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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Ten-Year Status Report on Women’s Corrections
1996-2006

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Commissioner’s Foreword

I am pleased to issue the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Ten-Year Status Report on Women’s Corrections. This report coincides with the anniversary of the 1996 release of the Honourable Louise Arbour’s report, Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at Prison for Women in Kingston. The Arbour Report resulted in pervasive policy change throughout our organization and, more significantly, led us to strengthen our organizational focus on respecting the rule of law and accountability.

What becomes apparent from reading this Status Report, and the updates on a multitude of recommendations, is the sustained work throughout our organization following the release of the Arbour Report. From this document, and from my own experiences and interactions since being appointed Commissioner last year, I can confidently say there is a concerted commitment amongst staff to do good work – work that is consistent with strong corporate values and respect for the rule of law.

The Arbour Report broadly addressed issues such as human rights, segregation, the inmate complaints and grievance process and the investigation process. Given the focus of the Commission, the Arbour Report contained specific proposals with regard to women’s corrections. This included the recommendation for the establishment of a Deputy Commissioner for Women (DCW). Under the leadership of the current DCW, Anne Kelly, and the first DCW, Nancy Stableforth, there have been numerous accomplishments that have advanced the implementation of programs and services expressly for women offenders. This Status Report is a report card on the work and progress in this important area of Corrections over the past ten years.

While CSC has come far in addressing the unique needs of women offenders, our work is by no means complete. The nature of what we do in Corrections means that we must continually evolve and change. Our changing offender profile and correctional environment necessitate that we regularly measure, evaluate and improve our approaches to ensure they remain results-focused and demonstrate accountability. Foremost, CSC must evolve to adapt or re-shift its efforts, as appropriate, to most effectively ensure the safety of the public. This requires an approach that actively assists and encourages offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control in institutions, and through effective supervision in our communities.

Keith Coulter, Commissioner
Correctional Service of Canada

April 2006