When an incident involving an offender occurs in one of our institutions or in the community, CSC must determine if further administrative review is needed. The following people may convene an investigation or file a review:
- Chairperson of the Parole Board of Canada (for joint investigations with CSC)
- Director General, Incident Investigations Branch
- Institutional Head, or District Director
The investigation or review is done to:
- assess and report on all the circumstances surrounding the incident
- provide information to CSC so that, if required, actions can be taken to prevent similar incidents
- learn about and share best practices
- identify findings and make recommendations where required.
When a Board of Investigation (BOI) is convened, they report on findings and recommendations (if any) to assist in preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Relevant policy and legislation
- Commissioner's Directive 041 - Incident Investigations outlines the process for investigations into institutional and community incidents. It outlines the responsibilities for action, analysis, and reporting significant findings.
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act sections 19, 20, 97, 98, and subsection 152(4) provide the authority to convene investigations.
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Independent Review Committees
Independent Review Committees (IRCs) are convened every two to three years to provide CSC with an external review of non-natural deaths in custody. CSC's first IRC was convened in 2010. This was a response to a recommendation made by the Office of the Correctional Investigator's 2007 report called Deaths in Custody.
IRC reports are available on our publications page:
- Report of the Independent Review Committee into Deaths in Custody: 2009-2010 (csc-scc.gc.ca)
- Report of the Independent Review Committee into Federal Deaths in Custody 2010-2011 (csc-scc.gc.ca)
- Independent Review Committee on Deaths in Custody 2010-2011 Corrective Measures and Management Action Plan (CMMAP) (csc-scc.gc.ca)
- Third Independent Review of Deaths in Custody, April 1st, 2011 to March 31st, 2014 (csc-scc.gc.ca)
- Independent Review Committee on Deaths in Custody 2011/2012 to 2013/2014 Corrective Measures and Management Action Plan (CMMAP) (csc-scc.gc.ca)
- Fourth Independent Review Committee on Non-natural Deaths in Custody that occurred between April 1st, 2014 to March 31st, 2017
Coroner's/medical examiner's inquests/inquiries
When the death of an offender occurs while either in custody or during release to the community, the coroner/medical examiner of the province/territory where the death occurred is immediately notified by CSC.
It is the responsibility of each province/territory to conduct an inquest/inquiry into these incidents in line with provincial/territorial legislation.
The inquest/inquiry process reviews the circumstances in which the death occurred and makes recommendations, if required, in order for CSC to improve its interventions with offenders and its ability to prevent such incidents. This process is concurrent and independent of CSC's Board of Investigations.
Inquest and inquiry response procedures
When a verdict from an inquest or inquiry is received from a coroner or medical examiner it can take two forms:
- no recommendations for CSC
- recommendation(s) for CSC
When recommendations are presented from these inquests/inquiries, CSC formally responds.
For more information related to CSC's processes with respect to deaths in custody:
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