44th Annual Report to Parliament
2016 – 2017
October 31, 2017
2016-17 Annual Report assesses progress on six key priorities:
- Health Care in Federal Corrections
- Prevention of Deaths in Custody
- Conditions of Confinement
- Indigenous Corrections
- Safe and Timely Community Reintegration
- Federally Sentenced Women
The report contains 17 recommendations, including one directed to the Minister of Public Safety.
The Report includes a Special Focus on secure units (maximum security) at the Regional Women’s Facilities.
Federal Corrections in Context
Average Annual Cost of Incarcerating a Male Inmate
(Women Inmates cost twice as much)
17,400 CSC employees (FTEs)
27% of inmates are Indigenous
(37% of women inmates are Indigenous)
1 in 4 inmates are over the age of 50
1 in 5 inmates are serving a life sentence
Almost 60% of all inmates are classified as medium security
More than Half of all women inmates have an identified mental health need
(compared to 26% of male inmates)
2016-17 OCI Annual Statistics
By the Numbers – 2016/17
- $4.3 M budget
- 36 FTEs
- 361 days spent in penitentiaries
- 6,768 offender complaints
- 2,183 interviews with offenders and staff
- 1,436 use of force reviews
- 119 deaths in custody and serious bodily injury reviews
- 22,282 toll-free phone contacts
- 1,639 hours on toll-free line
1. Access to Health Care
Issues of Concern
- Correctional health care providers face ‘dual loyalties’ in ensuring ethical and professional standards of care.
- Use of physical restraints, clinical seclusion, and segregation to manage self-injurious and suicidal behaviour in prison remains problematic.
- Need for alternatives to incarceration in cases of complex or significant mental illness, especially among federally sentenced women.
- Need for more prison harm reduction measures (safe tattooing).
- Proposed guidelines for Medical Assistance in Dying should provide palliative or terminally ill inmates with choices to die with dignity in the community.
- I recommend that CSC review, in FY 2017-18, its health care policies, practices and authorities to ensure they are compliant with the revised United Nationals Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), specifically those relating to health care services (Rules 24 to 35), solitary confinement (Rules 45 and 46) and instruments of restraint (Rules 47 to 49).
- I recommend that transferring mentally ill women in the Pacific Region to the all-male Regional Treatment Centre be absolutely and explicitly prohibited. Women requiring mental health treatment should be transferred to the female unit at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, or, preferably, to a local external community psychiatric hospital as required.
- I recommend that CSC issue a Request for Proposal to fund or expand community bed treatment capacity to accommodate up to 12 federally sentenced women requiring an intensive level of mental health intervention, care and supervision.
- I recommend that CSC reintroduce safe tattooing as a national program.
- I recommend that compassionate and humanitarian interests guide policy and practice in implementing Medical Assistance in Dying legislation in federal corrections. The decision of a palliative or terminally ill offender to end life through MAID should be freely and voluntarily made in the community.
2. Prevention of Deaths in Custody
Issues of Concern
- There continue to be gaps in how correctional staff recognize and respond to situations of medical emergency or mental health distress.
- Applying a security-driven intervention model to medical or psychological distress is not appropriate.
- The Office continues to investigate cases where inadequate information is shared with families following a death in custody.
3. Conditions of Confinement
Issues of Concern
- Saskatchewan Penitentiary riot – initial findings and photos.
- Changes to food services (“cook-chill” model) continue to generate complaints and tension.
- Need for timelier CSC offender complaint and grievance system.
- Segregation numbers are down but:
- Over-representation of Indigenous inmates (young adult offenders)
- Access to activities, programming and services
- Use of segregation ‘lite’ units
- (Overall increase in inmate assaults)
- Positive ion scanner results continue to generate false positive results with negative impacts on visits.
- Current fleet of prison transport vehicles does not meet personal or industry safety standards.
- I recommend that the lessons learned from the National Board of Investigation into the December major disturbance at Saskatchewan Penitentiary be widely circulated within CSC and released as a public document.
- I recommend that an external audit and evaluation of CSC food services be conducted on a priority basis and that the concerns of the inmate population related to portion size, quality, selection and substitution of food items be solicited, heard and addressed immediately by CSC management. The audit should include comparison of ration and per diem meal costs, prior to and after introduction of the food services modernization initiative.
- I recommend reinstatement and expansion of the Alternative Dispute Resolution pilot program at all medium and maximum security penitentiaries.
- I recommend that CSC publish on its public website the process for requesting use of force video recordings, including the legal criteria for exemptions and disclosure. CSC should inform the inmate population of their right to access use of force video recordings.
- I recommend that CSC conduct a review of its prison visitor program, to include an updated evaluation of the use and reliability of Ion Mobility Spectrometry devices, and report the results to the Canadian public.
- I recommend that, over the next two years, CSC remove the current fleet of security escort vehicles (small minivans) as their design is substandard and unsafe and replace them with larger vehicles meeting industry standards in policing (e.g. RCMP).
4. Indigenous Corrections
Issues of Concern
- Indigenous peoples now account for 27% of the total federal inmate population. 37.6% of the federal women inmate population is Indigenous.
- Between 2007 and 2016, the Indigenous population has increased by 39%, compared to 5% for the overall prison population.
- Despite faster entry into correctional programs and higher program completion rates, Indigenous offenders are still being released later and revoked more often than their counterparts.
- Chronic under-funding and limited use of Section 81 and 84 provisions.
- I recommend that CSC review its community release strategy for Indigenous offenders with a view to:
- Increase the number of Section 81 agreements to include community accommodation options for the care and custody of medium security inmates;
- Address discrepancies in funding arrangements between CSC and Aboriginal-managed Healing Lodge facilities, and;
- Maximize community interest and engagement in release planning for Indigenous offenders at the earliest opportunity.
5. Safe and Timely Community Reintegration
Issues of Concern
- Approximately 60% of inmates at admission to federal custody have an identified employment need.
- There is a lack of relevant and meaningful skills training for federal offenders.
- Just over 3,000 inmates (21% of total inmate population) are serving a life sentence. There are more than 1,700 life-sentenced offenders paroled and living in the community.
- I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety request that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security conduct a special study on inmate work and prison industries (CORCAN).
- I recommend that the prison farm program be reinstated under CORCAN direction.
- I recommend the reinstatement of the LifeLine program.
6. Federally Sentenced Women
Special Focus on Secure Units (Maximum Security)
- Impact of complex cases on institutional routine – interruptions, re-assignment of cells, lock downs, feelings of favoritism.
- Absence of meaningful employment and limited access to programs.
- Unique, gender-based classification system for off-unit movement:
- Negative impact on women, watered-down Management Protocol, SHU substitute.
- Impact of segregation.
- Therapeutic clinical seclusion in segregation cells, harmful effects, segregation as escape from chaotic secure unit.
- I recommend that the level system for maximum security women be rescinded. Without procedural safeguards and defined review dates, movement levels are arbitrary as they exist outside the law. Security requirements should be assessed on a case-by-case basis as per the principles outlined in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
- I recommend that CSC expand capacity of the Structured Living Environment to allow for women with mental health needs to be integrated and accommodated in more appropriate and therapeutic settings. The Secure Units should be limited to separating women who would otherwise normally be placed in segregation.
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