Report of the Task Force on Security


There is a sense among some Canadians that corrections in Canada is crumbling under a new morality. Traditional corrections with its emphasis on punishment, separation and isolation have been modified by new individual rights and freedoms. Some urge a return to traditional practices. Others encourage continued reform with increased protection for individual rights.

This tension between what is old and what is new is heightened within institutional environments. Those who push the reform agenda are met squarely with resistance from those who seek to retrench traditional approaches. Both sides look to lawmakers and policy makers to provide support for their position. However the issues that have been polarized are not in the purview of either. These issues represent shifts in values and mores. They represent cultural tensions. Neither politics nor policy can effectively resolve such dilemmas. In fact an over reliance on law and policy can quickly become more disease than cure.

There is an informal, loosely held view that changing / controlling individual behaviour is essential in an institutional environment. This Task Force takes the view that if individual behaviour is to be changed it should be through the re-establishment of meaningful social and moral norms.This can only happen in an environment that is safe to live in, safe to work in and is well ordered with strong and common commitments to our Organizational Mission.

"The Service would be well advised to resist the impulse to further regulate itself by the issuance of even more administrative directions. Rather, the effort must be made to bring home to all the participants in the correctional enterprise the need to yield to the  external power of Parliament and of the Courts, and to join in the legal order that binds the other branches of the Criminal Justice System."

- The Honorable Louise Arbour

The cultural paradigm inside our institutions and within our community offices has stalled. The Correctional Service of Canada needs a model for engagement that combines:

  1. an acknowledgement that law and policy have limited value in reforming culture and
  2. ongoing debate,deep and wide, both within our service and external to it on allmatters that affect culturein a correctional environment.

A constant theme of this report is that the relationship between culture and safety cannot be overstated. Disorder within a culture has a dramatic and deleterious effect on the well being of those who have a part to play in that culture. Managing cultural change well is of paramount importance now and in the future.

The Task Force on Security acknowledges with pride our remarkable successes in corrections over the last several decades and there have been many of them. For example, as a Service we do acknowledge with conviction the rights of the individual. We are required by law to use the least amount of force necessary to resolve incidents. We build prisons that are progressive and among the best in the world. We have developed risk assessment tools that are without equal. We have a case management process that drives us toward reintegration at the earliest possible time without undue risk to the community. And we have developed approaches to the management of both aboriginal offenders and female offenders that we believe will serve as models in corrections for many years to come. Yet there are many indications that our Service has become polarized by controversy. The recommendations put forward by this Task Force are intended to clarify the position of the Service on many points of contention. It is our view that the service must commit clearly to a future course of action that is reflective of standards of excellence as they are understood in western, democratic societies.


To be absolutely safe is to be free from danger or harm or risk of loss. Since it is unrealistic to expect that any place would be completely free of risk, the issue becomes one of defining that which is acceptable. In corrections there are elements of risk that are inherent in institutions and in the community. The challenge for the future is to define acceptable standards related to the safety of staff, offenders and the community and to ensure the consistent application of these standards.

5.1.1 Dynamic Security

Dynamic security plays an essential role in the management of correctional institutions and parole offices, but the concept is neither well understood nor adequately defined.

No other factor plays such a significant role in providing a safe and secure environment in our institutions. Dynamic security speaks specifically to the relationships that exist between all staff members and the offenders with whom they work. Every interaction that occurs between these two groups of people has a cumulative effect on the overall culture of the Service. Every interaction has the potential to enhance a positive institutional culture or to undo the collective efforts of many others to improve it. The review of security incidents has reflected repeatedly that problems in institutions occur when there is little positive interaction between staff and inmates.

"There is an over reliance on technology in Corrections. Don't let technology define policy."

- Don Head

  • It is the culture of an institution that largely determines the frequency and nature of staff / offender interaction. All of the laws, policies and directives will not create an environment that fosters staff and offender interaction. The paper on Culture (Appendix One) thoroughly explores the issues that impact most significantly on dynamic security. That report states "The concept of dynamic security is well accepted and recognized as important both for maintaining a safe environment and as an aid in enhancing relationships that contribute to the goal of reintegration...It is suggested that the Service needs a deliberate strategy of constantly reviewing all practices and promoting dynamic security."
  • Many reports before this one have commented on issues that impact on our prison culture. We cite the Arbour report and the Gentles inquiry to name just two in very recent times. This Task Force holds the view that the key to stabilizing our cultures and achieving excellence in dynamic security rests in leadership. Mature and experienced correctional professionals must continually monitor the correctional environment, giving appropriate guidance and advice to Wardens and their staff and to Deputy Commissioners on all issues that impact on the growth of positive cultures in our institutions and in community offices. The Task Force makes the following recommendations:
    • Recommendation: That the term "dynamic security" be defined and understood as "those actions that contribute to the development of professional, positive relationships between staff members and offenders."

5.1.2 Facility Design and Classification

The evolution of prison design in Canada is reflective of changing values and mores. Canada has been successful in marrying the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration with the design of many of her facilities. The Task Force visited many institutions in other countries but saw few that compared with such places as Fenbrook, William Head, the facilities for Federally Sentenced Women, or the healing lodges for Aboriginal offenders at Maple Creek and Hobbema. These design innovations are, in our view, pointing the way to future designs in Canada. They also are indicative of the fact that CSC has in its employ facility designers and planners of extraordinary capability. The Task Force recognizes that polarized tensions do exist between the need for safe, secure environments and the need for designs that promote responsible living among inmates. We strongly believe that real safety is not achieved through the construction of traditional cellblocks with long ranges, barriers and armed posts. These designs remove the opportunity for making responsible living choices among inmates. We are therefore proposing a design framework in which the majority of prisons in Canada would be constructed within a secure perimeter and take the form of small communities that promote cooperation and responsible choices among the inmates who live there. Our model contains the following elements:

Small Group Living Environments - To meet the objective of small group living the Task Force endorses and extends the move toward more normalized correctional settings as exemplified by recently completed projects such as William Head, Fenbrook, various minimum security institutions, the Federally Sentenced women facilities and the two healing lodges for Aboriginal offenders. These recent installations are characterized by the following attributes, which are supported by this Task Force as the primary characteristics for institutions at all levels of security:

  • Small group living arrangements that provide a degree of personal privacy, while demanding cooperative living;
  • Increased offender responsibilities for daily living tasks and personal behaviour;
  • Greater interaction between staff and offenders, resulting from the co-location of staff and offenders and the reduction of physical separations;
  • Enhanced institution/community interaction as facilitated by proximity and the creation of a more normalized correctional setting.

Multi-Level Institutions - The Task Force further recognizes that the present classification of institutions by security level is in many ways unnecessary and counter-productive to the realization of excellence in corrections. The present system was found to result in an excessive number of transfers, which destabilize institutional populations, often leading to institutional unrest. Frequent transfers interfere with the ability of staff members to know inmates well and also impacts on safe reintegration. Sometimes the transfer process is used to address conflicts that should more appropriately be dealt with through the active intervention of staff.

The shortcomings of the present security based classification system can best be addressed by pursuing a multi-level approach to the majority of institutions. In this regard the Task Force suggests that the primary institutional model be a multi-level facility that would accommodate inmates classified at more than one level of security. Placement at and within a specific institution will be determined by balancing security and program needs. The Task Force notes that there is nothing in policy or legislation requiring inmates to be accommodated within institutions matching their security classification.

The move toward increased use of multi-level facilities is facilitated by the corresponding recommendation to pursue smaller group environments, permitting the establishment of a collection of distinct communities within a secure perimeter. The move towards smaller group settings is critical to the success of a multi-level approach to institutions.

The key to providing small group settings economically is to minimize the extent to which the facility and the occupants must be under constant observation and control. If all doors must be controlled by an officer and all common areas are required to be visible from a static point, the cost of providing small group settings will be prohibitive and the benefits severely diminished. Rather, an emphasis on dynamic security and regular interaction between offenders and staff as a result of active participation in daily living activities by both parties permits the reduction in Unit size.

For this reason the Task Force endorses a range of small group settings within a single institution or compound. Each setting will provide the degree of supervision, control and programming that is appropriate for the offenders in that Unit. It is recommended that each Unit be equipped with its own housing, programming, recreational/leisure and administrative support spaces. Only major, institutionally based support areas, such as the main administrative component, central stores, heating plants, major industrial shops, health care and gymnasiums should be provided centrally. All other components should be decentralized to the unit, and be appropriate for the security level and programming requirements of the specific population.

"I wonder if  we need so many maximum institutions or how we can change the culture in them...

isn't it interesting how the maximum environment affects your behavior as  an inmate and as a staff...

you have to act  tough...

not show your feelings...

then you  move to a medium and everything is different."

 - Inmate at William Head

By way of further definition, the Task force supports the following parameters for the proposed multi-level institutions:

  • Institutional capacity not to exceed 500 offenders.
  • Semi-autonomous units of up to 100 offenders, comprised of discernible small group living areas of 10 inmates or less.
  • For optimal efficiency and safety, institutional designs should target no more than 20% capacity for maximum security inmates and 20% capacity for minimum security inmates.
  • Methods of food preparation and distribution would be distinguished by security level with responsibility for both, increasing as security level decreases.
  • Unit based programming, recreation, exterior exercise areas and visits for all populations.
  • Given occupant key control of individual rooms in minimum and medium Units, washrooms will be centralized and dedicated by small group settings. In the case of Maximum Security units, washrooms will remain in the inmate room.
  • The perimeters must be secure and in line with our mandate to protect the public.

While the Task Force believes that more normalized living environments are appropriate and beneficial for offenders at all levels of security it is recognized that there will be a need to differentiate Units by security level within the same facility. Generally the higher the individual's security level the greater the need for movement control and supervision. The Task Force sees Units being differentiated by the type, accessibility and duration of programs offered, the degree of interaction with other groups, the requirements for searches, and the extent of door and movement control.

The Task Force sees the need to differentiate between security levels, in terms of movement control. Movement control within the complex should be distinguished by level of security with control increasing as the security level of the inmate increases.

While all inmates enjoy the right to visits, access to personal effects, access to telephone calls, etc., their behaviour can and should influence the extent to which these privileges are accorded to them. We suggest that as an inmate's classification decreases, he/she must be able to discern differences in these areas of institutional life. The Task Force suggests that the following areas should provide the basis for these differences:

  • Search Routine - Inmates at the maximum level generally pose a greater risk to the security of the institution in terms of illicit weapons and involvement in the drug trade. The search routine related to cells, living space, common areas and individual persons must be rigorous and well defined. The frequency of search should be greater than that normally found in Units or institutions that are not designated maximum security.
  • Visits - Close supervision is required for all maximum security inmates. This means that visits should be in smaller groupings and that the search routine for visitors and inmates should be stringent and well defined. Regardless of security level the Task Force does wish to emphasize that V & C offices should be designed with open counters that encourage dialogue between staff, inmates and visitors.
  • Personal Effects - Personal effects require stringent control at all security levels. The current system exercises control by volume and by dollar value. It is our view that personal effects present difficulties in terms of black market activity, coercive loan practices, extremely difficult search procedures, health, fire and safety concerns. It is suggested that as the security level of an inmate increases so does the risk associated with personal effects. It is our view that existing policy is often not applied with any degree of consistency. The control systems that are already in place need to be applied rigorously.

Although the Task Force members saw a range of successful multi-level examples in both Provincial and International jurisdictions, it is difficult to describe the ideal footprint until the organization enters into a detailed operational discussion on how the institution would work. The discussions must begin with the list of those issues identified by the Task Force that need to be addressed or improved and progress toward the formation of an operational design. Many aspects of our operation including the case management process, the type of inmate employment by security level, the size and location of recreation, dining and visiting areas etc., must be included in the discussion. Possibly, the range of options could include but not be limited to a version of the dispersal system used by HMPS, where inmates of higher classification live and move around the same physical areas in limited numbers with lesser-classified inmates.

Other options include three physically separate security facilities within one secure compound or even three separate but secure facilities on a common compound. Once these discussions have been exhausted with experienced managers and staff who will have future responsibility for running these facilities, it will be much clearer what a newly designed multi-level institution would look like and if it would address the list of issues and challenges referred to earlier. Some of our existing institutions, we believe, could be adapted to managing two of these security levels while it is not impossible that a few others may be re-configured to manage all three levels of security in order to fulfill the multi-level concept.

Minimum Security Institutions and CCC's - The Task Force recognizes the importance of open custody facilities in the transition from institution to community. These facilities, some of which are distinguished by the absence of a secure perimeter, are to be utilized for those offenders classified as minimum security and presenting a low risk of escape. To be successful, these facilities demand a high degree of staff/offender interaction as best afforded by maintaining small institutional and unit capacities. For this reason the Task Force recommends that minimum security institutions be no larger than 200 offenders with the small group units not exceeding 10 inmates each. Finally, the Task Force proposes a model that would see the amalgamation of current minimum security facilities and CCC's into one stream of non-containment facilities known as Community Correctional Facilities. These facilities would have the capability of housing pre and post eligibility offenders as well as offenders on conditional release. This amalgamation would provide more offenders access to their home communities while still providing services to long term, low risk offenders. The operating model would be based on a Cooperative Governance Model between staff, offenders and the community.

Integrated Control Facilities - The Task Force also recognizes that a small group of offenders will not be suitable for either the multi-level or minimum security institutions. Such inmates would present as highly unmanageable in terms of personal behaviour, pose a threat to the safety of staff or other inmates even on secure units, and / or present a serious risk of escape. Some inmates may require such placement due to the heinous nature of their offenses. The Task Force believes that there will be a requirement for one Integrated Control Facility in each of Eastern and Western Canada. These facilities should incorporate many of the standard security capabilities and approaches currently associated with Maximum Security institutions, including enclosed control posts, controlled access, egress and movement, restricted assembly numbers, and the capacity for close observation. These facilities should dedicate their resources to excellence in security practices, and to programs aimed at reducing risk such that transfer back to a multi-level is facilitated.

Benefits to Proposed Multi-level Design - The proposed design and classification system offers the following significant benefits:

  • Facilitates timely reintegration.
  • Minimizes or lessens the risk of escape.
  • Stabilizes populations.
  • Reduces the need for segregation.
  • Permits reduction in security level for SR cases and others without requiring transfer.
  • Motivates population.
  • Increases opportunities for job enrichment for staff.
  • Maintains inmate proximity to home/community.

Review of Existing Institutions - The Task Force recognizes that few existing institutions meet the full intent and requirements of this report. Furthermore there are in the opinion of the Task Force, several institutions that are so inadequate that consideration must be given to the planned closure of these institutions over time. The Task Force has identified three broad categories to describe the level of acceptability of existing institutions. Category I consists of those facilities that meet our expectations in terms of management philosophy, safety and reintegration. Category II consists of institutions that marginally meet expectations in the three identified areas and Category III would consist of institutions that are not acceptable and cannot reasonably be retrofitted to meet the objectives specified here. We believe that CSC should develop a plan for the phased closure of unsuitable facilities and the phased redevelopment of other facilities to bring them into line with our objectives. We suggest that the following criteria will be useful in assessing the institutions:

  • Institutional capacity not to exceed 500 offenders.
  • Semi-autonomous units of up to 100 offenders with group living areas of no more than 10 offenders each.
  • Ability to differentiate housing by security level.
  • Units lend themselves to unit-based programs, recreation, and exercise.
  • Decentralized dining rooms and food preparation.
  • Conform to codes and policies of the Service.
  • Meet current technical standards.
  • Meet sustainable development targets.
  • Meet requirements for infrastructure and services.

A rating system could be developed utilizing each of the above factors to facilitate planning for closure and / or redevelopment.

  • Recommendation:That all institutions incorporate to the greatest extent possible the principles of more normalized environments including the provision of small group settings, increased offender responsibilities for daily living tasks and behaviour and greater interaction between staff and offenders.
  • Recommendation:That multi-level institutions be used to accommodate offenders and that this become the primary institutional model for the Service.
  • Recommendation:That all multi-level facilities be operated and designed to reflect normalized community living standards, accommodating offenders in small group settings that respect the parameters outlined in this report concerning institutional, unit, and group size limits, security level distribution of units, the extent of unit based activities and facilities and the degree of movement control within and outside the unit.
  • Recommendation:That minimum security facilities continue to exist as open custody facilities but that their capacity be limited to 200 offenders all of whom are deemed to be minimum security and of minimal escape risk. Also that minimum security and CCC's be amalgamated into one stream of non-containment facilities to be known as Community Correctional Facilities.
  • Recommendation:That two integrated control facilities be identified, one in eastern and one in western Canada, to accommodate the limited number of offenders who cannot be successfully accommodated at either multi-level or minimum security institutions.
  • Recommendation:That institutions that cannot be successfully altered to meet the criteria contained in this report be integrated into a plan for closure or replacement.
  • Recommendation: That CSC assess all of its institutions against the criteria and principles identified in this report with a view to developing a comprehensive long term plan for retrofit and / or closure and that this be formulated as the basis for the next NCAOP submission.
  • Recommendation:That each institution submit plans that will bring them into line with the model suggested in this report and that these form the basis for revisions to the CSC accommodation and technical standards.

The Task Force recognized that there are specific design features in other countries, not in use in Canada, that are consistent with our own philosophy. For example, prisons in Australia have a gatehouse design that is among the best that we have seen. They are spacious, well staffed, and have state of the art equipment. The sally ports are enclosed allowing for thorough searches in all weather. We view the front gate and sally port designs to be of paramount importance in terms of maintaining a secure perimeter.

  • Recommendation:That the Australian design for front gates and sally ports be benchmarked for all planned retrofits of existing facilities in Canada and for all future designs.

Another example of a design feature that we like is the attempt by some jurisdictions to remove razor wire from the perimeters. We share the view that razor wire in combination with towers gives an inappropriate appearance to CSC facilities. The argument put forward most frequently for continued use of razor wire is that it permits a 40 second response time to PIDS alarms. While our perimeter security systems are excellent, we feel quite strongly that CSC should become actively involved in finding a technology that will replace razor wire in our facilities. The options available in other jurisdictions are not suitable in Canada due to our harsh winter climate.

  • Recommendation:That CSC actively solicit design innovations from the private sector for either a less obtrusive form of razor wire or another device entirely that will delay potential escapes.

We would endorse as well a design catalogue that reflects standards subscribed to by CSC and that this catalogue would serve as the resource for planners in the retrofit of existing facilities or the design of new facilities.

  • Recommendation:That CSC develop and formally approve an architectural design catalogue that expresses standards consistent with the philosophy of the organization.

Community Offices and CCC's - Finally the Task Force would be remiss to not comment on design issues related to parole offices and CCC's. Our primary observation is that there do not appear to be standards related specifically to the security of these facilities. We think there is a need for such standards to be developed. Offenders who have presented significant security concerns inside our institutions are sometimes released under escort to these offices/facilities. Although there have been few incidents, the concern of staff in these areas is quite high. We support and encourage a security design review of all parole offices and CCC's, with a view to establishing minimum standards related to design and the security of staff.

  • Recommendation:That all Parole Offices and CCC's be subject to a security design review with two objectives:
    1. to establish design standards for these facilities and
    2. to identify shortcomings in security that need to be addressed as an interim measure while awaiting the approval of design standards.

Parole officers in the community also raised a number of concerns related to their own safety particularly in terms of community visits. The Task Force is aware that CSC is developing training for Parole Officers. We would simply state that this training should address the role of supervisors in coaching and mentoring staff, particularly in terms of security issues. Buddy systems should be implemented in terms of CA's and supervisors should actively ensure that such systems are routinely used. Similarly supervisors in these facilities should be addressing security issues proactively, including security design issues.

  • Recommendation:That the Service evaluate the safety concerns of Parole Officers in the community and develop a plan to address these concerns.

5.1.3. Firearms

Two factors struck Task Force members forcefully during our visits to other countries. One was the limited or complete absence of firearms in prisons. The other was the relative infrequency of violent incidents in these prisons.

The Criminal Code of Canada at Section 25 justifies the use of lethal force to stop any inmate from escaping. This requirement has been translated into policy in Commissioner's directive 605 at paragraph 16.

In practice CSC maintains a large arsenal of firearms in armouries in both maximum and medium security penitentiaries. Both levels of security maintain arms on the perimeter, in motor patrol vehicles and in towers when in use. Both levels of security also authorize firearms to be carried on escorts if it is deemed necessary by a senior officer, usually a Correctional Supervisor. Finally, firearms are positioned in secure posts designated for that purpose in all maximum security penitentiaries.

"We have never had  a prison officer murdered in an English prison  since W.W. II."

- Trevor Williams

Firearms are rarely used in our institutions. The most frequent use to which they are put is to fire warning shots to dissuade offenders who are involved in violent acts. Some would argue that the presence of firearms in armed posts and on the perimeter serves as a strong deterrence to violence and escape attempts. For these reasons, CSC maintains a rigorous and expensive firearms training program.

We believe that the issue of firearms is deserving of close examination. Such a review should concern itself first with CSC's ability to respond to violence and to escape attempts using all possible alternatives. Such a review should consider the following issues:

  1. The extent to which staff members are present with inmates in common areas. We are aware for instance that the United Kingdom maintains a much higher ratio of officers to inmates in recreation areas including the yard. This means that more officers are available to observe inmate behaviour and to respond in the event of trouble. This serves as an effective deterrent as well.
  2. The capability of our Service to effectively gather, analyze and disseminate security information. Once again we were impressed with the intelligence capabilities of such countries as Israel and the U.K.
  3. The extent to which CSC has developed response capabilities/strategies to deal with acts of violence and escape attempts. We are thinking here of strategic responses by officers and the use of alternative, non-lethal technologies, such as the Taser gun.
  4. CSC needs to examine the extent to which it partners with police agencies to assist in responding to violent acts and escape attempts. CSC seems more inclined to "go it alone" than many of the other jurisdictions we visited.

We believe that a close examination of these issues will reveal that CSC can do a great deal to mitigate the possible use of lethal force in our Service. We are reasonably sure as well that with significant improvements in each of the areas we have identified that we may be able to look forward to the day when the routine deployment of firearms can be greatly reduced and perhaps eliminated inside of our penitentiaries. We caution strongly against any move in this direction that would in any way compromise the safety of staff or inmates. A concerted, well developed training plan coupled with well established alternatives in technology and possibly including the use of dogs by handlers on footpatrol will be necessary prerequisites to such a plan.

We believe CSC can develop operational routines on the perimeter that will reduce the requirement to train so many officers for this purpose. We would strongly caution that any move in this direction must be done in full consultation with staff with a view to securing their full acceptance of this change in policy. This must be a grassroots effort if it is to succeed.

  • Recommendation:That CSC undertake a comprehensive review of its policy with regard to firearms with a view to developing a long term plan to significantly reduce the requirement for firearms in its operations.
  • Recommendation:That CSC commit to the use of patrol dogs and innovative technologies before removing firearms from inside its institutions.

5.1.4. Security Information

It is important that CSC be a full and active participant in the federal government's Integrated Justice Network. This means that we need to be able to gather security information intelligently, analyze it thoroughly, discard it if it has no intrinsic value, and record and share it if it does. The Task Force does not believe that the current system of Institutional Preventive Security is credible with CSC's partners in the Justice System. The reasons for this are primarily related to confusion with regard to the role of the IPSO, inadequate training, and the indiscriminate gathering of enormous amounts of information that is not properly analyzed and sometimes inappropriately kept on file. The impact of this is significant, particularly in terms of the inappropriate recording of so-called incompatibles. Two inmates can have a disagreement or a fight and have it recorded that they never again can do time together. There is rarely any thorough assessment made of incompatibility and the decision to enter such data rests with the IPSO. Similarly, unsubstantiated information regarding drug trafficking, muscling, etc. can find its way onto Preventive Security files all too easily and without thorough analysis.

The Task Force offers the following comments. First, we acknowledge the need to effectively gather security information, analyze it and share it. Secondly, we believe that this gathering and analysis of information has only limited value if it is restricted to each institution individually. We also believe that this networking capability has to extend beyond CSC to include local police forces. We support CSC's meaningful involvement in the justice community.

We think that the term Preventive Security does not reflect the evolution in thinking around the whole area of security information. We believe that a new role definition and job title is necessary.

  • Recommendation:That CSC fully support and participate in the federal government's Integrated Justice Information System.
  • Recommendation:That CSC re-define the role of security information in such a manner that all environmental factors are analyzed and related strategically to the correctional process.
  • Recommendation:That CSC develop a framework and standards for the gathering and analysis of security information.
  • Recommendation:That CSC re-evaluate the prerequisites for selection and training of staff members to perform the function of gathering security information.
  • Recommendation: That CSC initiate an approval process for inclusion of security information on offender files and that the level for such approval not be below the Unit Manager level.
  • Recommendation: That CSC undertake a full review of all Preventive Security files on an institutional basis with a view to verifying or removing information contained therein.

CSC must have a capacity, on a national basis, to analyze and disseminate security information to the office of the Commissioner, to Executive Committee and to the field in an accurate and timely manner. It is not sufficient for a learning organization to disseminate raw data in the form of Sintreps without also providing additional security reports that analyze that information and give an overview of the meaning of that data.

  • Recommendation:That the Security Branch in NHQ develop the capacity and be given the resources to thoroughly analyze all security information and disseminate it appropriately.

Generally speaking we think that the role of security intelligence should include:

  • Threat risk assessment of people and structures.
  • Population profiling - who does what to whom.
  • Strategic information gathering based on an institutional strategic security plan. Key issues should be targeted and linked with a Regional Strategic Security Plan.

We discourage a super-sleuth mentality and believe that staff members working in this area must be strategic thinkers, able to see the big picture. We support a name change (e.g. Strategic Information Officer) and a substantial re-definition of the role.

5.1.5Organized Crime, Gangs and Aboriginal Youth Gangs

It is a high priority of the Solicitor General to intervene effectively in the problems associated with organized crime, gangs, and Aboriginal youth gangs. Over the past two years the number of offenders within CSC that are associated with or are members of criminal organizations or gangs has fluctuated at approximately 1400 offenders. This is about 7% of the total institutional population and 5% of the community corrections population. More disturbing has been a recent surge in the Prairie Region of Aboriginal gang affiliations and a concomitant increase in related violent behaviour among these inmates. There has also been a surge in the number of Asian gang members in Pacific region institutions and increases in the numbers of offenders associated with other types of organized crime, including biker gangs, in the east. These increases are reflective of growing problems in Canadian society with gangs and organized crime of all types. Clearly CSC's first response in the area must be to connect in a meaningful way CJS partners who are involved in similar undertakings. We have already commented on the absolute necessity that we professionalize our Security Information capabilities. We must be able to gather information effectively, analyze it thoroughly, and share it with everyone involved in combating this problem.

Secondly, we have to ensure that our Research Branch is properly resourced to conduct meaningful research in this growing area of concern. The Research Branch must focus on both innovative treatment modalities and effective interventions from an operational perspective.

We wish to comment on Aboriginal youth, which is one of the fastest growing demographic sectors in our offender populations. Currently 75% of Aboriginal peoples are now under 40 years of age. Almost 40% of Aboriginal people live in urban centres where low skills and poverty contribute to the increasing Aboriginal gang issue. The Indian Posse, Manitoba Warriors and other Aboriginal youth gangs have emerged in a climate of disadvantage and discrimination. Aboriginal youth gangs in Canada are estimated to include 800 to 1000 active gang members. Many more must be considered Aboriginal youth at risk.

There are an estimated 250 Aboriginal youth gang members incarcerated in federal institutions. Data for all provincial facilities are not readily available but we have confirmed that the problem of Aboriginal youth in these facilities is increasingly problematic. The impact on federal facilities has been to destabilize populations, causing an increase in transfers and to some extent a spread of the problem. CSC in the Prairie Region has developed an interim strategy in terms of programs related to gang membership. Some positive results have been forthcoming and we applaud these efforts. We note in particular the work being done at Stony Mountain Institution in this regard. Longer term strategies are being developed to encourage Aboriginal youth to disaffiliate with gang associates as well as to identify community residential options that are free of gang members.

  • Recommendation:That CSC actively pursue, with her partners in the CJS, the development of gang data bases and the sharing of information.
  • Recommendation:That CSC Research Branch actively study the problem of gang membership and assist in the development of treatment programs for the members of such gangs.
  • Recommendation:That CSC support the development of innovative Aboriginal programs in consultation with Elders and other Aboriginal sources, to intervene effectively in the problem of Aboriginal youth gang membership.

5.1.6. Drug Strategy

The Task Force on Security fully supports CSC's Drug Strategy in its entirety. We support all elements of that strategy directed toward harm reduction. Health promotion, education and substance abuse treatment programs must continue to occupy a central role in the drug strategy.

Having said this, the Task Force recognized that its priority for the purposes of this report is to review interdiction strategies in particular. To this end we identified the following issues:

"On a day  to day  basis  there must be consistent application of policy from one officer to  the next. Not to do so is to  give over power  to the inmates."

- Rob Kellett

· Searching - there are significant gaps in our approach to this activity. We see the search plan as being a central component of each institution's work plan for the year. The responsibility for developing search plans is often delegated to the CCO who, in many cases, has limited knowledge of what is required. Our view is that Search Plans must receive a significantly higher profile and that searching must be regarded as an essential component of every institution's quest for a safe and secure environment. We would stress the important role that searching plays in our drug interdiction policy. Further we would note that with the rise in organized crime it is probable that attempts to compromise staff will increase. This makes it imperative that our searching techniques and practices are all encompassing in order to protect staff from false allegations.

  • Recommendation:That standards be established for the content of Search Plans and that designated staff be trained in writing Search Plans.
  • Recommendation:That each institution develop the expertise to search effectively and that the importance of searching be communicated to all staff.
  • Recommendation:That searching at the front gate be systematized and that procedures for searching include all staff and visitors (both official and inmate visitors).

· ION Technology - the use of Ion technologies is a highly effective device in the drug interdiction program. We believe that all institutions require immediate access to these machines. The Task Force has observed the use of similar equipment in other jurisdictions and has been impressed with their effectiveness. The technology in this area is expanding so that portable units are now available.

  • Recommendation:That all institutions acquire ION technology for use at the Principle Entrance. Where possible, portable equipment should be acquired.

· Dogs - CSC has vacillated in both policy and practice in defining what role, if any, dogs should play in our service. The Task Force believes that CSC must develop a firm policy in support of the use of dogs on two fronts: drug interdiction and officer safety (see section on firearms).

With regard to drug interdiction, the Task Force observed the effective use of drug dogs in several other jurisdictions. In Canada the use of drug dogs in the federal system is widely disparate with institutions reporting varied degrees of success or failure. It is commonplace to request the use of RCMP and Customs drug dogs on an "as needed" basis. The Quebec region has developed the most intensive drug dog program in the country. Dogs have been contracted from a private firm and on occasion the QPP and RCMP have assisted in searches. The Quebec region reports that dogs are used approximately 80 hours per month and these hours are shared between institutions.

Our review of past practices demonstrates that CSC has experience with contracting for service from private agencies, utilizing dogs from other jurisdictions, and acquiring our own dogs. We have learned valuable lessons from this experience. The primary one is that searching for drugs in a correctional environment is a specialized activity. Dogs and handlers should be particularly trained for this function. It is imperative that drug dogs play a prominent and routine role in the drug interdiction strategy of each institution.

  • Recommendation:That CSC ensure that every institution is appropriately resourced to either acquire its own trained drug dogs or is able to secure the services of a drug dog as quickly as operational demands necessitate.

· Drug Intensive Treatment Institutions/Units - Finally, in the area of drug interdiction the Task Force would like to see the concept of drug free institutions or units more fully explored. We were particularly impressed with a program in Israel in which offenders involved in treatment programs may request to live on a drug free unit. They recognize that these units are, by necessity, very tightly controlled and that they will therefore sacrifice certain "privileges" such as contact visits while on that unit. These offenders see this as an opportunity to remain drug free while undertaking treatment. We strongly endorse this type of approach in that the restrictions imposed are for a set period of time (3 months in one case) and the participation is voluntary. This concept is worth pursuing in our Service.

  • Recommendation: That pilot programs in support of drug intensive treatment units or institutions be developed in CSC.

5.1.7 Security Technology

  1. Visitor Identification - Using visual means to identify incoming and outgoing visitors is an anachronism in our institutions at the dawn of the 21st century. CSC continues to use visual inspection and signature comparisons to identify both official visitors and inmate visitors. From a static security perspective, the most vulnerable point in our perimeter is the front gate. We are aware of a few technological advances in this area. One is called Iriscan, which reads the iris of the eye. This has promise but we have not had the opportunity to see it in use. Another is a form of biometrics identification. This method is in use in England and involves electronic comparisons of photographs with thumbprints. In Australia we saw a Corrections Officer comparing a photograph of a visitor that appeared on a screen with the visitor's fingerprint which was taken in front of the officer.
  2. Visitor Search - Australia makes effective use of revolving walk through scanners. This is the most impressive scanner device we have seen and we believe that this type of device should be assessed for use in all of our major institutions. We discuss under separate heading the use of ion scanners and simply indicate here our support for the systematic acquisition and use of this technology in our institutions. We also discuss the use of drug dogs elsewhere in this report. We simply want to acknowledge here that dogs are a most important tool in the search of visitors.
  3. Vehicle inspection - Movement of vehicles through the sally port of our institutions creates significant security problems. We recommend elsewhere that vehicle traffic through the perimeter must be significantly curtailed because of the opportunity that such traffic affords for possible escapes. We do, however, wish to point out that heartbeat detection technology has been used successfully by Customs at border crossings and has the potential to work well in our Service. The technology has advanced significantly since it was tested on a trial basis at LeClerc Institution.
  4. Search of Personal Effects - Ultrasound technology and portable X-rays have been used successfully in some jurisdictions. We need to explore the potential for their use in CSC.
  5. Strip Search of Inmates - CSC is limited in its application of this procedure by legislation. Nevertheless the legislation does allow the strip searching of inmates for well-defined purposes related to security. We view the practice as necessary but degrading and humiliating. We support the introduction of technologies that will reduce the need for such searches. We might consider the Intelliscan for instance. This device makes it possible to view the body through the clothing and would be most useful in the detection of contraband weapons and other objects. We are not certain of its possible application in the detection of concealed drugs.
  6. Portable Alarms - We comment on this issue elsewhere in the report but wish to emphasize here that technologies in this area are changing rapidly. The most promising application that we have seen is in our own Fenbrook Institution. This system operates on radio frequencies and is 98% reliable. The need is great to provide such systems to all of our institutions.
  7. Movement Control - Smart Cards, already in use in the business community have appropriate applications within our system. Officer punch in systems could be replaced by this technology. Smart Cards could also be used to replace inmate passes, allowing inmates or staff to pass from one area to another by means of programmed cards. We support the use of this type of electronically controlled access in our institutions.
  8. Key Control - The Key Watch system in use at LeClerc Institution is an effective means of controlling key access and distribution. We are unaware of any system that is superior to this one. We would only point out that this type of technology is a vital component of a good security system and should have standardized application across our Service.
  9. Bulletproof Glass or Shatterproof Glass - There is a need to review the circumstances in which CSC approves the use of such glass. The over-utilization of such glass may give the illusion of openness while at the same time reducing human contact and hindering effective interventions.

In our review of technological advances, we were made aware of issues in our Service that require change from non-technological perspectives. Some of these include:

  1. A need for staff presence in all areas of our facilities occupied or used by inmates. Technology is a poor substitute for staff presence.
  2. It is a good practice to limit the use of barriers and doors since they limit human interaction.
  3. Large dining halls and recreation areas are almost invariably hot spots in institutions. Newer institutions should avoid designs that include such structures. Eating together and recreating together on a unit basis makes sense in all levels of security.
  4. Visiting areas at all levels of security require close supervision and interaction between staff, inmates and their visitors. Designs of visiting areas need to be changed to reflect this reality.
  5. Video monitors, cameras and grillwork all reduce the opportunity for staff/inmate interaction. Strict guidelines need to be observed in terms of reliance on these applications.
  6. Design changes can be relied upon inappropriately without a full review of operational practices.
  7. Finally, as our population ages, our facilities are going to have to be sensitive to the physical needs of such offenders.

We want to encourage the Service to move toward a concept of security that is elegant yet discreet, respecting personal dignity while representing the cutting edge of modern technology.

  • Recommendation:That CSC standardize and fully communicate the implementation of approved security technologies.
  • Recommendation: That CSC immediately review for implementation nationally the use of Smart Cards, biometric devices, Intelliscan and GPS tracking systems.

5.1.8. Statutory Release / Residency

This is an issue that affects both public safety and the credibility of the Service. Difficulties have arisen on a number of fronts, particularly in terms of pre-release planning and placement in a minimum security/ CCC setting if Residency is a requirement.

A commonly expressed strategy for dealing with Statutory Release cases has been to suggest that planning begin 18 months prior to release with the objective being to move the individual from a maximum institution to a medium to a minimum and finally out to a CCC. We define this process as "cascading". To move in this direction currently requires that parole officers reclassify the inmate, write him up for transfer, deal with refusals to accept (usually based on disagreement related to the inmate's classification or on incompatibles), and write him up for transfer somewhere else. Statutory release cases are rarely viewed favorably by minimum security Wardens or Directors of CCC's. The Task Force believes that the process of cascading creates an enormous amount of work for staff members, disrupts individual programming and creates unrest by de-stabilizing inmate populations.

The Task Force believes that by designating institutions with secure perimeters as multi-level, that the planning process for inmates approaching Statutory Release is greatly simplified. Pre-release programs can be developed to meet the needs of these offenders. They can achieve reclassification to lower levels, live on units that are reflective of that classification, and not have to be relocated. In terms of our public image we will be able to demonstrate that we worked with individuals to reduce their risk. This process will also allow us to move such people, where appropriate, to institutions close to their release destinations more readily. We think this also affords an opportunity to most institutions to develop pre-release programs and perhaps introduce pre-release units to their configuration.

  • Recommendation:That each region ensure that pre-release programs are made available in all institutions from which statutory release cases are discharged to the community.
  • Recommendation: That inmates being prepared for release with a residency requirement enter a pre-release program at least 6 months prior to discharge and further that such inmates be cascaded to lower levels of security within the facility most suited to their plans for release.

We would support and encourage the development of very strong links between our community staff and institutional staff in the management and operationalization of all pre-release programs.

5.1.9.Security Standards and Audits

Established Standards provide an organization with accepted measures of comparison for quantitative and/or qualitative value. CSC has established many standards, some of which are written and others that are not. CSC needs to consolidate and document these standards so that we can properly train our staff, provide site assistance reviews and do performance evaluations effectively. Doing this well will have a profound effect on the health and safety of staff and offenders. We site the following representative sample of issues for which standards should be established:

· Searching - standardized training

  • application of search plans
  • use of dogs
  • responsibility of all staff
  • front gate procedures

· Prohibited items - what can and cannot be taken into an institution by staff and  visitors (standardized lists)

  • standardized cell effects

· Vehicle Entry - restrict all vehicle traffic

  • identify options for bringing in goods
  • locking gas caps, hub caps
  • vehicle search procedures
  • securing and supervising vehicles inside the perimeter

· Key Control - standardized training

  • procedural safeguards

There are many other areas, which require standards. As well there is a need to ensure that institutions are continually assessing their compliance with standards and their ability to respond to crises. This state of readiness must be communicated effectively across the Service as well. We offer the following courses of action.

  • Recommendation:That security standards related to prohibited items, vehicle entry, key control, and searching be reviewed, updated, condensed and implemented on a national basis.
  • Recommendation:That a system of annual security audits and quarterly security reviews be established to assess an institution's readiness to respond to security issues.

We cite these as only a few examples of issues, which would benefit from improvements in terms of standardization. Such an effort will contribute to the professionalization of our Service and significant improvements in morale among staff. There have been significant advances in the area of security technology. Smart cards, biometrics, intelliscan and many others are on the market. We would make special note of the use of Global Positioning Systems, which can be effectively used to track the whereabouts of institutional staff and parole staff as they conduct their duties. The Task Force believes that a systematic process of evaluating such technologies must be introduced and that a formal approval and implementation plan must be introduced for each new way of doing business.

5.1.10 Institutional Threat Risk Profile

For some time now the Security Branch has identified a need for assessing the stability of institutional populations on a regular basis. The objective would be to systematize the condition of individual institutions in such a manner that nationally we have a clear picture of areas of potential unrest.

Such a system would also enable individual Wardens to respond strategically to their own condition report. The Task Force on Security received information from the Deputy Minister of Corrections in Manitoba, Greg Graceffo, that they have been utilizing a promising instrument along these lines. The checklist is filled out by line staff, supervisors and / or managers and provides information such as: increased telephone calls, increase in canteen purchases, increased requests for protection, cancellation of visits, decline in program attendance, no eye contact, decline in communications, increased use of hand signals, etc. In Manitoba these checklists are only used quarterly or on an as-needed basis. The U.K. also has a system worth benchmarking. Our Task Force would like to see a more refined procedure established that would allow us to measure stability on a daily or perhaps weekly basis. This would provide valuable information to NHQ and RHQ while allowing individual centres to respond strategically.

  • Recommendation:That CSC develop a research based instrument whereby the stability and social climate of institutions can be regularly assessed.

5.1.11. Cell Extractions

During the course of its work the Task Force was asked to express its views on cell extractions. The issue has been raised in the Gentles inquiry. We offer the following comments.

First, we strongly endorse both the CAPRA model for problem solving and the Use of Force model (see Section 4.3.3. and 4.3.4). Except in life threatening situations in which it is critical that staff enter a cell immediately, exhaustive efforts must be taken using the CAPRA model and Conflict Resolution skills to resolve the difficulty without doing a cell extraction.

Second, where all other efforts have failed (and have been documented) a decision may be made to conduct a cell extraction. In this event, only fully trained staff should be utilized. An alternative to this would be to utilize a fully trained extraction team. We do not support cell extractions by untrained officers and we do not support untrained extraction teams led by an IERT member. The keys to a successful extraction are teamwork and training.

  • Recommendation:That only fully trained staff who have been certified annually be authorized to do cell extractions.

5.1.12. Inmate Consultation

Consultation with inmates is an integral part of creating a safe prison environment. The Task Force examined the role of inmate committees in this context. We will make the following observations/ comments:

  • Most committees are elected in general elections. Not all units are represented. They should be.
  • Committees do not always accurately reflect the concerns of the inmate population. More inmates should be consulted than just the committee on important issues.
  • Committees are not always skilled in relating information back to the other inmates. It is important that staff members follow up to ensure accurate and timely sharing of information.
  • Inmate committees as a rule do not support full integration of inmates. In fact, some actively oppose it. Integration is an important issue in the management of our institutions and caution should be exercised in working with inmate committees who do not support this initiative.

"There have been task forces before this and you always ask what we think...I hope there will be real listening and real  action on this one. We need to create more respect between staff and inmates...we need to break down the walls that separate us."

- Inmate at William Head

The Task Force urges that the management of Inmate Committees include a requirement for unit representation on those committees.