Commissioner's Directive 720
Education Programs and Services for Inmates
In Effect: 2017-05-15
- To facilitate inmates' reintegration by increasing educational skill levels through the provision of accredited programs
- To provide appropriate library services similar to those in the community, while taking into consideration the requirements of the correctional environment
- To ensure education programs and library services respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences, and are responsive to the special needs of women inmates, Indigenous inmates, inmates requiring mental health care and other groups
Applies to all staff, including contractors, responsible for education assessments, education programs and library services
- The Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs, will authorize:
- the delivery of education programs and services
- the development of Guidelines for Education Programs (GL 720-1)
- the delivery of library services and the development of a National Guide for Institutional Libraries.
- The Director General, Offender Programs and Reintegration, will:
- manage, coordinate, and monitor education programs and library services for inmates, including all materials
- support Regional Deputy Commissioners to ensure the efficient delivery and management of education programs and services, as well as library services.
- The Director, Reintegration Programs, will authorize the development of the Education Programs: National Offender Management System (OMS) Procedures.
- The Regional Deputy Commissioner will:
- approve and submit the annual education program plan to the Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs
- ensure monitoring of education program delivery and results as well as reporting to the Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs
- ensure that procedures are implemented to support the delivery of education programs and services, including the use of computers and information technology, as well as the provision of library services
- ensure that the education programs and services, as required, undergo provincial accreditation
- promote and facilitate collaboration between assessment and education staff
- ensure continuity of education programs in correctional planning.
- The Regional Administrator, Assessment and Interventions, will:
- ensure effective management of education programs and services, as well as library services
- ensure that education programs are managed for the region by Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) education specialists
- ensure that education programs are delivered by teachers certified by a province in the region in which they teach
- establish and maintain effective relations with provincial education authorities
- monitor education program delivery and report annually on plans and results to the Regional Deputy Commissioner
- ensure that library services are available in all institutions and are provided with resources
- manage education program contracts, where applicable
- ensure the approaches used in education programs include Indigenous, ethnocultural and gender considerations (e.g., methods and styles of learning) and are responsive to the various needs of those identified as having learning difficulties, low cognitive functioning, physical disabilities, and/or requiring mental health care.
- The Institutional Head will:
- ensure that all teachers and librarians, whether contractors or employees, receive orientation and training with respect to working in a correctional environment
- ensure that a description of education needs and objectives is included in the Correctional Plan of each inmate and any identified education program is based on the inmate's education needs as prescribed in the inmate’s Correctional Plan
- ensure that classrooms are equipped appropriately
- ensure that education staff identify inmates who are at risk of a learning difficulty
- review requests to authorize payment for the cost of post-secondary studies
- support the implementation of the standards outlined in the National Guide for Institutional Libraries
- ensure that library services support all institutional programs and address the inmates' needs for computer literacy and recreational, cultural, religious, spiritual, educational, legal and informative materials, while taking into consideration the requirements of the correctional environment
- ensure that library services have sufficient books and materials to meet the basic needs of minority official language inmates
- ensure that all inmates, including those who do not have access to a library, have reasonable access to legal and non-legal reading materials, pursuant to section 97(3) of the CCRR.
- The Chair of the Correctional Intervention Board and/or the Manager, Programs, in collaboration with the Chief of Education, where this position exists, or education delegate, will:
- approve education referrals and ensure that they are consistent with the inmate's Correctional Plan
- assign inmates to the appropriate education program
- review educational assignments and waitlists
- ensure inmates who are at risk of learning difficulties are provided with reasonable accommodations
- manage the delivery of library services for inmates.
- The Manager, Programs, will ensure that the program schedule and assignment information is entered and updated in the Offender Management System.
- The Chief of Education or the Manager, Programs, in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, will:
- manage CSC employees involved in the delivery of education programs and services and/or monitor the work of contract staff, where applicable
- ensure that interim and final education program reports are completed by the Teacher and shared with the inmate within the timeframes specified in this policy.
- The Teacher will:
- develop lesson plans and deliver and/or facilitate education programs based on the provincial curriculum and the inmate's education assessments, needs and objectives, including the adaptation of learning materials as required
- in consultation with the inmate, update the Individual Education Plan, as required
- complete an interim report on the inmate's participation and progress in the education program at least once every six months, and a final education program report within 10 working days of the inmate’s education program assignment end date
- ensure that interim and final education program reports are finalized in the Offender Management System and shared with the inmate
- provide the Case Management Team with ongoing information regarding the inmate’s participation in education programs, as required.
- The Parole Officer:
- will review education assessments and, when required, consult with the Assessor in order to determine the level of intervention and educational objectives for the inmate's Correctional Plan
- will enter an education referral in the inmate's Correctional Plan when:
- the inmate’s grade level is assessed below grade 12 or its equivalent
- the inmate is unable to communicate proficiently in either official language (English or French)
- the inmate requires additional secondary credits as a prerequisite to participation in other programs or employment opportunities
- the inmate requests a referral to post-secondary education and meets the academic prerequisites
- may, in exceptional circumstances, identify education as a need in the Correctional Plan without an education referral when an inmate's participation in education may not be suitable. This would be based on case specific factors, e.g. the length of sentence, combined with significant criminogenic needs that must first be addressed through correctional programs or responsivity factors that would prevent an inmate from being able to participate in education programming. In these exceptional circumstances, a clear and detailed explanation must be included in the Correctional Plan and be supported by the Correctional Intervention Board.
- The Librarian will:
- deliver library management services which support and promote institutional programming, employment, social, ethnic and cultural development, legal research and personal enrichment
- organize materials and information to reflect library standards for optimum use and access
- determine the needs of library users and match library services and resources to meet those needs and interests when possible and appropriate
- ensure that the institution's library has available historical and current copies of legal, regulatory and official reference materials including, but not limited to:
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Regulations
- International Transfer of Offenders Act
- Criminal Code of Canada
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- Access to Information Act and appropriate access request forms
- Privacy Act and appropriate access request forms
- Official Languages Act
- Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
- Commissioner's Directives and associated Guidelines
- the Standing Orders for that institution, except those orders or parts thereof related to security matters
- Security Reclassification Scale/Security Reclassification Scale for Women Functional Specifications (scoring matrix)
- Parole Board of Canada Policy Manual
- Info Source
- relevant publications produced by CSC regarding programs and services for inmates
- reports by the Office of the Correctional Investigator.
- The inmate is expected to:
- participate in meeting the objectives of their Correctional Plan, including participation in education programs
- pay the cost of participation in post-secondary education programs (see Post-Secondary Education section) unless an exception is authorized by the Institutional Head.
- An inmate's functional grade or achievement level will be determined during intake unless formal recognition showing completion of grade 12, or the provincial equivalent, is available. Exceptions to the assessment may be made in cases in which recent public education system certification identifies the current functioning grade level.
- An Individual Education Plan will be initiated at intake for inmates with unique learning requirements. It will take into consideration the results of all education assessments, including identification of potential learning difficulties and challenges, as well as the inmate's sentence length.
- The results of all educational assessments, including documented educational levels, Individual Education Plans and assessments for those at risk of learning disabilities, will be entered in the Offender Management System.
- When an inmate's grade level is below grade 12 or its provincial equivalent, education will be identified as a need in their Correctional Plan. Education programs will be prioritized pursuant to CD 705-6 – Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile.
- Notwithstanding the above, to enhance an inmate's participation and understanding in other correctional interventions:
- English or French as an Additional Language programming will normally be the priority when the inmate is unable to communicate proficiently in either of the official languages
- a functional literacy level is the foundation for meaningful participation in other programs.
- The education process will include:
- a review of the initial education-related assessments
- individual education planning
- enrolment and participation in education programs
- ongoing assessment of progress
- The unique needs of Indigenous offenders, including Indigenous social history, must be considered throughout the education process.
- Education programs should lead to formal recognition, certification or accreditation from an educational authority recognized by a province within the region in which the program is delivered.
- Individual Education Plans, assessment reports, assignments, progress reports, course completions, certificates, diplomas and/or other forms of recognition of achievement will be entered in the Offender Management System. Additional documentation of education-related information will be completed in accordance with the applicable Ministry of Education’s requirements. Hard copies of the documentation will be placed in the inmate's Education and Training file.
- The inmate will be provided with the original diploma and/or certificate earned.
Adult Basic Education
- Adult Basic Education programming (i.e., grades 1 to 12 or its equivalent) is CSC's education priority and will be available at all institutions on a 12-month continuous intake basis. The programming will be offered to inmates whose grade level is below grade 12 or its provincial equivalent.
- In exceptional circumstances, such as those in which an inmate requires a high school level course not offered in the institution due to lack of resources (time constraints, lack of expertise, etc.), the Institutional Head may authorize that costs be paid for the inmate to participate in the course by correspondence.
Additional Education Programs
- Additional education programs, including but not limited to English or French as an Additional Language Programs, Adapted Education Programs and General Educational Development, may be offered to inmates on an as needed basis.
Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program
- Inmates who already possess a secondary school diploma (or equivalent) and who wish to obtain additional secondary credits as a prerequisite to participation in other programs or employment opportunities may be referred to the Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program. The upgrading requirement should be identified as an objective in the Correctional Plan.
- Inmates are normally required to pay the cost of their participation in post-secondary education programs, unless such participation is included as part of a larger federal/provincial arrangement to provide these programs within the institution.
- The Institutional Head may approve an exception to payment for post-secondary education if the following criteria are met:
- the payment for participation of the inmate is within the educational budget limits
- the inmate meets all criteria for post-secondary education as established by the applicable Ministry of Education or other recognized educational authority
- the program is identified as a priority in the inmate’s Correctional Plan
- the program is from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution.
- Strategic Policy Division
Original signed by:
Cross-References and Definitions
CD 001 – Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
CD 700 – Correctional Interventions
CD 702 – Indigenous Offenders
CD 705-5 – Supplementary Assessments
CD 705-6 – Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile
GL 720-1 – Guidelines for Education Programs
CD 726 – Correctional Programs
CD 730 – Offender Program Assignments and Inmate Payments
CD 750 – Chaplaincy Services
GL 750-1 – Inmate Religious Accommodations
CD 764 – Access to Material and Live Entertainment
CD 767 – Ethnocultural Offenders: Services and Interventions
CD 860 – Offender's Money
Education Programs: National Offender Management System (OMS) Procedures
National Guide for Institutional Libraries
Annual education program plan: an analysis by operational units to determine education programming needs and capacity.
Correctional Intervention Board: a multidisciplinary team that approves interventions and contributes to recommendations or decisions for complex cases. The Interdisciplinary Mental Health Team is considered a component of the Correctional Intervention Board.
Education program: an intervention that provides offenders with literacy, academic and personal development skills, and leads to formal recognition, certification or accreditation from an educational authority recognized by the province/territory in which the program is being delivered.
Education specialist: the Chief of Education, or, in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, a Regional Program Manager with experience in education program management. The Regional Program Manager should be supported in the development and maintenance of their knowledge of education programs.
Functioning grade level: an inmate’s education level at the time of the initial or current education assessment, whichever is most recent.
Indigenous social history: the various circumstances that have affected the lives of most Indigenous people. Considering these circumstances may result in alternate options or solutions and applies only to Indigenous offenders (not to non-Indigenous offenders who choose to follow the Indigenous way of life). These circumstances include the following (note that this is not an exhaustive list):
- effects of the residential school system
- sixties scoop into the adoption system
- effects of the dislocation and dispossession of Inuit people
- family or community history of suicide
- family or community history of substance abuse
- family or community history of victimization
- family or community fragmentation
- level or lack of formal education
- level of connectivity with family/community
- experience in the child welfare system
- experience with poverty
- loss of or struggle with cultural/spiritual identity.
Individual Education Plan: intended for the use of Teachers, Guidance Counsellors and inmates, an individual education plan identifies an inmate’s unique education requirements to meet their learning needs and priorities. The Chief of Education, or Regional Program Manager in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, determines whether the plan is formal or informal in nature.
Learning difficulty: the presence of characteristics that influence the offender’s ability to benefit from an education program, including but not limited to: learning disabilities, impaired cognitive functioning, physical disabilities, and/or mental health care needs.
Responsivity: the presence of a characteristic(s) that influences the offender's capacity to benefit from the targeted intervention(s).
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