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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The Cross Gender Monitoring Project
3rd and Final Annual Report

iii) Minimum Standards

Recommendation 5:

Regardless of which option is chosen, the following set of minimum standards are required in order to increase the credibility of and effectiveness of the handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

a) that no process internal to CSC, even with outside advisory review, be used to handle inmate sexual misconduct accusations against non-inmates, including allegations against staff, contract workers and volunteers;

b) that conflict resolution or mediation not be used for sexual misconduct allegations;

c) that inmate sexual misconduct allegations be investigated and dealt with completely outside of the facility where the alleged incident occurred;

d) that any process incorporate an approach for complaints by Aboriginal women inmates that recognizes their vulnerability to persons in positions of trust and authority within their own culture as well as outside it;

e) that policies and procedures for fact finding/investigations be based on principles of due process and fairness, and should be clearly articulated. There should be a formal process for a "paper trail", which must include a way of tracking each step from the initial allegation to its resolution. Privacy and access to information legislation and regulations must be fully incorporated in such policies and procedures;

f) that both parties have the right to an assistant of their choosing;

g) that police must be called in to investigate allegations that could constitute a criminal offence; if the woman inmate complainant does not want to proceed, other mechanisms for investigation must be open to her.

h) that CSC is clearly responsible for protecting the complainant from the respondent or from reprisals, including suspending the respondent with pay or reassigning such that contact between the complainant and the respondent is not possible;

i) that those investigating such allegations be free of conflict of interest concerns, and have training in or knowledge of investigating sexual misconduct allegations, and informed about sexual abuse/misconduct, criminal justice and corrections;

j) that there be fully resourced independent monitoring or auditing of whatever approach is selected;

k) Federally Sentenced Women should have access to independent funded assistance in submitting the initial allegation and throughout the process. This assistance could be provided by community organizations such as Elizabeth Fry Societies, aboriginal organizations, victim service organizations; and,

l) Federally Sentenced Women and those working in the women's facilities, as well as regional and national headquarters, are provided with ongoing information and education as to the new approach taken to sexual misconduct allegations.