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Human Rights In Community Corrections

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ANNEX C: STRATEGIC MODEL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANCE IN A COMMUNITY CORRECTIONAL SETTING

I. GENERAL FRAMEWORK FOR BOTH COMMUNITY AND INSTITUTIONAL SITUATIONS

1. The overall purpose of the model is to provide:

  • satisfactory and demonstrable compliance with lawful human rights obligations; and
  • complete, efficient and compatible systems for achieving and evaluating compliance with human rights rules.

2. It should also give the correctional authority:

  • a means of conceptualizing and organizing specific human rights monitoring mechanisms;
  • a basis for identifying and correcting systemic human rights problems; and
  • groundwork for a complete and appropriately tailored communications program.

3. The main premises for effective monitoring of human rights are:

  • clear, common understanding of the human rights rules;
  • unambiguous legal authority for those rules; and
  • compliance mechanisms that are both transparent and practical in themselves and open to public scrutiny.

4. As far as the formulation of correctional policy is concerned, the model advocates:

  • policy interpretation strictly according to practical need
  • explicit links to legal and regulatory authority
  • policy that is specific to particular, well-identified human rights;
  • consistency across the correctional system;
  • issuing policy from a single central source; and
  • the use of plain, practical language.

II. PARTICULAR COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS APPLICATIONS

Effective transmission of community corrections policy calls for:

  • a clear set of strategic objectives for this aspect of the correctional program, particularly as regards the balance between control and assistance in the reintegration process;
  • thorough articulation of the rights and entitlements of staff, offenders, victims and others as they apply in the community context;
  • appropriate guidance to staff, offenders and members of the public as to their respective roles and responsibilities in bringing about safe reintegration by a balanced use of control and assistance;
  • basic training to case managers, parole officers and other staff in community corrections that provides well-balanced and situational treatment of all operational implications of the various human rights issues involved;
  • regular access to appropriate refresher training, particularly for staff who deal directly with offenders or victims;
  • convenient and readable reference material for staff, including a suitable digest of the Tokyo Rules;
  • corresponding material for offenders; and
  • practical information material for victims, outlining their rights and the procedures for invoking and enforcing them.

III. MONITORING OFFENDERS' RIGHTS IN COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

1. Internal monitoring systems should include:

  • regular checks against the policy and procedural standards established for this program, as part of normal reporting and supervision;
  • demonstrably accessible, timely and effective grievance and complaint processes that take account of the community context;
  • regular audits and evaluations of human rights norms and their implementation in a community setting;
  • impartial investigation of incidents involving alleged human rights violations;
  • a dedicated human-rights-compliance tracking capacity; and
  • specific provisions and, if necessary, specific monitoring mechanisms for verifying respect for the rights of groups with special needs, such as women or aboriginal peoples.

2. Independent oversight should be provided by a legally recognized monitoring body with the capacity to:

  • make its services known and accessible; and
  • resolve complaints and recommend systematic remedies.

IV. MONITORING EMPLOYEES' RIGHTS IN COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

To ensure that the rights and interests of staff working in community corrections are appropriately safeguarded, the model requires:

  • a suitable array of internal and external monitoring and redress mechanisms (e.g. grievance process, regular audits, etc.) as well as ready access to impartial agencies or adjudication outside the organizational hierarchy.

V. MONITORING VICTIMS' RIGHTS

Once the nature and extent of victims' rights and entitlements throughout the correctional process have been established in law and policy, the model calls for:

  • regular evaluation of the degree to which victims actually know what those rights and entitlements consist of and how they may be exercised: and
  • an independent recourse to which victims may apply for remedy if they believe their rights have been infringed.