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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The Cross Gender Monitoring Project
3rd and Final Annual Report


Information for this report was gathered from a number of sources. These included:

  • interviews with individuals in each facility including staff, inmates, members of Citizen Advisory Committees where appropriate, and community agencies such as Elizabeth Fry Societies;
  • consultations with officials with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, the Correctional Investigator's Office, the Union of Solicitor General Employees and various officials from the Correctional Service Canada, including the Deputy Commissioner for Women's office. In addition written submissions were requested from the National Stakeholders;
  • site visits to all federal institutions for Federally Sentenced Women and the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women for interviews. The one exception was the Regional Reception Centre in Ste Anne des Plaines, Québec where the site visit was cancelled due to the high number of FSW at the time of the proposed site visit who were suffering from mental disorders and could not have been interviewed. As this is a small facility, the number of staff who might have agreed to be interviewed was also small;
  • observation of the physical characteristics of facilities for Federally Sentenced Women;
  • review of selected videos of cell extractions of FSW; and,
  • review of relevant documents including CSC policies and information concerning complaints and grievances.

Site visits to institutions in 1999/2000 focused on various cross gender issues described in this report and were made to the following institutions:

  • Nova Institution for Women in Truro, N.S.;
  • Springhill Institution (for maximum security women) Springhill, N. S.;
  • Joliette Institution in Joliette, Québec;
  • Prison for Women in Kingston, Ont.;
  • Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener Ont.;
  • Saskatchewan Penitentiary (for maximum security women) in Prince Albert, Sask.;
  • the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, Sask.;
  • Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Sask.;
  • Edmonton Institution for Women in Edmonton, Alta; and,
  • Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW) in Burnaby B.C.

The Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW), although a provincial institution, houses Federally Sentenced Women through an Exchange of Service Agreement. BCCW accommodates the highest number of Federally Sentenced Women (FSW) of any provincial institution. BCCW was included in our site visits as an example of an institution that does not have male front-line staff.

Site visits focused on general feedback about the cross gender policy, i.e. "CSC Women's Institutions and Maximum Security Units: National Operating Protocol for Front Line Staffing." and perspectives on males as front line staff. We also included general questions about selection and training for both female and male Primary Workers, as well as questions about the efficacy of the complaint and grievance systems.

The results of these visits, interviews and reviews of documentation are presented in the following Section.