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Response of the Correctional Service of Canada to the 37th Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2009 - 2010

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Response of the
to the
of the
2009 - 2010


The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is responsible for offenders serving sentences of two years or more, including supervising those under conditional release in the community. On an average day in 2009-2010, there were approximately 13,500 federally incarcerated offenders and 8,700 federal offenders in the community. CSC manages 57 institutions, 16 community correctional centres and 84 parole offices.

The report of the independent CSC Review Panel in 2007 provided an overview of the realities and challenges currently facing CSC. Since its formation in 2008 a dedicated Transformation Team led responses to the recommendations of the Panel. Phase 1 of CSC’s Transformation Agenda (from February 2008 to February 2009) focused on engagement and “Quick Wins” — immediate achievements aimed at lasting public safety results. Phase 2 (from March 2009 to March 2010) focused on the development and implementation of more detailed project plans. As of the end of March 2010, the ongoing transformation initiatives have been integrated into CSC’s regular operations and plans.

Through these initiatives CSC will have created safe and secure environments for offenders to actively engage in their correctional plans. It will have in place enhanced security measures to stop the entry of contraband and drugs into its institutions. It will have a more efficient intake assessment process that will lead to a fully integrated offender correctional plan and earlier access to correctional programs. As well, it will strengthen the case management linkages between institutions and the community, resulting in a “seamless” transition of the offender into the community and improved supervision and intervention.

Government legislation recently proposed or passed is anticipated to have a varying impact on CSC. Of significance was the re-introduction of legislation on June 15, 2010 (Bill C-39) which proposes amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Proposed reforms to the federal correctional system include: enhanced sharing of information with victims; increased offender responsibility and accountability; strengthened management and reintegration of offenders; and the abolition of Accelerated Parole Review.

Further, the Truth in Sentencing Act, which came into force in February 2010, is expected to result in increased numbers of federal offenders with a wider range of needs, underscoring the requirement for both short and long-term capital planning and for adjustments to correctional programming and population management strategies. It is predicted that the federal offender population could increase by approximately 3,400 inmates by 2013 as a direct result of the Act. CSC has therefore developed a multi-faceted approach that will include extending and increasing temporary accommodation measures, such as shared accommodations; as well as constructing new housing units within CSC’s existing institutions. CSC is also working on a long-term plan that takes into account the need to replace some penitentiaries that have stood the test of time for many decades but no longer meet the requirements of a modern correctional system.

CSC is in a stage of transition as it integrates fundamental changes that will enhance our ability to achieve our key priorities. Everything we do is in the context of our Mission and contribution to public safety through reduced re-offending. As we move forward in our transformation, collaboration with our partners, such as the Office of the Correctional Investigator, remains critical.


Recommendation #1:

The Service enhance its recruitment efforts for mental health professionals, including exploring the possibility of securing exemptions on rates of pay and to work with professional licensing bodies on scope of practice, training, portability and professional development.

The recruitment of health professionals, including mental health professionals, is a priority for CSC. The Service will continue to target the recruitment of health care professionals, particularly in areas where such services are not readily available in the community. CSC will also continue collaboration with organizations such as the Federal Health Care Partnership, universities, and its Health Care Advisory Committee to reinforce and guide its efforts. Over the course of the coming year, CSC will also approach Treasury Board Secretariat to explore possible options to enhance our ability to recruit and retain health professionals.

CSC continues to dedicate resources for the training of health services professionals. As well, a working Group, co-chaired by CSC and PIPSC, has been established to address issues related to training and professional development for psychologists. CSC will also continue to work with FHP, PIPSC and licensing bodies to address issues around portability of professional credentials and scope of practice.

Recommendation #2:

The Service renew its correctional officer recruitment standards to ensure new hires have the requisite knowledge, personal competencies and educational background to manage an increasingly demanding offender mental health profile.

The Service continuously reviews all facets of recruitment for the Correctional Officer workforce to ensure that the successful candidates are able to respond to the wide-ranging challenges that exist with our offender population. In addition, one of the modules for training new recruits deals specifically with Suicide Prevention and Self Injury, and participants must pass the test for this module.

CSC will also be convening in the coming year, a panel of correctional practitioners from other jurisdictions and mental health professionals, to assess the feasibility of developing standards for the recruitment and training of correctional officers who work with offenders with mental health profiles.

Recommendation #3:

That prolonged segregation of offenders at risk of suicide or serious self-injury and offenders with acute mental health issues be prohibited.

CSC continues to be concerned with the number of offenders with acute mental health problems and equally concerned with the limited accommodation strategies for dealing with these offenders when their behaviour jeopardizes the safety or security of others or themselves.

Reports submitted to CSC by the External Review Board (ERB) on the Examination of Long-Term Segregation and Segregation Placements of Inmates with Mental Health Concerns will be reviewed with the intent of developing a strategy for dealing with this issue over the course of this year.

Recommendation #4:

The Service issue a revised National Strategy and National Action Plan to Address the Needs of Offenders who Engage in Self-Injury that specifically responds to documented concerns raised by this Office. The revised Strategy and Plan should include:

  • A permanent funding strategy
  • A proven treatment program/plan supported by clinical research
  • A commitment to physical environment(s), including access to Complex Needs Units for men and women offenders, conducive to a therapeutic, patient-centred and continuum of care approach to managing self-harm in prisons.

CSC recognizes the importance of addressing the growing number of offenders who engage in self-injurious behaviours, and as such has undertaken to improve results in this area through the implementation of a National Strategy to Address the Needs of Offenders Who Engage in Self-Injury and an accompanying Action Plan.

The Strategy and Action Plan documents will be updated by October 2010, and will take into consideration the feedback received from a broad range of stakeholders.

Funding received for the Institutional Mental Health Initiative (IMHI) is available to support CSC’s initiatives with respect to addressing the needs of offenders who engage in self-injury. CSC will continue to assess its capacity, gaps, including infrastructure, and develop proposed strategies to narrow these gaps provided sources of funding can be identified.

As well, during the current fiscal year (2010-11) the Research Branch will be completing four research reports assessing the state of knowledge in self-injurious behaviour, assessing best practices for interventions, reviewing serious self-injury cases and a detailed study of factors related to self injurious behaviour in women offenders. Data collection is underway on self-injurious behaviour of men offenders and this report will be completed in the next fiscal year (2011-12). This research will be used to further inform the Service’s ongoing strategy and response to this complex issue.

Recommendation #5:

That at least one Intermediate Care Unit be designated in each Region, and that dedicated intermediate care capacity (beyond the current Structured Living Environments) be developed for women offenders.

Improving CSC’s capacity to address the mental health needs of offenders is a key priority. In recent years, CSC has been able to strengthen the continuum of care provided to offenders with mental disorders in institutions through the implementation of its institutional Mental Health Strategy, including comprehensive mental health screening at intake; primary mental health care; increased consistency in treatment centres; and the implementation of mental health awareness training for staff.

Intermediate care is an important component of CSC’s Mental Health Strategy that is currently unfunded. CSC is committed to address the needs of this population by continuing to seek funding to support the implementation of Intermediate Mental Health Care Units (IMHCUs) in each of the five (5) regions. These units within institutions would provide an intermediate level of mental health care for male offenders whose mental health problems are not so severe as to require in-patient care in a psychiatric facility, but who nevertheless need structured support and care beyond what can be offered through CSC’s Primary Mental Health Care services.

In addition, funding will also be sought for two (2) Complex Needs Units (CNU) to function as national resources for the most serious of repeat self-injurious male offenders to provide specialized program and services for male offenders who engage in persistent self-injurious behaviour.

With respect to women offenders, CSC provides intermediate level care in the five (5) women’s facilities. Women offenders with mental health needs are accommodated in Structured Living Environment (SLE) units. Staff with specialized mental health intervention training provide 24-hour assistance and supervision in these houses. Additional funding is also being sought to further improve CSC’s capacity to provide additional support to female offenders, for example, those with repeat self-injurious behaviour.

Recommendation #6:

The Service issue revised Commissioner’s Directives on the Prevention, Management and Response to Suicide and Self-Injuries and Use of Restraint Equipment for Health Purposes as a matter of priority consistent with recognized best practices, inclusive of the February 2010 American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners – Standard 23-5.9 “Use of restraint mechanisms and techniques.”

Self-injurious and suicidal behaviours are complex clinical and operational issues that require a comprehensive inter-disciplinary approach. Accordingly, CSC is further updating its policies that address offender suicide, self-injury, and use of restraint equipment for health purposes.

In August 2009, CSC piloted tools and processes to support the interdisciplinary management and treatment of this population. The results of this pilot, a literature review of best practices promulgated, including the referenced standard, and a broad consultation process, are currently being reviewed, and it is anticipated that the revised Commissioner’s Directive will be published in fall 2010.

Recommendation #7:

A Clinical Management Plan (CMP) should be developed for all offenders who have a significant mental health issue or who self-harm or attempt suicide in prison. The CMP would be updated regularly as a continuum of care tool.

CSC has made significant gains in strengthening the continuum of mental health care for offenders through the implementation of the Institutional and Community Mental Health Initiatives. These Initiatives have included introducing a more comprehensive mental health screening process at intake, building capacity in institutions to respond to mental health needs, providing mental health awareness training to front-line staff working in both institutions and the community, and assisting offenders with significant mental health needs as they transition from the institution to the community. Treatment plans are established for those offenders with mental disorders who have consented to treatment. In addition, for the relatively low number of offenders who repeatedly self-injure, an interdisciplinary management plan will also be developed. Although originally referred to as Clinical Management Plans, CSC has changed this term to Interdisciplinary Management Plans (IMPs) to highlight the importance of the role of the interdisciplinary team.

Commissioner’s Directive 843 is currently under revision and, when promulgated, will provide staff with clear direction regarding how and when IMPs are to be used. It is anticipated that the CD will be finalized in the fall 2010.

As well, the newly formed Regional Suicide and Self-Injury Prevention Management Committees (RSPMC) are responsible for assisting and supporting institutions in providing an effective continuum of care to offenders encountering severe mental health and/or behaviour difficulties during their period of incarceration.

Specifically, the RSPMC will:

  • Monitor incidents of self-injurious behaviour, with a focus on repeat self-injurious behaviour;
  • Will flag items of concern; and
  • Will consult/engage institutions to offer support and advice in the management and treatment of self-injurious offenders with emphasis on repeat self-injury, as necessary.

In addition, the Institutional Mental Health Service (Primary Care) Guidelines require that all referred offenders have a clinical assessment completed with a treatment plan developed (Mental Health Intervention Plan). This would include self-injurious offenders undergoing treatment.

Recommendation #8:

An updated Clinical Management Plan (CMP) should accompany every offender discharged from the regional treatment centres back to their home institution. This plan should include basic information and instruction that could be shared with front-line staff that would not breach privacy or confidentiality standards.

Interdisciplinary Management Plans (IMPs), formerly known as Clinical Management Plans (CMPs), are intended for offenders who chronically self injure. IMPs are portable documents. In other words, for those offenders that have an IMP in place, it would travel with the offender as they are admitted and discharged to and from treatment centres. Commissioner’s Directive 843 is currently under revision and, when promulgated, it will provide staff with clear direction regarding how and when IMPs are to be used.

As well continuity of care for offenders is a critical component of a mental health service delivery model, and is an important element in enhancing correctional outcomes and public safety.

In order to ensure the necessary and appropriate information is being shared, CSC will review the use of discharge summaries from regional treatment centres to identify possible improvements. It is anticipated this review will be completed in December 2010.

Recommendation #9:

The Service should conduct an independent and expert review of the mental health profile of offenders residing at the Special Handling Unit, which would include options and recommendations for managing these offenders in the least restrictive and most clinically appropriate manner possible.

CSC’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) ensures that significant consideration is given to the mental health needs of offenders at the Special Handling Unit (SHU) in all decisions regarding management, interventions and transfers. The NAC conducted a population management review of the high risk and high need offenders with mental health problems at the SHU and treatment centres in order to assess current capacity. CSC will discuss the results of this review in fall 2010 in order to determine next steps.

Mental health resources have recently been added in the Special Handling Unit, mainly assigned to coordinating offenders’ consultations with the institutional Psychiatrist, discussing medication-related issues and managing crisis situations. As well, there is a mental health Psychologist, who conducts mental health screenings/assessments when applicable and offer psychological follow-up for offenders monitored under the Institutional Mental Health Initiative (IMHI).

Recommendation #10:

That a full and comprehensive range of harm reduction measures be made available to federal inmates.

CSC is committed to controlling and managing infectious diseases in correctional institutions to protect the health of inmates, staff and ultimately the community. It currently has in place a number of harm reduction measures and health promotion approaches.

Under Commissioner’s Directive 821, Management of Infectious Diseases, CSC provides a range of harm reduction measures that are available to federal inmates.

CSC is not considering any new plans to implement a syringe and needle exchange program or a safer tattooing program.

Recommendation #11:

The Service conducts a comprehensive population health analysis of that segment of the incarcerated population aged 50 years and older, and devise a strategy to meet current and anticipated physical health care needs in the areas of accommodation, program development, independent care and living and conditional release planning on compassionate grounds.

In early 2010, CSC completed a manual review of offender health files and an analysis is underway, with a view of providing an initial analysis in December 2010.

The Research Branch will complete this fiscal year (2010-11) a descriptive analysis of older male and female offenders which will assist with compiling a summary of needs and challenges associated with this segment of the offender population. Once these two (2) reports have been finalized, CSC will look at developing an overall health care strategy for this portion of the incarcerated population.


Recommendation #12:

The Service publicly release its Performance Accountability Framework to Reduce Preventable Deaths in Custody in fiscal year 2010-11 and that this document serve as the public record for tracking annual progress in this area of corrections.

CSC’s Performance Measurement Framework which covers five (5) themes (Self-injury, Deaths from Suicide, Deaths by Homicide, Accidental Deaths, Aging / Natural Causes [Death with Dignity]) has been developed and will be shared with the Office of the Correctional Investigator once it has been finalised and approved by fall 2010.

Recommendation #13:

The Service immediately suspend the Mortality Review exercise until such time as the Guidelines can be independently and expertly validated to meet section 19 provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. In the interests of transparency and accountability, the results of this review should be made public.

The Service is committed to review all deaths in custody through its Incident Investigations function, its agreements with coroners across the country and its mortality review process. As such, the Mortality Review process follows a rigorous and formal process to review deaths by natural causes.

The Incident Investigations Branch continues to review all Incident and Situation Reports to determine which incidents involving the death of an inmate, will be reviewed through the Mortality Review process.

The Mortality Review follows a standardized process. It examines the quality of the care provided to offenders by CSC health care providers while in CSC custody and compares it to existing CSC legislation, policies and professional standards. The offender’s health care file and information provided on the Offender Management System are reviewed. The provincial coroners’ offices are contacted and any reports or official documents that they have are requested to verify that the deaths were indeed by natural causes. Any non compliance issues are noted and appropriate corrective measures are identified. The focus of the review includes, but is not limited to, an examination of the cause of death and the care provided,  and alternatives to incarceration that were considered.

During the Mortality Review process, if the cause of death is determined to be anything other than natural causes or the circumstances surrounding the death are suspect, or if issues are identified that require further investigation, the review is sent back to the Incident Investigations Branch for consideration. Should it be determined that there are concerns, the Incident Investigations Branch will then determine the need to convene a National Board of Investigation.


Recommendation #14:

The Service should measurably strengthen its dynamic security practices and principles, and should implement the recommendation of the Working Group Report on Medium Security calling for additional and mandatory refresher training in dynamic security.

CSC has enhanced the learning module on Dynamic security as part of the revised Correctional Training Program (CTP 2008) which is now currently being delivered across the country to new recruits. As well, the service is in the final stages of the Development of a Dynamic Security refresher training which will be delivered to all required staff in the fall of 2010. Any subsequent needs with respect to Dynamic Security training will be analysed after the initial round of refresher training is delivered to staff in 2010.

Recommendation #15:

The Service conduct a review of all offenders that were released by the National Parole Board released directly to the community directly from medium security facilities and determine the reason why these offenders were not housed in minimum security institutions prior to release.

CSC will undertake to review, this fiscal year, a sampling of day parole, full parole and statutory releases from medium security institutions to determine if alternative population strategies can be considered for the future.

Recommendation #16:

That inmate accommodation placement criteria for double-bunking assignments be completed according to policy in a timely and comprehensive manner and be reviewed by regional authorities on a regular (i.e. quarterly) basis.

CSC will be reviewing and updating its policy and placement criteria for double bunking assignments this fiscal year. The revised policy will clearly define the monitoring role of regional authorities, and the procedures to be followed by institutional authorities.

Recommendation #17:

That once approved by Treasury Board, the Service’s long-term capital, accommodation and operations plan be made public, including offender population forecasts, planned capital expenditures for new construction and ongoing maintenance costs.

The Service’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan will be subject to the normal rules that apply to Treasury Board submissions. At the point in time there is approval; CSC will make available all relevant publicly accessible information.

Recommendation #18:

The Minister direct the Service to conduct an immediate review of all inmates in segregation-like units to ensure they are provided the same legislated protections and access to programs afforded to the general inmate population.

The External Review Board (ERB) for the Examination of Long-Term Segregation and Segregation Placements of Inmates with Mental Health Concerns recommended that CSC consider the continued use of units for offenders who do not meet the legal criteria for segregation, but that cannot be safely held in the general population. CSC is reviewing this matter as part of the overall review of a segregation strategy.

Recommendation #19:

That all incidents that involve the use of chemical or inflammatory agents, or the displaying, drawing or pointing of a firearm up to and including its threatened or implied use should be considered a reportable use of force.

The Service conducted a comprehensive review of the Use of Force policy, CD 567-1, including consultation with all partners, which led to the promulgation of the updated policy in April 2009. CSC will clarify which uses of force are reportable and non-reportable by October 2010.


Recommendation #20:

As per Commissioner’s Directive 702, I recommend that the Service provide clear and documented demonstration that Gladue principles are considered in decision-making involving the retained rights and liberties of Aboriginal offenders in the following areas: segregation placements, access to programming, custody rating scales, penitentiary placements, access to the community, conditional release planning and involuntary transfers.

Within CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders - Gladue principles are stated in the definitions section, Annex B. This section explains that other circumstances and mitigating factors that must be taken into account, especially when dealing with the sentencing of Aboriginal offenders. As a result, CSC will ensure that Aboriginal circumstances (see “Aboriginal Social History”) will be considered at all levels of decision making respecting Aboriginal offenders.

In practice, and with regard to “documented demonstration that Gladue principles are considered in decision-making,” Elders and Aboriginal Liaison Officers (ALOs) now have input into all decision-making bodies respecting Aboriginal offenders. Elder Reviews document areas of focus and progress in targeted areas resulting from a combination of the Aboriginal Social History documentation and interviews. Healing Plans have been integrated into correctional planning and are included in the documentation that affects all decisions.

CSC is currently working to further integrate all aspects of an Aboriginal Offenders' reality into all revised Commissioner’s Directives. CSC is also working on training to illustrate the integration of the Aboriginal Social History and Healing Components in the applicable revised Commissioner's Directives and report outlines.

The draft Commissioner's Directives incorporate roles and responsibilities to ensure that the Healing Components critical to the Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model and Aboriginal Social History are fully integrated in order to provide an objective assessment for decision-makers and to provide interventions that respond to need and risk for successful reintegration.

Recommendation #21:

The Service should increase its use Sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to their fullest and intended effect.

CSC has increased its capacity to use Section 81 Healing Lodge beds through a number of initiatives that have warranted heightened capacity and the potential expansion for Aboriginal women offenders. The utilization rates of Section 81 healing lodges have been positive, with an 84% average utilization rate over the last three fiscal years (2007-2010). CSC conducted a Section 81 Healing Lodge Audit which resulted in a shift to maximize bed utilization at Healing Lodges as compared to other minimum security institutions. An accountability framework and template has been designed to capture relevant data stemming from the Strategic Plan on Aboriginal Corrections and the template will target Section 81 and 84 usage, as one of its priorities, and will be able to ascertain whether Section 81 participation results in better outcomes for Aboriginal offenders. Lastly, proposals for Section 81 Healing Lodges for Aboriginal women are currently being negotiated for both Eastern and Western Canada. With respect to Section 84 capacity, an evaluation of the Aboriginal Community Development Officers was recently conducted as they have exclusive responsibility for Section 84 release planning with the Aboriginal community. The evaluation made several recommendations and following the report and currently is the development of a Management plan and Action plan that will focus on better release opportunities for Aboriginal offenders.

CSC has created a formal Guideline for Negotiation, Implementation and Management of CCRA Section 81 agreements, which is currently in the consultation phase prior to approval. The Guideline provides a more efficient review and approval process for CSC and Aboriginal organizations of submitted statements of interest and formal proposals.


Recommendation #22:

That prior to the closure of CORCAN agri-business operations, CSC provides a public report on how lost farm jobs would be replaced. The report should also detail the kind of employability skills and vocational training that is envisioned in federal corrections, including how the Service intends to create viable, realistic and meaningful job opportunities in the penitentiary environment to meet present and future market demands.

There are 285 replacement positions identified at the minimum security sites that were affected by the closure of Agribusiness. The replacement positions include Welding, Construction, general labourer, fleet maintenance, DND Tent/Tarp Manufacturing and Repair, work release and community service ETA's. Third party certification is built in to some of the replacement positions providing offenders with the education and practical skills experience to obtain employment in the community upon release. The Vocational Strategy is reviewed and updated annually to ensure the training delivered is in line labour market demands. There currently are stable, realistic and meaningful jobs in correctional facilities. A report on Future Direction related to employment and employability will be available in the fall of 2010.


Recommendation #23:

The Service review eligibility restrictions on the Mother-Child Program with a view to maximizing safe participation.

The eligibility restrictions announced in June 2008 were implemented in order to maximize the safe participation of children in the institutions. These restrictions help to ensure that the well-being of the child is the pre-eminent consideration in all decisions relating to participation in the Mother-Child Program.

Recommendation #24:

The Service modify perimeter controls in the regional women’s facilities to allow minimum security offenders to reside outside the high security fence. In facilities where this is not achievable, I recommend that the Service provide stand-alone accommodations for minimum security women residing in the community.

CSC has developed an accommodation strategy to address the needs of its various populations, including women classified as minimum security. The accommodation strategy will form part of CSC’s long-term accommodation strategy which will be submitted to Treasury Board no later than March 2011.