ARCHIVED - Office of the Correctional Investigator Summary of 33rd Annual Report to Parliament

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The Report highlights three pillars of sound correctional practice:

  • The protection of human rights;
  • The acceptance of accountability by the Correctional Service; and
  • The requirement to assist offenders to ensure their safe, supported timely reintegration into the community.

Public safety is enhanced when the three pillars are incorporated into correctional operations.

The Report recommends the Correctional Service of Canada take action in a number of key areas:

Health Services, Including Mental Health and Needle Exchange

  1. Demonstrate compliance with its legal obligation to provide every inmate with essential health care according to professionally accepted standards, and ensure that all institutional health care sites be accredited within one year.
  2. Demonstrate compliance with its legal obligation to provide every inmate with essential mental health care and reasonable access to non-essential mental health care according to professionally accepted standards, and ensure that all mental health care units and regional treatment centres be accredited within one year.
  3. Take immediate steps to sensitize and train all front-line staff to identify disruptive mental health behaviour and respond accordingly.
  4. Immediately implement a prison-based needle exchange program to ensure that inmates and society at large are best protected from the spread of infectious diseases.

Women Offenders

5. Within one year, the Correctional Service should:

5.1 Significantly increase all women offenders' access to meaningful employment and employability programming;

5.2 Continue to significantly increase community accommodations and support services for women offenders in underserved areas;

5.3 Review the daily operations and staffing of the women's secure units with a view to eliminating "dead time"1 and to significantly increasing timely access to treatment, spiritual, academic and work programs;

5.4 Significantly increase the number of women offenders appearing before the National Parole Board at their earliest eligibility dates;

5.5 Build capacity for and increase use of section 84 and section 81 agreements with Aboriginal communities;

5.6 Significantly improve access to culturally sensitive programming and services for Aboriginal women who are currently imprisoned in the Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario regions;

5.7 Review use of force incidents at women's facilities to ensure consistent compliance with policy;

5.8 Establish firm targets ensuring all front-line staff receive refresher training in women-centred approaches in accordance with the recommendation of the Canadian Human Rights Commission; and

5.9 Provide women-centred training to all community parole officers working with women offenders.

Aboriginal Offenders

6. Within the next year, the Correctional Service should:

6.1 Implement a security classification process that ends the overclassification of Aboriginal offenders;

6.2 Increase timely access to programs and services that will significantly reduce time spent in medium- and maximum-security institutions;

6.3 Significantly increase the number of Aboriginal offenders housed at minimum-security institutions;

6.4 Significantly increase the use of unescorted temporary absences and work releases;

6.5 Significantly increase the number of Aboriginal offenders appearing before the National Parole Board at their earliest eligibility dates;

6.6 Build capacity for and increase use of section 84 and section 81 agreements with Aboriginal communities; and

7. Significantly improve (above the required employment equity level) the overall rate of its Aboriginal workforce at all levels in institutions where a majority of offenders are of Aboriginal ancestry.

Institutional Violence and Investigations of Inmate Injury

8. Require that the Correctional Service establish a timely approval process by its Executive Committee for the development of action plans in response to investigative reports into incidents of inmate deaths or major injuries. In no case should this process exceed six months from the date of the incident.

9. Require that the Correctional Service collect accurate information and conduct comprehensive analyses of all inmate injuries to significantly improve its ability to take appropriate action to limit inmate injuries and institutional violence, and that this information be verified semi-annually as part of an ongoing internal audit.

Inmate Grievances, Allegations of Harassment and Staff Misconduct

10. Immediately comply with its legal obligations and establish "a procedure for fairly and expeditiously resolving all offenders' grievances."

11. Provide evidence that complaint and grievance statistics are being used to identify and address areas of systemic offender concerns.

Case Preparation and Access to Programs

12. In the next year, the Correctional Service should:

12.1 Significantly increase the number of offenders appearing before the National Parole Board at their earliest eligibility dates;

12.2 Significantly reduce waiting lists for programs included in correctional plans to maximize safe and timely reintegration;

12.3 Increase timely access to programs and services that will significantly reduce the time spent in medium- and maximum-security institutions; and

12.4 Significantly increase the number of unescorted temporary absences and work releases, which have drastically declined in recent years and yet have a very high success rate.

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1 "Dead time" refers to a situation where offenders have little to do when they should be involved in programs or other activities.