Overview: Structured Intervention Units
Organization: Correctional Service Canada
Date published: 2021-11-25
Structured Intervention Units (SIUs) were launched on November 30, 2019, bringing transformational and historic changes to federal corrections. Administrative and disciplinary segregation were eliminated and no longer exist in federal correctional institutions in Canada.
SIUs are operating at 15 sites across the country.
- Atlantic Region
- Atlantic Institution
- Nova Institution for Women
- Quebec Region
- Donnacona Institution
- Port-Cartier Institution
- Regional Reception Centre (Special Handling Unit)
- Joliette Institution for Women
- Ontario Region
- Millhaven Institution
- Grand Valley Institution for Women
- Prairie Region
- Bowden Institution
- Edmonton Institution
- Saskatchewan Penitentiary
- Stony Mountain Institution
- Edmonton Institution for Women
- Pacific Region
- Kent Institution
- Fraser Valley Institution for Women
A transformative federal correctional model that adopts a positive, intervention-based approach to address individual inmate needs for the safety and security of the institution.
What are SIUs?
- Safety and security: an area in an institution where an inmate can be transferred, based on legislative criteria, if they cannot be safely managed in a mainstream population.
- Engagement: focuses on addressing an inmate's needs and risks where they continue meeting the objectives set out in their correctional plan. It uses a positive, constructive approach.
- Interventions focus: inmates get targeted interventions/ programming and required health services based on their unique needs and risks.
- Transition and reintegration: the goal is to get inmates what they need to be able to return to a mainstream population as soon as possible.
- Continuity: it is about shifting mindsets and behaviours to ensure a safe, secure and healthy correctional environment.
What does it look like?
- An SIU cell is similar to a regular cell - they have windows. Inmates have access to a yard, a shower and to their personal property.
A typical day in an SIU
- During the course of a day, an inmate in an SIU can:
- Interact with correctional officers, primary workers, social program officers and correctional managers as well as other inmates
- Work with a parole officer and engage with health care staff
- Participate in correctional programs/interventions
- Attend individual counselling sessions with Elders/Spiritual Advisors or a Chaplain
- Engage in indoor/outdoor exercise
- Access organizations, visitors, volunteers, teachers and legal counsel.
Addressing an inmate's health needs
- The decision to place an inmate in an SIU is based on an assessment of the inmate's circumstances and needs, including any health care needs.
- Inmates in SIUs have access to essential health services, including mental health.
- Health care professionals may also recommend that the conditions of confinement be modified or that the inmate be removed from the SIU for health reasons.
- Health professionals assess the health of inmates:
- Within 24 hours of being transferred to an SIU.
- Inmates in SIUs receive daily health care visits by a registered health professional and a mental health assessment is completed within 28 days.
Time out of cell
- Inmates have the opportunity for a minimum of four hours each day for time outside of their cell. This can include programs and activities and contact with Chaplains of their spiritual denomination, Elders, CSC staff and visits with loved ones.
- Inmates have the opportunity for two hours each day of meaningful human contact. This can include programs, services, interventions, cultural, religious and spiritual practices, community partners such as volunteers, and family contact, including through video visitation.
- Inmates are provided with several offers per day for time out of cell.
There are significantly fewer inmates in SIUs than in the former model. In 2015-16, there were 6,788 admissions to administrative segregation versus 2,267 transfers to an SIU in 2020-21.
- Two external oversight bodies were put in place:
- IEDMs review inmate cases on an ongoing basis, in real-time, and provide recommendations related to an inmate's conditions and duration of confinement. Their decisions are binding.
- IAP monitors and assesses the implementation of SIUs and advises the Minister of any issues or concerns.
- The Correctional Investigator also provides oversight.
Challenges and opportunities
- Identifying and implementing operational actions that help to sustain cultural change, such as additional training, awareness and education.
- Sharing best practices across the country.
- Working to achieve data stability and integrity, and aligning new business requirements with technology systems.
- Continue to work with our external oversight bodies.
- We have completed an audit of our SIU policy and are finalizing a compliance review. Work is also underway, through an internal audit process, to review SIU operations since their inception. This will serve as a preparation for our departmental audit planned for 2022-23.
- We will build on lessons learned and determine what improvements can be made to provide consistency at our sites across the country.
- Work to transform the culture and sustain change through self-reflection and continuous improvement.
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