Response to the 45th Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2017-2018

CSC - A Journey of Accountability

I would like to recognize the important role that the findings and recommendations of the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) play in advancing the shared objectives of our respective organizations. By identifying issues of mutual concern in the federal correctional system, the Correctional Investigator assists the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to fulfill its mandate of contributing to public safety and supporting offender rehabilitation.

In carrying out his mandate as the Ombudsman for federal offenders, the Correctional Investigator is responsible for providing informed and balanced recommendations regarding CSC's policies and procedures to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed. The OCI provides an important oversight function, and I view this as an opportunity for ongoing dialogue to share our respective views and approaches for effective Corrections. It is equally important for us to collaborate on achievable solutions that consider CSC's competing priorities, operational needs and the fiscal environment.

CSC is committed to working cooperatively with the Correctional Investigator, within a framework that is characterized by transparency, respect and collaboration. CSC understands that the issues identified are of critical importance, and welcomes the opinions, findings and recommendations of the Correctional Investigator, which are presented with the intent of effecting positive change. CSC's responses to these recommendations, which are detailed below, demonstrate the organization's ongoing commitment to address and resolve issues of mutual concern. Prior to providing CSC's responses to the specific recommendations, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight various initiatives and activities, as well as key correctional results achieved in 2017-18.

Over the course of the past year, CSC has implemented numerous initiatives to support the government's mandate to deliver change for Canadians, address gaps in services throughout the criminal justice system, enhance accountability and transparency in federal corrections, and respond to significant changes in operational realities.

As a result, CSC has achieved a number of successes, including a substantial decline in the federal custody population, a noteworthy rise in the number of offenders, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, on conditional release under supervision in the community and the highest number of offenders on day parole since 2012-13. In the past five years, the percentage of a sentence served by women offenders prior to first release has decreased by 18%. Fiscal year 2017-18 also marked a shift in women's corrections as proportionally more women were under community supervision than in custody. Efficient preparation for safe release and effective case management for women has resulted in fewer days spent incarcerated overall.

Between 2012-13 and 2017-18, there has been a gradual increase in the percentage of Indigenous offenders who have successfully reached Sentence Expiry Date (SED), and a corresponding drop in the rate of serious community convictions for Indigenous offenders. The rate of return to custody after five years (21%) is the lowest result on record. While results for Indigenous offenders remain, on average, eight percent higher than results for non-Indigenous offenders, the percentage of Indigenous offenders returning to federal custody within five years of reaching SED has dropped by over five percent over the past six years.

Providing effective, culturally appropriate interventions and reintegration support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders remains one of CSC's key corporate priorities. CSC's National Indigenous Plan underscores CSC's commitment to preparing Indigenous offenders for safe and successful reintegration. This includes the creation of seven Aboriginal Intervention Centres, which integrate intake assessment, programs and interventions, and engage Indigenous communities in the release planning at the beginning of an Indigenous offender's sentence. To improve reintegration results, CSC also launched the Indigenous Offender Employment Initiative positions for Indigenous offenders to learn construction-related skills through on-the-job and vocational training.

Amendments were made to a number of policies and processes that impact women offenders in order to enhance and strengthen the role of the Deputy Commissioner for Women. Additionally, with the coming into force of Bill C-16 in June 2017, CSC amended its operational guidelines to reflect the organization's commitment to accommodate the needs of offenders related to gender identity or expression, and to ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for all, including offenders, staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors.

Over the past five years, the number of women offenders who have upgraded their educational level has increased by 23%. Women-Centred Training Continuous Development, entitled Creating Choices Revisited, was developed for 2018-21. The newly developed training will provide an overview of the five foundational principles for change, originally developed through the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, to guide CSC's interventions with women offenders. It will also provide staff with the opportunity to apply and strengthen these values in their respective positions.

In 2017-18, courts in Ontario and British Columbia rendered significant decisions relating to administrative segregation, both of which are currently under appeal. CSC continues to comprehensively examine approaches to meaningfully improve conditions of confinement, and ensure the most positive outcomes for offenders, including those with mental health needs. Changes to responsibilities at the institutional, regional and national review levels were implemented through policy amendments in order to strengthen and enhance the requirements related to all decisions and actions taken with regard to administrative segregation. Specific groups of inmates were identified who are no longer admissible to administrative segregation. This rigorous approach to segregation oversight has resulted in a significant decrease in the total number of offenders held in administrative segregation, with admission rates down by 12% overall since last year, including for Indigenous and women offenders.

As employees of CSC, we are all in positions that allow us to positively influence the lives of some of the most vulnerable individuals, their families and society as a whole. We are held to very high standards in carrying out our responsibilities. Canadians depend on us as part of the public safety continuum to act in the best interests of those in our care and custody, and to do so in a responsible, transparent and ethical manner.

As Commissioner, I take this responsibility very seriously and remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that all employees and offenders are treated with dignity and respect across our organization.

The Respectful Workplace Campaign is a comprehensive framework that was implemented by CSC in 2017-18 to promote a healthy workplace free of harassment, bullying and intimidation for all staff. I am committed to ensuring that all staff have the healthy and respectful work environments that they deserve to effectively do their work.

CSC continues to embed evidence-based practices and rigor throughout its investigation process of security incidents in our institutions and communities. In addition, we will continue to widely share what we learn from all our investigations in order to help prevent similar incidents in the future. The systematic assessment of the "stability and vulnerability" of operational units can be aided through raising awareness of the social climate of the operational environment. Of note, CSC has recently developed an on-line Trends, Analytics and Performance (TAP) Dashboard that has multiple domains (population management, offender profiles, security, incidents, grievances) each of which adds something unique to the overall risk assessment of operational units.

CSC has introduced a new Engagement and Intervention Model to guide staff in both security and health activities to prevent, respond to, and resolve incidents, using the highest level of diligence and scrutiny, and only the most necessary and reasonable interventions. The model incorporates an integrated, person-centred approach to assessing engagement and intervention strategies for broader interdisciplinary security and health responses, with a strong focus on preservation of life and adherence to CSC's Mission and Values.

Problematic substance use and illegal drugs have long presented health and safety challenges in federal institutions. CSC is committed to addressing substance misuse in accordance with the principles of the new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy.

In recent years, there has been a substantial rise in the number of overdose incidents as a result of problematic opioid use, which mirrors community trends. To counteract this trend, various initiatives were implemented to strengthen drug detection and identification. CSC has partnered with other federal and provincial public safety stakeholders on a study seeking to assess the efficacy of new and emerging technologies that would allow for non-intrusive detection of synthetic opioids in parcels, mail, etc.

In 2017, CSC integrated a Take-Home Naloxone Initiative into the discharge planning of offenders on Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST). This initiative provides offenders with take-home kits on release and upon arrival at their community residence. Additionally, Naloxone is now more accessible to staff, further increasing their ability to deliver this life-saving measure in a timely manner. Finally, from 2016 to 2018, the number of inmates on OST in federal institutions has increased by approximately 25% (from 868 to 1088). I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the timely life-saving responses of CSC staff who have intervened in situations involving overdoses.

Further to the focus on problematic opioid use, CSC has taken measures to limit the transmission of infectious diseases in our penitentiaries by promoting inmate knowledge and awareness of infectious disease transmission, offering screening and testing for inmates throughout incarceration, and providing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS and HCV and preventative measures, such as bleach and condoms. From 2007 to 2017, the prevalence of HIV in federal institutions declined from 2.02% to 1.2% and the prevalence of HCV declined from 31.6% to 7.8%.

CSC has reached the UNAIDS global HIV eradication targets of "90-90-90" (90% of those with HIV know their status; 90% are on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART); and 90% have attained viral suppression). As of April 2017, CSC measures well at 96% with an HIV test at admission, 94% on HAART, and 91% with viral suppression.

As with all CSC policy and program changes, the safety and security of staff, the public, and inmates are always paramount. The recent introduction of the Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP) will strengthen our ongoing efforts to address infectious diseases in our penitentiaries and communities and enhance public safety.

Effective and timely interventions in addressing the mental health needs of offenders is an ongoing and ever more pressing priority for CSC. Budget 2017 invested $57.8 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, and $13.6 million per year thereafter, to expand mental health care capacity for all inmates in federal institutions. Budget 2018 invested $20.4 million over five years (starting in 2018-19), and $5.6 million per year ongoing, to further support the mental health needs of federal inmates, specifically women offenders in federal correctional facilities. In March 2018, CSC announced that it will undertake a study to create a Health Centre of Excellence at Shepody Healing Centre in Dorchester, New Brunswick. A process is underway to determine its design, service delivery model, and costing. The Health Centre of Excellence will strengthen CSC's capacity to address the mental health needs of federal offenders and will include more psychiatric in-patient services, as well as various levels of mental health care.

During my visits to various regions and institutions across Canada, I am impressed to see the engagement of approximately 6000 volunteers across the country, who help bridge the gap between our correctional institutions and Canadian communities, and ultimately, help offenders successfully reintegrate into the community. The participation of volunteers is a key element in maintaining an open and transparent correctional system. CSC is proud of its many partnerships with stakeholder organizations and the many hours of service provided by all volunteers. Through the work of these volunteers, the community directly and practically contributes to how CSC manages offenders, thereby helping inmates become law-abiding citizens. CSC could not achieve its current level of success in its correctional results without the invaluable contribution of our volunteer partners.

The past year has been one of fundamental change for our organization. The milestones that I have highlighted, along with those underscored in the responses below, signify measurable steps in the right direction; however, additional progress is needed.

One of the areas where we are continuing to improve is our transparency with the public, providing a more accessible look at the work CSC does every day and the realities of managing a correctional system. In this regard, we have continued to strengthen our outreach to, and engage with, tens of thousands of Canadians through our corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts, and CSC's online newsmagazine, Let's Talk Express. We also offer a publicly available Flickr page where Canadians, members of the media, partners and stakeholders can access and download recent photos and video footage of our institutions, facilities, and events. I welcome everyone to make use of these resources.

I was honoured to be formally appointed to lead and serve CSC as Commissioner in July 2018. As I embark on the next chapter of a life-long journey, which began at Collins Bay Institution in 1983, I reflect on having the privilege of working with, and learning from, many exceptional colleagues and partners at the institutional, community, regional and national level. I am fortunate to be accompanied on this part of my journey by an experienced and dedicated team of professionals across all levels of the organization.

My new role has allowed me to take stock of the ever-evolving complexities of federal corrections in Canada from a new vantage point, which will serve as my guide in providing direction on the way forward for the organization. Together, we remain focused on our shared destination, and I am fully committed to ensuring that the right conditions are in place for all of us at CSC to fulfill our mandate of ensuring safe, secure, humane and dignified custody for those in our care.

While the perspectives of CSC and the OCI as to potential solutions may sometimes differ, our common goals for the effective care and custody, and successful reintegration of offenders always converge. I look forward to an open and constructive relationship with the OCI in pursuit of our shared objectives in order to best serve Canadians.

Anne Kelly

Correctional Investigator's Message

1. I recommend that Public Safety Canada develop a nationally maintained recidivism database that links federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions. This database should publicly report on reoffending before and after warrant expiry dates (WED), for both violent and non-violent offences, and should include post-WED follow-up periods of at least two and five years.

This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

2. I recommend that the incoming Commissioner of Corrections initiate a prioritized review of the effectiveness of internal monitoring and performance mechanisms, inclusive of use of force reviews, the National Board of Investigation process, inmate complaint and grievance system, staff discipline, audits, evaluations, communications and public reporting functions.

CSC fully agrees that a sustained focus is required to ensure its internal monitoring and performance mechanisms continue to be transparent, rigorous and an effective means of identifying areas of concern in key areas of operations. CSC has taken action to ensure the integrity of its oversight mechanisms, including recent work discussed below, and will continue to do so moving forward.

In 2017-18, CSC implemented a higher level of scrutiny at the regional and national level for disciplinary decisions related to use of force incidents resulting in serious bodily harm or death, and a higher level of transparency in all decisions related to disciplinary sanctions. As part of the decision-making process, CSC's Human Resource Management policy now requires consultation between senior managers at the regional level and in Labour Relations regarding disciplinary, or other administrative measures being contemplated, for any institutional incident involving a non-natural death in custody and/or use of force related to serious bodily injury. In addition, the decision-maker is required to provide written justification where the disciplinary measures taken diverge from the quantum advice provided by Labour Relations. In addition, in all cases where a use of force incident results in disciplinary measures, the decision maker is required to provide a written rationale for any sanction that is levied.

Over the past year, it is noted that CSC has also taken measures to strengthen National Boards of Investigations, including a procedure that shares possible matters of misconduct that arise from National Board of Investigations with Labour Relations to ensure accountability, which includes investigating misconduct and imposing proportionate disciplinary action; and innovative approaches to investigations that examine broader issues across CSC (e.g., drug overdoses). An Independent Review Committee was mandated to ensure the quality, breadth and generalizability of findings and recommendations stemming from incidents involving deaths in custody, to influence organizational policy and practice, and to assist in preventing future deaths in custody.

CSC has several mechanisms in place to ensure the effectiveness of the audit function throughout the planning, execution and reporting process. This includes a Departmental Audit Committee which is chaired by an external member; a Risk-Based Audit Plan which is designed to address areas of higher risk and significance that may impact CSC's ability to achieve its objectives; and a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program that includes ongoing and periodic evaluation on issues such as timely corrective actions and instances of non-conformance. In 2017 an external Practice Inspection of CSC's Internal Audit function reviewed all aspects of the audit function (governance, staff, management and the audit process). The inspection concluded that CSC Internal Audit generally conforms to the IIA Standards and the Code of Ethics.

Following a recent internal audit of CSC's Offender Redress area, a number of internal efficiencies have been implemented to strengthen the Offender Complaint and Grievance process, including enhanced triaging of complaints and grievances, specialized teams, restructuring of management practices and additional resources to address the grievance backlog. Through these efforts, the active caseload diminished by 1,000 files (24%) between end of year 2016-17 and end of year 2017-18. The steady decrease in active grievance files is continuing and reflects CSC's ongoing commitment and concerted work to ensure a robust redress mechanism for offenders.

On an overall note, CSC has a solid accountability foundation. The Treasury Board Management Accountability Framework (MAF) has noted that CSC has strong results-based management practices in place, and has demonstrated that it makes good use of performance information to identify risks, establish priorities and support resource allocation decisions.

As the incoming Commissioner of Corrections, I will ensure that our internal monitoring and performance mechanisms are effective. When gaps are identified, appropriate reviews and actions will be taken as required.  

Health Care in Corrections

3. I recommend that there be no exceptions written into or provided for in CSC policy allowing MAID to take place in a facility under federal correctional authority or control. Internal policy should simply state that a request for MAID from a federal inmate who is terminally ill will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

CSC supports the notion that quality health care requires a patient-centred approach. In response to the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) legislation, CSC undertook a comprehensive consultation process before promulgating its Guidelines, entitled Medical Assistance in Dying, Guidelines 800-9. The decision to include exceptions in policy was based on the outcome of these discussions.

Throughout the consultations, a number of community health partners stressed the importance of ensuring that CSC's approach to MAID was patient-centred and respected the express wishes of competent adults. These partners specified that a patient-centered approach could include allowing the procedure to take place within a CSC institution in those limited circumstances where such is the patient's stated preference.

The Guidelines were developed to reflect CSC's commitment to a patient-centered approach as well as the recommendations of subject matter experts; as such, it is stipulated that the provision of MAID must be guided by patient-centred care, and compassionate and humanitarian principles. The Guidelines further require that the MAID procedures only be offered in CSC Treatment Centres or Regional Hospitals in exceptional circumstances and only at the express request of the inmate.

4. I recommend that, in cases of terminal illness where death is reasonably foreseen, there should be proactive and coordinated case management between CSC and the Parole Board of Canada to facilitate safe and compassionate community release in the timeliest manner possible.

The issue of Parole by Exception in cases of terminal illness was discussed at an interlinkages meeting between CSC and the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). CSC is taking steps to strengthen its release planning process in these cases to ensure these requests continue to be considered on a priority basis. CSC will be promoting further awareness of this release option and ensure timely case preparation and notification to the PBC for their decision-making.

CSC and the PBC have collaborated on the development and implementation of a communication approach to provide clarification to staff, offenders and community partners regarding Parole by Exception in terminally ill cases. As part of this initiative, information will be disseminated within CSC institutions and parole offices to encourage offenders to discuss their interest and eligibility for this release option with their Parole Officer.

5. I recommend that the CSC develop arrangements with external hospice and palliative care providers in each Region to ensure adequate and appropriate bed space is in place to release palliative or terminally ill patients to the community.

CSC is committed to continuing to work with community partners to facilitate the transfer of inmates to appropriate community housing, including external hospice and palliative care facilities, in all cases where conditional release or exceptional parole for offenders is approved by the PBC.

In order to support operational and health care staff working with terminal or palliative inmates, CSC now requires all palliative/terminal diagnoses to be reported and tracked nationally by the Health Services Sector. This allows all levels of management to work collaboratively in order to ensure all care options are explored for palliative or terminally ill patients in a timely manner.

6. I recommend strengthening CSC's health care governance structure through the following accountability and assurance measures:

  1. Complete separation of health care budgets from prison administration.
  2. More team-based and shared models of primary care, including closer monitoring, charting and follow-up of individual treatment plans.
  3. Practical and ongoing judgement-based and ethical training of correctional health care professionals.
  4. Coordination, oversight and monitoring of transitions in physical and mental health care (e.g. transfers between CSC facilities, releases to the community, transfers to external health care providers, transfers to and returns from Regional Treatment Centres).
  5. A system of regular peer reviews, medical chart audits and evaluations of medical staff conducted at the national level.

In order to ensure that quality, patient-centred care, in accordance with professionally accepted standards, is available to all inmates across the country, CSC undertook a number of reforms, beginning in 2007, to strengthen the governance of Health Services at CSC.

To further strengthen CSC's health care governance framework, in 2017, Health Services formed the National Medical Advisory Committee (NMAC). This committee, chaired by the National Medical Advisor, advances the role of physicians (Primary Care Physicians and Psychiatry) in decision-making within CSC. The NMAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the Assistant Commissioner, Health Services on issues of health care organization and delivery, policy, clinical independence, recruitment and retention, and quality improvement.

  1. Complete separation of health care budgets from prison administration.
    In line with separate reporting structures for CSC Health Services staff, CSC established a separate Health Services budget in 2007, which is managed directly by Health Services staff.
  2. More team-based and shared models of primary care, including closer monitoring, charting and follow-up of individual treatment plans.
    In 2005, CSC began work to expand primary care options for inmates in line with the principles of shared care.  This has included, for example, the integration of additional health professionals, mental health nurses and registered social workers, into primary care treatment teams.
    Also see section d below.
  3. Practical and ongoing judgement-based and ethical training of correctional health care professionals.
    CSC's registered health care professionals adhere to the ethical and professional standards of their registering bodies (commonly referred to as colleges) and complete annual professional development activities as required by their colleges. Additionally, CSC supports the on-going professional development of health care professionals through the provision of mandatory training and relevant professional development, which includes judgement-based and ethical considerations. Examples of current initiatives include emergency-simulation training, in-class values and ethics training, and the newly developed engagement and intervention training.
  4. Coordination, oversight and monitoring of transitions in physical and mental health care (e.g. transfers between CSC facilities, releases to the community, transfers to external health care providers, transfers to and returns from Regional Treatment Centres).
    CSC recognizes that care transitions pose potential patient safety risks, such as the loss of critical clinical information, and, therefore, require an increased degree of coordination.
    To address these risks, CSC has implemented an electronic health record system, which allows health staff to retrieve offender health information in real time.  This development has significantly improved the availability of critical clinical information on transfer or release to the community. Electronic health care records have also improved patient care through the use of automatic reminders that can facilitate better patient follow-up and monitoring.
    Additionally, CSC has implemented processes, such as chart auditing and medication reconciliation at all points of transition, to monitor and address gaps in service provision at critical transition points. CSC has undertaken a review of operational policies and procedural guidelines to ensure that the necessary coordination at points of transition is prioritized and that any potential gaps are addressed. The review is currently expected to be completed by April 2019.
  5. A system of regular peer reviews, medical chart audits and evaluations of medical staff conducted at the national level.
    Since 2004, CSC has worked with Accreditation Canada to ensure a process of continuous quality improvement and consistent adherence to national health care standards which parallels those found in the community. This work includes regular chart audits focused on quality improvement conducted by health care staff, peers and supervisors. CSC completed the accreditation process for 2018.

7. I recommend that CSC ensure security staff working in a Regional Treatment Centre are carefully recruited, suitably selected, properly trained and fully competent to carry out their duties in a secure psychiatric hospital environment.

All correctional staff, including those who are working in Regional Treatment Centres, are carefully recruited, selected and trained. Every correctional officer participates in Fundamentals of Mental Health training, as well as suicide and self-injury training.

In 2017-18, CSC revised its incident response model with the introduction of a new Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) to guide staff in both security and health activities to prevent, respond to, and resolve incidents using an integrated, person-centered approach. This new model, as well as the underlying policy framework and relevant staff training, put greater emphasis on broader interdisciplinary security and health responses, with a strong focus on preservation of life and consideration of specific mental and other health care needs. The new framework provides staff with the necessary training, skills and competencies to carry out their duties in accordance with CSC's Mission and Values. Training involves a scenario-based decision-making model, which allows employees to practice their responses to real-life situations they may face in a correctional environment. This approach allows them to develop the ability to make life-preserving decisions in real time, while benefiting from a controlled environment.

Ultimately, the new model was developed to include all institutional and community staff working with offenders and highlights the role everyone plays in ensuring the health needs of offenders are recognized and appropriately responded to. It is important to note that some components of the model include in-depth training only applicable to specialized staff, specifically in the areas of health and safety. The model is reflective of the diverse professionals, their skills and abilities and how working together as one team will provide the best results when managing situations.

8. I recommend that independent Patient Advocates be assigned to each Treatment Centre, whose role and responsibilities include providing inmate patients with advice, advocacy and support and ensuring their rights are fully understood, respected and protected. The Patient Advocates could also serve as an expert resource for other CSC facilities in each Region.

Currently, all provinces appoint patient advocates for inmates certified under provincial mental health legislation. CSC facilitates access for these advocates in institutions and actively encourages the role and engagement of these independent bodies.

Patient-centred care and patient advocacy are fundamental responsibilities of all registered health care professionals in Canada. Specifically, the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (Canadian Nurses Association, 2008 Centennial Edition) states that nurses have an advocacy responsibility for the use of the least restrictive measures for their patients and are required to speak up if the health of persons in their care is compromised by the decision-making of others.

While CSC is not in a position to fund independent patient advocates at this time, we will review Commissioner's Directive (CD) 800, Health Services, the organization's keystone health policy document, with the goal of clarifying and strengthening the role of patient advocacy in CSC. The review is anticipated to be completed by March 2019.

Furthermore, CSC remains committed to supporting the work of inmate advocates from non-governmental agencies, such as the John Howard Society, the Native Women's Association of Canada and Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Conditions of Confinement

9. I recommend that in 2018-19 CSC conducts an evaluation of its new Engagement and Intervention Model.

CSC's Departmental Evaluation Plan 2018-23 includes an evaluation of the Engagement and Intervention Model. This evaluation is scheduled to commence in January 2019.

10. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety conduct an independent review of the National Board of Investigation section 19 process to enhance transparency, credibility, integrity and accountability of investigations convened and conducted by the Correctional Service of Canada. This review would consider an option for the Minister to authorize an external and independent investigation into major disturbances (riots) resulting in injury or death, suicides in segregation and use of force interventions leading to serious bodily injury or death.

This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

11. I recommend that the CSC conduct an external audit of its Food Services Modernization initiative (National Menu and Cook-Chill). The audit should review cost of the implementation and impact of this initiative on inmate employment and canteen purchases.

CSC completed an audit of Food Services in July 2018. The results of the audit will be published on CSC's website in the coming months.

In addition, CSC has undertaken to review a number of proposed business areas.

The review includes examining existing work processes and the current organizational structure of Food Services to:

  • validate if measures already put in place (i.e. Food Services modernization, Cook Chill and other drivers) have resulted in overall expected efficiencies;
  • analyze and identify risks and mitigation strategies of the current delivery model; and
  • analyze existing business processes and identify opportunities for process optimization.

Any required action plans to address the findings and recommendations will be completed by the end of the FY 2019-20.

12. I recommend that CSC creates and appoints a Deputy Commissioner level position for Indigenous Affairs to ensure that corporate attention and accountability remains focused on Indigenous issues in federal corrections.

Indigenous Corrections is one of CSC's key corporate priorities and, for this reason, the responsibility for leading our work in this area continues to be held by the Senior Deputy Commissioner (SDC) - our most senior executive who is directly accountable to the Commissioner. The National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, established in 2000, provides advice to both the Commissioner and the SDC on correctional policies and practices related to Indigenous offenders.

Moreover, the SDC is the decision-maker in key areas of CSC operations, including for long-term segregation cases; the transfer of offenders to and from the Special Handling Unit: and detention referrals to the Parole Board of Canada for high-risk offenders reaching their Statutory Release Date. This provides a wide lens through which the SDC can monitor the implementation and impacts of a cross-section of policy and legislation on offenders in federal custody, including issues that emerge that are unique to certain offender populations. Notably, the SDC is well-positioned to ensure there is a sustained lens on issues that relate to Indigenous offenders and gaps that need to be addressed to ensure effective culturally responsive case management and interventions.

The SDC, supported by an Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate led by a Director General, provides leadership to ensure that Indigenous Corrections is fully integrated into the overall correctional agenda, and that responsibility for results is shared by all sectors and regions across the organization. The current structure ensures that CSC applies a consistent approach at the national, regional and institutional levels to support the healing of Indigenous offenders and their safe transition to the community. It also provides the leadership required to create a common purpose, mobilize and engage both internal and external stakeholders and foster collaboration with Indigenous communities to improve and sustain correctional results for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders. It should be noted that the Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate attends all presentations to the Senior Executive Committee on Indigenous issues.

Indigenous Corrections

13. I recommend that CSC re-allocate very significant resources to negotiate new funding arrangements and agreements with appropriate partners and service providers to transfer care, custody and supervision of Indigenous people from prison to the community. This would include creation of new section 81 capacity in urban areas and section 84 placements in private residences. These new arrangements should return to the original vision of the Healing Lodges and include consultation with Elders.

CSC is currently implementing several reintegration initiatives under federal Budget 2017 that will strengthen reintegration support for Indigenous men and women offenders as they transition from the institution to a life in the community. This includes project funding for Indigenous organizations delivering trauma, substance abuse, and life skills interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders at the Aboriginal Intervention Centres (AICs) and Healing Lodges. CSC is also contracting Indigenous organizations and other entities with Indigenous expertise to develop and/or deliver services that support the reintegration needs of Indigenous offenders in rural, remote and urban centres.

Consultation with the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, the National Elders Working Group, as well as Indigenous Elders and staff working within CSC, has highlighted the need for interventions and services that will support offenders to address the impacts of intergenerational trauma, addictions, and life skills to better prepare them to contribute positively to their families and communities upon release.

 Through the federal Budget 2017, CSC has increased the number of Aboriginal Community Development Officers and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers in rural areas and urban centres, respectively. This will enhance culturally relevant support for Indigenous offenders, to respond more effectively to their needs, and to promote the use of the section 84 release process.

Furthermore, CSC strengthened the section 81 funding arrangement to respond to the needs of Indigenous communities/organizations managing Healing Lodges. This new funding formula, which has been deemed fair and respectful by agreement holders, applies to all existing and new section 81 agreements. In his 2017-18 Annual Report, the OCI also echoed support for CSC's new funding arrangement as a model "that recognizes the unique requirements of the different Healing Lodges." It enables Indigenous agreement holders to have access to funds that will ensure the effective operation of their Healing Lodges and to adequately respond to the needs of Indigenous men and women offenders in their care and custody.

In September 2017, building on the partnership with Indigenous Peoples, the Minister of Public Safety and the First Nation community of Waseskun renewed an existing section 81 agreement for the Waseskun Healing Centre so that operations will continue for another five years.

In addition, in March 2018, the Minister renewed two existing section 81 agreements. The first agreement was with the First Nation community of Crane River for the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Spiritual Healing Lodge and increased capacity by four additional beds. The second agreement was with the Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) on behalf of the Stan Daniels Healing Centre and the Buffalo Sage Wellness House. CSC has increased the capacity of the Buffalo Sage Wellness House by 12 additional beds in order to expand the culturally responsive environment and support the reintegration of Indigenous women offenders.

CSC continues to enhance partnerships to create more opportunities for the participation of Indigenous communities in the management of Indigenous offenders. This includes the engagement and collaboration between the CSC and Indigenous communities on section 81 agreements under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) for Healing Lodges.

CSC is currently engaged in discussions regarding a proposed section 81 agreement for women in the Prairies and has received statements of interest from Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast.

14. To honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 'calls to action,' I recommend that CSC spending, budget and resource allocation should better reflect the proportion of Indigenous people serving a federal sentence. Over the next decade, re-allocation of resources and delegation of control to Indigenous communities should be the stated goals of CSC's contribution to reaching the TRC's 'calls to action.'

CSC remains committed to ensuring resource allocations are in place to support Indigenous offenders' timely access to culturally and spiritually responsive correctional programs and interventions.

In order to continue to improve reintegration results, CSC has implemented the National Indigenous Plan, which provides a national framework to transform Indigenous case management and corrections. The Plan streamlines existing resources and services, including the creation of seven Aboriginal Intervention Centres (AICs). AICs integrate intake assessment, programs and interventions, and, as part of the transition to the community, engage Indigenous communities at the beginning of an Indigenous offender's sentence, or at least two years prior to their first eligibility date. Indigenous offenders with shorter sentences are a priority at these Centres. Dedicated Case Management Teams are established at each AIC and receive specialized training to ensure streamlined case coordination that takes into consideration an Indigenous individual's Aboriginal Social History, assesses the impact of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care interventions, and promotes a more integrated and proactive approach to correctional planning.

In addition, through the federal Budget 2017, CSC has increased the number of Aboriginal Community Development Officers and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers in rural areas and urban centres, respectively. This will enhance culturally relevant support for Indigenous offenders to respond more effectively to their needs, and promote the use of the section 84 release process.

As noted above, in 2017, CSC strengthened the section 81 funding arrangement to better support Indigenous communities/organizations managing Healing Lodges.

CSC has worked in close partnership with section 81 agreement holders in the development of section 81 agreements that provide both operational and administrative decision-making processes to effectively manage the care and custody of Indigenous offenders while responding to their rehabilitation and reintegration needs. The new section 81 agreements have been reported by agreement holders as respectful and developed in recognition of the self-determination of Indigenous agreement holders.

15. I recommend that the CSC develop a National Gang and Dis-Affiliation Strategy and ensure sufficient resources are allocated for its implementation, inclusive of (core and cultural) programs, employment and services. Special attention should be paid to Indigenous-based street gangs. This strategy should:

  1. be responsive to the unique needs of young Indigenous men and women offenders, including education and meaningful vocational opportunities;
    From a case management perspective, all offenders, including young adult offenders, undergo assessments to determine their correctional and criminogenic needs. The resulting Correctional Plan identifies the interventions - including education, vocational training, employment, social programs, spiritual and cultural activities, and correctional programs - needed to reduce recidivism. Referral to correctional programs is based on consideration of an offender's risk, needs and strengths.
    Correctional programs address factors which are linked to criminal offending. The Integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM), which incorporates the Aboriginal Integrated Correctional Program Model (AICPM), is a holistic program model that addresses all of an offender's risk and needs. Participants receive help in identifying their specific risk factors and personal targets for change. They then proceed to a main program where they learn how to work towards their personal targets in order to reduce recidivism. The needs of Security Threat Group (STG) members are addressed within these existing Correctional Programs, and young adult offenders who are members of a STG are referred to such programs based on level of risk and need.
    The integrated, multi-target nature of the ICPM/AICPM allows offenders - including STG members - to examine the interplay among their multiple risk factors and to learn how the same skill sets can be used to effectively manage them.
  2. ensure that non-gang affiliated young adult offenders are not placed where there are gang members who may attempt to recruit or intimidate them;
    CSC has a policy in place to help prevent offenders affiliated with Security Threat Groups (STG) from exercising influence and power, and to prevent actions and circumstances that enhance their image and prestige. The successful application of this policy requires correctional staff to manage various offender populations in a proactive manner, and actively engage in activities that include: intelligence-gathering and information-sharing; dynamic security and supervision; ongoing monitoring and observation of key STG affiliates; and regular liaison with case management staff. While this integrated approach to population management helps detect and protect young adult offenders from recruitment and intimidation efforts, it also helps foster the environment needed for these same offenders to meaningfully engage in programs and interventions that directly target criminal behaviour, including pro-criminal thinking and harmful associates.
    Although every effort is made to place young adult offenders in an environment with minimal STG-related influences, factors such as bed availability, offender security level and incompatibilities may impact placement decisions.
  3. facilitate opportunities (e.g. workshops, seminars, public speakers, etc.) where young adults can engage with their culture and/or spirituality, and age-specific activities;
    As part of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care, CSC has a number of spiritually and culturally responsive interventions to foster healing and to increase the reintegration potential of gang dis-affiliation. These interventions include the Aboriginal Integrated Correctional Program Model, Pathways Initiatives, Elder Services, Healing Lodges, release planning under sections 81 and 84 of the CCRA, the Anijaarniq Inuit Strategy and AICs.
    These interventions are particularly important opportunities for Indigenous offenders. As noted by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) in its report "Indigenous People in the Federal Correctional System" (June 2018), witnesses indicated that there is a gap in the early education of Indigenous children regarding their culture, which continues to affect Indigenous communities. Similarly, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women noted that, "for some Indigenous women, their first connection with their Indigenous culture was in a federal correctional institution" ("A Call to Action: Reconciliation with Indigenous women in the Federal Justice and Correctional Systems", June 2018).
  4. incorporate best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions and other public safety domains.
    CSC currently has a number of mechanisms in place to ensure the effective management of the STG population. Given the fluid nature of this population, CSC recognises the importance of a coordinated and evidence-based approach that is responsive to the various institutional environments and varying STG dynamics. CSC will therefore continue to work with various criminal justice and law enforcement partners, both domestically and abroad, to ensure policy, programs and interventions incorporate various best practices in the areas of identification and detection, prevention and intervention, and termination of affiliation.

Safe and Timely Reintegration

16. I recommend federal prisons join the digital world by providing inmate access to monitored email and Internet, online learning and in-cell tablets.

CSC committed to exploring pilots to provide for monitored email, tablets and laptops within a secured environment, and has developed a Request for Information (RFI) to consider approaches for increasing inmate capabilities through technology and improving correctional results. The RFI has been issued and an evaluation of each vendor response to determine suitability of technologies for CSC will be completed this Fiscal Year (FY). The implementation of a national solution is targeted by FY 2020-21.

As maintaining contact and social support with family members while incarcerated has been linked to successful offender reintegration, CSC has implemented a national information technology-enabled Video Visitation solution which provides inmates with the opportunity to enhance family and community ties when in-person visitation is difficult or not possible.

CSC is currently exploring options and feasibility to pilot a digital education environment to integrate technological advances in education programs for inmates. CSC expects to deliver course content via the pilot project starting in FY 2018-19 at Joyceville Institution - Minimum Security Unit. The purpose of the pilot project is to enhance education capabilities for incarcerated offenders with electronic resources to capitalize on the benefits of computer-assisted learning. This will also provide opportunities for inmates to gain the computer skills needed for increasing computer literacy levels. In FY 2019-20, the outcome of the digital education environment pilot project will be assessed and CSC will determine the feasibility of expanding digital education for delivery at other federal institutions.

17. I recommend that, based on the Walls to Bridges Program, the Service increase inmate access and capacity to pursue post-secondary studies through partnerships with local universities and colleges.

CSC recognizes the value and success of the Walls to Bridges Program and supports the capacity of offenders to pursue post-secondary studies through partnerships with local universities and colleges. Given that such program models are dependent on the interest from educational institutions, CSC is committed to further exploring opportunities to build partnerships with local universities and colleges.

In partnership with the University of Alberta, CSC offered a first-year Humanities course to women incarcerated at Edmonton Institution for Women (EIFW). The course, Contemporary Indigenous Art, registered 34 participants, of whom 80% were Indigenous women offenders, and yielded 26 successful graduates from EIFW.

This success has led to an expanded partnership, and CSC has been provided with ten seats for a third-year Women's Studies course in the faculty of Native Studies, commencing in January 2019 and accessible to women via CSC's temporary absence program. CSC continues to engage with the University of Alberta and is exploring implementation of a program similar to Walls to Bridges at EIFW.

Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Trent University and Warkworth Institution is on track to be finalised this fiscal year, making post-secondary studies through the Walls to Bridges model available for offenders residing at Warkworth Institution.

Other forms of partnerships already exist, such as for paper-based correspondence course participation, between the Quebec region and some Cégep Institutions. It is relevant to note that, in collaboration with Kwantlen Polytechnic University, CSC has previously successfully facilitated an Inside Out Program at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village. This program will be further explored in the Fall 2018 by initiating contact to determine if there is an interest in offering the programs to other federal institutions.

18. I recommend that the following five measures be implemented as a means to address key findings from my Missed Opportunities report:

  1. CSC should develop a Commissioner's Directive highlighting the unique needs of young adults and the importance of focused case management processes that are responsive to young adults (particularly with respect to safety and security, transfers, segregation, security level, and rehabilitative programs and services).
  2. The frequency of contact between young adults and Parole Officers should be increased to ensure that young individuals are enrolled in correctional programming or education classes or working to gain skills and experience.
  3. Parole Officers (institutional and community) should receive training specific to younger individuals.
  4. There should be an increased focus on engaging with young Indigenous offenders through spirituality and culture, including clear, nationally supported strategies for gang dis-affiliation.
  5. There should be a presumptive prohibition on the use of administrative segregation for young adults under the age of 21 and this presumption should be incorporated into law.

CSC accepts the care and custody of inmates sentenced to its jurisdiction as imposed by the courts.  In the cases of young adults placed in federal custody, CSC respects that judges render fair and reasoned decisions in consideration of all circumstances, including the correctional environment, programs, and eligibility dates.

  1. CSC should develop a Commissioner's Directive highlighting the unique needs of young adults and the importance of focused case management processes that are responsive to young adults (particularly with respect to safety and security, transfers, segregation, security level, and rehabilitative programs and services).
    CSC's case management, programming and policy framework is based on the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model, which has been shown to be appropriate for all offenders, including young adult offenders. This is supported by CSC's research titled Risk and Need among young Adult offenders, which found that age was unrelated to most indicators of risk and need, and that the few noted differences were attributed to normal life course development. Differences associated with age are not unique to the offender population, but rather reflect typical young adult development.
    Overall, research suggests that programs and interventions based on a cognitive-behavioural approach are effective for both young adult and adult offenders. Based on this framework, adaptable correctional plans, which focus on an individual's specific needs and risks, are the case management strategy that works best for offenders of any age.
    That being said, CSC will develop procedural guidelines in policy, which are evidence-based and address the management, supervision and rehabilitation of young adult offenders, as well as any age-specific vulnerabilities.
  2. The frequency of contact between young adults and Parole Officers should be increased to ensure that young individuals are enrolled in correctional programming or education classes or working to gain skills and experience.
  3. Parole Officers (institutional and community) should receive training specific to younger individuals.
    Regardless of an offender's age, the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model guides Parole Officers (PO) when managing an offender through their incarceration and eventual reintegration into the community. This includes addressing challenges that a younger adult offender may face with respect to safety and rehabilitation while in an institution, as well as reintegration needs, such as employment, housing, mental health services and community support. CSC staff are trained to identify these types of issues and respond appropriately, by adjusting and adapting the offender's Correctional Plan and correctional interventions as needed. All offenders, regardless of age, may require help adjusting to institutional environments and reintegrating the community, and CSC staff are trained to provide this support.
    CSC interventions are guided by the most recent evidence in correctional research, relevant theory and current practices, and are offered to Indigenous and non-indigenous men and women offenders. The Risk-Need-Responsivity Model provides the foundation for effective correctional programming and numerous studies have demonstrated that adherence to these three principles maximizes the effectiveness of correctional programming at reducing recidivism.
    Based on evidence-based practices, an offender's risk and needs are assessed through the intake process that takes place within the first 60 to 90 days after their admission. The level of intervention with respect to an offender's identified needs, including correctional programming, education, employability and employment skills required to manage risk, are included in their Correctional Plan. As part of effective case management, contact between POs and offenders, especially young adult offenders, is required to continually assess their risk and needs. While all offenders are encouraged to work with their CMT, more intensive support from their PO will not impact the process of enrolling offenders into correctional programs, education, or vocational experiences.
  4. There should be an increased focus on engaging with young Indigenous offenders through spirituality and culture, including clear, nationally supported strategies for gang dis-affiliation.
    As part of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care, CSC offers a number of spiritually and culturally responsive interventions to foster healing, and to increase the reintegration potential of Indigenous men and women offenders, including young adult offenders. These interventions are outlined above and include the Aboriginal Integrated Correctional Program Model, Pathways Initiatives, Elder Services, Healing Lodges, release planning under sections 81 and 84 of the CCRA, the Anijaarniq Inuit Strategy and CSC's National Indigenous Plan inclusive of Aboriginal Interventions Centres.
  5. There should be a presumptive prohibition on the use of administrative segregation for young adults under the age of 21 and this presumption should be incorporated into law.
    CSC manages inmates on an individual basis related to their individual needs and level of risk. The purpose of administrative segregation is to manage risk; the risk that the individual poses to staff or other inmates, the risk of jeopardizing an investigation, or the risk to personal safety that the individual is facing from other inmates. The placement of an individual in administrative segregation is a decision made or confirmed by the Institutional Head after careful consideration of the risks and circumstances. It is an option of last resort, only to be used when specific legal requirements are met, and only when all reasonable and safe alternatives have been exhausted.
    Young adult offenders (aged 18-21 years) are predominantly in segregation for jeopardizing the security of the institution or the safety of any person (90%). They tend to be male (90%) and have an offender security level of maximum (70%). 50% are Indigenous. The proportion of all offenders in segregation who are young adults is 3% (10/342) and this mirrors the proportion of young adult offenders in the overall in-custody population (3% - 389/14,019). (All information based on March 4, 2018 snapshot.)
    As part of the procedural safeguards for inmates placed in administrative segregation, there are three levels of review that occur. The various levels of oversight support the administration of segregation by reviewing specific cases, as prescribed, and making recommendations as to whether the placement of the inmate in administrative segregation should be maintained, and if the placement continues to be justified pursuant to section 31 of the CCRA.
    In addition to the levels of review and as part of the ongoing oversight, the Institutional Head must visit inmates in segregation, upon every request. The Institutional Head must also visit the segregation unit on a daily basis, inspect the conditions of confinement, and review placement decisions made by a delegate within one working day to either confirm placement or order release. Further, a health care professional must visit an inmate at the time of admission or without delay, and must visit each inmate in segregation daily, including weekends.

Federally Sentenced Women

19. I recommend repealing of two related measures that exist outside the law: the two-year "rule" and the discriminatory movement levels system for women classified as maximum security.

To clarify, a two-year "rule" does not exist within the security classification framework. In 2016-17, there were 12 women who were newly admitted and convicted of first- or second-degree murder. Five of these women (40%) were initially classified as medium security. As well, in 2017-18 there were 20 women who were newly admitted and convicted of first- or second-degree murder. Again, more than 40% were initially classified as medium security.

Under the CCRA, CSC is required to assign a security classification of maximum, medium, or minimum to each offender admitted to its facilities. In doing so, it considers the seriousness of the offence committed, the offender's social and criminal history, and the potential for violent behavior. In rendering a decision with respect to an offender's security level, specialized CSC staff use clinical assessments which are informed by a multi-faceted approach that considers all available risk-related information, including the application of actuarial tools, such as the Custody Rating Scale.

The 'Movement Levels' system is a gender-informed strategy that provides a unique opportunity for all maximum-security women to participate in activities and interventions outside the Secure Unit. This facilitates the building of supportive relationships with the medium-security population, thereby facilitating reintegration. If the movement level system were rescinded, women classified as maximum security would no longer be able to participate in activities and interventions available outside the secure unit, potentially impacting their successful transition to medium security.

In response to a similar recommendation in the 2016-2017 OCI Annual Report, CSC committed to conducting a review of the Movement Levels system. Following the review, which included national consultation with inmates, staff, and external stakeholders, recommendations are being considered which include revising processes to ensure greater consistency and procedural fairness across all women's sites.

20. I recommend CSC conduct a review to ensure a full range of mitigating strategies are in place to support rehabilitation and reintegration of women offenders who are removed from their home provinces or communities, including establishing new section 81 agreements.

As previously highlighted, 2017-18 marked a shift in women's corrections as proportionally more women were under community supervision than in custody. Efficient preparation for safe release and effective case management for women has resulted in fewer days spent incarcerated overall.

CSC will conduct a review and produce a synopsis of the measures currently in place in women offender institutions to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of women offenders who are geographically displaced from their home communities. The review will examine options, as required, to mitigate any negative impact of geographical displacement.

In November 2017, CSC expanded bed capacity as part of the section 81 agreement at Buffalo Sage Wellness Centre, moving from 16 beds to 28 beds. As noted previously, discussions are underway regarding another proposed section 81 agreement for women in the Prairies. CSC continues to explore opportunities for section 81 agreements for women, which will further support services for women in or close to their home communities.

21. I once again recommend that the Service use section 29 provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to transfer patients who present with serious mental health needs, suicidal or chronic self-injurious behaviours and cannot be safely managed in a penitentiary setting to the care of external psychiatric facilities.

CSC has a long-standing partnership with Institut Philippe-Pinel in Montreal for the provision of external hospital beds for men and women.

In addition, Budget 2018 allocated $3.69M in ongoing funding to support an expansion of access to external hospital beds for federally incarcerated women.

While CSC generally has the capacity to address the mental health needs of federally incarcerated women, we recognize that some women would benefit from access to a small number of external psychiatric hospital beds closer to their home communities. This would allow women to maintain community connections. In addition, there are also a small number of women with significant mental health needs and disruptive behaviours who may benefit from access to additional external beds. CSC is currently engaging with provincial forensic psychiatric centres to explore opportunities to enter into partnerships to address these areas.

It is important to note that community partners are not obligated to accept these patients in their psychiatric facilities. As an example, in 2017-18, provincial review boards decided, in two separate cases, that the health care needs of the individual patients would be better met in a CSC-operated psychiatric facility than in a community forensic hospital.

CSC remains committed to working with community partners in seeking solutions to ensure all inmates receive timely quality health care in accordance with professionally accepted standards and in accordance with the CCRA.

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