Response to the 46th Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2018-2019


The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) contributes to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by carrying out sentences imposed by the courts and ensuring the safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders. CSC also encourages and assists the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens through the provision of interventions in penitentiaries and in the community.

On a typical day during 2018-19, CSC was responsible for 23,269 offenders, of whom 13,996 were in federal custody (including temporary detainees) and 9,273 were being supervised in the community. The population of offenders under community supervision has been on an upward trend that is expected to continue in the coming years. CSC is responsible for the management of 43 institutions, 92 parole offices and 14 community correctional centres. CSC has nine Healing Lodges to support the reintegration of Indigenous offenders into the community, four of which are managed by CSC in close collaboration with Indigenous communities (included in the 43 institutions). The remaining five Healing Lodges are managed by Indigenous communities under Section 81 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Recent years have seen major changes to CSC's operational environment and this is expected to continue into the near future. CSC is supporting the Government of Canada's mandate to address gaps in criminal justice services for various offender populations including: Indigenous peoples, women offenders, women and men with gender considerations, the mentally ill, substance misusers and those who are aging in custody. At the same time, the Government of Canada has provided funding in 2018-19 to transform the federal correctional system by supporting the reintegration of Indigenous offenders, expanding mental health supports, and eliminating both administrative and disciplinary segregation.

During 2018-19, CSC took action in response to audits of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and recommendations made by Parliamentary Committees, as well as the Office of the Correctional Investigator. In this regard, CSC has achieved performance success in 2018-19, including: a continued downward trend of admissions to administrative segregation for the fourth year in a row, with the largest drop for women offenders; a greater percentage of offenders who were granted a discretionary release at first release; and a higher number of offenders successfully reaching the end of their sentence in the community.

Research on recidivism rates of released federal offenders was completed in 2018-19 and has been made public. The report shows an encouraging decline in reconvictions that resulted in returns to federal custody or provincial or territorial sanctions for men, women and Indigenous federal offenders between 1996 and 2012, placing Canadian federal corrections among the lowest rates in the world. A Comprehensive Study of Recidivism Rates among Canadian Federal Offenders provides important information on how CSC's efforts are helping offenders become law-abiding citizens and keeping Canadians safe.

In 2018-19, CSC continued to offer training and employment opportunities oriented towards Indigenous offenders, and the opportunity to participate in a traditional healing path supported by both Elders and staff trained in Aboriginal Social History. Additional noteworthy results achieved in 2018-19 include the steadily increased percentage of Indigenous offenders whose first release was discretionary and a steady climb in the percentage of Indigenous offenders who reached sentence expiry without readmission to federal custody – the best result in five years.

CSC completed a study of overdose incidents from 2012-13 to 2016-17 (Overdose Incidents in Federal Custody, 2012/2013–2016/2017). The report notes that, in July 2018, CSC commenced the Critical Drug Analysis Process (CDAP) in partnership with Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Services (DAS) to more quickly and accurately identify the substances involved in potential overdose incidents. The CDAP will help CSC better identify trends and improve data reliability regarding substances involved in overdose incidents and staff exposure. Responding to the opioid problem in federal institutions across Canada, CSC made significant progress in providing Opiate Agonist Treatment (OAT). The number of offenders receiving OAT increased from 846 in October 2016 to 1,446 in December 2018. Suboxone film (as opposed to tablets) was introduced in CSC to offer a less divertible formulation. CSC also held a national consultation to improve patient management between health and operations.

In June 2018, CSC launched a Prison Needle Exchange Program to help reduce the spread of blood-borne infectious diseases, initially at two sites, with three additional sites added in this fiscal year. The program builds on existing prison-based harm reduction initiatives recommended by the United Nations. CSC has also worked with Health Canada to implement an Overdose Prevention Service in Drumheller Institution in June 2019, as these sites have been successful in preventing overdoses in the community and also reduce needle sharing.

In September 2018, Health Services received renewed accreditation under the Accreditation Canada Qmentum Program, demonstrating significant improvement in many areas. As well, this marks the first time that CSC’s mental health services in the community and mainstream institutions received accreditation. CSC also continued to address essential health services in 2018-19 as it screened and treated HIV and HCV, and promulgated formal guidelines for pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent transmission.

These are both challenging and exciting times for corrections in Canada and the Service welcomes the report of the Correctional Investigator. There currently exists the impetus to create a new direction – a future in which corrections is adequately resourced and properly equipped to: address the rehabilitative needs of vulnerable offender populations; implement transformative models of custodial and health care; and provide a healthy and safe place of work for all.

As the public’s outlook on government service delivery is evolving, so are their expectations of correctional services. CSC will continue to work with the Office of the Correctional Investigator to address and resolve issues of mutual concern raised in this report, embracing an operating model with public safety value at its core.

Original signed by

Anne Kelly

Health Care in Federal Corrections

1. I recommend that, in 2019-2020, CSC conduct a review of security practices and protocols that would ensure a more positive and supportive environment within which clinical care can be safely provided at the Regional Treatment Centres. This “best practices” review would identify a security model and response structure that would better serve the needs of patients, support treatment aims of clinicians and meet least restrictive principles of the law.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) committed to completing an evaluation of the Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) in response to the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s (OCI) 2017-2018 Annual Report. The evaluation is currently being undertaken and will provide information on achievements against expected results including those at Treatment Centres.

It is acknowledged there is an opportunity to look at security and health services protocols related to de-escalation and intervention activities, and build on best practices, to ensure the needs of patients are appropriately supported taking into account principles of least restrictive measures consistent with the protection of society, staff members and offenders. To this end, CSC will establish a forum with representation from CSC stakeholders.

2. I recommend that CSC revisit its Prison Needle Exchange Program purpose and participation criteria in consultation with inmates and staff with the aim of building confidence and trust, and look to international examples in how to modify the program to enhance participation and effectiveness.

Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP) was developed based on international examples and modified to fit the Canadian context. As mentioned in the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s report, absolute anonymity cannot be guaranteed in community harm reduction program participation, and a prison environment restricts that ability even further.

CSC has gained experience managing inmates using needles in a safe and secure manner with its existing programs for EpiPens and insulin use for diabetes. A Threat Risk Assessment model, similar to the one currently in effect for EpiPens and insulin needles, has been used to determine which offenders can participate in the PNEP. Health promotion posters for the PNEP and inmate fact sheets have been developed and distributed to offenders and Frequently Asked Questions sheets for both inmates and staff have been distributed so that individuals are aware of the program, the process, and requirements for participation.

An integral piece of the PNEP implementation is the evaluation by an academic expert in harm reduction program evaluation. The evaluation includes thematic interviews with program participants and non-participants, nurses, correctional staff, and parole officers to explore issues and themes related to the program’s acceptability and feasibility, including barriers to participation. Involving an independent and transparent academic will contribute to building confidence and trust from both staff and inmates. The program will continue to be developed and implemented according to scientific evidence. CSC is expecting to receive an interim report of initial findings related to concerns expressed from inmates and staff, from the academic expert, this fall.

CSC continues to engage with partners on PNEP at a national level via the National Health and Safety Policy Committee meetings, discussions with national union leadership, and comprehensive consultations at the site level as the program is rolled out across the country.

CSC is well-positioned to continue introducing harm reduction programs with the aim of reducing the harms associated with drug use in people unable or unwilling to stop. Consistent with the Government of Canada’s Canadian Drug and Substances Strategy (CDSS), which includes Harm Reduction as a pillar of the response to substance misuse, the focus is on keeping people safe and minimizing harm, injury, disease or death while recognizing that the behaviour may continue despite the risks. Harm reduction keeps patients connected to healthcare, emphasizing helping patients understand their risk and the health consequences while striving to motivate patients into treatment. Harm reduction initiatives are based on a neutral-value approach to drug use and the individual.

In June 2019, CSC introduced an overdose prevention service at Drumheller Institution in the Prairie Region as another harm reduction measure available to inmates to manage their health needs.

Deaths in Custody

3. I recommend that the Correctional Service of Canada, in consultation with the Parole Board of Canada, conduct a joint review of the application of Section 121 “compassionate release” provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to ensure policy and procedure is consistent with the spirit and intent of Medical Assistance in Dying legislation.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is continuing to collaborate with the Parole Board Canada (PBC) in reviewing the application of Parole by Exception under Section 121 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Most recently, on June 3, 2019, CSC, in partnership with PBC, released its poster and fact sheets for offenders and staff in order to increase awareness about Parole by Exception. These communication materials have been disseminated to all institutions for sharing with staff and offenders.

In July 2018, CSC issued direction to staff to promptly notify the Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) so that all release options – including Parole by Exception under Section 121 – may be considered when an inmate is determined to be terminally ill and/or eligible for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

As a result, staff are able to track the progress of each case from the moment health services staff notifies the parole officer up to the time the decision has been made by the PBC to grant or deny Parole by Exception.

CSC in collaboration with the PBC, will continue its efforts in improving results in terms of proactive and collaborative case management for terminally ill offenders.

Conditions of Confinement

4. I recommend that CSC commission an independent, third-party expert, specializing in matters related to organizational culture (with specific knowledge of correctional dynamics), to assess and diagnose the potential causes of a culture of impunity that appears to be present at some maximum security facilities, and prescribe potential short, medium and long-term strategies that will lead to sustained transformational change.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will be conducting an audit on workplace culture in 2019-20. In light of recent events and in the interest of transparency, the organization is seeking to hire an external consultant with experience in the area of culture assessments to develop the audit plan. Inherent to internal audits, the Departmental Audit Committee, whose Chairperson is external to CSC and is composed of two other external members along with the Commissioner, is responsible for providing objective advice and recommendations relative to audit results, the processes for risk management, control and governance.

In addition, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has conducted an Audit on Respect in the Workplace and its report is expected in the winter of 2019. The OAG also conducted the Guarding Minds at Work Survey, and committed to sharing the results with CSC. This will allow the organization to further review results, to adapt and implement strategies in responding to areas of attention.

Moreover, it should be noted that the National Advisory Committee on Ethics (NACE) was established for the purpose of ensuring that ethical values are embedded throughout CSC. The Committee is chaired by the Commissioner and composed of three independent, impartial and external ethics advisors, as well as members of CSC’s senior executive cadre. The role of the three external ethics advisors is to provide independent objective advice and considerations on ethical issues or concerns within the organization.

5. I recommend that the Service establish a working group, with external representation, to complete a review of all use of force incidents over a two-year period at maximum-security facilities. This review should go beyond compliance issues to include:

  1. an analysis of the trends, issues and culture that contribute to repeated compliance issues and inappropriate uses of force;
  2. an examination of best practices and lessons learned within CSC and from international correctional authorities; and,
  3. a corrective measures action plan that goes beyond simply providing verbal and written reminders to include (re)training, disciplinary action, mentoring, development of a code team, and other relevant initiatives.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) currently has a comprehensive use of force review process that is designed to identify compliance issues and areas of concerns related to use of force incidents in our institutions. There are three levels of review: institutional, regional, and national. Minimally, each use of force is reviewed by two managers; depending on force options and areas of concern, there could be up to six reviews by various managers.

With the implementation of the Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) and the creation of a use of force reviewer guide, there is a stronger framework to assist in guiding staff on the selection of appropriate interventions and to ensure consistency in the post-incident review process. CSC’s Health Services and the Correctional Operations and Programs Sectors maintain ongoing consultation between the national and regional levels; and regions have various forums and meetings with institutional managers where the EIM and use of force are discussed.

CSC’s Incident Investigations Branch is currently conducting an investigation into instances of use of force in CSC’s treatment centres, maximum security institutions, and women offender institutions. The Board of Investigation is comprised of experts, including an external community board member. This will help inform required next steps with regard to reviewing use of force incidents.

Of note, CSC has implemented in May 2017 strengthened measures to review disciplinary responses to use of force incidents involving a non-natural death in custody and/or related to serious bodily injury. This was achieved by including a requirement in the Instrument of Delegation in the Area of Human Resources that requires consultation with the appropriate Regional Deputy Commissioner or Sector Head and the Director General, Labour Relations and Workplace Management before a final decision is made on the quantum. There is also a requirement for decision makers to provide written justification where the disciplinary measures taken diverge from the quantum advice provided by Labour Relations. Further, in January 2018, the Instrument of Delegation was further enhanced by including that the decision maker must provide a written rationale for any sanction that is levied in all cases where a use of force incident resulted in disciplinary measures.

In terms of best practices and lessons learned, CSC committed to conducting an evaluation of the EIM following its response to the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s (OCI) 2017-2018 Annual Report. As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, CSC continues to monitor the implementation of policy changes, compliance and its results and, as part of these undertakings, this evaluation will allow us to ensure these measures are yielding the expected outcomes.

6. I recommend that an external and independent review of CSC food services be conducted and used to inform the development of a revised National Menu, inclusive of ingredients, cooking methods, portion sizes, nutritional content and food costs fully compliant with the new Canada Food Guide. This review should include direct and meaningful consultation with the inmate population.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is currently addressing the findings of the recently-completed Audit of Food Services and the concerns and recommendations put forward by the Correctional Investigator. Amongst measures being implemented, the National Menu has been updated in line with the new Canada Food Guide. As CSC implements the necessary changes and continues to monitor progress in the year ahead, we will consider how a future external review could further contribute to our work, compliance and objectives with respect to the Food Services program.

7. In recognition of the demonstrated links between good nutrition and a healthy population, I recommend that the delivery of CSC’s Food Services program should be overseen by the Health Services sector. This change would include conducting periodic audits of the nutritional content of meals, regular inspection of food production and preparation sites and liaising with registered nutritionists, dieticians and food safety experts from outside CSC. A hybrid model incorporating internal and external oversight of CSC food services would more fully recognize that inmate populations are at increased risk of chronic disease and that using food services to help control and prevent health problems, including dental health, is an efficient use of public resources.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) Food Services program is led by a team of qualified professionals, which includes staff and managers with nutrition or professional culinary arts backgrounds, and registered dietitians who work nationally and regionally. The team has expertise in food safety, recipe management, food production, food equipment and nutrition management and is best suited to oversee the Food Services program. CSC’s registered dietitians are in good standing with their provincial regulatory bodies and follow a code of ethics that ensures competency and accountability for their actions. Regional dietitians work in collaboration with Health Services in order to address the nutritional requirements of the offenders in our care and their complex needs through individually tailored therapeutic diets. The team works collaboratively with other stakeholders within CSC such as Chaplaincy, Security Branch, Women Offender Sector and the Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate in meeting offenders’ nutritional needs.

Indigenous Offenders

8. I recommend that in 2019-2020, CSC should:

  1. publicly respond to how it intends to address the gaps identified in the Ewert v. Canada decision and ensure that more culturally-responsive indicators (i.e., Indigenous social history factors) of risk/need are incorporated into assessments of risk and need; and,
  2. acquire external, independent expertise to conduct empirical research to assess the validity and reliability of all existing risk assessment tools used by CSC to inform decision-making with Indigenous offenders.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to ensuring that psychological risk assessment tools are used in an ethical manner, are effective, and culturally sensitive. Further to the Supreme Court decision, CSC collaborated with the Canada Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) to assess the validity of the recidivism risk assessment tools for inmate populations. CADTH is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada’s health care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in our health care system.

The five actuarial tools that were subject to litigation are not owned by CSC (PCL-R, VRSSO, VRAG, Static-99, and SORAG), but rather, are copyrighted and commercially available to licensed psychiatrists and psychologists for use in conducting their assessments. The CADTH report notes that all tools subject to the litigation demonstrate moderate to high predictive accuracy. However, CSC is mindful of a gap in recent research on the SORAG, and will consider any new research that seeks to further assess this specific tool.

In addition to the CADTH report, CSC also developed and promulgated a practice reminder for health professionals. Building on the standards of practice for all health professional licensing boards across the country, the practice reminder stresses the importance of conducting risk assessments in an ethical and culturally appropriate manner.

As noted in the Practice reminder, actuarial measures are essential to the process of risk assessment, but the process remains a multi-faceted approach that extends beyond the administration of actuarial measures – cultural variables, such as those that have impacted Aboriginal Social History (ASH) must be integrated into the assessment. For Indigenous offenders, CSC has developed an ASH tool that provides guidance on how to consider ASH in case management practices, recommendations and decisions for Indigenous offenders.

As part of CSC’s Research Plan for 2019-2020, we will also be further considering the design of a case management assessment tool specifically for use with Indigenous offenders.

9. I recommend that CSC, in consultation with the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the National Elders Working Group, implement an action plan with deliverables for clarifying the role of Elders and reducing Elder vulnerability within CSC and report publicly on these plans by the end of 2019-2020.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) remains committed to effective consultation with the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC), which provides advice on culturally responsive strategies, policies, and community engagement initiatives directly to the Commissioner of CSC. The NAAC meets up to three times per year with CSC to advise and provide guidance and recommendations regarding policy, procedures and interventions that impact Indigenous offenders. The NAAC was pleased to have its initial meeting with the current Correctional Investigator at the July 2019 meeting. NAAC Records of Meetings are publicly available through CSC’s external website.

Likewise, the National Elders Working Group (NEWG) meetings occur two to three times per fiscal year. CSC has been addressing the topic of Elder vulnerability on an ongoing basis and in 2017 published Elder Vulnerability within CSC: A Summary of Discussions with Elders, Recommendations and Action Plans.

The topic of the role of CSC Elders is regularly discussed at the NEWG and NAAC meetings. CSC will continue to facilitate ongoing extensive collective discussions and consultations with the NEWG on improvements for CSC Elders and Elder vulnerability at the upcoming NAAC and NEWG meetings.

Additionally, as part of CSC’s ongoing commitment to improving results for Indigenous offenders, Elder Orientation was developed in consultation with the NAAC and the NEWG, and was implemented across the regions as Elders commence their contract with CSC. The Elder Orientation is now integrated into the onboarding process for newly contracted Elders. The Orientation provides information on working within CSC, key expectations and avenues for support. The Elder Orientation was rolled out early in fiscal year 2018-19. All Elders currently under contract with CSC have received Elder Orientation. The frequency of facilitation varies by region depending on need, and Elder feedback received to date has been positive.

Safe and Timely Reintegration

10. I recommend that, in 2019-2020, CSC complete, in consultation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a comprehensive review of its staff complement, from the point of view of better reflecting and representing the diversity of the offender population. As part of this review, CSC should examine complaints against staff on prohibited grounds of discrimination. An Action Plan should be developed to address gaps.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to being representative of the population(s) that it serves. CSC collects and tracks data on the four employment equity (EE) groups (women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities) through the voluntary employee self-identification questionnaire. CSC exceeds the workforce availability for all groups, with the exception of women.

In support of CSC’s obligations set out in the Employment Equity Act, and its commitment to being representative of its offender population, CSC has developed, and regularly updates, hiring objectives for all four EE groups that consider, among other factors, the diversity of the offender population.

Moreover, in January 2018, CSC updated its hiring objectives for Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities, and created hiring objectives for women in response to the recommendation from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) in the 2014 Employment Equity Status Report for CSC. For women and persons with disabilities, the objectives take into account both workforce availability, as well as the higher rate of separation for these groups. Hiring objectives for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples consider the make-up of the offender population as well as workforce availability. These objectives will continue to assist CSC in meeting the obligations set out in the Employment Equity Act, and support CSC’s objective of being representative of its offender population. CSC will continue to collaborate with the CHRC to bring a human rights lens to our work and take actions to address any complaints and recommendations.

Finally, CSC’s Strategic Plan for Human Resource Management 2019/20-2021/22, integrates the organization’s EE action plan identifying concrete actions, and hiring objectives in order to ensure that we continuously improve in our effort to foster an inclusive and diverse workplace. As an example, in the Prairie Region, CSC has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gabriel Dumont Institution – Training & Employment Center in an effort to increase representation of Indigenous employees within the area of Health Services.

11. I recommend that significant resources be reallocated to the community supervision program and that CSC develop and report out on a long-term strategy to address the shortage in community- based accommodation, and implement a system to assess and track the needs of offenders being released in order to avoid unacceptable delays and displacement.

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is implementing a multi-year national community accommodation plan, to be updated quarterly by National Headquarters, which identifies current population profiles, projected upcoming releases, and available accommodation capacity. Accommodation gaps to be identified by regions will be based on national mapping of needs vs. bed capacity. CSC has also initiated the development of a comprehensive solution for both bed-inventory management and the matching of offenders to community facilities (including waitlists), focusing on vulnerable and unique populations such as aging offenders and women offenders. This solution is anticipated to be developed by the end of 2019.

Funding mechanisms are available to provide support, such as the National Infrastructure Contribution Program (for physical infrastructure projects to facilities), and the yearly Quasi-Statutory Requirements Treasury Board Submission to seek Community-based residential facilities funding for changes in price and volume.

12. I recommend that each Regional Headquarters dedicate a resource/contact person to work with respective Provincial government counterparts to coordinate the retention and acquisition of official documentation (e.g., Health Cards, identification, birth certificates) for federal offenders prior to their release to the community.

CSC continues to work collaboratively with various stakeholders to help prepare offenders for their release with the proper identification. CSC has engaged with provincial and territorial partners for their support in establishing a process at all remand centres that would ensure that the available identification is transferred with the offender when they are admitted to CSC custody.

In spring 2019, CSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to collaborate on successful discharge planning for incarcerated Indigenous individuals. This MOU highlights a commitment to work together to support mutual clients in preparation for, and following their release, including: facilitating the intake of Secure Certificate of Indian Status applications; assisting with access to ISC funded health services; sharing information to facilitate coverage of health benefits, and enhance staff and offender knowledge; and developing a collaborative approach to the discharge planning process to improve continuity of care.

CSC also continues to work with offenders in obtaining their personal identification prior to release from custody. Revised policies were promulgated in April 2019 to provide further clarification to CSC staff on the responsibilities regarding offender identification prior to, and upon, an offender’s release. In particular, parole officers (POs) are required to collaborate with inmates to review current identification and document the inmate’s plan to obtain the necessary identification. In order to facilitate this, a specific Casework Record has been created in the Offender Management System for POs to document the actions taken.

13. I recommend that CSC reconsider the findings and recommendations identified in the joint OCI/CHRC report Aging and Dying in Prison: An Investigation into the Experiences of Older Individuals in Federal Custody (February 2019) with an aim to comprehensively updating and revising its national policy framework for aging offenders, Promoting Wellness and Independence – Older Persons in CSC Custody (May 2018). This should include clearly identified new and ongoing commitments and initiatives, as well as specific timelines for implementation.

CSC is undertaking a review of its Promoting Wellness and Independence - Older Persons in Custody framework. This work will be completed in spring 2020.

In 2017-2018, Health Services began a comprehensive needs assessment of its older population. The results of the comprehensive needs assessment, including analysis by the University of Waterloo of the results of a functional screening assessment of those aged 65+, will provide CSC with a population profile of its aging population.

This project will be completed by winter 2019 and will be reviewed at that time to determine what, if any additional undertakings, CSC should implement to address the needs of older people in custody.

In addition to this more comprehensive approach to address the population health and accommodation needs of older persons in custody, CSC will continue to work to accommodate offenders' health needs on an individual basis.

14. I recommend that CSC:

i. Enhance digital/computer skills training in vocational program delivery to ensure offenders are better prepared for the current and future workforce;

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is exploring various digital/computer skills projects to capitalize on the benefits of computer-assisted learning, particularly in pursuing employment. The introduction of technology provides an opportunity to bridge the gap between current learning management systems and technological advancements. The Offender Computer and Technology (OCaT) pilot project aims to expand seven technology services in support of offender rehabilitation and reintegration, with education identified as a key component. In addition, the Digital Education pilot project is being introduced focusing on digitalizing education services for offenders.

In addition, CORCAN and CSC education programs currently offer computer skills courses, as well as on the job training opportunities where computer skills can be acquired. CORCAN will continue to enhance capacity in this area through vocational certifications and on the job training for offenders.

CSC has also implemented Video Visitation technology in federal institutions, which provides further opportunities for offenders to maintain contact with their community supports in preparation for their reintegration. The use of Video Visitation has increased across CSC over the past year, from 125 calls per month in July 2018 to over 1000 calls in June 2019.

ii. Increase availability of apprenticeship opportunities and work releases to ensure offenders get important on-the-job training with skilled professionals;

Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) currently offers opportunities for offenders to earn certified apprenticeship hours in locations where authorized by the applicable provincial apprenticeship board. CSC will continue to seek opportunities in various industries through on the job training programs.

With regards to work releases, CSC’s objective is to ensure offenders are productively occupied and have access to a variety of opportunities to develop work skills and abilities which will serve them on release. Pursuant to Commissioner’s Directive 710-7, work releases can be granted to specific offenders in order to provide them with these meaningful work opportunities in the community. CSC will continue to explore opportunities for work release, which may include certified apprenticeship hours.

iii. Report out on how they specifically plan on addressing the unique employability needs of vulnerable populations (e.g., women, Indigenous, mental health, aging and younger individuals); and,

All offenders undergo assessments to determine their correctional and criminogenic needs. The resulting Correctional Plan identifies the interventions which include objectives related to education and employment.

CORCAN is ensuring that the voice of all offenders provides a foundation in determining the services and interventions it provides to respond to their employment needs and interests.

Since 2017, as part of the Indigenous Offender Employment Initiative (IOEI) funded under the 2017 Federal Budget allocations, CSC launched CORCAN Community Industries in Saskatoon and Edmonton to provide vocational training and transitional employment for offenders under community supervision and those on work release. Community Industries in Vancouver and Ottawa are planned for 2020. In addition, new opportunities for vocational and on the job training were implemented at women offender institutions and CSC operated healing lodges, as well as increased capacity at several other sites.

In 2019, in collaboration with Indigenous organizations, CORCAN adapted its National Employability Skills Program (NESP) to be culturally responsive to the needs of Indigenous men and Indigenous women offenders. For populations with physical or mental health needs, CSC will continue to identify opportunities for these offenders to participate in employment assignments that are responsive to their needs and abilities.

iv. Modernize its manufacturing sector to ensure it aligns with labour market trends.

CORCAN will continue to review opportunities for modernizing its manufacturing sector with consideration to training relevance, industry standards, operational requirements, return on investment, and customer requirements. In the past two years, CORCAN has added, as well as updated equipment to broaden industry relevant training, including forklifts, numerical control machines, and edge banders. This diversity in equipment allows CORCAN to provide training opportunities to offenders with varying vocational needs and skills. Furthermore, having a broad spectrum of equipment – from rudimental to highly sophisticated – offers offenders vocational training consistent with the private sector.

Federally Sentenced Women

15. I again recommend that the arbitrary and discriminatory movement levels system for women classified as maximum security be immediately rescinded. Supervision and security requirements should be individually assessed on a case-by-case basis, as already provided for in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

In keeping with law and policy, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) makes every effort to ensure women in the secure unit have access to the programs, services, and interventions required to address their individual risk and needs.

The Reintegration Movement Plan is a gender-informed strategy that provides a unique opportunity for all maximum-security women to participate in activities and interventions that are available in medium security. This supports the building of supportive relationships with the medium-security population, thereby facilitating reintegration. If the Reintegration Movement Plan were to be rescinded, the result for women classified as maximum security would be to curtail their participation in activities and interventions that are available outside the secure unit. As such, it could potentially impacting their successful transition to medium security and overall reintegration efforts.

In response to similar recommendations in the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 Office of the Correctional Investigator Annual Reports, CSC conducted a review of the movement levels system, which included national consultation with inmates, staff, and external stakeholders. Following the review, modifications were made to ensure greater consistency and procedural fairness across all women’s sites. For example, the review of Reintegration Movement Plans (which now replace the movement levels system) will be more frequent and involve the interdisciplinary team; decisions will be entered in the Offender Management System; and criteria for movements off the secure unit will be modified to provide more flexibility in staff supervision and use of restraints.

16. I recommend that the random strip search routine and protocol in the women’s institutions be rescinded immediately, and a more trauma-informed, gender-responsive search policy become the standard practice in women corrections.

Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) approach to women’s corrections is research-based, trauma-informed, as well as gender-informed. Strip searches are limited to only what is necessary and proportionate to attain the purposes of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), and are conducted in the most discrete, humane, and sensitive manner possible, as required by policy. In addition, all staff working with women offenders must complete Women-Centred Training. This training is specifically designed to instil a stronger understanding of women’s issues and help staff intervene in a gender responsive manner.

Bill C-83 – An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, and will make important changes to the federal correctional system. As such, CSC will gain the ability to explore more modern searching technologies like body scanners. These tools have the potential to enhance the overall safety of staff, offenders, and the public by further reducing the introduction of contraband into our facilities.

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