Office of the Correctional Investigator
38th Annual Report to Parliament
2010-2011

Presentation Deck

November 1, 2011


Overview


 

1. Access to Mental Health Services

Issues of Concern

  • Increasing demand for specialized and acute mental health treatment and care services
  • Compliance issues at the Regional Treatment Centres
  • Informed consent and involuntary treatment
  • Over-reliance on segregation and seclusion to manage self-injurious offenders
  • Accountability and monitoring of use of physical restraints on mentally ill offenders
  • Complex Needs Program and Unit in pilot stage – CSC’s national strategy for managing self-harm requires a permanent funding solution and a proven treatment program in a therapeutic environment

Recommendations

1. Pursue and expand alternative mental health service delivery arrangements with the provinces and territories.
CSC ResponseAccepted

2. Address compliance and performance deficiencies contained in the January 2011 internal audit of the Regional Treatment Centres.
CSC ResponseAccepted

3. Placements in physical restraints should be considered a 'reportable’ use of force and training should be provided in the safe use of Pinel restraints.
CSC ResponseAccepted in part (‘reportable use of force’ designation not supported)

4. CSC’s Health Care Advisory Committee should be engaged to explore enhanced models of oversight and accountability for managing self injury, inclusive of patient advocacy, involuntary treatment and informed consent.
CSC ResponseAccepted

5. Pending development, evaluation and funding of the Complex Needs Program and Unit, the most serious, chronic and complex cases of self-injury should be reviewed for immediate transfer to provincial mental health care facilities.
CSC ResponseAccepted

Special Focus on Aging Offenders

Issues of Concern

  • Growing number of offenders aged 50 years and older in CSC custody – 50% increase in older offenders in past decade
  • Operational challenges associated with accommodating an aging population in facilities designed for a younger profile of offenders
  • Need for more appropriate and relevant correctional and vocational programming for older offenders
  • Dilemmas of providing end of life care in a prison setting
  • Lack of a national strategy for managing elderly offenders in federal custody
  • Compassionate release of terminally ill offenders is rare, often dismissed on procedural/technical criteria

Recommendations

6. Develop a more appropriate range of programming and activities for older offenders, as well interventions responsive to their unique mobility, learning, assistive and independent living needs.
CSC ResponseAccepted

7. Where necessary, hire more staff with training and experience in palliative care and gerontology. Add sensitivity and awareness training to curriculums of both new and experienced staff.
CSC ResponseAccepted

8. Where new construction is planned, age-related physical and mental impairments should be part of the design and include plans and space for sufficient number of accessible living arrangements.
CSC ResponseAccepted

9. Service should prepare a national offender strategy in 2011-12 that includes a geriatric release component as well as enhanced post-release supports.
CSC ResponseAccepted in part (no commitment to prepare a national strategy)

 

2. Deaths in Custody

Issues of Concern

  • Additional actions required on CSC’s overall approach to preventing deaths in custody:
    • 24 hour on-site heath care support/coverage in all medium, maximum and multi-level institutions
    • independent and expert monitoring of mentally ill offenders in segregation
    • professional and independent chairing of boards of investigation involving suicides and serious self-injury
    • Mortality Review exercise does not meet statutory (Section 19) requirements
  • 5 inmate murders in FY 2010-11

Recommendations

10. CSC should make its strategy for preventing deaths in custody public and report annual progress against clear performance and accountability indicators.
CSC ResponseAccepted

11. CSC should make public its response to the reports of the Verification Team and the Independent Review Committee and publish annual progress updates responding to recommendations.
CSC ResponseAccepted

12. Minister should direct the Service to immediately suspend the Mortality Review exercise until such time as the Guidelines can be independently and expertly validated against legislative requirements. This review should be made public.

13. Until the Mortality Review Process is validated, an external medical doctor should review all 'natural’ in-custody deaths and independently report findings to the Commissioner.
CSC ResponseRejected

14. The Service’s practices and procedures for 'release by exception’ should be independently reviewed to ensure cases are being prepared with appropriate diligence, rigour and timeliness. CSC ResponseRejected

 

3. Conditions of Confinement

Issues of Concern

  • Impacts and indicators of prison crowding
    • Institutional violence
    • Use of force
    • Institutional charges
    • Double-bunking rates
    • Use of non-purpose built space for accommodation
    • Volume of offender complaints and grievances
    • Accessibility to correctional programs
    • Restrictions on group privileges, association and movement
  • Long-term segregation of the mentally ill
  • Segregation by any other name
  • Declining quality of dynamic security and staff-offender interactions

Recommendations

15. The revised policy on inmate accommodation should contain:

  • Explicit and express prohibition against double-bunking in segregation
  • Instruction that double-bunking assignments must be signed and approved by the Warden and reviewed by region on a quarterly basis
  • Exemptions to use non-purpose built space for inmate accommodation on a temporary or emergency basis must be approved by the Commissioner and include a plan to return to the space to its intended use within a defined time-frame.

CSC ResponseAccepted in part (exemptions based on temporary/emergency criteria)

16. The Service should audit its compliance to ensure that mental health considerations are taken into account and documented in a decision to maintain segregation placements.
CSC ResponseAccepted

17. Implement recommendations contained in the 'Report of the External Review of Offender Complaints and Grievance Process’ and introduce Grievance Coordinators and Mediators at all medium, maximum and multi-level facilities.
CSC ResponseAccepted in part (18-month pilot project at one maximum and medium security institution per region)

 

4. Access to Programs

Issues of Concern

  • Performance indicators in this area of corrections are not encouraging:
    • Full and day parole grant rates at lowest level in a decade
    • Close to 60% of all offenders are released on statutory release
    • Increasing number of offenders never appear before Parole Board
    • Widening gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parole grant rates
    • Less than 2% of CSC’s budget allocated to correctional programming
  • The overhaul of the Service’s correctional programming model, including elimination of some Aboriginal content, is proceeding quickly, but requires external review and validation

Recommendation

18. The Integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM) should be independently reviewed and expertly evaluated in the next fiscal year and the results of this review should be shared with Parole Board Canada and made public. Aboriginal specific programming should be maintained until the evaluation is complete.
CSC ResponseAccepted

 

5. Aboriginal Issues

Issues of Concern

  • Access to Aboriginal programming, spiritual and cultural services
  • Widening gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offender outcomes in federal corrections
  • Compliance with Gladue factors and principles in correctional decision-making affecting Aboriginal offenders
  • Continued need for Deputy Commissioner of Aboriginal Corrections

Recommendation

19. CSC should undertake an operational review of Aboriginal offender’s access to spirituality and ceremonies at all security designations to ensure practices at the institutional level are consistently supported and developed to the extent that policy and the law require.
CSC ResponseAccepted

 

6. Federally Sentenced Women

Issues of Concern

  • Crowding at the five regional women’s facilities
  • Lack of specialized treatment services for women offenders who self-harm
  • Growing number of Aboriginal women in federal custody
  • Divergence between the promise of Creating Choices and the reality of women’s incarceration today

Recommendations

20. Aggressively implement a range of population management measures at the regional women’s facilities that are consistent with Creating Choices and reflect the least restrictive principle of the CCRA.
CSC ResponseAccepted

21. Explore additional partnerships and agreements with the provinces and territories to allow for the transfer of severely mentally ill women offenders to specialized treatment facilities. CSC ResponseAccepted

 

CSC’s Response

  • CSC’s overall response indicates a willingness to work with the OCI to resolve offender issues in a constructive and timely manner
  • The majority of the report’s 21 recommendations are accepted by CSC; four are accepted in part, and two are rejected
  • Issues involving mortality review (natural deaths) exercise appear to have reached an impasse and require the intervention/direction of the Minister
  • CSC could be encouraged to move more positively in the direction of expanding alternative service delivery arrangements/agreements with the provinces and territories to meet acute mental health needs
  • Meeting the needs of an aging offender population also seems to require a more concerted national focus and effort

 

Outlook for 2011-12

  • As population increases, the pressure to provide appropriate, safe and secure custody, meet growing mental health needs and respond to the unique needs of women, aging and Aboriginal offenders will intensify
  • CSC will be under intense scrutiny to deliver quality, accessible and credible programs to facilitate offender re-entry
  • An independent review of the Mortality Review process is required
  • The relationship between conditions of confinement and propensity for self-injurious behaviour requires attention and action
  • The relentless year-on-year increase in the percentage of Aboriginal offenders behind bars continues to be a concern