RESPONSE FROM
CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF CANADA
to the
CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR'S
CORRESPONDENCE DATED JANUARY 10, 2014
FOLLOW-UP TO THE KENT INSTITUTION INVESTIGATION

(March 2014)

 

Human Resource Management at Kent Institution

Recommendation 1:

The training, selection, promotion and retention of front-line officers at Kent Institution should be based on clearly identified behavioural and competency profiles.

The Correctional Training Program (CTP) is the entry program for all Correctional Officers (CXs).  The structure of this CTP program is linked to the identified competency requirements of a CX and this is in turn linked to the “behavioural” requirements such as: Professional Boundaries, Standards of Professional Conduct, Values and Ethics, Anti-Harassment, Diversity, Response to Authority, Uniforms and Appearance and overall application and performance of knowledge and skills that respects these competencies and behaviours.

In March 2010,  a revised selection framework for CX recruitment was approved in principle by CSC's Executive Committee, including the elements noted below, all of which have been implemented:

  1. standardized tools that are bias free, objective and defensible;
  2. pre-employment disclosure process;
  3. enhanced suitability screening process;
  4. enhanced personal suitability assessment; and
  5. psychological testing - MMPI and Structured Clinical Interview.                                                                                                                                                

CSC has enhanced the capacity to assess behavioural and competency profiles given the above-noted measures.  Work is currently underway to expand/enhance further competency profiles for CXs, develop/customize more standardized testing tools with the Public Service Commission and law enforcement partners.

National selection criteria for the promotion of CXs is standardized and directly linked to the functions that need to be carried out.  Standardized assessment tools are used for the promotion assessment of CXs (CX1 to CX2). Approximately one and half years ago, a Promotional Program was reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee which clearly outlines the merit criteria required for promotion.  The national promotional assessment criteria and tools to promote CXs to the CM levels will be reviewed and updated during fiscal year 2014-2015.  

Kent Institution's action plan:

  • links the new recruits' competencies, mentorship and objectives to the On the Job Training (OJT) and the new Performance Agreement process; and
  • currently reflects the recommendations from January 2013 Change of Command Audit i.e., staff morale issues, staff safety issue, that would assist in retaining staff.

The Global Agreement currently in place addresses the deployment of staff and indicates that new recruits must work a minimum of two (2) years at their first institution before being eligible for deployment. This Global Agreement is expected to lessen the retention issue and enable the institution to retain more experienced staff.

Recommendation 2:

Kent Institution should implement a mandatory mentoring and coaching program for all new front-line recruits to be delivered by experienced and respected personnel.

To ensure a superior level of integrity and professionalism, the management at Kent Institution confirms that Kent Institution currently offers a three (3) week OTJ Orientation that includes pairing new staff members with a Correctional Manager and Senior Correctional Officers who have been selected by senior management and bargaining agents. The team provides new staff with opportunities to discuss and to experience specific interventions and procedures. Performance expectations and issues surrounding Values and Ethics are discussed. Feedback is provided directly to new staff throughout the orientation and performance reports are provided to senior management.  The relationship between new staff and his/her orientation team continues beyond the first three (3) weeks to allow ongoing opportunities for new staff to discuss issues and ask questions of their team. Throughout the first year, Correctional Managers continue to keep the Assistant Warden of Operations and the Deputy Warden abreast of an individual's progress via written performance reports that are issued on a quarterly basis.

NHQ Learning and Development will share its expertise and tools to support the coaching process in cases where Kent Institution wishes to further enhance the existing OTJ Orientation. Research and best practices demonstrate that mentoring works best when carried out on a voluntary basis, therefore, mandatory mentoring is not promoted. However, a Mandatory Coaching Program could be considered, for the reason that coaching structure is most effective for skill transition, team building, employee engagement and long term commitment.

Kent Institution has implemented a Mentoring/Coaching Program for new officers deployed to their institution. This program takes place during the three (3) week induction training at the institution.

Kent Institution will develop an action plan to include:

  • the development of a schedule of experienced mentors that will be tasked with presenting to recruits the CSC expectations and offering assistance as needed, routinely;
  • the OJT results of each recruit to be included and tracked through the Performance Agreement Process with specific objectives related to performance;
  • the obligation of the training process to release those recruits that are not meeting the training objectives, including attitude, values and ethics; and
  • the description of the  initiative and training partnership that CSC currently has with the RCMP.

Selection and Training of New Front-Line Recruits within CSC

Recommendation 3:

Psychological screening, integrity testing and behavioural interviewing should become a mandatory part of CSC's selection and recruitment process for all front-line positions.

As stated in recommendation 2, in March 2010, a revised selection framework for CX recruitment was approved in principle by CSC's Executive Committee, including the elements noted below, all of which have been implemented:

  1. standardized tools that are bias free, objective and defensible;
  2. pre-employment disclosure process;
  3. enhanced suitability screening process;
  4. enhanced personal suitability assessment; and
  5. psychological testing - MMPI and Structured Clinical Interview.     

CSC has enhanced the capacity to assess behavioural and competency profiles given the above-noted measures.  Work is currently underway to expand/enhance further competency profiles for CXs, develop/customize more standardized testing tools with the Public Service Commission and law enforcement partners.

Recommendation 4:

CSC's core training, curriculum and deployment standards should be reviewed, updated and strengthened in the following areas: dynamic security, mental health in corrections, de-escalation principles and techniques, leadership and accountability (personal and organizational).

As noted in the response to recommendation 1:

Kent Institution‘s action plan:

  • links the new recruits' competencies, mentorship and objectives to OJT and the new Performance Agreement process; and
  • currently reflects the recommendations from January 2013 Change of Command Audit i.e., staff morale issues, staff safety issue, that would assist in retaining staff.

The principles of de-escalation (also termed “defusing”) are delivered as part of the CTP in sessions:

  • 07 (acquire and analyze);
  • 09 communication skills;
  • 09B conflict management;
  • 09C responding to conflict and crisis management;
  • 17 responding to suicide and self injurious behaviours; and
  • 18, 23, 33 integration (integration of knowledge and skills in scenario based training).

As per the Situation Management Model and CAPRA (Client, Acquiring and Analyzing, Partnership, Response, and Assessment), Problem Solving Model the principles of de-escalation are also integrated in several other sessions that contain scenarios where the primary goal is to defuse emotions to increase rationality in order to problem solve and manage the conflict and/or crisis.  

In the Correctional Manager Training Program (CMTP), CMs participate in a one (1) day training on leadership skills, including discussion and practice applying six (6) different leadership styles to situations that are common to CMs. In addition, the building blocks of leadership based on emotional intelligence are being explored. This is followed by a one (1) day training with an emphasis on coaching and motivating. These leadership skills acquired by CMs are integrated into the Program as they are required to apply their leadership skills to a variety of security-related and management-related situations.

In the Assistant Warden and Deputy Warden Orientation Program (AW/DW), AWs and DWs participate in two (2) days of leadership skills training called Situational Leadership II similar in concept to the leadership training for CMs. The examples of leadership used in this Program are broad in nature given that this program is being taught across many types of organizations and is well-regarded.

The CTP includes several learning content points on “Leadership and Accountability” through the various online and in-class training.  Examples include: Response to Authority, Professional Boundaries, Professional Standards, Crisis Management Team Roles and Responsibilities, First Officer on the Scene, Responding to a Medical Emergency, Use of Force, etc. Overall the Program encompasses the principles that the CX01/Primary Worker (PW) is to follow the law and policy in carrying out their duties in a fair and humane manner requiring a level of independent decision-making and accountability for those decisions.

A Working Group on CX Deployment Standards is currently of reviewing operational matters as part of a policy revision process.  Kent Institution is one of the sites that will be subject to an on-site review to study operational issues.

Health and Wellness at Kent Institution

Recommendation 5:

A management action plan should be developed and implemented to address documented workplace stressors and mental health needs of Kent personnel.

Kent Institution has implemented a restructured Return-to-Work Program involving direct intervention by members of the management team by creating return-to-work plans for employees.  They reinstated a Wellness Committee to include representatives from all bargaining agents and management representation by the Assistant Warden, Management Services. This Committee continues to focus on staff morale and supporting staff. They will be considering a Psychologist with experience working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and police forces that would be on a retainer and could be called in to assist after a staff assault or other significant event.  In addition, Management was given a formal mandate on the building of a positive motivated team of staff which includes recognition of a job well done, public recognition, etc.

Recommendation 6:

The mental health requirements of Kent inmates should become a matter of focused management concern and priority.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has a legislative mandate to provide essential health care to federal inmates and reasonable access to non-essential mental health care that contributes to the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders, in keeping with professionally accepted standards (Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Section 86).

To address this need, improving capacity to address the mental health needs of offenders is a key priority for CSC and improvements to the mental health continuum of care are underway through the implementation of CSC's Mental Health Strategy. Link for the Strategy: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/002/006/002006-2000-eng.shtml.

In late 2007, CSC established the Health Services Sector to recognize the importance of the health governance model. This change brought physical health staff under the direct line reporting relationship of other health staff, which has enhanced the quality and consistency of health care services across CSC institutions.  This helps to ensure that health care professionals are making health care decisions to ensure offenders are being cared for in term of their physical and mental well-being. Building on the strong functional direction established in 2007, CSC has been implementing a new line reporting structure for mental health care professionals that mirrors the system in place in the community. As of April 2014, mental health professionals in CSC's treatment centres will report to the Health Services Sector.

CSC is in the process of reviewing its service delivery model to address the mental health needs of offenders. Through this review the mental health needs of inmates, including those at Kent, will be examined from a management perspective.

Additionally, in 2010, CSC established Regional Suicide/Self-Injury Prevention Management Committees (RSPMCs) to assist institutions in the management of self-injurious and suicidal behaviour. The mandate of the committees, which have been renamed the Regional Complex Mental Health Committees, is to support the provision of services for all offenders with complex mental health needs. A National Complex Mental Health Committee has also been established and national meetings occur between regional and national health counterparts. This increased sharing of information on the mental health needs of the most severely mentally ill, including offenders with needs related to suicide and/or self-injury, and their treatment approaches and progress will facilitate the organization's ability to assist in the planning for offenders with the most acute needs including accessing additional treatment and/or clinical support, as needed.

Recommendation 7:

The well-known bullying, harassment and abuse of power by a minority of front-line officers at Kent Institution should be promptly and effectively remedied.

To respond to this recommendation, Kent Institution:

  • will increase discussion at staff meetings of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours in the workplace;
  • will apply discipline to staff displaying misconduct (up and including terminations);
  • will undertake a training initiative to ensure a harassment free workplace;
  • has built relationships with the Unions that would encourage people that feel harassed to come forward;
  • will deliver the National Union Management Harassment Training Program to all staff at Kent Institution; and
  • has adopted a no tolerance program for harassment.