitored by an Advisory Committee of stakeholders.

    CSC will continue to monitor corporate results related Temporary Absences and onsite interventions and activities facilitated by community organizations and volunteers.

    CSC will complete a review during 2016-2017 of the activities and interventions offered in the Minimum Security Units outside the perimeter security fence of women offender institutions. These results will be shared with an established Advisory Committee of stakeholders for their input and review.