Management Representation Statement
I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2004-2005 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for the Office of the Correctional Investigator
March 31, 2005
The Honourable Anne McLellan, P.C. M.P.
(Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada)
My Office is mandated to assist in the resolution of complaints of federal offenders. As Canada's federal prison Ombudsman, I firmly believe that effective and responsible oversight of correctional operations is accepted by Canadians as an essential element of an open and accountable criminal justice system.
Canadians legitimately expect that their federal correctional system is fair, safe, humane and equitable. They also rightfully expect that when this is not the case, problems will be identified and addressed in a timely and reasonable fashion. To ensure that these expectations are fully met is both our raison d'être and the strategic outcome my Office strives to achieve on behalf of Canadians.
The past year has been an exceptionally productive and challenging one for the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI). The formal adoption of a new Program Activity Architecture (PAA), within a Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), resulted in significant and ongoing efforts to further refine our performance measurement and reporting framework.
On the operational level, the Office has achieved an unprecedented level of presence within federal institutions, enabling more than ever the implementation of a holistic, proactive, timely and effective approach to addressing offender problems. The Office has maintained its strategy of focusing its investigative efforts on longstanding "areas of concern"; resulting in noteworthy policy and operational improvements by managers of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Our efforts to improve the correctional treatment afforded by CSC to historically disadvantaged segments of the offender population, notably Aboriginal Offenders, Women Offenders and offenders with mental health issues, will continue.
At year end, the OCI successfully put forth a plan, in the context of the broader governmental "Strengthening the Community Initiative", to focus greater attention on the effective provision of mental health services to offenders. This is consistent with the government-wide initiative of promoting safer communities through the successful reintegration of all offenders as law abiding citizens.
At the dawn of a new fiscal year, I remain preoccupied not only with the high number of concerns brought to my Office's attention by or on behalf of offenders, but also by the persistent nature of some issues, despite our generally successful efforts to work with the Service to find solutions. We will continue to foster a relationship that will help to resolve these outstanding issues on a more systemic basis.
Management Representation Statement
Agency's Raison D'être and Strategic Outcome
Highly valued by Canadians is the democratic nature and respect of the Rule of Law by all of their federal government's departments and agencies. Of particular importance in that regard are governmental programs which have a significant and direct impact on the freedom, health, safety and human rights of individual citizens and/or of the more vulnerable segments of our society.
Canadian federal offenders who are under the care and control of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) represent such a group. Canadians expect that the federal government will, in the exercise of democratic checks and balances, closely monitor its correctional system to ensure that it is fair, safe, humane and effective, and that any problems will be identified and resolved in a timely and reasonable fashion.
To ensure that this expectation is met is both the raison d'être and the strategic outcome the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) strives to achieve on behalf of Canadians.
|Office of the Correctional Investigator||2004-2005|
|($ thousands)||Main Estimates||Planned Spending||Total Authorities||Actual Spending|
|Operating Expenditures (Vote 50)|
|Contributions to employee benefit plan (Vote 5)||388||388||421||421|
|Full Time Equivalents||22||22||22||22|
* Variance reflects adjustments obtained since the Main Estimates, inclusive of Supplementary Estimates, etc.
Summary of Performance in Relationship to Departmental Strategic Outcome and 2004-2005 RPP Priorities
In its 2004-2005 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), the OCI essentially reiterated the three priorities it had first identified in its January 2002 Corporate Strategic Plan. These priorities are consistent with our logic model (see Exhibit 2.1 below) and are essentially linked to our raison d'être. They are also fundamental to the attainment of the Strategic Outcome of our program activity, the identification and resolution in a timely and reasonable fashion of the problems encountered by offenders in the federal correctional system.
In all three priorities, the OCI has managed, but not without challenges, to address and in some regards, exceed its performance standards. These priorities are presented below, along with a summary of our performance. We refer our reader to section II below for more information.
1. Optimal Frequency of Institutional Visits
The Office's investigative staff spent a record of 427 days in federal penitentiaries and conducted 2,486 interviews, compared to 409 days and 2,517 interviews during the last fiscal year.
This decrease in the number of individual offenders interviewed, despite the greater number of days spent, is consistent with past OCI performance and reflects its gradual shift to a more global and proactive approach to offender problems. OCI investigative staff is investing more and more time and resources in meeting, advising and debriefing both offender groups and CSC institutional managers and staff.
In the final analysis, the OCI's increased accessibility has resulted in both individual and systemic areas of concern being identified and resolved in a more timely, efficient, effective and reasonable fashion.
2. Specialized Services to Women Offenders and Aboriginal Offenders
The specialist position of Coordinator of Women Offender Issues was created within our organizational structure during fiscal year 2002-2003.
Accordingly, our Office has been able to maintain an investigative process for women that is thorough, objective, timely, culture and gender sensitive. Our coordinator's approach has been, through direct contact with individual offenders and offender groups, to provide advice and direction on the Service's policies and procedures. The outcome has been that women offenders deal more effectively with CSC in addressing their problems.
While the OCI has continued in fiscal year 2004-2005 to have a significant impact on the identification and resolution by CSC of individual women offender complaints, it has been less successful in influencing CSC towards resolving a number of significant systemic and long-standing areas of concern. The OCI continues to have concerns with the level of CSC's responsiveness to its interventions and recommendations on a broad range of issues, including the continued existence of discriminatory practices in terms of security classification, administrative segregation, access to programs, and the lack of post-release support and accommodation, particularly for Aboriginal Women Offenders in their home communities.
On a positive note, fiscal year 2004-2005 was marked by the closure of the last women's unit within a male institution. All women's facilities are now reviewing newly admitted women that have been sentenced to life and subject to spending the first two years of incarceration in a maximum security, to determine if they can be safely reclassified to lower security. Finally, CSC has identified champions in each of the facilities in order to ensure women are informed of the services offered by the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge to assist women in applying for transfers to this Institution. This should increase awareness of the Lodge within the offender population and will hopefully give Aboriginal Women Offenders more access to Aboriginal-specific programming.
While the position of Coordinator of Aboriginal Offender Issues was also created within our organisational structure during fiscal year 2002-2003, the departure on medical leave of its occupant in January 2004 has meant that its duties have been assumed by all members of the OCI Senior Management Team and by, an acting Coordinator since October 2004. The absence of a full time Coordinator for the better part of fiscal year 2004-2005 has placed an additional strain on the OCI's limited resources and to prevent any permanent impact on program integrity, the OCI has begun discussions with both the Department and Treasury Board regarding the provision of additional funding.
Throughout fiscal year 2004-2005, the OCI has maintained an investigative process for Aboriginal Offenders that is thorough, objective, timely and culture-sensitive. Direct contact with individual offenders, Aboriginal offender groups, and a broad range of individuals (native elders, native liaison officers) and organizations involved in Aboriginal corrections has been the approach favoured by the Office of the Correctional Investigator.
As was the case for Women Offenders, our success in influencing CSC to resolve Aboriginal issues during this reporting period has been mostly with regard to individual cases, rather than systemic and long standing areas of concern. The Service's reluctance to act on our recommendations concerning the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner Aboriginals and the independent review of its policies and evaluation tools has left many of the systemic issues unaddressed. The discriminatory barriers to timely conditional release, previously identified by this Office, such as security classification and program access, remain evident and will continue to be pursued.
On a positive note, CSC has undertaken reviews of its programs for Aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit offenders. CSC has also increased its contacts with Aboriginal organizations and sought their advice, notably in implementing effective community initiatives. As a result, a limited number of Aboriginal pilot programs and specialized living arrangements, such as partnership agreements with Aboriginal committees for supervision and care of Aboriginal offenders have been successfully implemented.
3. Timely Review and Follow-up of s.19 Investigations and Use of Force Videotapes
Towards the end of fiscal year 2003-2004, the Service adopted new standards, further to the OCI's recommendations, to improve the timeliness of its investigative process into incidents resulting in offender death or serious injury.
The OCI monitored CSC's compliance with these revised standards throughout 2004-2005. It continued, despite interventions and recommendations for corrective action, to note and bring to CSC's attention the unacceptably long delays at both the front end (convening of investigations, striking of boards) and at the back end (the presentation of the report to the Service's Executive Committee) of its s.19 investigative process. In keeping with its strategic outcome of timely identification and resolution of offender issues, the OCI will continue urging CSC to eliminate the delays in its s.19 investigative process.
In the area of Use of Force, the OCI continued to be involved in discussions with CSC officials at the regional and national levels, and was involved in the delivery on-going Use of Force training, to CSC institutional staff. The OCI's monitoring of Use of Force by CSC against offenders throughout this report period allows it to conclude that there continues to be improvement with adherence to established policies and procedures by CSC managers and staff at all levels. Finally, the OCI has and will continue to work collaboratively with CSC towards the refinement of Use of Force policies and procedures regarding interventions involving inmates with mental health issues.
Corrections is a difficult and at times thankless business, yet it is a key element of the Canadian criminal justice system. The mandate of the Correctional Service is to manage the sentence of the court consistent with the rule of law, respectful of individual and collective human rights while giving primacy to the protection of the public. Canadians expect a correctional system that provides safe, humane custody which supports the offenders' successful reintegration into society.
The primary function of the Correctional Investigator, as an Ombudsman for federal offenders, is to independently investigate and facilitate resolution of individual offender complaints. The Office as well has a responsibility to review and make recommendations on Correctional Service policies and procedures associated with areas of individual complaint to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed. The presence of independent oversight promotes correctional practices which respect the rule of law and strengthens the public's confidence in their correctional system.
We approach this function, as do many other oversight agencies, with limited resources and an incessant demand for our services. The Office last year managed nearly eight thousand offender complaints. The investigative staff spent more than four hundred working days in federal penitentiaries, interviewed twenty five hundred offenders and met regularly with inmate organizations at every institution in the country. As well, a multitude of systemic areas of concern were reviewed on an ongoing basis with senior correctional officials at the institutional, regional and national levels of the Service.
Beyond the issues associated with the demanding workload are the unique characteristics of the correctional environment and the public we serve. There is a high level of mistrust between the keepers and the kept. The areas of concern raised on complaint often have an immediate and ongoing impact and in many instances involve rights, liberty or personal safety issues. The disadvantaged elements of our society, minorities, those with mental health problems and the poor, are significantly over represented in our penitentiaries. There is limited public understanding of the correctional process and as a group; federal offenders curry little public support.
These factors present a challenge to the traditional Ombudsman approach of facilitating a resolution to issues. Within the correctional environment the formal internal avenues of redress are viewed by offenders with suspicion, and informal resolution, absent of third party intervention, is seldom achieved. A good number of complaints are time sensitive and do not lend themselves to a thorough investigative process with formal findings and recommendations, they require immediate intervention and response. The diversity of the inmate population requires a specific focus, for example, on areas of concern related to Aboriginal and women offenders. The public reporting on unresolved areas of concern designed to focus attention on injustices or unfair practices, given the public's perception of the offender population, does not always have the intended result.
The key to meeting these challenges, in combination with a highly skilled and dedicated workforce, lie in ensuring that we are both accessible and responsive to the offender population. The implementation of our Corporate Strategic Plan in 2002-2003 and subsequent refinements have resulted in a number of significant operational adjustments.
Externally, the Office has considerably stepped up its criminal justice community outreach and public education activities. Both OCI management and staff have established linkages with and disseminated information about our agency's mandate, role and responsibilities to various interested parties, through meetings, seminars and conferences at the local, provincial, national and international level.
Internally, the Office has provided increased training and developed more focused reference materials for our intake staff so that offender complaints which can be dealt with through the provision of information, assistance or referral are addressed in a timely manner. A twenty-four hour a day toll free number was introduced and has proven an invaluable tool in dealing with emergency complaints. We have further increased the frequency of our institutional visits and formalized our meetings with offender organizations, such as Inmate Committees, Native Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods, Black Inmate Associations and Lifer Groups.
Our debriefing process at the conclusion of institution visits with Wardens has been restructured to ensure that those areas of concern which can be resolved are dealt with in a timely fashion. We have as well identified specific "areas of concern" which investigators review with institutional managers during each visit. These areas are a combination of issues frequently raised on complaint and issues associated with rights or liberty concerns such as segregation, the internal grievance process and involuntary transfers.
The Office has established two positions with specific responsibility for coordinating Aboriginal and Women offender issues. These Coordinator positions in addition to their review of individual and systemic complaints, have maintained an ongoing liaison with both government and non-government agencies active in the areas of Aboriginal and Women's human rights and criminal justice issues. These relationships are important in ensuring that the Office's position on these matters is both well informed and broadly based.
A number of other initiatives in direct support of our investigative process have been undertaken. The Use of Force Coordinator in conjunction with managing a process that review up to a thousand incidents annually has developed a consultation procedure with the Service's regional and national managers which has resulted in greater consistency in their analysis of use of force incidents. We have initiated at the national level a more focused process to ensure that the position of the Office on those issues directly impacting on inmate rights and entitlements are given consideration by the Service during the course of their policy development and review. The Office has further strengthened its consultation and reporting structures at both the regional and national levels to ensure that unresolved and ongoing areas of inmate concern are referred to the Service's senior management in a timely fashion and followed-up in a manner that promotes effective resolution.
In the final analysis, the ultimate aim of all of the above efforts is the achievement of the OCI's strategic outcome which is to ensure that the complaints of offenders in the federal correctional system are identified and resolved in a timely and reasonable fashion. In doing so, the OCI expresses the conviction that it is both the offender's and society's best interests if reintegration occurs with the highest potential, at the outset, for achieving and maintaining the status of law-abiding citizen. In that sense, the OCI is well aligned with the broader government strategic outcome of Safe Communities
At another level, the OCI's efforts to improve the correctional treatment offered to Women Offenders and Aboriginal Offenders, along with its advocacy on a broad range of human rights issues, are well aligned with the broader governmental strategic outcomes of Diversity as a Fundamental Canadian Value and Healthy Aboriginal Communities.
The Logic Model presented below illustrates the OCI's views of its service delivery methods to support its mandate and achieve its strategic outcome of timely and reasonable identification and resolution of problems encountered by federal offenders.
The Logic Model identifies the linkages between the activities of the OCI Program and the achievement of its outcomes. It clarifies the activities that make up its program and the sequence of outcomes expected to result from these activities.
The primary function of the Correctional Investigator is to independently investigate and attempt to bring resolution to individual offender complaints. The Office, as well has a responsibility to review and make recommendations on the Service's policies and procedures associated with the areas of individual complaint to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed.
This year's annual report, which will be available on our website
(www.oci-bec.gc.ca) as soon as it is tabled in Parliament, contains observations and specific recommendations in areas such as Women Offenders, Aboriginal Offenders, Mental Health Services, Inmate Grievances, Allegations of Harassment and Staff Misconduct. In doing so, the Office aims to assure the Canadian public that significant areas of concern, related to Corrections, are being addressed.
All complaints received by the Office are reviewed and initial inquiries made to the extent necessary to gain a clear understanding of the issue in question. After this initial review, in those cases where it is determined that the area of complaint is outside our mandate, the complainant is advised of the appropriate avenue of redress and assisted when necessary in accessing that avenue.
For those cases that are within our mandate, various options are explored to assist the complainant in identifying a solution to his concerns. In some instances all that may be required is an explanation of the Service's policies and procedures associated with the area of complaint. In other cases, the offender is referred directly to CSC staff or to an internal redress mechanism, such as the inmate grievance procedure.
There are however a significant number of more challenging issues raised on complaint in which resolution is only achieved through numerous inquiries or a lengthy and complex investigation by the OCI. A detailing of the complaints received and their disposition can be found in the "statistics" section of our Annual Report.
In addition to responding to individual complaints, the Office meets regularly with inmate committees and other offender organizations. We make announced visits bi-annually at each institution during which time the investigator will meet with any inmate or group of inmates upon request.
From April 1, 2004 to March 31, 2005, the Office received 7,696 complaints from or on behalf of offenders compared to 6,892 and 6,988 complaints in 2003-2004 and 2002-2003 respectively. The office's investigative staff spent 427 days at federal institutions, compared to 409 days and 373 during the previous two fiscal years, and conducted 2,486 interviews, compared to 2,517 and 2,451 during the previous two reporting periods.
Above and beyond the cyclical nature of demand for our services, the decreasing ratio of individual offenders interview/days spent in institutions reflects the gradual shift by the OCI to a more systemic and pro-active approach to offender problems. OCI investigative staff are investing more and more time during institutional visits to meeting, advising and debriefing both offender groups and CSC managers and staff.
In order to comply with the recommendations of the Arbour Commission, the Office reviewed 794 Institutional Emergency Response Team (IERT) videotapes and other documentation, related to Use of Force Incidents, compared with 863 in the previous fiscal year and 1,127 in the 2002-2003.
Throughout the current reporting year, the OCI observed, consistent with its Logic Model, that its recommendations contributed to improvements in CSC's policies, procedures and practices with regard to the Use of Force. This in part is reflected in the reduction in the number of Use of Force incidents.
Among these improvements, were further refinements to guidelines regarding the Use of Force and specifically, against offenders suffering from mental health problems. Also worthy of mention is the overall improvement in the degree of compliance with existing guidelines; and improvement brought about by the better training provided by CSC, in part in response to the OCI's identifying consistent non-compliant issues in use of force incidents.
For the benefit of our readers who may be less familiar with the field of Corrections, the objective pursued by the OCI's recommendations is to ensure that the Use of Force against inmates is not abusive or excessive and that it is well documented, when it must occur, so that the entire process is open and transparent. This objective is not only consistent with the strategic outcome outlined in our Logic Model, but also with the values and legitimate expectations of Canadians regarding the fair and humane treatment of inmates.
During the course of the current reporting period, the OCI also reviewed 74 s.19 investigation reports completed by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Of particular concern to the OCI was CSC's compliance with the timeliness standards it had adopted, further to OCI's recommendations towards the end of the previous fiscal year.
Throughout 2004-2005 the OCI continued, despite interventions and recommendations for corrective action, to note and bring to CSC's attention the unacceptably long delays at both the front end (convening of investigations, striking of boards) and at the back end (the presentation of the report to the Service's Executive Committee) of its s.19 investigative process.
In keeping with its strategic outcome of timely identification and resolution of problems encountered by offenders, the OCI will continue to actively monitor both the quality and the timeliness of CSC's s.19 investigations and urging CSC to eliminate delays in its investigative process. These concerns are directly related to those that the OCI has and continues to express regarding institutional violence and its detrimental impact on the overall quality and effectiveness of the correctional treatment offered by CSC to incarcerated Canadians.
In the final analysis, the Office's activities, outputs and outcomes are consistent with its Logic Model and legislative mandate. While exercising due regard for efficiency, effectiveness and the prudent stewardship of public resources, the Office has enhanced its contribution to the safe, humane, equitable and effective correctional treatment of offenders under federal responsibility.
The Office also contributes to the safety of all communities by helping to ensure that federal offenders who are released have not only been dealt with fairly and humanely, but have also been provided access to appropriate assistance in their bid to become law abiding citizens. Its specialized services to Women Offenders and Aboriginal Offenders, along with advocacy on a broad range of human rights issues, are well aligned with the broader governmental strategic outcomes of Diversity as a Fundamental Canadian value and Healthy Aboriginal Communities. Of legitimate interest to Canadians and their elected representatives is how the OCI has globally managed and allocated its budgetary allotment throughout the activities included in its Program.
The following table presents the planned spending as per the 2004-2005 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), the revised planned spending further to the adoption of the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) within a Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), and the actual 2004-2005 spending.
 The Honorable Louise Arbour, Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women, 1996
|($ thousands)||Main Estimates||Total Authorities|
|Program Activity||($ thousands)||Planned Spending (RPP)||Planned Spending (PAA)||Actual Spending|
|Oversight of Correctional Operations||Salaries||1,506||1,506||1,536|
|Program Sub-Activity||($ thousands)||Planned Spending (RPP)||Planned Spending (PAA)||Actual Spending|
|Individual Offender Complaints||Salaries||740||770||800|
|Systemic Offender Complaints||Salaries||340||416||506|
|Specifically Identified Issues||Salaries||226||180||115|
* Excludes spending on Corporate Issues
The Office of the Correctional Investigator was established in 1973 pursuant to Part II of the Inquiries Act. With the proclamation in November 1992 of Part III of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, this is now the enabling legislation. The mandate of the Correctional Investigator, as defined by this legislation, is to function as an Ombudsman for federal offenders. The Correctional Investigator is independent of the Correctional Service of Canada and may initiate an investigation on receipt of a complaint by or on behalf of an offender, at the request of the Minister or on his own initiative. The Correctional Investigator is required by legislation to report annually through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada to both Houses of Parliament.
As Canada's federal prison Ombudsman offering oversight of federal Corrections, the Correctional Investigator contributes to public safety and the promotion of human rights by providing independent and timely review of offender complaints. The Correctional Investigator makes recommendations that assist in the development and maintenance of an accountable federal correctional system that is fair, humane and effective.
The Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) has one Business Line which, as detailed in Section 167 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), is to conduct investigations into the problems of offenders related to decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions of the Commissioner of Corrections or any person under the control and management of, or performing service for or on behalf of the Commissioner of Corrections that affects offenders either individually or as a group.
Section 19 of the CCRA requires that the Office reviews all investigations performed by the Correctional Service of Canada following the death or serious bodily injury to an inmate. The OCI is also committed to a similar review function with respect to Use of Force interventions, in keeping with the recommendations of the Arbour Commission of Inquiry.
The Office of the Correctional Investigator is headed by the Correctional Investigator who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The Agency's resources provide for 22 full-time equivalents, of which seventeen are directly involved, as intake officers, coordinators or directors, in the day to day addressing of inmate complaints. The total resources are 3,118,000 for the fiscal year 2004-2005.
|($ thousands)||Main Estimates||Planned Spending||Total Authorities||Actual|
|Office of the Correctional Investigator||3,076||2,790||2,946||2,946||3,118||2,871|
|Less: Non-Respendable revenue||---||---||---||---||---||---|
|Plus: Cost of services received without charge*||233||256||258||258||258||258|
|Net cost of Department||3,309||3,046||3,204||3,204||3,376||3,129|
|Full Time Equivalents||27||22||22||22||22||22|
Business Lines-BL (or Program Activity-
|Operating||Total: Gross Budgetary Expenditures||Less: Respendable Revenue||Total: Net Budgetary Expenditures||Loans, Investments and Advances|
|Vote or Statutory Item||
or Statutory Wording
|Main Estimates||Planned Spending||Total Authorities||Actual|
|(5)||Contributions to employee benefit plans||388||388||421||421|
|Total Actual Spending||2,871|
|Plus: Services Received without Charge||---|
|Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)||258|
|Less: Non-respendable Revenue||---|
|2004-2005 Net cost of Department||3,129|
Corrections and Conditional Release Act, S.C. 1992 Part 3