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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Cross Gender Monitoring Project

g) Staff Selection and Training:

As stated earlier in our Report, staff screening, selection and training is integral to the successful implementation of cross gender staffing in federal facilities housing women. In the short time our project has been in operation, we have witnessed a reduction in training that is alarming.

Recommendation #4: There has been a steady erosion during the last year of women-centred training for staff in federal facilities housing women. Pressures to reduce the costs associated with recruitment and training have been reported.

As the effectiveness of the male Primary Worker staffing approach is inextricably linked to the initial screening and training initiatives, measures must be taken to ensure full funding is protected for these initiatives. Additionally, funds must be set aside to cover the costs of proper screening and training of all personnel working in these facilities, as discussed in Recommendation #2.

Concerns were expressed that subcontracting of program contracts to unknown and unscreened persons has happened and has caused problems in terms of inappropriate behaviour and attitudes. Such a practice should be prohibited. The hiring of unscreened and untrained male Commissionaires to escort outside people like maintenance people has been raised as a problem in one or two regions. Recommendation #2 is designed to address both these issues.