Correctional Investigator Releases Third Status Update on COVID-19 in Federal Corrections
February 23, 2021
Today, the Correctional Investigator, Dr. Ivan Zinger, released his third public update on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on federal corrections. This report covers the second wave of the pandemic, which began to emerge in federal prisons in early November 2020.
COVID-19: A Message from the Correctional Investigator of Canada
December 24, 2020
As the second wave of the pandemic continues and various jurisdictions have implemented additional public health and safety measures over the course of the holiday period, I wanted to provide an update from my Office.
During this second wave, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) continues to implement exceptional COVID-19 measures that affect routines and conditions of confinement in many of Canada’s federal penitentiaries, including some suspension of visits and programs. Regular and scheduled institutional visits from staff members continue to be suspended and most staff are working remotely. Nonetheless, as an external independent oversight body, the Office of the Correctional Investigator continues to maintain an essential level of services and operations, including regular situational monitoring. The Office’s toll free number in every penitentiary (1-877-885-8848) and general contact email firstname.lastname@example.org remains open and operational.
Investigators continue to be in regular contact and communication with CSC staff at their assigned institutions. This includes regular calls and contacts with Inmate Welfare Committees and institutional Health Services. Designated staff have been specifically asked to identify and document COVID-19 measures that may impact on the life, liberty and health interests of the inmate population. These include:
- Incidence of lockdowns or any period of isolation for health purposes, including reason(s), duration and measures to resolve the underlying situation.
- Modifications/disruptions to regular institutional routines and their nature.
- Incidents involving work stoppages, disruptions or refusals to work under the Canada Labor Code.
- Assessment of workforce capacity and operational readiness to ensure safe and humane care and custody.
Due to the ongoing travel restrictions in effect across Canada, please note that my Office will be pivoting to a virtual visit model. The manner in which we will be proceeding is similar to our regular way of doing scheduled on-site visits. We will ensure secure and confidential access to inmates through visual electronic platforms that comply with our legislative mandate.
In these challenging and changing circumstances, my Office continues to work collaboratively with CSC to identify and address inmate health and safety issues in a timely and effective manner. I continue to hold regular updates with the Commissioner of Corrections, and my Office continues to be informed of any presumptive or confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 in federal penitentiaries.
As this year draws to an end, I wish you and your loved ones all the very best for 2021 and we certainly hope it will be a better year than last.
Please remain safe and stay healthy,
Dr. Ivan Zinger Correctional Investigator of Canada
Ms. Joey Twins Receives the 2020 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award
December 10, 2020Today, on International Human Rights Day, Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator of Canada, is very pleased to announce that Ms. Joey Twins is the 2020 recipient of the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award.
2019-20 Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator of Canada Tabled in Parliament
October 27, 2020
Today, the 47th annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator was tabled in Parliament. The report includes a ground breaking investigation into sexual coercion and violence in federal prisons. In releasing his report, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, Dr. Ivan Zinger, remarked that sexual victimization exists in the shadows of penitentiaries and is largely ignored or dismissed as an inevitable consequence of the incarceration experience itself.
Messages from the Correctional Investigator of Canada
Third COVID-19 Update (February 23, 2021)
Second COVID-19 Update (June 19, 2020)
COVID-19 Impact on Service and Operations (March 24, 2020)
Initial COVID-19 Status Update (April 23, 2020)
Featured News Stories
- Correctional investigator to review Indigenous programs in prisons, Yahoo! News (January 24, 2021)
- Investigator flags higher COVID-19 cases among inmates, CBC International, Radio-Canada (February 23, 2021)
- Une deuxième vague plus difficile pour les pénitenciers, La Presse (Le 23 février, 2021)
- Hausse de 144 % des nouveaux cas dans les prisons depuis la deuxième vague, L’actualité (Le 23 février, 2021)
- Correctional Service ‘abdicating’ responsibility in Quebec woman’s murder, The Hill Times (January 21, 2021)
- COVID-19 au pénitencier de Prince Albert : plus de 40% des détenus ont été infectés, Radio-Canada (Le 19 janvier, 2021)
- Correctional Prisoners owed ‘remedy’ for harsh conditions in prisons amid COVID, says watchdog, The Hill Times (January 15, 2021)
- Canada has a ‘responsibility’ to vaccinate elderly and vulnerable inmates, Blair says after Conservative outcry, The Toronto Star (January 6, 2021)
- Compassionate release should be prioritized over MAID in Canadian prisons, says expert, CBC Radio (November 17, 2020)
- Federal prison investigators press for changes in use of 'dry cells', CBC News (November 10, 2020)
- Don't let these watchdog reports collect dust, Maclean's (October 28, 2020)
- Violence sexuelle : une réalité cachée du milieu carcéral canadien, Radio-Canada (Le 28 octobre, 2020)
- Corrections watchdog calls for overhaul of how Canada responds to sex assaults in prison, Edmonton Journal (October 27, 2020)
- Blair promises strategy to curb sexual violence in prisons after watchdog warns of systemic abuse, CBC News (October 27, 2020)
- A call for action on sexualized violence in prisons, Radio-Canada International (October 27, 2020)
- Canadian Penitentiaries: Thousands of empty cells, The Canadian (October 26, 2020)
- Pénitenciers canadiens : Des milliers de cellules vides, La Presse (Le 26 octobre, 2020)
- Bias behind bars: A Globe investigation finds a prison system stacked against Black and Indigenous inmates, The Globe and Mail (October 24, 2020)
- Des prisonniers vulnérables libérés au compte-gouttes, La Presse (Le 9 octobre, 2020)
- Software likely to blame for CSC’s ‘unfortunate’ failure to report solitary confinement data, says watchdog, The Hill Times (September 2, 2020)
- Bill Blair says prison segregation oversight panel will get the data it needs, Kamloops This Week (August 27, 2020)
- Remember the chatter about releasing inmates early to ease spread of COVID-19? It didn’t happen, The Star (August 5, 2020)
- Prison watchdog has ‘grave’ concerns that CSC rates Indigenous, Black inmates as higher risk, The Hill Times (July 15, 2020)
- Mass incarceration of Indigenous people betrays Ottawa's reconciliation efforts, Policy Options (June 25, 2020)
- Les Inuit surreprésentés dans les cas de COVID-19 au sein des prisons fédérales, Radio-Canada (Le 25 juin, 2020)
- COVID-19 dans les pénitenciers fédéraux: plus de cas chez les détenus du Québec, Journal de Montréal (Le 20 juin, 2020)
- Watchdog urges prisons to ease COVID-19 restrictions as caseload drops to 1, CBC (June 19, 2020)
- The Government Said It's Releasing Many Inmates to Combat COVID-19. It's Not, Vice News (May 1, 2020)
- Canada's prison watchdog calls out federal corrections for 'extreme' confinement as COVID-19 cases surge, CBC (April 25, 2020)
- L'heure juste: derrière les barreaux, Le Devoir (Le 25 avril, 2020)
- Prisons watchdog in the dark on inmate early release plan to limit spread of COVID-19, CBC (April 22, 2020)
- Inquiétudes en maisons de transition, La Presse (Le 18 avril, 2020)
- Calls to release some prisoners intensify as first known coronavirus outbreak announced in Canadian prison, The Globe and Mail (March 30, 2020)
- Barbelés et soins de longue durée, Radio-Canada (Le 12 mars, 2020)
- Les oubliés du système carcéral, Radio-Canada (Le 10 mars, 2020)
- RPC reports second highest use of force incidents among all federal regional treatment centres, Saskatoon StarPhoenix (February 27, 2020)
- Meurtre de Marylène Levesque : l’examen interne jugé « problématique », Radio-Canada (February 25, 2020)
- Au Canada, un prisonnier sur trois est autochtone, TV5 (Le 24 février, 2020)
- L’enquêteur correctionnel du Canada est préoccupé par une «culture d’impunité», Le Devoir (Le 18 février, 2020)
- Indigenous inmates make up 45 per cent of all people in Alberta's federal prisons, Edmonton Journal (January 22, 2020)
- Les Autochtones représentent 30 % des prisonniers fédéraux, un « sommet historique », Radio-Canada (Le 21 janvier, 2020)
- ‘It’s disappointing’: Corrections maintains status quo as number of Indigenous women tops 40% of prison population, APTN News (June 10, 2019)
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