Response of the Correctional Service of Canada to the 40th Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2012-2013
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is responsible for administering court-imposed sentences for offenders sentenced to two years or more, including supervising those under conditional release in the community. CSC also administers post-sentence supervision of offenders with Long Term Supervision Orders for up to 10 years. On an average day in fiscal year 2012-13, CSC was responsible for 15,056 federally incarcerated offenders and 7,706 offenders in the community for an average of 22,762 offenders per day.1 CSC manages 53 institutions, 16 community correctional centres, 92 parole offices and sub-offices and employs approximately 18,6002 people.
Over the last decade, CSC has been facing numerous challenges stemming from a more complex and diverse offender population profile, resulting in new pressures on the Service and its operations. In response to requirements to manage a changing offender profile and achieve quality public safety results for Canadians, CSC will continue to focus on six key priorities as outlined in its Report on Plans and Priorities:
- Safe transition to and management of eligible offenders in the community;
- Safety and security of staff and offenders in our institutions and in the community;
- Enhanced capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders;
- Improved capacities to address mental health needs of offenders;
- Efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership; and
- Productive relationships with increasingly diverse partners, stakeholders, and others involved in public safety.
In line with the first priority, CSC continues to focus its efforts on minimizing violent re-offending by offenders returning to the community. In both institutions and communities, offenders are offered interventions in accordance with their correctional plans, which are developed to address their criminal behaviour and assessed needs, in order to help them become and remain law-abiding citizens.
CSC is committed to its ongoing efforts to prevent violent and assaultive behaviour. Safety and security in institutions and in the community encompass all activities related to the supervision and management of offenders, as well as practices and procedures that ensure the safety and security of staff and the public.
CSC works diligently to close the gap in correctional results between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders. To help these offenders succeed, CSC is enhancing its capacities to provide effective and culturally appropriate interventions.
Improving capacity and correctional results for offenders with mental health disorders is another area of focus. A number of mental health care services are in place that are leading to improved correctional results, as well as CSC's capacity to address the mental health needs of federal offenders. This area, however, remains a challenging one for the correctional system.
Values-based leadership that enhances operational effectiveness and efficiency, better risk assessment and management, and greater flexibility in the organization's ability to deliver operational, administrative and financial results is an ongoing priority for the Service. In July 2012, following a broad consultation process with staff and union representatives from across Canada, a new CSC Values Statement was adopted. It has five key values: Respect, Fairness, Professionalism, Inclusiveness, and Accountability. These values represent a natural transition from the Core Values that have served CSC well over the last 25 years and will help the Service to build and maintain an ethical workforce as we continue to move forward.
Lastly, CSC recognizes the important role that its diverse partners play in helping the organization achieve positive correctional results.
CSC continues to work closely with its stakeholder groups to both strengthen its existing partnerships and relationships, and develop new ones that better reflect the Canadian population.
In April 2012, CSC began contributing to the Economic Action Plan 2012 which will result in the Service's operating budget being reduced by a total of $295.4 million by April 1, 2014. For fiscal year 2013-2014, the reductions will amount to $170.2 million. To meet these challenges, CSC is strengthening its focus on its key priorities and core mandate while continuing to deliver public safety results for Canadians.
Concurrent with responding to a more complex and diverse offender population, the impacts on the Service resulting from significant changes to the criminal justice system are also being managed. CSC is continuing to make progress on the key elements of its Transformation Agenda. This includes eliminating drugs in institutions, enhancing correctional programs and employment skills of offenders, modernizing physical infrastructure, and strengthening community corrections.
As cost-saving measures under the Economic Action Plan are being implemented and the Service moves forward, CSC will continue to work closely with the Correctional Investigator to address and resolve the issues of mutual concern raised in his report, in pursuit of our mandate and in the interest of public safety for Canadians.
A SPECIAL FOCUS ON DIVERSITY IN CORRECTIONS
I recommend that CSC develop a National Diversity Awareness Training Plan that provides practical and operational training in the areas of diversity, sensitivity awareness and cultural competency. This Training Plan should be integrated within the overall training framework.
CSC continuously provides awareness training on diversity as part of all induction training programs such as the Correctional Training Program (CTP), Parole Officer Induction Training (POIT), and the New Employee Orientation Program (NEOP) which is mandatory for all new employees joining CSC.
In order to further support and enhance the development of culturally appropriate behaviors within the organisation, CSC will look at integrating in these induction training programs, other specific scenarios addressing the areas of diversity, sensitivity awareness and cultural competency in an operational environment. Such scenarios could also be integrated into existing training programs for positions such as the Correctional Manager Training Program (CMTP). CSC will monitor offender grievances to determine if they identify organizational cultural diversity learning needs.
By April 2014, as part of the biannual course content review cycle, CSC will identify what training programs will be enhanced by specific operational training scenarios addressing training gaps in cultural diversity and cultural competency.
I recommend that CSC establish an Ethnicity Liaison Officer position at each institution responsible for building and maintaining linkages with culturally diverse community groups and organizations, ensuring the needs of visible minority inmates are met and facilitating culturally appropriate program development and delivery at the site level.
Although it is recommended to establish an Ethnicity Liaison Officer (ELO) position at each institution, there are currently staff members at each site performing the duties of the Ethnocultural Site Coordinator (ESC) as an extension of their duties. Staff who perform the above-mentioned role provide functional oversight in representing the needs of the Ethnocultural offender populations in institutions and the community. Therefore, the roles and responsibilities of the ESC are similar to what is expected from the ELO.
Currently, many ethnocultural initiatives emerge as local responses to particular issues. In order to ensure national consistency that will target and respond to the specific needs (cultural, linguistic, religious) of ethnocultural offenders across CSC, National Headquarters (NHQ) will continue to provide clear and specific direction to the regions and sites to guide them within the institutions by March 2014, including:
- Defined roles and responsibilities of the Ethnocultural Liaison Officer to better reflect their responsibilities;
- Develop a National Strategy that clearly identifies the specific needs of ethnocultural offenders and the strategies that will be employed to ensure that CSC's services and interventions provide equal access to Ethnocultural offenders and address specific needs unique to this population;
- Provide support to Regional Managers, Ethnocultural Services (RMES) who currently oversee regional needs of ethnocultural offenders.
- Work with our Ethnocultural Advisory Committees to identify and target key partnerships with community agencies that will assist in supporting the needs of these offenders while incarcerated and while on release; and
- While initial research affirms the validity and effectiveness of national correctional programs with Ethnocultural offenders, the Service will build on our community partnerships to explore the possible expansion to our range of interventions and with these offenders, such as:
- Promoting activities that highlight the contributions that the Ethnocultural Advisory Committees have made to CSC;
- Involving ethnocultural community partners in the development of social, employability or linguistic skills supporting reintegration of ethnocultural offenders; and
- Providing support to ethnocultural offenders facing English as a Second Language/French as a Second Language (ESL/FSL) challenges.
These programs will enhance CSC's capacities to fulfill the needs of ethnocultural offenders by providing management support to the institutions, while organizing and fully supporting ethnocultural activities for offenders.
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
I recommend that CSC appoint independent patient advocates or quality care coordinators to serve each of its five Regional Treatment Centres.
CSC's response to this recommendation will follow under separate cover.
I recommend that the CSC immediately identify the most severely mentally ill male and female inmates for review by external mental health experts and formulate health-focused treatment and placement options.
CSC's response to this recommendation will follow under separate cover.
DEATHS IN CUSTODY
I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety create an independent national advisory forum drawn from experts, practitioners and stakeholder groups to review trends, share lessons learned and suggest research that will reduce the number and rate of deaths in custody in Canada.
CSC is aware of the good work done by the U.K. Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) on Deaths in Custody that the OCI has referenced in his Report which led to this recommendation. It is important to note that the IAP reviews not only deaths in prison custody, but all deaths in state custody (i.e. police, in-patient mental health setting, immigration detention, as well as young people in secure training centres and secure children's homes). In 2010, they investigated over 500 deaths. This is approximately 10 times the number of deaths that CSC experienced in 2011-2012. Like CSC, natural deaths are the largest proportion, accounting for more than 60% of all deaths in custody.
In 2009, CSC committed to having an annual independent review committee assess all non-natural deaths in custody. There have been 2 Independent Review Committees (IRC) that have examined non-natural deaths in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Over the last 5 years, given that there have been less than 30 non-natural deaths per year, the latest IRC recommended that the period of review be extended from annual to every 3 years in order to "Better chart trends and efficacy of CSC responses, and take into account some Coroner's reports, which is not possible under the current format. If the committee was given sufficient time they could also collect better data from previous years, again improving trend analysis."
All deaths in CSC custody are reviewed internally. Once a National Board of Investigation or Mortality Review has been completed, members of the Executive Committee review and discuss the Report at the National Investigations Meeting (NIM). In particular, findings, recommendations and/or issues which have a national impact on the Service, as well as, the proposed corrective measures and/or action plans, are discussed. The last IRC also recommended that deaths in custody should be studied by cause as: "The causal factors and organization responses will be different". Therefore, in order to examine national and regional trends as well as sharing lessons learned, such as – Best Practices, and Areas of Opportunity Discussion Guides have been created for all categories of non-natural deaths in custody. These Guides not only facilitate the strategic review of all similar causes of death but are also shared with regional management committees across the country. A feedback loop has also been implemented where all NIM members are asked to contribute regarding new operational initiatives and functional policy initiatives.
At the end of this fiscal year, cumulative Discussion Guides in each of the areas of non-natural deaths will be finalized. It is the intent of CSC to invite the Correctional Investigator, as well as other stakeholders and experts to join the NIM members in a review of those Discussion Guides. Also, the knowledge gained will be shared with other criminal justice partners such as the Heads of Corrections and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT
I recommend that CSC's inmate accommodation policy reinstate the principle that single occupancy is the most desirable and correctionally appropriate method of housing offenders.
As mentioned in the OCI report, notwithstanding the change in the format of the policy regarding inmate accommodation, CSC maintains its commitment that options other than single occupancy are only temporary strategies.
The Service is actively monitoring the occupancy levels at all of our sites and is proactively exploring options to minimize the use of double bunking.
In addition, the promulgation of the revised CD 550, Inmate Accommodation has strengthened the accountability requirements for senior regional officials to report levels of double bunking in excess of 20% and to put forth strategies that ensure they are managing and mitigating the operational challenges associated with these occupancy levels.
I recommend that any use of force incident involving a mentally disordered offender be subject to a mandatory review at the institutional and regional levels. Issues of non-compliance should be submitted to National Headquarters for review and identification of corrective measures.
CSC's response to this recommendation will follow under separate cover.
I recommend that regional authorities review all use of force incidents involving the use of Institutional Emergency Response Teams.
See response to recommendation 7.
I recommend that Emergency Response Training be updated to include standards and protocols when responding to situations where a mental health concern is identified. Awareness training in mental health issues and self-injurious behaviour, including de-escalation techniques, should be mandatory components of this training.
CSC's response to this recommendation will follow under separate cover.
I recommend that the CSC conduct an internal audit of its practices and procedures to protect personal inmate information.
CSC is currently conducting an audit of Privacy of Offender Information. The report is planned for publication in early 2014.
I recommend that the Correctional Service Canada publish a public accountability report card summarizing key correctional outcomes, programs and services for Aboriginal people to be tabled annually in Parliament by the Minister of Public Safety.
In 2006, CSC established the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections (SPAC) articulating CSC's vision and collective commitment for meeting the spiritual, cultural and program needs of Aboriginal offenders. The Aboriginal Corrections Accountability Framework (ACAF) and the Template for Results Reporting and Monitoring (TRRM) were established in 2009 as performance reporting frameworks for the SPAC. Since 2009, CSC produces this annual performance report (ACAF Year-End Report) to assess CSC's performance on Aboriginal Corrections. The report assesses CSC's performance on each of the ACAF indicators. The reports are available on CSC's internal website and a final copy is provided to the Office of the Correctional Investigator annually.
In 2012, CSC conducted an internal Audit of the ACAF to provide reasonable assurance that it has a management framework in place to support its monitoring. The Audit found that the ACAF is consistent with government commitments to performance reporting and that the Year End Report was being produced as directed in the framework. In order to focus CSC's reporting on correctional outcomes, the Audit recommended that the ACAF indicators be streamlined. CSC is currently at the final stage of finalizing the streamline of the ACAF indicators. This will allow CSC to focus its performance reporting of Aboriginal correction on outcomes and align its reporting with the overall CSC performance framework. The final streamlined ACAF indicators will be provided to the OCI and other CSC partners soon.
CSC reporting of its performance on Aboriginal corrections is robust and well integrated into other corporate performance reporting such as the Departmental Performance Report (DPR) which is tabled in Parliament. The tabling of the publicly available ACAF reports is not required.
I recommend that in the coming year, the Correctional Service Canada publish an update to its response to Spirit Matters in collaboration and consultation with its National Aboriginal Advisory Committee.
CSC has already provided its response to the Spirit Matters report and CSC continues to be committed to actioning the recommendations that were accepted in the report.
CSC will continue to seek guidance from the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) for matters related to Aboriginal Corrections. In the context of the overall Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections, CSC's response will be the subject of ongoing discussions with members of the NAAC and CSC's Executive Committee.
I recommend the Correctional Service Canada audit the use of Gladue principles in correctional decision-making affecting significant life and liberty interests of Aboriginal offenders, to include penitentiary placements, security classification, segregation, use of force, health care and conditional release.
A research initiative to ascertain the impact of using Gladue principles in overall case management and decision-making related to Aboriginal offenders will be incorporated in the 2014-2015 CSC Research Plan.
ACCESS TO PROGRAMS
I recommend that CSC increase the number of work releases and enhance access to meaningful prison work and vocational skills training opportunities where such needs are identified in a correctional plan in order to better prepare offenders for their safe and successful release to the community.
Employment has been found to be a significant contributor to successful offender reintegration in the community as law abiding citizens. That is why, when identified as a need, CSC reinforces offender training as an integral part of the correctional plan.
The Employment and Employability (EEP) process begins at intake with an employment domain vocational assessment, including:
- an Offender Intake Assessment (OIA);
- parole officer and employment assessor interviews;
- the vocational assessment tests; and
- an employment report and results from a thorough employment domain analysis.
Since 2007-2008, the number of inmates participating in work releases has increased. Both the number of women and the number of Aboriginal offenders on work releases have increased over the past five years. This highlights the importance and direct link between skills training and the overall eligibility for temporary releases and parole of offenders.
As of June 2012, the Work Release Program was also strengthened with the promulgation of Commissioner's Directive 710-7, Work Releases. Significant changes include:
- the assignment of a staff member at every institution to coordinate the Work Release Program;
- the highlighting of offender accountability requiring the review of work release opportunities and applications against the inmate's Correctional Plan; and
- the creation of a stand-alone Commissioner's Directive on Work Releases.
Our ongoing approach has served to meet the objectives of this recommendation. This was met through CSC's innovation, support, streamlining and working with partners to maximize the Work Release Program to assist in the reintegration process for inmates.
In the past five years, the number of earned vocational certificates has increased year-over-year, from 7,092 completions in FY 2007-2008, to 17,646 completions in FY 2012-2013. The number of earned vocational certificates has more than doubled over this period. These training opportunities are linked to work sectors in the Canadian Labour Market such as welding, construction framing, culinary arts and manufacturing. Inmates can also obtain certificates through other opportunities including: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, Fall Protection, Confined Space Protection, and First Aid/CPR, as well as access to the National Employability Skills Program.
An audit of the Employment and Employability Program is presently underway. In response to the audit's recommendations, CSC will continue to build on the work carried out since the program was formalized in 2000. CSC will have an opportunity to enhance the program through the development of a Management Action Plan. This overall approach provides offenders with essential employment skills, by increasing their marketability to employers and preparing them to successfully enter suitable industries within the workforce as law abiding citizens.
I recommend that an external review of inmate access to spiritual services, freedom of religious expression and practice in CSC facilities be conducted in 2013-14.
CSC will continue to engage the faith communities of Canada through various methods in order to ensure a responsive capacity to meet the diverse range of spiritual needs of offenders in custody. With the range of engagement options available at this time, CSC is ensuring access to religious needs of offenders from all traditions are being met.
CSC satisfies the external review element through an ongoing working dialogue between the Commissioner and the Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy (IFC) on a quarterly basis which would include attendance at the two national meetings of the IFC.
The IFC will also be actively engaged in providing advice concerning the implementation of the strategic plan for a comprehensive chaplaincy contract. This will ensure qualified, professional, official representatives of their respective faith communities are available to meet the religious and spiritual needs of offenders.
As a committee comprised exclusively of volunteer representatives of the diverse Canadian faith communities, the IFC has, and will continue to provide, uniquely qualified individuals to participate in external review and recommendations concerning the access to spiritual services, as well as the freedom of religious expression and practice in CSC facilities. They provide ongoing advice and participate in all evaluations of religious service delivery. Their participation represents both an historic and ongoing responsive dialogue between representatives of the CSC and the faith communities of Canada.
FEDERALLY SENTENCED WOMEN
I recommend that CSC respond publicly to the issues and concerns contained in the 2012 external report entitled, Marginalized: The Aboriginal Women's Experience in Federal Corrections.
The report Marginalized: The Aboriginal Women's experience in Federal Corrections was commissioned by the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. CSC will engage officials in Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to follow-up actions regarding this report.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN CORRECTIONS
In the interest of transparency and accountability, I recommend the best practice of including the Correctional Service of Canada's response as an integral part of my reports tabled in Parliament be reinstated.
CSC will continue to produce a response to the annual report. However, the timing of the release will depend upon the internal review processes to ensure a complete and thorough response.
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