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Human Rights In Community Corrections

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ANNEX D: SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

CSC POLICY

1. We recommend:

  1. that, along the lines proposed in its Integrated Community Corrections Framework, CSC further articulate its policy with respect to the appropriate balance between control and assistance in community corrections;
  2. that, in particular, it spell out, in practical terms, the role of CSC managers and staff in providing assistance to, and involving community support in, the safe reintegration of offenders;
  3. that the Service review and, if necessary, adjust the distribution of resources between the institutional and community aspects of its work to reflect such initiatives;
  4. that, in due course, CSC policy be reformulated to take appropriate account of the concerns of victims and such amendments to the Criminal Code and the CCRA as may result from current legislative initiatives;
  5. that the definition and use of special conditions be re-examined and, if necessary, adjusted to ensure that they meet "extraordinary" and "least restrictive" standards;
  6. that CSC policy on financial maintenance allowances to offenders be simplified and rationalized in order to improve consistency of application and ensure that such allowances maximize offenders' chances of safe reintegration;
  7. that a comprehensive accessibility survey of all CCCs and CRFs be conducted without delay, and that an appropriate action plan be developed, including the possibility of contractual obligations on CRFs that would be financed by CSC;
  8. that, as recommended in the Working Group report of December 1997, CSC "develop specific components of its employment equity action plan that directly address long-standing problems in achieving a more appropriate balance between the representation and distribution of staff vis-à-vis offenders";
  9. that, as also recommended in that report, the Service clarify and reinforce its harassment policy to make clear that it applies to all forms of harassment prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act, whatever their source, and that effective remedies be in place and applied; and
  10. that efforts be intensified to reduce, clarify and streamline all CSC's mechanisms for communicating policy to staff, and in particular, those policies that relate to effective community corrections.

STAFF TRAINING

2. We reiterate our recommendation that CSC "take action to improve the quantity,

  • quality and accessibility of rights-related training, particularly for front-line staff":
    1. by increasing the amount of core training time devoted to the principles and the operational implications of respecting the rule of law;
    2. by incorporating specific guidance to parole officers on how to provide assistance to, and involve community support in, the safe reintegration of offenders;
    3. by making refresher or updating training in these matters mandatory for all the employees concerned; and
    4. by ensuring that training stresses the practical judgements and decisions that each officer must be able to make through the use of situational and case-study training methods,

3. We also recommend that, pending introduction of a revamped training program, the Service examine ways whereby current and new staff can be familiarized with the essential human rights issues in community corrections.

4. In particular, we recommend that more specific direction and training be provided to employees in all aspects of home visits and information-seeking from third-party contacts.

INTERNAL MONITORING

5. It is recommended that CSC's current Performance Assurance and Auditing programs be broadened:

  1. to include periodic assessments of the extent to which staff, offenders or other parties are effectively made aware of their rights in the community corrections context, and of the extent to which they can and do avail themselves of such rights;
  2. to identify and evaluate the effects of such measures as are taken by staff to provide assistance to, or involve the community in, safe reintegration of offenders.

6. It is also recommended that CSC consider whether the Service's complaint and grievance processes, which, in principle, remain available to offenders in the community, actually provide an effective recourse for rights-related complaints, and, if not, whether a more suitable alternative can be devised.

7. Meanwhile, it is recommended that all offenders be formally advised at the time of

  • their release that they continue to have a right to make a complaint through the existing process, and that they acknowledge receiving this information.

EXTERNAL MONITORING

8. We recommend that:

  1. the continuing availability of the Office of the Correctional Investigator be consistently and prominently drawn to the attention of all offenders at the time of and during their conditional release;
  2. the CI's Office, on its own initiative, periodically monitor the implementation and effectiveness of particular aspects of CSC's community correctional programs from the standpoint of offenders' rights.

9. The Working Group recommends that CSC, the Parole Board, as well as any other parties to federal sentencing, devise a reliable system whereby interested victims can be provided with a plain-language explanation of their rights, and of the process for exercising them, at the earliest and most convenient point in the sentence administration process.

10. It is also recommended that the Service, in conjunction with the Parole Board, examine the need to provide a mechanism of independent review of victims' allegations that their rights have been infringed.

SPECIAL NEEDS

Women Offenders

11. In addition to encouraging CSC to pursue its initiatives to provide a wide range of women-centred community supports, we recommend that CSC explore all available means to avoid joint residency of male and female offenders.

Aboriginal Offenders

12. In light of the continuing over-representation of aboriginals in the correctional population and the limited progress in meeting the intent of ss. 81 and 84 of the CCRA, we recommend that the Service intensify its consultations with aboriginal representatives on how best this can be achieved, and incorporate appropriate initiatives within its National Aboriginal Strategy.

COMMUNICATIONS

Information for Staff

13. It is recommended that a succinct and readable digest of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures (Tokyo Rules) be brought to the attention of all CSC managers and staff whose responsibilities affect community corrections.

Public Information

14. We recommend that an overall responsibility to ensure that employees, offenders, victims and other parties are fully and consistently informed of their rights, and of the ways in which they may be exercised, be assigned to the Service's Communications Branch.

15. Given the dependence of effective community corrections on broad public understanding and support, it is recommended that:

  1. the Service identify the most persistent public misconceptions with respect to community corrections, devise detailed communication strategies and messages for correcting each of them, and assign responsibilities throughout the Services for their implementation;
  2. the role and mandate of Citizens Advisory Committees (CACs) be reviewed to ensure that they better reflect the public information aspect of their work and what they can do to foster community involvement; and
  3. the public impact of CACs be evaluated on a regular basis.