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Report on the Evaluation of the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge

Performance Assurance Sector
September, 2002

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.2 Evaluation Focus

1.3 Evaluation Methodology

1.4 Acknowledgements

2.0 Observations and Findings

2.1 Finding #1: The success of the current or future Vision of the Healing Lodge is contingent on the existence of key factors of good governance. These include participatory decision making, clear definitions of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities and the consistent and rational application of CSC policy.

2.2 Finding #2: There are many thoughtful comprehensive documents describing both the Vision and the Role of the Lodge. To avoid having essential messages lost in descriptive prose, the Healing Lodge may wish to consider developing a single statement of purpose that reflects the essence of the Vision.

2.3 Finding #3: The Healing Lodge would benefit from a formal, sustainable orientation program for new staff and a more flexible recruitment process.

2.4 Finding #4: There is a need to develop clearly articulated, mutually agreed upon screening, placement and transfer protocols between the Healing Lodge and the other Women's facilities within the Region.

2.5 Finding #5: There may be missed opportunities with respect to mentoring, coaching and fostering teamwork in the Case Management process at the Healing Lodge.

2.6 Finding #6: The staffing process at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is consistent with article 14.3(b) and 14.3(c) of the Memorandum of Understanding which is attached to the 1994 Agreement between the Commissioner of Corrections and the Nekaneet First Nation . In addition, the Chief and Councilors of the Nekaneet Band have no concerns with the implementation of Article 14.3(e) of the Memorandum of Understanding with respect to the right of first refusal on service contracts issued by the Healing Lodge.

2.7 Finding #7: It would be beneficial to facilitate the involvement of Nekaneet Elders in the development and implementation of resident-specific Healing Plans.

2.8 Finding #8: The extent to which a resident of the Healing Lodge is able to continue her spiritual journey in the Community presents a challenge.

3.0 Other Issues

Finding #9: The value of the barrier at the Lodge has been questioned from time to time. Many staff interviewed at the Lodge, however, see value in the barrier remaining. In addition, there were numerous requests to reconsider staffing options for the former security post in the main reception area.

4.0 Summary of Recommendations

Appendixes

Appendix A: Photographs of the Spiritual Lodge and the Main Lodge

Appendix B: Objectives and Key Results Measured by the Evaluation

Appendix C: Photographs of the Road Leading into the Healing Lodge

Appendix D: Photographs of the Barrier at the Entrance to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge and the CSC Sign at the Entrance to the Facility

Appendix E: Visual Depiction of a Healing Plan

List of Tables

Table 1: Criteria for Placement at the Healing Lodge

Table 2: Positions At the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge Occupied by Nekaneet Band Members (as of March 31, 2002 )

Table 3: A Representation of Service Contracts Tendered by the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge Fiscal 2001 / 2002

List of Figures

Figure 1: The Former Reception Area of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is the first CSC Women Offender institution of its kind, developed with and for First Nations communities. Many of its staff, including the current Kikawinaw (meaning "director" of the institution or "our mother" in Cree) are of Aboriginal descent. The healing journey envisioned by the Lodge is based on Aboriginal teachings, spirituality and traditions. The philosophical underpinnings of the Lodge are rooted in providing a safe environment, primarily for federally sentenced Aboriginal women, to work on their individual healing and to deal with the effects of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse.

In June of 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Commissioner of Corrections and the Nekaneet Band. The Agreement was to designate a portion of the Nekaneet Reserve for the purpose of the Healing Lodge. This evaluation was conducted in response to a requirement specified in this Agreement. Specifically, Section 8 requires that an evaluation be conducted every five years to ensure that the stated objectives of the Agreement are met.

The evaluation has been designed to examine areas such as: sustaining the Vision of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge; documenting the extent to which CSC has adhered to its commitments to the Nekaneet First Nation and identifying the facilitators and obstacles faced by the former residents of the Healing Lodge while they are on conditional release. The design included: interviews with key informants, a review and analysis of CSC documents and CSC databases (OMS, PeopleSoft, IFMMS), and an assessment of staff and management perceptions as to whether their expectations of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge Vision have been met.

The Evaluation Team visited three Regional Womens' Institutions, three Community Offices and a Community Residential facility. Interviews and discussions were held with more than 35 CSC staff. In addition, the Evaluation Team interviewed the Chief and two Band Council Members of the Nekaneet First Nation, National Parole Board staff in Saskatoon and members of the advisory group, the Kekunwemkonawuk (Keepers of the Vision). There are nine findings, ten recommendations and eight suggestions with respect to the subject areas of the evaluation. These findings are described as follows:

1 The success of the current or future Vision of the Healing Lodge is contingent on the existence of key factors of good governance. These include a participatory or consultative decision making framework, clear definitions of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities and the consistent and rational application of CSC policy.

The proposed non-hierarchical management model (premised on the findings of the Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women) has yet to be realized at the Healing Lodge. On the other hand, the practical concepts of how a non-hierarchical decision making framework would work within the parameters of a Healing Lodge (that is also a national CSC Women Offender facility) have never been pragmatically established. The absence, however, of an agreed upon participatory or consultative decision-making framework has resulted in staff perceptions that decisions are made unilaterally by management and communicated by e-mail as "fait accompli". It is the conclusion of the Evaluation Team that the demands placed on senior management at the Lodge resulting in the frequent absences of the Kikawinaw, coupled with the absence of a permanent Assistant Kikawinaw often results in a backlog of management decisions that have to be made. Because of the time required to obtain participatory input, the implementation of a non-hierarchical decision-making framework becomes very difficult.

The Healing Lodge has considered disbanding its advisory committees. These include the Kekunwemkonawuk (Keepers of the Vision) and the Elders Council. The Lodge may wish to examine the "lessons learned" from its experience with these committees. "Lessons learned" include having an approved Terms of Reference in place for each advisory committee which outlines the roles, responsibilities and obligations of both CSC and each advisory committee. In addition, the Terms of Reference should specify the nature of the representation on each committee.

During the course of this evaluation, staff members pointed out several circumstances where the Healing Lodge was at risk of non-compliance with CSC policy. It is a finding of the Evaluation Team that the operational policies (both Security and Case Management) which impact on the Healing Lodge should be reviewed to determine if any adjustments or addenda are required to accommodate the unique environment of the Lodge. This could be accomplished as part of the current review of the Operational Plan of the Healing Lodge by the NHQ Women Offender Sector.

Recommendations with respect to the above governance issues deal with delegating a portion of the Kikawinaw's off-site responsibilities, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of advisory committees and strengthening linkages between the Healing Lodge, Region and the NHQ Women Offender Sector. There is also a recommendation which proposes (as part of the Operational Plan for the Lodge) a review of the application of CSC policies in the environment of the Healing Lodge

2 There are many thoughtful comprehensive documents describing both the Vision and the Role of the Lodge. To avoid having essential messages lost in descriptive prose, the Healing Lodge may wish to consider developing a single statement of purpose that reflects the essence of the current or a reformulated Vision.

In all of the Vision and role documents reviewed by the Evaluation Team, three key features with respect to healing and the healing process became apparent. The concepts of self-awareness, knowledge and self-empowerment, and the need to acquire, learn and reflect on the Aboriginal way of life emerged as essential elements. This is consistent with what many staff interviewed believe as being important to the attainment or recapturing of the Vision.

The Healing Lodge may wish to consider encapsulating the concepts, which are embedded in these well-formulated texts into a single statement similar to corporate Mission statements. This statement, if accepted by representatives of Aboriginal women, by the Nekaneet Elders and by CSC, could then be posted at key points in the Healing Lodge. Another option to consider may be the development of a graphic representation of the Vision instead of a statement. For instance, a circle with the essential elements or the essential outcomes to be addressed along a resident's spiritual path, could be used to symbolize the Vision

3 The Healing Lodge would benefit from a formal, sustainable orientation program for new staff and a more flexible recruitment process.

The Evaluation Team noted that the 21 week training provided to the original Healing Lodge staff has not been re-delivered in its entirety. In addition, there is no sustainable orientation program in place to accommodate new staff (either new recruits or staff from men's facilities) with respect to the elements of the Vision and Lodge operations. Although a 10-day Women-Centered Training Program is to be provided to all Older Sisters within four months of appointment to their position, the Evaluation Team's interviews with staff at the Healing Lodge suggest that this is not always the case.

There also has been significant turnover of staff at the Lodge, and the recruitment of replacement staff has proven to be difficult. With respect to orientation, the evaluation report recommends that new staff (whether from a men's facility or a new recruit) be fit into the roster so that they can be paired with a long-term staff member for at least a week for the purpose of orientation and explanation / communication of the Vision. The evaluation report also notes that there is a National process to facilitate the deployment of CX02's to Primary Worker positions. This process could be used to assist Healing Lodge management with the deployment or secondment of new staff from men's facilities. It would also serve to clarify the expectations of CX staff with respect to the requirements of the Primary Worker position and the women-centered approach.

4 There is a need to develop clearly articulated, mutually agreed upon screening, placement and transfer protocols between the Healing Lodge and the other Women's facilities within the Region.

Concerns have been raised by both the staff at the Healing Lodge and by staff at the other Women Offender facilities in the Prairie Region regarding the screening and transfer of women offenders. It appears that the transfer procedures to and from the Healing Lodge and other Women Offender facilities in the Region may not be well understood, effectively communicated or consistently applied. On the one hand, the Lodge has voiced frustration with the fact that they feel obligated to take whoever is sent to them regardless of their spirituality in order to keep their beds full. Sending facilities, however, report that rational transfer recommendations "get thrown out" and that there is "no logical explanation" with respect to who is and is not accepted by the Lodge. These misunderstandings speak to a need for the establishment of agreed-upon transfer protocols for women's facilities within the Prairie Region. Consequently the Evaluation Team recommends that the Institutional Heads of the three Women Offender Facilities, in conjunction with Regional Headquarters and the NHQ Women Offender Sector, consider developing mutually agreed upon processes for penitentiary placements and transfers involving the Healing Lodge.

5 There may be missed opportunities with respect to mentoring, coaching and fostering teamwork in the Case Management process at the Healing Lodge.

Several Older Sisters interviewed advised that their case management reports were being altered by the Parole Officer without their consultation. When decisions are changed or reports are re-written without their knowledge, the Older Sisters report that they feel left out of the process and discouraged. Although the quality control aspect of the Parole Officer's position may be fulfilled, the coaching aspect appears to be lacking. The Evaluation Team views this as a missed opportunity for mentoring/assisting and forging a sense of teamwork. It is recognized that tight timeframes for report completion may preclude some mentoring/training opportunities. However, there will continue to be a disconnect with respect to the case management process as long as the Parole Officer continues to re-write the reports of the Older Sisters instead of mentoring, assisting and coaching them so that they are capable of doing them on their own. Consequently, the Evaluation Team recommends that the Kikawinaw clarify the role and responsibilities of the Parole Officer to ensure that the Older Sisters receive the mentoring, assisting and coaching they require to write quality reports on their own. In addition, the Parole Officer at the Healing Lodge should consider consulting with the Older Sisters when changes are to be made to their case management reports so that the Older Sisters can provide input into the modifications and gain an understanding of why the changes are required.

6 The staffing process at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is consistent with article 14.3(b) and 14.3(c) of the Memorandum of Understanding which is attached to the 1994 Agreement between the Commissioner of Corrections and the Nekaneet First Nation . In addition, the Chief and Councilors of the Nekaneet Band have no concerns with the implementation of Article 14.3(e) of the Memorandum of Understanding with respect to the right of first refusal on service contracts issued by the Healing Lodge.

The Band did, however, express concern over the nature of discussions on the transition of the Healing Lodge to a Section 81 facility. Band representatives feel that transition discussions have been stalled and would like to see these discussions move forward.

The Evaluation Team recommends that prior to a Section 81 transition, a capacity analysis of the Nekaneet Band should be undertaken to determine if they have the infrastructure in place to operate a Facility with an annual budget of approximately four million dollars. A recommended approach is to review the service contracts between CSC and the Band to determine the extent to which the provisions of the contracts (i.e. the scope of work and invoicing instructions) have been followed. Another area to examine would be the Contribution Agreements between CSC and the Band to determine the quality and timelines of the agreed upon deliverables. A third area to examine are the local services currently in place to deal with issues within the Nekaneet community.

7 It would be beneficial to facilitate the involvement of Nekaneet Elders in the development and implementation of resident-specific Healing Plans.

The Healing Plan is a living document that is intended to reflect a woman's capacity to change through the realization of her goals, while promoting and maintaining a sense of continuity in healing from the Lodge to the community. An issue that was raised by some residents and staff was that of language and the recording of information. It was mentioned that some Elders do not speak English, which may hinder their full participation in residents' Healing Plans. The issue of language and recording of information may need to be explored so that full advantage can be taken of the services offered by Elders, including their contributions to the residents' individual healing plans.

Concern has also been expressed that the residents have limited access to the Elders because the Elders are scheduled from 08:00 to 16:00 on weekdays, precisely when the residents are busy at their programs or work placements. It is suggested that consideration should be given to scheduling Elders, on occasion, on evenings and weekends when the residents are able to take full advantage of their presence.

8 The extent to which a resident of the Healing Lodge is able to continue her spiritual journey in the community presents a challenge.

General consensus was attained among interviewees regarding the need for additional community programs for women, given the multiple difficulties they face (i.e. past abuse issues, dysfunctional families, lack of resources, cultural issues, low self esteem, few social/life skills (banking, how to make appointments)). Consequently, the Evaluation Team noted that the role of Elders at the Healing Lodge should also be directed at facilitating links with Elders in the Community on behalf of the residents of the Lodge.

Effective programs can play an important role in facilitating the reintegration process. However, a major obstacle to the continuation a woman's healing journey is the fact that it is often difficult to form a group given the small numbers of women on conditional release at any one time in a given community. Some community staff interviewed indicated that "programming does not have the flexibility it needs" noting that even when there are enough women available to run a program other factors, such as arranging for childcare and transportation or illness, impact on program attendance and/or completion.

Other issues

9 The value of the barrier at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge has been questioned from time to time. Many staff interviewed at the Lodge, however, see value in the barrier remaining. In addition, there were numerous requests to reconsider staffing options for the former security post in the main reception area.

Security staff at the Healing Lodge report that the barrier ensures a degree of control and provides them with additional time to secure the facility should it be necessary. Although the barrier has been seen as symbolically conflicting with the philosophy of the Vision of the Lodge, the majority of the staff interviewed saw value in retaining the barrier.

There have also been a number of unintended outcomes as a result of moving reception from the main entrance area following a staff hostage-taking incident in October 2001 . One example is that if visitors from other CSC facilities and agencies arrive at the Lodge they do not know where to go to sign in. This has raised concern as to whether all visitors to the Lodge actually sign in as specificied in CD 566-1 "Control of Entry and Exit from Institutions". Consequently, it is suggested that a security post review be completed with the assistance of staff from RHQ who have expertise in this area.

Article 14.3(b) commits the Service to "implementing a staffing process for available positions at the Lodge, both initially and ongoing, by open competition until 50% of the Healing Lodge staff positions are occupied by Nekaneet Band members, provided that if there is a staffing freeze, approval is given by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the appropriate authority;"

Article 14.3 (c) commits the Service to "the establishment of a career plan for every Healing Lodge staff member at Healing Lodge in order to ensure that potential management candidates are identified and developed to their full potential";

Article 14.3(b) commits the Service to "implementing a staffing process for available positions at the Lodge, both initially and ongoing, by open competition until 50% of the Healing Lodge staff positions are occupied by Nekaneet Band members, provided that if there is a staffing freeze, approval is given by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the appropriate authority;"

Article 14.3 (c) commits the Service to "the establishment of a career plan for every Healing Lodge staff member at Healing Lodge in order to ensure that potential management candidates are identified and developed to their full potential";

The 2002 / 2003 budget for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is $3,914,608.00

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background

In 1990, the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women recommended that one of the five new regional federal facilities being planned should be designated specifically for Aboriginal women . The Healing Lodge concept was proposed by the Native Women's Association of Canada and by former Aboriginal women federal offenders who served as advisors to CSC when the Lodge was being designed. During the design phase, CSC sought proposals from groups interested in the development of a Healing Lodge. The selected proposal was submitted by the Nekaneet First Nation and the Town of Maple Creek. One of the key elements in this proposal was the fact that the people of the Nekaneet First Nation had maintained their traditional teachings and beliefs and were willing to share those teachings and beliefs with Aboriginal women offenders.

In June of 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Commissioner of Corrections and The Nekaneet Band. The Agreement was to designate a portion of the Nekaneet Reserve for the purpose of the Healing Lodge for an initial term of 25 years with an option to renew for a further 25-year period. In return for the land, the Nekaneet Band is to receive specific consideration in terms of staffing targets and rights of first refusal on service contracts awarded by CSC, as described in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) . The Memorandum of Agreement also committed CSC to an evaluation of the Agreement every five years to ensure adherence to the stated objectives.

Construction on the Women's Healing Lodge at Okimaw Ohci (OOHL) was completed in 1995 and the Lodge received residents that year. The Lodge is owned and operated by the federal government under the legislative mandate of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA). It is a 30-bed facility containing both single and family (mother-child) residential housing units. The central building structure, the Spiritual Lodge, is circular and represents the philosophical concept of a non-hierarchical organization. It is at the Spiritual Lodge where teachings, ceremonies and workshops with Elders take place.. The current Kikawinaw has noted that an aerial view of the Lodge shows an eagle (a powerful symbol within Aboriginal culture), with the head of the eagle being the Spiritual Lodge, the Main Lodge being the body, the parking lot representing the tail, and the living units representing the wings of the eagle. The eagle is seen as a symbol of connection to the Creator, they "see all and fly to the greatest of heights". The eagle also represents 'enlightenment, illumination", new beginnings, courage, and strength. Photographs of both the Spiritual Lodge and the Main Lodge are found in Appendix A of this report

The circular design structure is particularly important in the context of the Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women. The Aboriginal women representatives on the Task Force clearly indicated that Aboriginal women have a different worldview based on consensus and symbolised by a circle.

The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is the first CSC Women Offender institution of its kind, developed with and for First Nations communities. Many of its staff, including the current Kikawinaw (meaning "director" of the institution or "our mother" in Cree) are of Aboriginal descent. The healing journey envisioned by the Lodge is based on Aboriginal teachings, spirituality and traditions. The philosophical underpinnings of the Lodge are rooted in providing a safe environment, primarily for federally sentenced Aboriginal women, to work on their individual healing and to deal with the effects of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse.

Several important considerations prompted the creation of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. For instance, it has been proposed for a number of years that mainstream programs do not work for Aboriginal offenders. This concept was stressed in presentations to the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women and reflected in "Creating Choices", the final report of the Task Force. The Report noted that:

"Aboriginal women have a strong and uniform plea that their cultural and spiritual backgrounds be recognized and accepted and that all aspects of their treatment within the prison and on release in the community reflect this recognition."

and,

"The Correctional Service of Canada with the support of communities, has the responsibility to create the environment that empowers federally sentenced women to make meaningful and responsible choices in order that they may live with dignity and respect. "

At the time of the 1998 Five-Year Review of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), the recommendations from the Task Force continued to be an important part of the philosophy at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. The role of the staff at the Healing Lodge was reiterated as assisting offenders to:

  • restore their pride and dignity as women and mothers;
  • restore a sense of worth, dignity and hope;
  • rebuild their families and their communities; and,
  • build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal societies.

The Vision and driving principles for change proposed by the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women are restated today in the documentation distributed by the Healing Lodge to other facilities. These documents describe the basic elements of the Vision of the Healing Lodge as empowerment, meaningful and responsible choices, respect and dignity, a supportive environment and shared responsibility . A 1991 document, entitled "Role Statement Healing Lodge" lists the specific principles and objectives that are currently posted on the Infonet Site for the Healing Lodge.

At the time of this evaluation, the Vision of the Healing Lodge was being revisited as a result of recommendations from the investigation of an October 2001 hostage-taking incident. Many staff interviewed by the Evaluation Team noted, however, that if the concept of the Vision is to be assessed, it should be examined in the context of what CSC has learned after eight years of operating a Healing Lodge.

Staff assert that the profile of the offenders coming to the Lodge has changed over this period. From their perspective, residents are now younger and they are convicted of more violent offences. The Vision is now challenged by offender profiles, which include gang influences and drugs. In many Aboriginal communities, even if the women are not themselves gang members, they are the mothers, sisters, spouses or aunts of gang members. The Vision will have to address a conflict of loyalties between gang influences and committing to a spiritual path. The Healing Lodge is fully aware of and concerned about these conflicts. An October 2001 document prepared by the Kikawinaw noted that:

"Generally the older women are more committed to dealing with issues and healing, than are the younger women. The younger women are more difficult to motivate in programs and work placements. They are bored easily and encourage others to get into trouble. In the past year a few women are involved in gang behaviours, wearing headbands with specific colours, tattooing and having a negative attitude."

1.2. Evaluation Focus

During the planning phase of this evaluation, three overall lines of inquiry emerged. These were based on document and data reviews as well as on the concerns identified by interviewees. The identified issues are related to the sustainability of the current Vision of the Healing Lodge, the extent to which CSC is adhering to the terms of the 1994 Memorandum of Agreement with the Nekaneet First Nation and the extent to which former residents of the Lodge can continue their spiritual journey once released to the community. As a consequence, the evaluation focused on the following three subject areas:

  1. the extent to which mechanisms were in place to guide the Lodge in achieving its goals. This included a determination of the governance, teamwork and accountability requirements necessary for the sustainability of the Vision. It also included identifying perceptual barriers, which could negatively impact on the realisation of the Vision;
  2. a documentation of the extent to which CSC has adhered to its commitments to the Nekaneet First Nation, particularly with respect to the staffing process at the Healing Lodge, the promotion of career opportunities and the right of first refusal on service contracts; and,
  3. the identification of facilitators and obstacles to successful reintegration faced by the former residents of the Healing Lodge while they are on conditional release.

Appendix B contains the Objectives and Key Results used by the Evaluation Team to conduct this exercise.

1.3. Evaluation Methodology

The evaluation design was based on a triangulation approach. This approach is premised on the assumption that the use of multiple data collection strategies to study a project builds checks and balances into a design. These approaches include: interviews with key informants, a review and analysis of CSC databanks and project documentation, and an assessment of staff and management perceptions as to whether their expectations of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge Vision have been met.

Interview questions covered the three subject areas of the evaluation. Files and documents were also reviewed and analyzed to clarify the following issues:

  • the nature of the governance structure at the Healing Lodge;
  • the extent to which the Vision of the Healing Lodge has been communicated to other Women's Institutions;
  • the extent to which a common understanding has been developed with other sister institutions as to the eligibility criteria for transfer to and from the Healing Lodge;
  • the nature of the advice/leadership/direction among RHQ Prairies, the Healing Lodge and the NHQ Women Offenders Sector;
  • the nature and amount of training received by Healing Lodge staff;
  • the role of the Keepers of the Vision advisory board and other advisory committees; and
  • the extent to which healing plans have been combined with CSC Correctional Plans.
  • the nature of procedural barriers identified to date;

In addition, the following databanks were examined:

  • PeopleSoft data for both staff training information and number of staff on strength at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Fiscal 2001 / 2002;
  • OMS data on Correctional Plans for a select group of residents;
  • OMS data regarding admissions and transfers of residents to the Lodge; and,
  • Integrated Financial and Material Management System (IFMMS) data on service contract expenditures and suppliers for Fiscal 2001 / 2002.

In addition to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, the Evaluation Team visited the Regional Women's Institutions (Edmonton Institution for Women, and the Women's Unit at Saskatchewan Penitentiary) responsible for transferring offenders to the Healing Lodge. Other CSC facilities visited included the Regional Headquarters (Prairies), the Northern Alberta - N.W.T. District Office, the Edmonton Area Parole Office, the Regina Area Parole Office and a Community Residential Facility in Regina . Also included in the scope of this evaluation were the National Parole Board in Saskatoon , the Nekaneet Band Office and residents from the Town of Maple Creek. Both the Kikawinaw of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge and the Regional Deputy Commissioner were debriefed on the preliminary findings of this evaluation.

Interviews and discussions were held with more than 35 CSC staff. In addition, the Evaluation Team interviewed the Chief and two Band Council Members of the Nekaneet First Nation, National Parole Board staff in Saskatoon and members of the advisory group, the Kekunwemkonawuk (Keepers of the Vision). The detailed findings of this evaluation are found in Section 2 of this report. They consist of nine major findings, ten recommendations and eight suggestions with respect to the three subject areas of the evaluation.

The findings reflect the overall view of the Evaluation Team that the Vision of the Healing Lodge remains workable if consideration is given to examining the areas of management and operations discussed in this report. The team has attempted to pull together forms of consensus and best practices from other areas, and offers them for the consideration of the staff and management team at the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge.

1.4 Acknowledgements

The Evaluation Team would like to express their appreciation to all staff consulted at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, the Edmonton Institution for Women, the Women Offender Unit at Saskatchewan Penitentiary and the Community Offices in Edmonton and Regina . Their operational experience and the insights they provided to the Evaluation Team were most valuable.

The Evaluation Team members were:

Pam Haslam
Karen Kaschube
Christa Gillis
Kathy Dafoe (NHQ Women Offender Sector)

_____ Original signed by _____
Bram Deurloo
Director General
Evaluation and Review

February 13, 2003

Date

_____ Original signed by _____
Gerry Hooper
Assistant Commissioner
Performance Assurance

February 13, 2003

Date

Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, Chapter 12, April 1990.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Solicitor General of Canada , July 5, 1994 . This document is an attachment to the June 8, 1994 Memorandum of Agreement.

Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, Chapter 2. "The Voices of Aboriginal Peoples", April 1990.

IBID Section C. "Using the Wisdom to Build the Future".

CCRA 5-Year Review: "Women Offenders". Page 14. This report was part of a series of 24 research / evaluation reports that were prepared as a background to the Consolidated Report of the Working Group studying the provisions and operations of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

By the term "shared responsibility" the premise of the Task Force was that g overnments at all levels, corrections workers, voluntary sector services, businesses, private sector services and community members generally must take responsibility as interrelated parts of society. This is essential in order to foster the independence and self-reliance among federally sentenced women which will allow them to take responsibility for their past, present and future actions. To make these sound choices, women must be supported by a coordinated and comprehensive effort involving all elements in society. This, as Aboriginal teachings instruct us, is a holistic approach.

" Review of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge". October 3, 2001 .

2.0 OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS

Objective 1

To review and assess the extent to which the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is able to adhere to its original Vision.

2.1 Finding #1

The success of the current or future Vision of the Healing Lodge is contingent on the existence of key factors of good governance. These include a participatory or consultative decision making framework, clear definitions of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities and the consistent and rational application of CSC policy.

During the past decade, the word "governance" has progressed from obscurity to widespread use. With respect to the public sector, governance has been defined as the following:

"the process whereby, within accepted traditions and institutional frameworks, interests are articulated by different sectors of society, decisions are taken, and decision makers are held to account..Governance is about the way in which power is exercised. "

Governance is about how decisions are made and how they are communicated. It is about roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of both staff and advisory committees. It is about policy frameworks and how policy is implemented. Within the context of this definition, the Evaluation Team has concerns in the following areas:

  • the absence of a sustainable participatory or consultative decision making framework;
  • communication difficulties involving management, staff and advisory committees; and,
  • the implementation of CSC policies within the context of the Healing Lodge.

A. Decision-Making and Communication

From the standpoint of governance, the management model conceptualized for the Healing Lodge was to be non-hierarchical. The Aboriginal women representatives on the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women clearly stated that Aboriginal woman have:

."a different world-view based on connection as symbolized by the circle and therefore our way is not accepting of hierarchies".

A 1991 "Role Statement" document proposed that the Healing Lodge be administered through a consultative, non-hierarchical model . The "Role Statement" posted to the current Infonet site for the Healing Lodge noted, however, that the concept of a non-hierarchical management model has never been implemented.

"To date, the Lodge has been established based on a hierarchical model. The Kikawinaw (Mother) and Assistant Kikawinaw oversee most of the operation. The Kikawisinaws (Aunts) supervise the majority of the staff."

At the time of the evaluation, evidence from both e-mail and staff interviews indicated that decisions made at the Lodge continued to be carried out in the absence of an agreed upon form of consultation with staff or advisory groups and were consequently perceived as being hierarchical in nature. In fact, the practical concepts of how the proposed non-hierarchical decision making framework would work within the parameters of a Healing Lodge that is also a national CSC Women Offender facility had never been pragmatically established. The advantage of a hierarchical decision-making framework is that decisions can be made very quickly. The risks of this approach, however, are that if decisions are made unilaterally (excluding staff, advisory groups and the unions) effective communication becomes imperative.

Effective communication is also very important when numerous decisions are made within a short timeframe. Many staff interviewed expressed concern that there have been many decisions communicated as "fait accompli" by e-mail. At times, elements of ambiguity have been introduced in the e-mails announcing changes. For instance, an attachment to one e-mail noted that "inappropriate staff will be moved ", resulting in staff speculation as to who is "inappropriate" with some staff members reporting that they pack their belongings each day on the chance that they would be told to move "elsewhere''. Furthermore, concern was expressed that the residents often knew about administrative decisions before staff were informed. Staff perceptions are also affected under these circumstances, viewing the decision-making as contradictory, ambiguous and as repeatedly changing in terms of management direction.

The Morning Circle presents an opportunity for the type of consultation required for non-hierarchical or consultative decision-making. It also offers an occasion for effective communication. The vast majority of staff interviewed, however, noted that the Circle was only used to say "good morning" to each other.

The Evaluation Team finds that the frequent absences of senior management from the Lodge (due to both CSC and outside demands), coupled with the absence of a designated Deputy position to act for the Kikawinaw may, in part, have impacted on the vulnerability of the Lodge to the above-stated decision making and communication difficulties. When an institutional head, or any senior manager undertakes recurrent absences from their facility, issues requiring a decision frequently accumulate and there are pressures for action upon his/her return. Under these circumstances, there are risks that decisions-makers could act outside of the scope of their responsibilities and authorities. The Evaluation Team examined e-mail correspondence in which a number of decisions were made, some of which may be outside the authority of any single manager. These decisions included the following:

  • the unilateral establishment of a "Board of Governors" for the Lodge "primarily consisting of Nekaneet people that would eventually manage the Lodge after the transition"; and,
  • the decision "not to put a lot of effort into the Vision, if we are soon going to adopt the Nekaneet Vision".

The Vision was originally developed by a circle of Aboriginal women, CSC staff (including NHQ Women Offender representatives) and women Elders. The circle was expanded to include the Nekaneet before the construction of the Healing Lodge. Since the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is a national facility primarily for Aboriginal women, decisions with respect to the Vision of the Lodge and the composition of its advisory committees should be the result of a process which includes the opinions of the representatives or the delegated representatives of the original circle.

The Evaluation Team also has concerns regarding a proposed "Board of Governors". Legal Services has noted that all those involved in governance discussions should understand that the Service cannot delegate any of its management responsibilities to an external party or individual. Therefore, any Committee or joint body established by CSC must serve a purely advisory function.

In general, issues of professionalism, confidentiality and trust, as well as Task Force principles (of empowerment and meaningful and responsible choices) were raised by several staff members with respect to their perceived treatment by the Healing Lodge management. They voiced concerns related to messages they had received from management, such as being told they could "go work somewhere else" in response to wanting to discuss work issues, or that management was contemplating moving "inappropriate staff". Respondents indicated that "staff are disempowered" in their personal development and awareness. At the time of the evaluation, there appeared to be difficulties establishing healthy work relationships at the Healing Lodge.

It should be pointed out, however, that following the June, 2002 visit by the Evaluation Team (and a subsequent visit by staff from the NHQ Women Offender Sector), the Healing Lodge presented a follow-up plan to deal with the communication issues identified by these concerns with respect to governance.

B. Lessons Learned from the Advisory Committees

If advisory committees such as the Kekunwemkonawuk (Keepers of the Vision) and the Elders Council are disbanded, the Healing Lodge may wish to examine the "lessons learned" from the experience of these committees. The Keepers of the Vision consists of representatives from the Nekaneet Band, the town of Maple Creek, the Alberta Women's Council and the Elizabeth Fry Society. The Elders' Council consists of four female Elders, two of whom are from out of province (one from Ontario and another from British Columbia ).

It appears that there may have been a disconnect between the efforts of some members of the Keepers of the Vision and the administration at the Healing Lodge prior to the tenure of the current Kikawinaw. One example cited was the efforts of the town of Maple Creek to raise money to purchase equipment and toys for the day care facility at the Lodge. For three years, the town held auctions every month, raising over $6,000. The Lodge, however, never used this money and the toys and equipment were purchased using funds internal to CSC. The money raised by the town remains in a bank in Maple Creek.

Members of the Keepers of the Vision interviewed by the Evaluation Team noted that the frequency of meetings gradually decreased over the years and that the minutes for the meetings were issued "months later" and contained items that at least one member felt were not discussed at the meeting. Committee members felt that their role was unclear and that the recommendations they made were not being followed. A Terms of Reference for the Keepers of the Vision was never formalized.

Conversely, many Healing Lodge staff members interviewed by the Evaluation Team expressed frustration with the role of the "Keepers of the Vision". As one staff member expressed it:

"This committee would come two to three times a year, they would listen to the residents and then tell us to do this or do that. They never authenticated what the residents were saying. They were always telling us what is wrong."

The Nekaneet Chief and Band Council members interviewed by the Evaluation Team also had concerns regarding the role of the Elders Council. The Nekaneet

felt that the Elders Council members should have been teaching the Nekaneet Elders the rules about conduct in an institution. This, according to the Nekaneet, never happened. The Nekaneet Band members feel that Advising Elders should also be teaching their ceremonies to the Nekaneet women. At present the residents are being taught male ceremonies and what is needed is for the Nekaneet Elders to learn the women's ceremonies and ultimately for the residents to be assisting the Elders in providing the ceremonies. Interviews with residents who had experience with healing ceremonies in other facilities corroborated the Nekaneet perception that women should be contributing more to the ceremonies.

Given the above observations, the Evaluation Team finds that there are several "lessons learned" based on CSC's experience working with the Keepers of the Vision and the Elders Council. For instance, the roles of both advisory committees should be made clear. This can be accomplished by having an approved Terms of Reference in place for each advisory committee which outlines the roles, responsibilities and obligations of both CSC and each advisory committee. In addition, the Terms of Reference should specify the nature of the representation on each committee. Furthermore, the outcome of any committee recommendations should be communicated to committee members. As well, the distribution of meeting minutes should be timely so that committee members can check the minutes against their own notes, impressions and recollections.

C. The Governance Aspect of Policy

Interviews with staff from the Healing Lodge as well as a review of the proceedings of the May 15 to 17 Retreat on the Vision of the Healing Lodge suggest that not all CSC policies adapt easily to the environment and philosophy of the Healing Lodge. At the same time, staff were aware that "cutting corners" or not following policy could send mixed messages to the residents. As one staff member summarised the dilemma:

"We have the perception that policy is not a positive thing and this is reflected in our practices, in our bending of policy. This sends mixed messages to the women about following rules and we reinforce their behaviour. Our actions and philosophy do not meet - we have policy versus Creating Choices."

During the course of this evaluation, staff members pointed out several circumstances where the Healing Lodge was at risk of non-compliance with CSC policy. Some of these areas are as follows:

  • the completion of Temporary Absence forms as per policy so that the pass specifies where the resident is to go;
  • the administration of the Commissioner's Directive on the Control of Access to the Institution so that there is a process in place for authorizing entry and a mechanism in place to properly identify both staff and visitors and ensure that all visitors sign in; and,
  • the Commissioner's Directive on Escorts which should be considered for amendment to take into consideration the nature of the spiritual healing program to which the Lodge has committed.

Consequently, the Evaluation Team concludes that the operational policies (both Security and Case Management) which impact on the Healing Lodge should be reviewed to determine if any adjustments or addenda are required to accommodate the unique environment of the Facility. This could be accomplished as part of the current review and update of the Operational Plan underway by the Women Offender Sector.

Recently the Audit Branch of NHQ Performance Assurance published a list of non-compliance issues, which are areas of concern to CSC as a whole . These are listed for the information and consideration of the Healing Lodge.

  • Grants and Contributions: There has been recent heavy media exposure about grants and contributions. While CSC is not a heavy user of these funding mechanisms, it is an area where risk can occur if due attention is not paid to ensuring that payments are made in accordance with the provisions of the agreement and that all deliverables are received.
  • Cash Management: It is an area which traditionally receives little management attention within operational units. A recent audit highlighted control deficiencies, particularly in areas where separation of duties would be considered to be an important element of proper management control. While the audit did not identify any evident loss or misappropriation of funds or assets, it is an area where CSC is vulnerable. It is recognized that full separation of duties is not always possible; however, increased attention to this area should be considered.
  • Privacy: Again recent media coverage has highlighted the need to protect personal information that we have under our control. A recent administrative investigation focused on inappropriate access by staff to information in the Offender Management System (OMS) and a survey completed in conjunction with the Correctional Management Ethics course strongly suggests that incidents of inappropriate access to this OMS information is not uncommon. It may be appropriate that this message be clearly delivered to staff.

D. Tapping into the Expertise Available in the Region and at National Headquarters

Many staff members noted that the Healing Lodge would benefit from strong links to both Regional and National Headquarters. The Evaluation Team is also in agreement with the concept of strong linkages to other CSC sources for sound operational advice and expertise. These linkages would serve two purposes:

  • They would offer the Lodge key contacts to serve as "champion" to explain and defend (at Regional and National Headquarters) the unique contingencies that define both the Vision and operation of the Lodge; and,
  • They would serve as a source of mentoring that the Lodge could draw on (as needed) for specific operational expertise.

An example of the requirement for specific operational expertise that would be valuable to the Lodge is the assistance of a specialist on rosters, as rosters require a high level of specific knowledge and proficiency. During the course of this evaluation, it came to the attention of the Evaluation Team that there were several staff members who work on the roster for the Healing Lodge. This was an area of concern to many staff interviewed. Staff reported that they were either understaffed or overstaffed, on their shift, depending on who had been managing the roster. In addition, staff reported that they have been hired on double time for a dayshift when staff from the nightshift could have been asked to stay. Furthermore, on June 4, 2002 , the Lodge was given notification that a Part 2 (Section 127.1 (1) of the Canada Labour Code) would be filed. Staff are prepared to refuse to work if their shift is not fully staffed.

It should be stated that the Management at the Healing Lodge has requested assistance from the Region both with respect to rosters and with assistance undertaking a post analysis, noting that:

"Any expertise that can be provided to us, to assist with rosters or managing overtime would be appreciated. "

The Evaluation Team believes that the expertise available at Regional Headquarters should be used to provide both assistance and training to the Lodge with respect to developing rosters. In addition, consideration should be given to assigning responsibilities for the roster to one staff member (with another staff member trained as backup).

The Evaluation Team also concludes that the Lodge would benefit from ongoing contact with designated experienced RHQ and NHQ managers to share knowledge, understanding and "know-how" of overall CSC operations and, in particular, of operations in womens' facilities.

E. Best Practices in Governance

A number of factors influence governance practices. For instance, a 2001 Study on Governance "Do's & Don'ts" offers the following signs of an organization in trouble . These include the following:

  • poor attendance at meetings;
  • underground communications;
  • unresolved conflicts;
  • factionalism;
  • disrespect for organizational norms and policies; and,
  • poor communication with key stakeholders.

The same study also identified the following "Keys to Success ". These include:

  • strong leadership;
  • a positive working relationship between management and staff;
  • role clarity;
  • strong agreement of key stakeholders on organizational values, mission and objectives;
  • respect for organizational policies and decisions;
  • high levels of trust and low levels of conflict; and,
  • some form of participatory or consultative decision-making.

The majority of the above signs of "successful governance" are implicit in the many texts describing the Vision for the Healing Lodge. The "keys" to governance success are easy to articulate, but a resolute commitment to open communications and a good deal of hard work is required when any organization deals with governance issues.

Given the above observations with respect to Governance issues (such as decision making, the role of advisory committees, policy review and access to operational expertise), the Evaluation Team makes the following recommendations and suggestions:

Recommendation #1

That the Kikawinaw consider delegating some of her off-site responsibilities to allow more "hands on" time at the Healing Lodge in order to establish a consensus or near-consensus decision-making framework.

Recommendation #2

That the Kikawinaw formalize and clarify the roles, responsibilities and obligations between CSC and the advisory committees that serve the Healing Lodge.

Recommendation #3

That the NHQ Women Offender Sector as part of the process of reviewing the Operational Plan for the Healing Lodge, conduct a review of CSC policies that are key to the operations of the Lodge to determine the extent to which amendments specific to the unique requirements of the Healing Lodge should be in place in CSC policy.

Recommendation #4

That the links between the Regional Headquarters, the NHQ Women Offender Sector and the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge be strengthened to provide the Healing Lodge with access to expertise in overall CSC operations (including rostering expertise) and, in particular, to operations specific to womens' facilities.

2.2 Finding #2

There are many thoughtful comprehensive documents describing both the Vision and the Role of the Lodge. To avoid having essential messages lost in descriptive prose, the Healing Lodge may wish to consider developing a single statement of purpose that reflects the essence of the current, or a reformulated, Vision.

The Vision that guided the development and construction of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is now a decade old. It was originally developed by a multi-partite circle of CSC staff, women Elders and Aboriginal women. The Vision Circle was enlarged to include Nekaneet representatives when the location of the Lodge was announced. Since the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is a national facility primarily for Aboriginal women, any reformulation of the Vision must be done through a process which is inclusive of Aboriginal women's voices in addition to the perspectives of the Nekaneet and CSC.

Over the past fourteen years, there have been many thoughtful, comprehensive documents written which have described various aspects of the Vision. All of these documents have reflected, in one manner or another, the concepts expressed by the five Principles for Change proposed by the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women and accepted by the federal government in 1990.

In addition to "Creating Choices", the final report of the Task Force of Federally Sentenced Women, the Evaluation Team reviewed eight other Vision-related documents. These were:

  1. " Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge", an undated document describing the design of the Healing Lodge and outlining principles such as: the promotion of a safe environment, fostering caring attitudes toward self, family and community, and understanding the transitory aspects of Aboriginal Life.
  2. A 1991 Role Statement of the Healing Lodge , which reiterates the five principles cited in Creating Choices. The role statement also premises the Vision on an additional six principles which reflected those in the above-mentioned document on the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. In addition, principles focusing on a pride in surviving difficult circumstances and a belief in individual planning for each woman that "they themselves help develop" are described. The role statement also establishes 13 specific objectives. These deal with the requirement to provide a correctional healing model in a safe environment, to teach and practice ceremonies, to share oral teachings, to promote self respect and understanding and to facilitate release at the earliest possible time by addressing those aspects as to why women are involved in crime.
  3. The "Role Statement" on the Infonet Site for the Healing Lodge , which endorses the principles and specific objectives presented by the 1991 Role Statement.
  4. The "Healing Lodge Vision", an undated document, based on "Seven Generations - The Ojibway teaching on the Seven Stages of Life " which describes the philosophy of the Healing Lodge. In addition to endorsing the principles discussed in both of the Role Documents, this document envisions the Healing Lodge as a place to have seasonal gatherings for the celebration of the four directions. The document also stresses involvement in ceremonies, including the Sweat Lodge ceremony and Sundance and Rain Dance ceremonies. Of particular importance is the sharing of the teachings of oral traditions where ceremonies can be protected, where rebirth of language, customs, beliefs and traditional methods of teachings can take place in a natural way.
  5. The Nekaneet First Nation "Vision and Philosophy for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge , which summarizes the commitments and beliefs of the Nekaneet First Nation as the strength and preservation of the Nekaneet Aboriginal ways, including "the teachings and our language". Also emphasized is the centrality of the Elders in the Nekaneet community, and in the healing process as well as the power of those teachings to promote the healing of Aboriginal women offenders and other Aboriginal peoples."
  6. A Healing Plan for residents at the Healing Lodge, which describes a five step process emphasizing a safe environment, self knowledge and inner reflection as the initial conditions to proceed on a healing journey.
  7. The Five Year Review of the CCRA, which also emphasizes the restorative aspects of the Vision, namely restoring pride, dignity, a sense of worth, hope, rebuilding family and community and reaching out to non-Aboriginal societies."
  8. The "Curriculum Framework - Healing Lodge Staff Training , a course outline designed to prepare staff to incorporate the principles and objectives of the Vision in their day-to-day work. It consists of concepts such as self-knowledge, self-awareness, empowerment, self-esteem, coping with early trauma and self-realization.

In all of the above documents the healing process advocated by the Vision is defined by the following concepts:

  1. the ability to build on self-knowledge by developing an increased awareness of one's self and an awareness of the issues that have impacted on's life within the context of a safe environment;
  2. the ability to attain both knowledge and the gift to empower oneself so that one deals with all human kind (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) from a position of equality;
  3. To acquire, learn and reflect on Aboriginal teachings, ceremonies, traditions, language and spirituality in order to deepen one's role as a woman, mother and community member.

The Healing Lodge may wish to consider encapsulating the concepts which are embedded in these well-formulated texts into a single statement similar to corporate Mission statements. This statement, if accepted by representatives of Aboriginal women, by the Nekaneet Elders and by CSC, could then be posted at key points in the Healing Lodge such as reception, day care, programming rooms or other high traffic areas.

One option to consider may be the development of a graphic representation of the Vision instead of a statement. For instance, a circle with the essential elements or the essential outcomes to be addressed along a resident's spiritual path, could be used to symbolize the Vision. Once agreed upon, consideration should be given to including the Vision Statement (or statement of purpose) in the residents' individual Healing Plans. Consideration should also be given to communicating and posting the Statement in sister institutions and in community offices.

Like corporate Mission statements, the Vision statement should place priorities on what the Healing Lodge can reasonably accomplish given the short stay of many residents. As one staff member remarked about this dilemma:

"They go away with respect for themselves as Aboriginal women but not a deep-felt commitment to Aboriginal spirituality that pervades their life. We can bring them to the concept of what it is like to be an Aboriginal woman. Perhaps we should put priorities on what we can do for them here. This would give them attainable goals."

The Vision is also about a safe environment for both residents and staff. If the Vision is to be successfully reformulated and its concepts successfully implemented, it will have to be done in a collegial atmosphere where a free exchange of opinion is allowed. Many staff interviewed by the Evaluation Team listed the following attributes as important in both attaining and recapturing the Vision:

  • communication;
  • voicing one's opinion;
  • allowing staff and residents needs to be known; and,
  • being listened to.

Given the above observations, the Evaluation Team makes the following suggestion:

Suggestion #1

That once the Vision of the Lodge has been rethought or reformulated, that consideration be given to deriving the essential messages from the Vision texts and communicating a single statement of purpose for the Lodge, similar to corporate Mission statements.

2.3 Finding #3

The Healing Lodge would benefit from a formal, sustainable orientation program for new staff and a more flexible recruitment proces.

Prior to the opening of the Healing Lodge, members of the Healing Lodge Planning Circle developed a training component for future Lodge staff. The intent of this plan was to ensure that staff were appropriately trained and prepared to work with the women who would be residing there. EXCOM approved the training plan in October 1993. The four phases of the training (to be completed within a 24-week period) were:

  • Phase 1, which focused on substance abuse and the types of resulting behaviours it produces, as well as treatment theories and methodologies.
  • Phase 2, which dealt with the theories and counseling approaches thought to be best suited to the issues faced by the residents, including Aboriginal traditions and methods.
  • Phase 3, which was the Correctional Training Program (CTP). All candidates participated in the basic CTP with the exception of weapons training. Facilitators who were familiar with Aboriginal culture and who were sensitive to the philosophy of the Healing Lodge delivered the course.
  • Phase 4, which included involvement with Elders as well as the spiritual cleansing of individual candidates, and of the Healing Lodge and its grounds.

Once the successful candidates were selected, they were provided with case management orientation. In addition, training on the Offender Management System was provided. When the Healing Lodge opened in November 1995, it was fully staffed (27.5 positions had been filled) and everyone had completed the above-noted training program.

At the time of this evaluation, of a current staff complement of approximately 54 , only 15 of this core group remain. The formal intensive training provided to the original staff (with the exception of CTP and the Parole Officer Orientation Course) has never been re-delivered. With so few of the original staff left to carry on the concepts of the Vision taught in the original training, it has been a challenge for the Lodge to adhere to that Vision. Comments from staff included the following:

"Even some of the 'originals' have lost sight of the Vision".

"I am resentful today that what we were taught is not being upheld. It's supposed to be about personal development and empowerment and being role models for the residents . can't do that when staff are being disempowered."

"I was aware that there were a lot of grey areas but I am beginning to lose what I learned. The job is not at all what I expected."

At the time of the evaluation, numerous staff reported that there is no training or orientation provided to new staff to familiarize them with the elements of the Vision and Lodge operations. Although CSC's Correctional Training Program now includes a 10-day orientation period at the facility to which new trainees are assigned, interviewees feel that all new staff would benefit from an orientation to the Vision and environment of the Healing Lodge. One staff member suggested that new staff should be given copies of "Creating Choices", the "Role Statement" and the Vision when they are "signing their papers". This would be particularly beneficial for staff transferring in from men's institutions, especially those coming to the Lodge in an Older Sister capacity.

Older Sisters (as Primary Workers) are more involved in the management of cases than are their counterparts in men's institutions due in large part to the different approach adopted in managing women offenders. As a result, it is essential to ensure that CX02 staff seconded or deployed to Older Sister positions at the Healing Lodge have access to the appropriate training. It should be pointed out that there is a National process to facilitate the deployment of CX02's to Primary Worker positions. This process could be used to assist management at Healing Lodge with the deployment or secondment of new staff from men's facilities. It would also serve to clarify the expectations of CX staff with respect to the requirements of the Primary Worker position and the women-centered approach.

In addition, there should be some form of orientation for staff coming from men's facilities as soon as possible after their arrival, even if this is in the form of a meeting with a member of the management team to clarify reciprocal expectations. Although a 10-day Women-Centered Training Program is to be provided to all Older Sisters within four months of appointment to their position, the Evaluation Team's interviews with staff at the Healing Lodge suggest that this is not always the case.

As noted above, there has been significant turnover of staff at the Lodge, particularly in the ranks of the Older Sisters, and the recruitment of replacement staff has proven to be a challenge. A number of issues were identified as contributing to these recruitment difficulties. These include:

  • The isolation of the Lodge (it is 30-40 minutes away from the nearest town).
  • The difficult road conditions all staff must face to get to work each day. The road is not paved and in places there is no gravel. There are no light standards or guardrails and there are no standard markers to suggest one is on the right road. Directions given to new staff (and visitors) are to follow the telephone wires and the automobile tires at the side of the road, which mark the way. Appendix C provides two pictures of the road leading in to the Healing Lodge. It has also been reported that following a heavy snowfall, the road (the only access to and from the facility) is often not plowed until well after noon .
  • The perceived lack of respect other CSC facilities (both men's and women's) have for the Lodge. Several staff members noted that when they attend Regional or National meetings they constantly hear "you guys are from the Huggy Lodge". Another staff member added that worse comments are made in the local community. All staff noted that comments such as these are very demoralizing and stressful.

Recruitment may also be hampered by an agreed-upon benchmark under CSC's National Aboriginal Recruitment Strategy that Aboriginal staff will form at least 50% of the staff complement of a Healing Lodge. This requirement may be difficult to uphold, given the small number of Aboriginal candidates found in the PSC inventory. The current Kikawinaw has noted:

" We can't get any Aboriginal people through the process to succeed at CTP training ."

The Executive Committee (EXCOM) at CSC is however, in the process of considering Section 5 of the Employment Equity Act with a view to facilitating staffing actions. Staffing difficulties may also be relieved if the Healing Lodge establishes links with the National Aboriginal Recruitment Strategy and a separate inventory is created at RHQ to expedite hiring.

When asked about training needs, many staff noted that in addition to personal/career development, assertiveness training was essential. They felt that this would enable them to better develop and enforce boundaries with residents. There was a great deal of frustration expressed regarding the inability of some staff "to say no" to residents. Assertiveness training was also viewed as a means to alleviate the stress leave issue. It was alleged that people take stress leave when they cannot effectively express their dissatisfaction with their job or job conditions or feel that their concerns will go unheard. It was reported that many do not return. It appeared to the Evaluation Team that what staff were actually identifying was the need for a course on effective communication (which may or may not have an associated assertiveness training component).

Plumtree, Tim., Graham, John., "Governance in the New Millenium: Challenges for Canada ". Institute on Governance. Ottawa . www.iog.ca January 2000.

Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, April 1990. Chapter 2 "The Voices of Aboriginal Peoples".

Louie, M., Lavallee, J., Mosher, l., et al. "Role Statement - Healing Lodge" Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge . Correctional Service Canada . December, 1991.

As of July 2002.

Attachment to e-mail dated May 23, 2002 .

E-mail dated May 23, 2002 entitled "Retreat with RHQ, NHQ and Others".

These concerns were shared by eight of the twelve staff members interviewed.

At the time of this Evaluation (July 2002) the Keepers of the Vision had not met for the past two years.

E-mail to Assistant Commissioner, Performance Assurance dated June 19, 2002

Email from the Kikawinaw of the Healing Lodge to the RDC, Prairie Region June 17, 2002 .

Gil, Mel., "Governance Do's & Don'ts Lessons from Case Studies on Twenty Canadian Non-profits". Institute on Governance . ww w .iog.ca April 23, 2001 page 4.

IBID

These principles are: empowerment, meaningful and responsible choices, respect and dignity, a supportive environment and shared responsibility.

Louie, Mary, Lavallee, Joan, Mosher, Lisa et al. "Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge" Correctional Service of Canada . Maple Creek , Saskatchewan . Undated Page 2.

IBID Page 2

Louie, Mary, Lavallee, Joan, Mosher, Lisa et al. "Healing Lodge Vision". Undated Document received Edmonton Institution for Women February 1, 1999 . Page 1.

"Vision and Philosophy for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge". Nekaneet First Nation. October 2001. Page 5.

"Healing Plan" Undated Document faxed to NHQ Performance Assurance from the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge May 9, 2002 .

CCRA 5-Year Review: "Women Offenders". 1998. Page 14. This report was part of a series of 24 research / evaluation reports that were prepared as a background to the Consolidated Report of the Working Group studying the provisions and operations of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

McIvor, Sharon D. "Curriculum Framework - Healing Lodge " Correctional Service of Canada . March 1994.

Data extracted from PeopleSoft Staffing Profile of Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge as of March 31, 2002 .

Recommendation #5

That the Management Team at the Healing Lodge take advantage of the National processes in place in order to facilitate the deployment or secondment of CX02 staff from men's facilities and to clarify the expectations of these staff regarding a women centered approach. Further, there should be some form of orientation for staff coming from men's facilities as soon as possible after their arrival, even if this is in the form of a meeting with a member of the Management Team to clarify reciprocal expectations.

Recommendation #6

That new staff (whether from a men's facility or a new recruit) be fit into the roster so that they can be paired with one of the original 15 staff members for one week of shadowing for the purpose of orientation and explanation / communication of the Vision. In addition, the Management Team at the Healing Lodge should ensure that the 10-day Women Centered training Program is provided to all Older Sisters within four months of their deployment or secondment.

2.4 Finding #4

There is a need to develop clearly articulated, mutually agreed upon screening, placement and transfer protocols between the Healing Lodge and the other Women's facilities within the Region.

In the Prairie Region there are two other Women Offender facilities in addition to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. Edmonton Insitution for Women (EIFW) houses medium and minimum security women while Saskatchewan Penitentiary houses maximum women offenders. Although the woman's security level is determined while she is still housed in a provincial facility, the Edmonton Institution For Women has the intake assessment responsibility for all women offenders in the Prairie Region. The Kikawinaw of the Healing Lodge, however, has the final say as to who will or will not be accepted to her facility. It is therefore imperative that clearly articulated and mutually agreed upon protocols are in place to ensure that the right resident arrives at the right institution at the appropriate time in her sentence to support safe, timely reintegration. In addition, given the role of the Healing Lodge as a unique national facility, these protocols should be communicated to all CSC Women Offender facilities as Women Offenders from outside the Prairie Region may apply for admission to the Lodge.

The main components to achieving a collective understanding are clearly communicated and mutually acceptable screening criteria and transfer to and from protocols. The Standard Operating Practices on Transfer of Offenders (SOP 700-15) specifically states that when a placement institution for any offender is being recommended, the one providing the least restrictive environment must be selected (taking into consideration, among others, the following factors):

  • the safety of the public, the offender and other persons in the penitentiary;
  • the offender's individual security classification;
  • the security level of the institution;
  • accessibility to the offender's home community and family;
  • the cultural and linguistic environment best suited to the offender;
  • the availability of appropriate programs and services to meet the offender's needs; and,
  • the offender's willingness to participate in programs .

That notwithstanding, serious concerns have been raised by the staff at the Healing Lodge and the other women's facilities regarding both screening and transfer practices. It seems that the procedures for effecting a seamless flow of inmate movement to and from the Healing Lodge are either not well communicated or the criteria are not consistently applied. The Lodge has voiced frustration with the fact that they feel obligated to take whomever is sent to them regardless of their spirituality in order to keep their beds full. Sending facilities report that rational transfer recommendations "get thrown out" and that there is no logical explanation with respect to who is and is not accepted by the Lodge. Typical comments included:

"Who the Lodge takes is 'hit and miss'" .

and

"I cannot figure out what the Lodge wants" .

It appears that the greatest obstacle to establishing strong linkages with the other women's facilities in the region is the lack of effective communication. The lack of clarity surrounding the screening and transfer processes to and from the Lodge speaks to a need for agreed-upon protocols to be established.

A. Healing Lodge Screening Procedures

There is widespread concern that the current screening system requires review. It was noted that at one time Lodge staff personally interviewed the women while they were still in remand or while they were being housed at another federal facility and prepared them for their transfer to the Lodge. This practice has stopped with time, travel, and resources being cited as contributing factors. In the present environment, all requests to go to the Lodge are processed as voluntary transfer requests. This creates extra paperwork for the sending facilities, as it is an extra step in what, in many instances, is the Penitentiary Placement process.

One staff member suggested that the concept of personally interviewing the women be revisited. She proposed that a team of three people comprised of an Elder and an Older Sister could interview potential residents with the purpose of attaining an improved "fit" between residents and the functioning and Vision of the Lodge. Another staff member noted:

"Part of our problem is that we do not go and talk to the women. It would help knowing who is charged and who may get federal time."

B. Transfers In

All staff interviewed at the Lodge agreed that all women transferred to the Lodge should be assessed as a minimum or medium security level. Nekaneet council members, Lodge staff and staff from both Edmonton Institution For Women and Saskatchewan Penitentiary felt that there should be some demonstrated commitment to Aboriginal spirituality, such as contact with the Elders prior to the transfer. In addition, it was felt that Elders should play a role in recommending potential transfer candidates. Table 1 summarises the proposed criteria for placement at the Healing Lodge.


Table 1: Proposed Criteria for Placement at the Healing Lodge

Criteria

Edmonton Institution for Women

Saskatchewan Penitentiary (Women's Unit)

OOHL

Nekaneet Council Members

Minimum/Medium Security Level

X

X

X

 

Currently taking Aboriginal Spirituality programs

X

X

X

 

Recommended by Elder

X

   

X

Recommended by visiting OOHL Teams

   

X

 

Expresses Interest in Transferring to a Healing Lodge

X

     

Qualifies for the Mother Child program as per CSC Policy

X

X

   

Involved in Sweats and Elders prior to transfer

 

X

 

X

Shows respect for staff and peers.

 

X

   

For those women who have recently been reclassified from maximum security to medium security, there was also consensus that the safe Lodge should be used as a "step down environment". This would provide an Older Sister and an Aboriginal counsellor the opportunity to work with the resident and allow her with the time needed to adjust to the less structured Lodge environment.

Both sending facilities felt that if an offender qualified for the Mother-Child program (as specified in CSC policy), then she should also be considered as a potential transfer candidate. The Healing Lodge strongly opposes this, noting that not only should the women who may be considered for the program meet the Mother-Child program criteria, they should also have to meet the basic admission criteria for the Lodge. Acceptance into the Mother-Child program must be contingent on meeting the criteria for Lodge admission, and not the other way around. Both the NHQ Women Offender Sector and the Evaluation Team are in agreement with this position.

Staff interviewed at the Healing Lodge suggested that the other women's facilities do not understand the Lodge environment and offered this advice for those recommending a placement or transfer to the Lodge.

"They should see this place first and know the environment. You take someone 'led by the nose' all day. who makes no decisions then bring her here. Now she must do things for herself, go to school by herself, etc."

C.  Transfers Out

Staff and residents of the Healing Lodge are of the impression that there are no strictly followed guidelines with respect to who is transferred out of the Lodge and for what reasons. The perception is that zero tolerance seems to apply for some residents but not for others. As one staff member observed:

"We do not exactly have zero tolerance, maybe 5% tolerance ".

It would be advisable to strive toward a consistent standard that would be applied equally to all residents caught under the influence or alcohol or drugs. This would work toward the elimination of the perception of differential treatment.

With respect to transfers out of the Healing Lodge, both Edmonton Institution For Women and Saskatchewan Penitentiary agreed that it would be reasonable to expect the Lodge to want to remove a resident if the risk associated with keeping her at the Lodge was deemed unmanageable. They added that transfers should be based on pure policy and not used as a form of punishment. However, they also acknowledged that their ability to influence this aspect of their inter-relationship was limited, as the Healing Lodge has the final decision-making authority with respect to all transfers to and from the Lodge.

Regarding the actual transfer of residents, both receiving facilities were candid with their concerns. At Saskatchewan Penitentiary, for example, it was noted that:

"The Healing Lodge generates a lot of work for us. They will take a minimum or medium inmate and 'max her'. Sometimes they just show up with the inmate. We hear a rumour that they are coming. Or they will phone us and say that the van is on the way."

Concern was also expressed at both EIFW and Saskatchewan Penitentiary regarding the number of women offenders arriving without any involuntary transfer documents completed (including assessments) and the fact that they (the receiving facility) ended up doing the paperwork. There was also concern expressed regarding the discovery of day parole or UTA applications on the files (sometimes dated months prior to the transfer occurring) for which no paperwork had yet been completed. One staff member observed:

"They use us and they dump on us. If we send someone to the Lodge, they want the structured casework records completed but they do not reciprocate."

The Coordinators of Case Management (CCM) at both Edmonton Institution For Women and Saskatchewan Penitentiary noted that they regularly exchange information about accommodation issues and offenders but that they did not have the same relationship with the CCM at the Healing Lodge. They noted that they "have the impression that the CCM at the Lodge is overworked and overruled". It was reiterated that there is excellent teamwork between Edmonton Institution For Women and Saskatchewan Penitentiary but that there was no teamwork and little communication with Case Management staff at the Healing Lodge.

D. Transfer Protocols

There are evident gaps in the channels of communication between the three facilities as well as in communication internal to the Healing Lodge. Clearly articulated decision-making practices with respect to transfers to and from the Lodge would help to establish healthy relationships between the sending and receiving facilities. Further, specific admission criteria should be determined and conveyed to the sending facilities. An oversight committee such as the Offender Management Review Board should be in place at the Lodge and their decision patterns should ensure fairness and respect for rights. All documentation required to accompany an inmate from the sending facility should be specified and the protocols for effecting a transfer should be placed into a user friendly format accessible to anyone involved in the transfer in or out process.

As a result of the above observations with respect to screening criteria and transfer protocols, the Evaluation Team makes the following recommendation:

Recommendation #7

That the Institutional Heads of the Women Offender Institutions in Prairie Region, in conjunction with Regional Headquarters and the NHQ Women Offender Sector develop the following protocols:

  • a mutually agreed upon screening criteria for transfers to the Healing Lodge;
  • the completed documentation that must accompany an inmate upon transfer to or from a facility; and,
  • the procedures to be respected when a transfer is being effected.

The final product should be readily accessible to all involved in the transfer process.

2.5 Finding #5

There may be missed opportunities with respect to mentoring, coaching and fostering teamwork in the Case Management process at the Healing Lodge.

When the management model for the Regional women's facilities was being developed, it was determined that a new organizational structure was needed in order to address the new approach to dealing with women offenders. The proposed management model was based on a holistic, women centred approach to programming with a minimum of static security measures. Consequently, a structure was developed in which primary workers (or in the case of the Healing Lodge, Older Sisters) have involvement in all aspects of case management in addition to their security responsibilities. At the Healing Lodge, each Older Sister has a caseload of two to three residents and completes case analyses and assessments for decisions put forth to both the Warden and the National Parole Board. In addition, it is expected that Older Sisters present their cases at National Parole Board hearings.

This role differs considerably from the roles and responsibilities of a correctional officer (regardless of gender) in a men's facility, as noted in Standard Operating Practices (SOP) 700A: Responsibility Matrix-Case Management In Men's Institutions. Specifically, all case preparation for critical steps in the case management process in a mens' facility is assigned to Parole Officers, who are responsible for the overall co-ordination of case management for each offender.

The main function of the Parole Officer at a regional women's facility is not to do the case management function but to assist, mentor, coach and quality control the work being prepared by the Primary Workers/Older Sisters. Anecdotal information suggests that the line between the role of the Parole Officer and the case management aspect of the Older Sister role at Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge may be somewhat unclear.

There also appears to be some ambiguity with respect to the role of the Parole Officer and the role of the Co-ordinator Case Management (CCM) at the Healing Lodge. At the sister institutions, it was noted that there was a close relationship between the CCMs at Edmonton Institution for Women (EIFW) and Saskatchewan Penitentiary but that the CCM at the Healing Lodge was not part of this collegial working arrangement. The Evaluation Team was left with the impression that the Parole Officer at the Lodge (and not the CCM) was the primary contact with other Women Offender facilities. This lack of clarity is a concern to the Evaluation Team, since the Parole Officer's role is intended to be a supervisory one with little emphasis on actual report writing and a great deal of importance placed on the oversight of case management activities.

Several Lodge staff interviewed by the Evaluation Team noted that some Older Sisters have difficulty with both writing and analytical skills. In addition, many Older Sisters also reported that it is difficult to find the time to carry out their case management functions. Case reports are therefore completed between security rounds or between escorts. As one senior manager noted:

"Most of the time, we have three Older Sisters on a shift. One stays at the post, while the other two rove doing counts, interventions, etc."

It does not appear that case management duties are scheduled into the roster to facilitate the timely completion of quality reports. Older Sisters also noted that when they find the time to do casework, they do not have a quiet spot to sit and complete their reports as they all share the same cramped quarters around the main control area, which is the centre of activity. Not only did it serve as the main control and house the security cameras, but it was also the area for visitor sign-in and reception. While the Evaluation Team was at the Lodge, there was a steady stream of residents coming to the door requesting assistance. In such a busy environment, it could be difficult for staff to prepare a quality report.

Several Older Sisters advised that their reports were being altered without their consultation. When decisions are changed or reports are re-written without their knowledge, the Older Sisters report that they feel left out of the process and discouraged. Although the quality control aspect of the Parole Officer's position may be addressed, the coaching aspect appears to be lacking. The Evaluation Team views this as a missed opportunity for mentoring/assisting and forging a sense of teamwork. In most instances, the skills required to complete comprehensive reports can be learned through coaching/mentoring and through practice (over time the skills will be learned). The Evaluation Team recognizes that tight timeframes for report completion may preclude some mentoring/training opportunities. However, there will continue to be a disconnect with respect to the case management process as long as the Parole Officer continues to re-write the reports of the Older Sisters instead of mentoring, assisting and coaching them so that they are capable of doing them on their own. Quality work is essential to case management, as it is this activity which is most closely and directly linked to CSC's Mission. In the opinion of the Evaluation Team, the dividends with respect to producing quality, timely reports and encouraging a sense of teamwork and pride in the work completed would be well worth the initial investment if the Parole Officer adopted more of a CCM role.

Recommendation #8

That the Kikawinaw clarify the role and responsibilities of both the Coordinator of Case Management and the Parole Officer to ensure that the Older Sisters receive the mentoring, assisting and coaching they require to write quality reports on their own.

Recommendation #9

That the Parole Officer at the Healing Lodge consult with the respective Older Sisters when changes are to be made to their case management reports so that the Older sisters can provide input into the modifications.

Suggestion #2

That the staff member at the Healing Lodge whom is assigned to do the rostering pair less experienced Older Sisters with an experienced Older Sister to assist with training.

Suggestion #3

That the staff member at the Healing Lodge who is assigned to do the rostering schedule case management responsibilities into the roster to facilitate timely, quality reports (initially it would be preferable to have this shift scheduled on the day shift so that the Parole Officer would be available to assist and/or coach the Older Sisters if necessary).

Suggestion #4

That a dedicated office be made available to the Older Sisters for the purpose of completing case management reports.

Objective 2

To document the extent to which the Correctional Service of Canada and the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge has sustained its agreements and relationships with the Nekaneet First Nation.

2.6 Finding #6

The staffing process at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is consistent with article 14.3(b) and 14.3(c) of the Memorandum of Understanding which is attached to the 1994 Agreement between the Commissioner of Corrections and the Nekaneet First Nation . In addition, the Chief and Councilors of the Nekaneet Band have no concerns with the implementation of Article 14.3(e) of the Memorandum of Understanding with respect to the right of first refusal on service contracts issued by the Healing Lodge.

In June of 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Commissioner of Corrections and the Nekaneet Band. The Agreement specified that in return for designating a portion of the Nekaneet Reserve for the purpose of building a Healing Lodge, the Nekaneet Band was to receive specific consideration in terms of staffing targets and right of first refusal on service contracts from CSC as described in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) . The Memorandum of Agreement also commits CSC to an evaluation of the Agreement every five years to ensure that the stated objectives, including staffing targets and contract awards, are met. As a consequence, this phase of the evaluation focused on the operational aspects outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding that dealt with staffing, training, career development and the awarding of service contracts.

As noted in the MOU, CSC has committed to implementing a staffing process by open competition until at least 50% of the Healing Lodge staff positions are occupied by Nekaneet Band members. The Evaluation Team reviewed a PeopleSoft Staffing profile of the Healing Lodge and of the 54 staff on strength at the Healing Lodge at the time of this evaluation, 15 staff members belonged to the Nekaneet Band (as shown in Table 2 below). This accounts for the 27.7% of the Lodge staff.

Table 2: Positions At the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge Occupied by Nekaneet Band Members (as of March 31, 2002 )

Position Description

Number of Staff

Older Sister

5

Maintenance Technician

1

Administrative Services Clerk

1

Food Services Officer

2

Correctional Officer

1

Clerks (CR 03 / 04)

3

Secretary

1

Kitchen Helper

1

Total

15

Possible obstacles to reaching the staffing targets specified in the MOU were identified by some of the Healing Lodge staff. They reported that many Nekaneet staff feel that they risk the possibility of being ostracized by their own people because they have "government jobs". Additionally, the Nekaneet population is small and as one staff member phrased it:

"Eight years into this Agreement everyone who wants to work here is here."

The Nekaneet Chief and Band Councilors interviewed by the Evaluation Team concur with this assessment.

In terms of opportunities for career development for the Nekaneet staff, the Evaluation Team reviewed PeopleSoft records for training completed by Nekaneet staff for fiscal 2001/2002. According to the PeopleSoft records, more than one-half of the Nekaneet staff on strength received training during this time period. The Nekaneet Chief and Band council members had no concerns with respect to the training and development opportunities offered to the Nekaneet staff at the Healing Lodge.

There were also no concerns noted by the Chief and the Band Council members regarding the extent and manner in which the service contracts were tendered by the Healing Lodge. All of the Healing Lodge operating expenditures for services for the 2001 / 2002 fiscal year were reviewed by the Evaluation Team. Table 3 presents a sample of expenditures (representing a mixture of Counseling and Maintenance services) which the Team examined in detail. In all cases, members of the Nekaneet Band supplied the majority of services for these contracts.

Table 3: A Representation of Service Contracts Tendered by the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge (Fiscal 2001 / 2002)

Line Object

Description

Expenditures

Number of Suppliers

O4150

Contract Teachers and Instructors

$99,152

7

04510

Counseling and Liaison Fees

$250,353

36

04582

Contracted Building Services

$31,069

3

04585

Garbage Removal

$14,487

1

The only area of concern raised by the Nekaneet Chief and Band Council members involved the transition of the Healing Lodge to a Section 81 facility. The Band representatives pointed out that CSC has to decide whether it wants to run the Healing Lodge. As one Band representative noted:

" CSC should make up its mind."

At the time of this evaluation 323 people had been enumerated on the Band Roll in the Nekaneet Band Office. Many of these people live off the Reserve, principally in Calgary , Edmonton and Winnipeg . The number of people listed as living on the Reserve is approximately 215. Given these numbers, it is recommended that a capacity analysis of the Nekaneet Band be undertaken to determine if they have the infrastructure in place to operate a Facility with an annual budget of approximately four million dollars". An approach to undertaking a capacity analysis is to review the service contracts between CSC and the Band to determine the extent to which the provisions of the contracts (i.e. the scope of work and invoicing instructions) have been followed . Another area to examine should be the Contribution Agreements between CSC and the Band to determine the quality and timelines of the agreed upon deliverables . A third area to explore is the local services currently in place to deal with issues within the Nekaneet community.

Other options to consider include the establishment of a phased implementation of Section 81 under a joint advisory board, whereby the Nekaneet would gradually take over more of the operational responsibility over a two to three-year period. The Evaluation Team offers these options for the consideration of the NHQ Women Offender Sector, the Regional Deputy Commissioner, Prairie Region and the Kikawinaw of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

Recommendation #10

That the NHQ Women Offender Sector and the Regional Deputy Commissioner, Prairie Region conduct a capacity analysis to determine the current preparedness of the Nekaneet Band to assume CCRA Section 81 transition responsibilities for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

Objective 3

To document both the facilitators and obstacles faced by the residents during release from the Healing Lodge (including Section 84 placements)

2.7 Finding #7

It would be beneficial to facilitate the involvement of Nekaneet Elders in the development and implementation of resident-specific Healing Plans.

A number of issues relating to Healing Plans were raised in interviews with staff, residents and representatives from the Nekaneet First Nation. Several issues specific to the development and implementation of Healing Plans are presented below.

Interviews with staff at the Lodge, and from other womens' institutions (i.e., Edmonton Institution for Women and Saskatchewan Penitentiary) revealed that currently, Healing Plans are initiated by the transferring institution, and are continued at the Lodge. One Lodge staff member indicated that the Lodge is in the process of developing its own approach to healing plans. These are seen as an "add-on" to residents' correctional plans. Given the central role allocated to healing at the Lodge, it is advocated that they continue this endeavor in order to ensure that individual healing plans can be realistically implemented in the Lodge environment.

The Healing Plan is a living document that is intended to reflect a woman's capacity to change through the realization of her goals, while promoting and maintaining a sense of continuity in healing from the Lodge to the community. Issues raised by some residents and staff were that of language and recording information. It was mentioned that some Elders do not speak English, which may hinder their full participation in residents' Healing Plans (e.g., in contributing to case management reports, etc.). Although many Nekaneet residents at the Healing Lodge speak Cree, other residents do not. This may impede their ability to fully participate and derive benefit from both ceremonies and contact with Elders. It should, however, be noted that the standard "Statement of Work" on the service contracts between the healing Lodge and Elder / Native Liaison staff requires that the contractor assist with:

"preparation of written documentation of reports for offenders that include progress reports, areas for further intervention / healing, potential for release planning, risk management and community support network"

In addition, the "supplementary conditions" of these contracts require that the incumbent be able to:

" communicate orally and in writing, effectively and efficiently in the English language."

The issue of language and recording of information may need to be explored so that full advantage can be taken of the services offered by Elders, including their contributions to the residents' individual healing plans.

Elders who do speak English are not comfortable with computers, casework records, and others forms of textual recording of information. One option to capture their valuable contributions is to present individualized healing plans in a more visual format. A visual depiction of residents' healing plans can be an alternative to promote further involvement of Elders in the healing plan development process, and to encourage sharing of information among all staff regarding residents' spiritual journeys. Such a visual depiction represents the symbolism used in Aboriginal teachings as opposed to descriptive text. The Healing Plan can be depicted on one page. A copy can be kept by the resident. Appendix E provides an example of a visually-depicted healing plan, detailing current involvement in programming that addresses a resident's needs, and steps for future involvement in interventions and with individuals who will assist the resident in attaining her long-term (i.e., "positive possible") healing goals .

Concern has also been expressed that the residents have limited access to the Elders because the Elders are scheduled from 08:00 to 16:00 on weekdays, precisely when the residents are busy at their programs or work placements. It is suggested that consideration should be given to scheduling Elders, on occasion, on evenings and weekends when the residents could take full advantage of their presence.

Suggestion #5

To facilitate the development and enhanced use of Healing Plans by all staff and Elders, it is suggested that the Lodge consider adopting a visual depiction of residents' Healing Plan, as illustrated in Appendix E.

Suggestion #6

To facilitate contact between the residents and Elders, consideration should be given to scheduling Elders, on occasion, on evenings and weekends when the residents could take full advantage of their presence.

2.8 Finding #8

The extent to which a resident of the Healing Lodge is able to continue her spiritual journey in the community presents a challenge.

Interviews with community staff indicated that many women have difficulty continuing their spiritual journeys upon release. Community staff observed that the women "need a lot of hand-holding, especially in the first one to two months." They noted that "the women have a lot of issues to deal with when they arrive - past abuse issues, dysfunctional families, lack of resources, cultural issues, low self esteem, few social skills (i.e., banking, making appointments), they are very emotional." This has been attributed in part to the institutional environment in general, which is perceived as tending "to coddle" rather than focus on developing the women's accountability and responsibility. With regard to Lodge residents, it was noted that "primary workers do everything for them" including contacting community services and agencies. In the opinion of the community staff, this does not effectively address criminality or reintegration issues because we (CSC) "remove accountability from them". They noted that if the women were going to make meaningful and responsible choices in their lives and accept accountability for their actions "it needs to start inside".

General consensus was attained among interviewees regarding the need for additional community programs for women, given the multiple difficulties they face. Effective programs can play an important role in facilitating the reintegration process. However, a major obstacle to the continuation of a woman's healing journey is the fact that that it is often difficult to "get enough for a group" given the small numbers of women on conditional release at any one time in a given community. Some staff indicated that "programming does not have the flexibility it needs" noting that even when there are enough women available to run a program, other factors such as arranging for childcare and transportation or illness impact on program attendance and/or completion.

Both Healing Lodge and community staff observed that the majority of Aboriginal women offenders are being released to urban centres, thereby making effective linkages to pertinent community resources critical. However, community bridging was noted as a weak area with one staff member commenting that "it is hard to send them back to the community when resources are so few". An Elizabeth Fry representative confirmed that "there is little support for women in the community. We need a good outreach program with links". Interviews with staff at the Edmonton Parole Office noted that "continuity from the Healing Lodge to the community is key".

Accordingly, there is a need to promote this sense of continuity. The Evaluation Team suggests that the Lodge give consideration to the development of healing plans that realistically deal with priorities. Second, there is a need to address barriers to the pursuit of Aboriginal healing methods by connecting to the relevant services (e.g., Native Friendship Centres, Elders, and other services and facilities) that will play pivotal roles in assisting the women once they return to the community. One way to facilitate this linkage would be to clarify the role of the Elders that work at the Healing Lodge to ensure that they assist those residents preparing for release to connect with resources such as Elders and Native Friendship Centres in their home communities. Another way to facilitate this process would be to bring Elders from large urban centres to the Lodge, in the same way that volunteers come to the Lodge to connect women to the community.

Suggestion #7

That the role of Elders at the Healing Lodge include facilitating links with Elders (and other resources) in the community to which the resident will be released. Consideration should be also given to bringing in Elders from Friendship Centers from urban areas such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina to meet with the residents of the Healing Lodge. This initial contact can serve to facilitate future meetings with these Elders, which will serve the women well in their pursuit of healing in the community. It is presumed that CSC will fund the cost of such visits.

Article 14.3(b) commits the Service to "implementing a staffing process for available positions at the Lodge, both initially and ongoing, by open competition until 50% of the Healing Lodge staff positions are occupied by Nekaneet Band members, provided that if there is a staffing freeze, approval is given by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the appropriate authority;"

Article 14.3 (c) commits the Service to "the establishment of a career plan for every Healing Lodge staff member at the Healing Lodge in order to ensure that potential management candidates are identified and developed to their full potential";

Article 14.3 (e) except in emergency situations, and except for those contracts for work or services which the Solicitor General may ask to be performed by Federally Sentenced Aboriginal Women at the Healing Lodge, for service contracts within the CSC's sole sourcing authority the members of the Nekaneet Band have the right of first refusal on such service contracts provided that the Band bid for such service contracts and meet the terms of CSC's Request for Proposal, including meeting the required qualifications, budget considerations and timeliness, as set out and required in conformity with standard government contracting policies, regulations and procedures.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Solicitor General of Canada . July 5, 1994 This document is an attachment to the June 8, 1994 Memorandum of Agreement.

The number of suppliers recorded in this column include contracts tendered to both Nekaneet and non-Nekaneet suppliers.

The 2002 / 2003 budget for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is $3,914,608.00

In addition to service contracts such as maintenance and snow removal, example contracts would include those for Elders and Native Liaison services.

An example would be a May 25, 1999 Contribution Agreement between CSC and representatives of the Nekaneet Band entitled "Nekaneet Horse Program."

The following example is offered. Contract 52300-01-002 Appendix D "Statement of Work" item "m".

IBID. Appendix B "Supplementary conditions" Section 9. "Language Proficiency".

This plan is structured on an approach developed by the Aboriginal Gangs Pilot Project at Stony Mountain Institution.

3.0 OTHER ISSUES

3.1 Finding #9

The value of the barrier at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge has been questioned from time to time. Many staff interviewed at the Lodge, however, see value in the barrier remaining. In addition, there were numerous requests to reconsider staffing options for the former security post in the main reception area.

A. The Barrier at the Entrance to the Healing Lodge

The value of the barrier at the entrance to the Lodge has been the subject of discussion for a number of years. The fundamental necessity of the barrier has been questioned, as well as the sense of restriction that it implies. The concept of the barrier is seen as conflicting with the customs, beliefs and traditional methods of teachings that are embedded in the philosophy of the Vision of the Lodge. Appendix D contains a photograph of the barrier as well as a photograph of the CSC sign at the entrance.

The majority of the staff interviewed at the Healing Lodge, however, see value in the barrier remaining operational. As staff pointed out, the circumstances of the Lodge must be understood. Given that the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is 150 kilometers from the nearest large city (Medicine Hat, Alberta), and 400 kilometers from any other CSC facilities, the Lodge is often reliant on local resources, such as the RCMP, the Nekaneet First Nation community, and the town of Maple Creek. The Lodge is located on the Nekaneet Reserve and is 38 kilometers from the town. In addition, there is no guarantee that the RCMP Detachment in Maple Creek can always respond rapidly to an incident at the Lodge, as there are only two officers on the back shifts and one of these officers is usually on duty on the TransCanada Highway.

It also must be reiterated that the Lodge is comprised primarily of female staff. Given this context, Lodge staff report that the barrier makes them feel that they have some control and provides them with additional security options including precious extra minutes to secure the doors to the main entrance should it be necessary. As one staff member reported:

"The gate will not provide us with protection but if we feel that we can have control when someone tries to come in, in the middle of the night, let us have it".

Staff report that there have already been incidents reported of disgruntled boyfriends or spouses approaching the Lodge at night.

The Evaluation Team concurs with the assessment of the staff of the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge that the barrier serves a useful purpose.

B. The Former Security Post in the Main Reception Area

Following the October 2001 hostage taking incident, the reception area at the Healing Lodge was moved from the area at the entrance of the Main Lodge to the Older Sisters' Office, which is situated down the corridor from the entrance. A photograph of the original reception area is found in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The Former Reception Area of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

The reception process at all CSC institutions is governed by CD 566-1 "Control of Entry and Exit from Institutions". This policy establishes standards for controlling entry movement and exit from institutions of authorized persons and items. Paragraph 20 notes that:

"At all times visitors shall:

  1. state the purpose of their visit;
  2. present appropriate identification; and
  3. complete the Official Visitor Register (CSC/SCC 541) at arrival and at departure."

There have been a number of unintended outcomes as a result of the move. Visitors from other CSC facilities have reported arriving at the Lodge, only to "wander around the halls" wondering where to sign-in. In addition, concerns have been expressed regarding the impact of this move on the ambiance of the Lodge. The Nekaneet Elders, for example, expressed concern and discomfort at these outcomes:

"The Lodge had changed". "The doors are locked". "I would like to see a friendly face at the desk when I come in. It is not like this anymore. The place has changed".

The Kikawinaw , i n a June 17, 2002 e-mail to Regional Headquarters, noted that there has not been a security post review completed since the Healing Lodge opened in 1995. The Evaluation Team is in agreement with the Lodge that a post review is needed. It is suggested that the review take into consideration staffing options for the security post in the former reception area as well as the role of cameras in this area, particularly to offset potential complex situations that could distract reception staff.

Suggestion #8

That a security post review be completed as soon as possible with the assistance of staff from RHQ with specialized expertise in this area.

4.0 SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

Recommendation #1

That the Kikawinaw consider delegating some of her off-site responsibilities to allow more "hands on" time at the Healing Lodge in order to establish a consensus or near-consensus decision-making framework.

Recommendation #2

That the Kikawinaw formalize and clarify the roles, responsibilities and obligations between CSC and the Advisory Committees that serve the Healing Lodge.

Recommendation #3

That the NHQ Women Offender Sector as part of the process of reviewing the Operational Plan for the Healing Lodge, conduct a review of CSC policies that are key to the operations of the Lodge to determine the extent to which amendments specific to the unique requirements of the Healing Lodge should be in place in CSC policy.

Recommendation #4

That the links between the Regional Headquarters, the NHQ Women Offender Sector and the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge be strengthened to provide the Healing Lodge with access to expertise in overall CSC operations (including rostering expertise) and, in particular, to operations specific to womens' facilities.

Recommendation #5

That the Management Team at the Healing Lodge take advantage of the National processes in place in order to facilitate the deployment or secondment of CX02 staff from men's facilities and to clarify the expectations of these staff regarding a women centered approach. Further, there should be some form of orientation for staff coming from men's facilities as soon as possible after their arrival, even if this is in the form of a meeting with a member of the Management Team to clarify reciprocal expectations.

Recommendation #6

That new staff (whether from a men's facility or a new recruit) be fit into the roster so that they can be paired with one of the original 15 staff members for one week of shadowing for the purpose of orientation and explanation / communication of the Vision. In addition, the Management Team at the Healing Lodge should ensure that the 10-day Women Centered training Program is provided to all Older Sisters within four months of their deployment or secondment.

Recommendation #7

That the Institutional Heads of the Women Offender Institutions in Prairie Region, in conjunction with Regional Headquarters and the NHQ Women Offender Sector develop the following protocols:

  • a mutually agreed upon screening criteria for transfers to the Healing Lodge;
  • the completed documentation that must accompany an inmate upon transfer to or from a facility; and,
  • the procedures to be respected when a transfer is being effected.

The final product should be readily accessible to all involved in the transfer process.

Recommendation #8

That the Kikawinaw clarify the role and responsibilities of both the Coordinator of Case Management and the Parole Officer to ensure that the Older Sisters receive the mentoring, assisting and coaching they require to write quality reports on their own.

Recommendation #9

That the Parole Officer at the Healing Lodge consult with the respective Older Sisters when changes are to be made to their case management reports so that the Older sisters can provide input into the modifications.

Recommendation #10

That the NHQ Women Offender Sector and the Regional Deputy Commissioner, Prairie Region conduct a capacity analysis to determine the current preparedness of the Nekaneet Band to assume CCRA Section 81 transition responsibilities for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

Suggestion #1

That once the Vision of the Lodge has been rethought or reformulated, that consideration be given to deriving the essential messages from the Vision texts and communicating a single statement of purpose for the Lodge, similar to corporate Mission statements.

Suggestion #2

That the staff member at the Healing Lodge whom is assigned to do the rostering pair less experienced Older Sisters with an experienced Older Sister to assist with training.

Suggestion #3

That the staff member at the Healing Lodge who is assigned to do the rostering schedule case management responsibilities into the roster to facilitate timely, quality reports (initially it would be preferable to have this shift scheduled on the day shift so that the Parole Officer would be available to assist and/or coach the Older Sisters if necessary).

Suggestion #4

That a dedicated office be made available to the Older Sisters for the purpose of completing case management reports.

Suggestion #5

To facilitate the development and enhanced use of Healing Plans by all staff and Elders, it is suggested that the Lodge consider adopting a visual depiction of residents' Healing Plan, as illustrated in Appendix E.

Suggestion #6

To facilitate contact between the residents and Elders, consideration should be given to scheduling Elders, on occasion, on evenings and weekends when the residents could take full advantage of their presence.

Suggestion #7

That the role of Elders at the Healing Lodge include facilitating links with Elders (and other resources) in the community to which the resident will be released. Consideration should be also given to bringing in Elders from Friendship Centers from urban areas such as Calgary , Edmonton , and Regina to meet with the residents of the Healing Lodge. This initial contact can serve to facilitate future meetings with these Elders, which will serve the women well in their pursuit of healing in the community. It is presumed that CSC will fund the cost of such visits.

Suggestion #8

That a security post review be completed as soon as possible with the assistance of staff from RHQ with specialized expertise in this area.

APPENDIX A
Photographs of the Spiritual Lodge and the Main Lodge

The Spiritual Lodge

The Main Lodge

APPENDIX B
Objectives and Key Results

EVALUATION OBJECTIVES AND RELATED KEY RESULTS

The objectives of this evaluation focused on the three previously identified questions. These deal with: sustaining the original Vision of the Lodge, promoting and maintaining working relationships with the Nekaneet First Nation, and documenting the obstacles and facilitators to the conditional release of the residents.

Under each objective is listed a key result which must be assessed to determine if the objectives have been met.

Objective 1

To review and assess the extent to which the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is able to adhere to its original Vision.

Key Results

  • Mechanisms are in place to promote the Vision of the Lodge and to guide the Lodge in achieving its mission.
  • The role of the OOHL advisory board -- the Keepers of the Vision -- is articulated, understood and put into practice.
  • There is an agreed-upon definition of traditional healing practices, which fit within the context of a CSC institution and CSC policies.
  • Programs and learning experiences (which are aligned to the principles and objectives envisioned for OOHL) have been developed and implemented.
  • The varying security levels (minimum / medium) of the residents of the Lodge do not impede the institution from meeting its principles and objectives.
  • There is a common understanding between the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge and other Womens' Institutions as to what type of offender is eligible to be transferred to the Lodge.
  • Institutional management at OOHL maintains both formal and informal contacts with RHQ Prairies, NHQ Aboriginal Issues and with the Women Offender Sector (WOS) at NHQ.
  • There are designated experienced staff who act in the absence of the institutional head.
  • The staff levels of OOHL meet the requirements of article 14.3(b) of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Canada and the Nekaneet First Nation.

Objective 2

To document the extent to which the Correctional Service of Canada and the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge has sustained its agreements and relationships with the Nekaneet First Nation.

Key Results

  • There is a mechanism in place to provide the Nekaneet First Nation with an in-depth understanding of the Vision and operations of the Lodge.
  • 2.2 The Lodge has access to and takes into consideration the advice provided by the Keepers of the Vision.
  • Nekaneet First Nation representatives feel that their opinions are heard with respect to the operation of the Lodge, including the spiritual programs and activities offered to the residents.
  • The staffing process at the Lodge is consistent with article 14.3(b) and 14.3(c) of the Memoranda of Agreement and between the Government of Canada and the Nekaneet First Nation.
  • The Lodge has access to and takes into consideration the advice provided by National, Regional and Local Aboriginal Advisory Committees (Section 82 CCRA).
  • Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge utilizes volunteers to assist the learning / work experiences for the residents.
  • Elders and clergy representing differing needs, concerns and spiritual protocols of the residents have access to OOHL and to National Parole Board hearings.
  • There are opportunities for community contacts.
  • There are commonly understood working definitions of Section 81 and Section 84.
  • Staff at the Lodge are actively engaged in pursuing Section 84 transfers at the request of individual residents.
  • There is a process in place to reach a common Vision with respect to the future transfer of the Lodge to a Section 81 facility to be operated by the Nekaneet First Nation.

Objective 3

To document both the facilitators and obstacles faced by the residents during release from the Healing Lodge (including Section 84 placements)

Key Results

  • All OOHL residents have Healing Plans as which are combined with Correctional Plans.
  • All casework is completed on time.
  • Offenders understand the parole process and the role of NPB.
  • Residents of the Lodge are not waiving their full parole review.
  • Residents participate in Aboriginal-sensitive programs and other programs recommended in their Healing Plan.
  • There are opportunities for community contacts for employment for reintegration purposes (including s. 84 placements).
  • Work release and other Temporary Absence (TA) opportunities are being utilized by the residents.
  • Elders or Native liaison members participate in National Parole Board hearings to clarify cultural and community issues with both offenders and board members.
  • Trained staff are in place to deliver Aboriginal-sensitive programs, core programs, and vocational programs.
  • Trained staff are in place for Case Management duties, including Section 84 transfers (Older Sisters are supported by WP-04s).

APPENDIX C
Photographs of the Road Leading into the Healing Lodge

Article 14.3(b) commits the Service to "implementing a staffing process for available positions at the Lodge, both initially and ongoing, by open competition until 50% of the Healing Lodge staff positions are occupied by Nekaneet Band members, provided that if there is a staffing freeze, approval is given by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the appropriate authority;"

Article 14.3 (c ) commits the Service to "the establishment of a career plan for every Healing Lodge staff member at the Healing Lodge in order to ensure that potential management candidates are identified and developed to their full potential";

Automobile Tire Denoting Turn-off to Nekaneet Reserve

Road on the way to the Healing Lodge

APPENDIX D
Photographs of the Barrier at the Entrance to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge and the CSC Sign at the Entrance to the Facility

The Barrier at the Entrance to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

The CSC Sign at the Entrance to the Facility

APPENDIX E
Visual Depiction of a Healing Pan