O C I B E C

O C I B E C
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The Correctional Investigator
Canada
L’Enquêteur correctionnel
Canada
1973-2008
th
Office of the Correctional Investigator
correctionnel 2007-2008
Annual Report of the
Bureau de l’enquêteur
Office of the Correctional
Rapport annuel du
Investigator 2007-2008
Bureau de l’enquêteur correctionnel
B E C
e
1973-2008
L’Enquêteur correctionnel
Canada
The Correctional Investigator
Canada
anniversaire
anniversary
O C I
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Les photographies utilisées dans le présent rapport sont de Bill Rankin.
Nous remercions M. Rankin de sa généreuse contribution.
Internet: www.oci-bec.gc.ca
Imprimé au Canada
Version PDF :
No de catalogue PS100-2008F-PDF
ISBN 978-0-662-04518-2
Version papier :
No de catalogue PS100-2008
ISBN 978-0-662-05873-1
© Sa Majesté la Reine du chef du Canada, 2007
Rapport annuel du Bureau de l’enquêteur correctionnel 2007-2008
Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator 2007-2008
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2007
Paper Version:
Cat. No. PS100-2008
ISBN 978-0-662-05873-1
PDF Version:
Cat. No. PS100-2008E-PDF
ISBN 978-1-100-10279-5
Printed in Canada
Internet: www.oci-bec.gc.ca
The photographs in this report are the work of Bill Rankin.
We thank Mr. Rankin for his generous contribution.
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The Correctional Investigator
Canada
L’Enquêteur correctionnel
Canada
P.O. Box 3121
Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 6L4
C.P. 3121
Succursale “D”
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1P 6L4
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June 26, 2008
The Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Dear Minister,
In accordance with section 192 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,
it is my privilege to submit to you the 35th Annual Report of the Correctional
Investigator.
Yours respectfully,
Howard Sapers
Correctional Investigator
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ANNUAL REPORT OF THE OFFICE OF THE CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Correctional Investigator’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Looking Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Early Years of the Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The MacGuigan Report on Canada’s Penitentiary System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Illegal Searches, Overcrowding and Other Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Caseload Rises, Frustrations Mount . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Signs of Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
A New Legislative Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Federal Corrections at a Crisis Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
The Arbour Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Concerns About Independence Resurface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
A New Century, New Challenges and Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Issues Receive Renewed Attention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Deaths in Custody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The Correctional Service of Canada’s Five Key Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
1. Safe Transition of Eligible Offenders into the Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
2. Safety and Security for Staff and Offenders in Our Institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3. Enhanced Capacities to Provide Effective Interventions for First Nations,
Métis and Inuit Offenders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
4. Improved Capacities to Address Mental Health Needs of Offenders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5. Strengthened Management Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Looking Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Annex A: Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Annex B: Summary of Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Response of the Correctional Service of Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
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ANNUAL REPORT OF THE OFFICE OF THE CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR
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CORRECTIONAL INVESTIGATOR’S MESSAGE
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Office
of the Correctional Investigator (OCI). This milestone
provides me with a great opportunity to reflect
upon the contribution of this important public Office
and to celebrate its many accomplishments. The
creation of any ombudsman office is a cause for
celebration. Ombudsman offices strengthen a society’s
commitment to democratic values by establishing an
independent oversight body to publicly report on the
way a government carries out its responsibilities. The
ombudsman office is a valuable vehicle for individual
citizens to voice their concerns about how the
government acts—or fails to act. The creation of
an effective ombudsman office is an important sign
of the health and confidence of a democracy, and
any government that establishes such a vehicle to
scrutinize its own actions clearly appreciates the role
of independent oversight.
The creation of an ombudsman office specifically
responsible for addressing prisoners’ complaints is, in
my opinion, an even greater cause for celebration. It
is a recognition that even those who have committed
serious crimes must have access to an independent
avenue of redress to voice their concerns and ensure
The creation of any ombudsman office is a cause
for celebration. Ombudsman offices strengthen
a society’s commitment to democratic values by
establishing an independent oversight body to
publicly report on the way a government carries
out its responsibilities.
that they are subject to fair and humane treatment
while in the care and custody of government officials.
Through respecting the human rights of prisoners,
a society conveys a strong message that everyone—
regardless of their circumstances, race, social status,
gender or religion—is to be treated lawfully, with
respect and dignity.
By their nature, penitentiary systems are largely closed
to the public eye and operate behind closed doors.
Historically, there can be no doubt that this operating
reality has on occasion masked unfairness, inequity
and even brutality from public view. Openness,
transparency and accountability in corrections are
thus fundamental objectives to ensure that the rule
of law prevails behind prison walls. The Office of the
Correctional Investigator has contributed significantly
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to those three objectives in the last 35 years. Other
factors have also positively affected the evolution of
federal corrections and human rights of offenders,
including litigation, royal commissions of inquiry,
reviews by parliamentary committees and the presence
of a dedicated NGO sector, to name a few. Moreover,
the leadership and specific initiatives of the Correctional
Service of Canada (CSC) and the ministers responsible
for the CSC have also resulted in positive gains.
Notwithstanding, I will mark our 35th anniversary by
focusing on the unique contribution of the Office and
its working relationship with the Correctional Service
of Canada.
Looking back 35 years has been an informative and
important exercise. Much progress has taken place not
only in the Office of the Correctional Investigator
itself but also, more importantly, in the agency subject
to its oversight—the Correctional Service of Canada.
With many challenges over the years, the Correctional
Service has progressed to become a modern correctional
system that continues to be committed to high
professional standards and its twin goals of effective
corrections and public safety. I am proud that this
Office has contributed to its success by promoting
accountability and fairness.
In the last 35 years, the Office has examined more
than 140,000 offender inquiries and complaints.
That is perhaps the most telling accomplishment
of this small and dedicated agency.
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As for the Office, its story is one of tenacity and
determination, as it worked to keep up with
increasing demands for its ombudsman services
and to fulfill its strong commitment to remain
accessible and responsive to its clientele. This story
is also one of perseverance in sustaining the integrity
of its core mandate to address offender concerns,
which at times has been difficult and unpopular.
In the last 35 years, the Office has examined more
than 140,000 offender inquiries and complaints.
That is perhaps the most telling accomplishment
of this small and dedicated agency.
As I reviewed the 35-year history of the Office,
I was struck by the common themes that emerged
in annual reports. Interestingly, the themes resonate
very well in this era of renewed government
accountability:
•
•
•
•
4
Ombudsman offices need to be independent.
Independence from both the agency subject to
its oversight and the minister responsible for
that agency is a fundamental component of
an effective ombudsman office.
Harsh conditions and treatment of prisoners, as
well as the denial of access to effective internal
and external complaint mechanisms, can lead
to violence. Introducing effective complaint
mechanisms can alleviate tensions and reduce
violence in prison.
Correctional culture is strong and difficult to
change. Outside intervention is often not
embraced, but it is necessary to make significant
progress.
At times, the Office has made important
recommendations that the Correctional Service
has not implemented until the courts, royal
commissions of inquiry or other oversight
agencies, such as the Canadian Human Rights
Commission, have required the CSC to do so.
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•
•
•
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Some issues raised decades ago remain central
concerns for the OCI.
Independent oversight and external decisionmaking are essential in instances where
prisoners’ fundamental rights are at stake—
for example, in disciplinary and segregation
decisions.
Segregation, formally known as dissociation—
the harshest condition of confinement in a
penitentiary—has often played a significant
role in high-profile incidents.
The Correctional Service has been inconsistent
in applying lessons learned from serious incidents,
including deaths in custody, and ensuring that
corrective action is implemented across the
country and over time.
It is my hope that this 35-year review will stimulate
a dialogue not only between this Office and the
Correctional Service, but also among all those
concerned about corrections and public safety in
Canadian society. It is also my expectation that we can
learn from this rich history and move forward without
repeating mistakes. Following the 35 years of history
of the OCI, this year’s annual report will again address
issues of offender concern related to the Correctional
Service’s five key priorities.
Howard Sapers
Correctional Investigator
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LOOKING BACK
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Historically, prison ombudsman offices have been
created as a direct result of well-publicized serious
human rights violations and as a way to address the
chronic inability of internal prison complaint and
grievance mechanisms to fairly and effectively respond
to offenders’ complaints. Canada is no exception in
this regard.
In 1971, Kingston Penitentiary experienced one of
the bloodiest prison riots in Canada’s history. Five
correctional officers were taken hostage and some
prisoners were brutally tortured. Two of the prisoners
died, 13 others were seriously injured and part of
Kingston Penitentiary was destroyed. Following the riot,
many of the inmates implicated in the disturbance were
transferred to Millhaven Penitentiary. Subsequently,
correctional staff at Millhaven Penitentiary assaulted
86 offenders involved in the riots, causing injuries
of various degrees. A royal commission of inquiry,
chaired by Justice J.W. Swackhamer, was appointed
to examine these tragic events.
Justice Swackhamer described the harsh conditions
of confinement and the very punitive regime of
Kingston Penitentiary at the time as “repressive and
dehumanizing”. Inmates were obliged to spend at
least 16 hours a day locked in virtual isolation in their
cells, and they were subject to restrictive prison rules
and harsh disciplinary sanctions for any rule violation.
Justice Swackhamer remarked that in this environment
“…boredom and a sense of helplessness and
hopelessness were inevitable. The result was a furious
sense of discontent and the breeding of violent and
anti-social inclinations”.1 Justice Swackhamer further
concluded that “…there is no doubt that such
conditions played a large part in the prison disturbances
of 1971; in a sense, the depressing and dehumanizing
life of the institution was the soil within which the
violent seed was planted and grew”.2
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In recommending an external avenue of redress,
Justice Swackhamer made the following observation:
Grievances of all types are bound to exist
among the prison population. Whether those
grievances are justified or not, they require to
be dealt with so that the order and morale of
the institution may be maintained. At present,
we heard that such grievances can only be
resolved, if at all, when the inmate submits
them to the administration. It is clear that the
inmate frustrations are created and thrive
because the inmates’ only avenue of complaint
is to the very administration which is frequently
the source of its dissatisfaction. It is perfectly
evident that at Kingston Penitentiary the total
absence of any formula by which such matters
could be effectively aired was a factor in the
disturbance itself.3
The Early Years
of the Office
The Office of the Correctional Investigator was
established in 1973 pursuant to Part II of the
Inquiries Act, in response to Justice Swackhamer’s
sweeping recommendations for strengthening the
accountability and oversight of the federal correctional
system. On June 1, 1973, Ms. Inger Hansen was
appointed as the first Correctional Investigator by
the then-Solicitor General, the Honourable Warren
Allmand. In the Office’s first annual report, for
1973/74, Ms. Hansen took the opportunity to discuss
her views about the new Office. She noted that the
Office was not established “…by special legislation,
but under the Inquiries Act to provide an opportunity
to assess the terms of reference and to allow the
government to evaluate the effectiveness of the office
before it became encased in rigid legislation”.4 She
endorsed the initial approach, but clearly expected
the Office’s mandate to be entrenched in legislation
1. Canada, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Disturbances at Kingston Penitentiaries during April 1971 (1972)
at 57 (Chair: Justice Swackhamer).
2. Ibid. at 56.
3. Ibid. at 62.
4. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1973/74 at 2.
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quickly—something that only happened 19 years
later. She was also critical of her reporting relationship
to the Solicitor General, the Minister responsible for
the Canadian Penitentiary Service, as it was then known.
She thought reporting directly to Parliament would
enhance the credibility of the new prison watchdog.
In its first year of operation, the small Office of five
full-time employees received an unexpected 782
offender complaints, none of which were, in the
opinion of Ms. Hansen, frivolous.5
Many of her initial 10 recommendations would
eventually be adopted. For example, independent
chairpersons (ICPs) from outside the penitentiaries
were appointed in 1976 to adjudicate serious
disciplinary matters. Before ICPs were introduced,
wardens or employees of the Canadian Penitentiary
Service made all disciplinary decisions against offenders.
The implementation of ICPs was attributed to the
1976 recommendations of the Sub-Committee on
the Penitentiary System in Canada, chaired by Justice
Mark MacGuigan. However, it is important to note
that, three years earlier, the OCI had recommended
the appointment of persons “…whose only duty
would be to preside over disciplinary hearings to make
findings of guilt or innocence of inmates who have
been charged with flagrant or serious offences”.6
The Canadian Penitentiaries Service also acted on an
OCI recommendation related to the Service’s use of
dissociation (also known as segregation or isolation).
At the time, inmates could spend months in dissociation
as punishment for rule transgressions. In most cases,
the inmates would spend 23-and-a-half hours per day
in a small cell. The cell would contain a single bed and
a toilet (a hole in the floor in some punitive dissociation
cells). A naked light bulb, left on 24 hours a day, would
hang from the ceiling. In response to the Office’s
recommendation to review the practice of dissociation,
the Vantour Report on Dissociation (1975) paved the
way for eventual reforms, including the establishment of
institutional Segregation Review Boards, which regularly
review each offender placement in segregation.7
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
10
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Some of Ms. Hansen’s recommendations were not
adopted. Her concerns, initially raised 35 years ago,
unfortunately still ring true today. For example,
Ms. Hansen was concerned about the timeliness of
the internal inmate complaint and grievance system,
and reported that some inmates considered the grievance
procedure “useless”.8 She noted that an effective
internal grievance system would alleviate pressure
on OCI operations.
In most cases, the inmates would spend 23-anda-half hours per day in a small cell. The cell would
contain a single bed and a toilet (a hole in the
floor in some punitive dissociation cells). A naked
light bulb, left on 24 hours a day, would hang
from the ceiling.
During its first years of operation, the Office began
developing complaint procedures to improve accessibility,
timeliness and effectiveness. In its second year of
operation, the Office received 988 complaints. With
a small staff, the Office was unable to meet the
demand. Ms. Hansen stated:
We still fall short of our goal of prompt, personal
attention to all complaints. It is hoped that
close attention to priorities and efficiency of the
office procedures will eventually resolve this.9
At the time, the Office reported good cooperation
with the Canadian Penitentiary Service and stated that
“…in most cases, administrators are receptive to our
representations”.10 The Office also started to highlight
systemic issues that required the Canadian Penitentiary
Service’s close attention. The internal grievance
procedures remained front and centre, but the OCI
started to document other issues in detail, such as
use-of-force policy and practice, access to medical
services, involuntary transfers, denial of temporary
absences, and disciplinary measures such as restrictive
diets as punishment.
Ibid. at 3.
Ibid. at 84.
Canada, Report of the Study Group on Dissociation (Ottawa: Canadian Penitentiary Service, 1975) (Chair: Jim Vantour).
Ibid. at 13.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1974/75 at 5.
Ibid. at 4.
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In its third year, the OCI clearly demonstrated its
value following an incident at Millhaven Institution.
The Correctional Investigator initiated an examination
of the events leading up to the use of gas and force at
Millhaven Institution on November 3, 1975. This
investigation included 22 days of in camera hearings
beginning on January 15, 1976. The incident involved
the use of handcuffs and leg irons in a “cruel and
possibly dangerous manner”; the unauthorized,
unnecessary and potentially dangerous use of gas
without proper armoury recording; and the confinement
of naked inmates in the dissociation unit without
mattresses or bedding. Without the existence of the
Office, this incident would likely have gone unnoticed
as just “routine business” at that institution.11
For four years in a row, the OCI made recommendations
regarding the unfair application of earned remission
policy and law, which are no longer features of sentence
administration in Canada. This fact is noteworthy
because a recent report commissioned by the Minister
of Public Safety proposed a return to a system similar
to earned remission.12 I urge the Government of Canada,
before it proceeds any further with such a proposal, to
carefully review the significant concerns that eventually
led to the elimination of earned remission.
The MacGuigan Report
on Canada’s Penitentiary
System
In 1976, the Standing Committee on Justice and
Legal Affairs asked a sub-committee, chaired by Justice
MacGuigan, to conduct a comprehensive review of
penitentiary system in Canada. The MacGuigan
Report (1976) described the state of the Canadian
Penitentiary Service at the time as follows:
Seven years of comparative peace in the
Canadian Penitentiary System ended in 1970
with a series of upheavals (riots, strikes,
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
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murders and hostage-taking) that grew in
numbers and size with each passing year. By
1976 the prison explosions were almost
constant; hardly a week would pass without
another violent incident. The eruption
and violence were born of anger, frustration
and oppression within the tight and unnatural
confines of prison over unresolved grievances,
transfers, harassment and provocation described
by both sides (staff and inmates in adversary
attitudes) as “mind games”.13
The MacGuigan Report (1976) was a damning
indictment of the failure of penitentiaries to either
rehabilitate offenders or protect the public.14 It described
a correctional climate of severe violations of human
rights, brutality and inhumane treatment. Its sweeping
recommendations aimed to change the correctional
philosophy of the day. It advocated the contemporary
view that offenders are sent to prison as punishment and
not for punishment, and promoted the development of
a new correctional approach focused on rehabilitation
through programming, treatment and vocational
training.
The MacGuigan Report (1976) commented on the
effectiveness of the internal grievance system and that
of the OCI, and came to the following conclusion:
At present, the grievance procedure is so unwieldy
and ineffective that it might well be creating
more problems than it solves.…If the grievance
passes through all these channels (four complaint
and grievance levels), the inmate may have to
wait many months for a reply which, very often,
leaves him no better satisfied than when he began.
The inmate may also have recourse to the
Correctional Investigator, but this channel too
may take quite some time to report back to him,
and even then the Correctional Investigator
may only suggest solutions to the proper
authorities.15
Mary Campbell, “Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Canadian Prisoners, Rights” (1998) 2 Can. Crim. L. Rev. at 300.
Canada, Correctional Service of Canada Review Panel, A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety (2007) (Chair: Mr. Rob Sampson) (www.ps-sp.gc.ca).
Canada, Report of the Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary System in Canada (1976) at 5 (Chair: Justice MacGuigan).
Mary Campbell, “Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Canadian Prisoners, Rights” (1998) 2 Can. Crim. L. Rev. at 285.
Canada, Report of the Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary System in Canada (1976) at 97 (Chair: Justice MacGuigan).
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After acknowledging the creation of the Office was
“a small response to a very large problem”,16 the Report
reaffirmed the value of the Office and suggested
enhancing its reporting relationship:
I reiterate, no interference has been encountered
and none is anticipated but the Ombudsman
can only be effective if the office maintains a
high level of credibility.18
We also point out that an ombudsman by any
acceptable standard should report to Parliament.
Independence, both in fact and in theory, is an
essential condition of the office’s effectiveness.17
During the following five years, the Office continued
to struggle to respond to increasing demand for its
services. The Annual Report 1978/79 summarized
the situation as follows:
The MacGuigan Report was influential, and many
of its recommendations would be implemented. They
paved the way for a series of reforms, including a new
focus on rehabilitation, and for more openness and
accountability. Following this report, the government
appointed independent chairpersons, as discussed
previously; created an internal Inspector General;
and established citizen advisory committees.
Illegal Searches,
Overcrowding
and Other Issues
On October 1, 1977, a new Correctional Investigator
was appointed. Mr. Ronald Stewart would remain as
head of the OCI for the next 26 years. In the early
years of his tenure, the Office again raised the issue
of independence and its reporting relationship with
the Minister. The Annual Report 1977/78 explained
the issue as follows:
No matter how properly the Correctional
Investigator performs his task, there will always
be complications under the present terms of
reference. It is not so much whether there is
actual direction by the Minister, but how the
office is perceived by the inmates. If the office
appears to be part of the Ministry it loses
credibility and the task becomes more difficult.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
12
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Each year it is our goal to maintain the highest
level of service possible. Geographical realities
coupled with staff resources and increasing
numbers of complaints are major factors having
a bearing on the effectiveness of the office.19
The Office reported several accomplishments.
Many of its recommendations were implemented
by the Canadian Penitentiary Service, which became
the Correctional Service of Canada in 1979.20 The
Annual Report 1980/81 reported that dental services
had improved significantly in response to an OCI
recommendation. Other OCI recommendations were
subsequently implemented following the involvement
of courts or other oversight agencies. In one example,
the Office denounced a troubling illegal practice at
the Prison for Women in Kingston. Women were
being indiscriminately subjected to internal body
cavity searches where no reasonable grounds for such
searches existed. The Office’s recommendation to stop
that practice was finally implemented when a court
ruled that the Correctional Service did not have the
authority to conduct such searches without reasonable
grounds. Finally, previous OCI recommendations on
religious diets were also implemented, following the
involvement of the Canadian Human Rights
Commission.21
The Office denounced a troubling illegal practice
at the Prison for Women in Kingston. Women were
being indiscriminately subjected to internal body
cavity searches where no reasonable grounds for
such searches existed. The Office’s recommendation
to stop that practice was finally implemented.
Ibid. at 98.
Ibid. at 99.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1977/78 at 2.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1978/79 at 13.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1980/81 at 12.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1981/82 at 14.
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The Office raised concerns regarding the opening
of two Special Handling Units (SHUs), the most
secure maximum-security institutions in federal
corrections. These units were opened in response to
recommendations of the Vantour Report on Dissociation
(1975). Shortly after these units opened, the Office
identified the “potential for trouble”22 they posed.
To this day, the Office continues to question the need
for separate institutions to manage difficult offenders
who could safely be managed in existing maximumsecurity institutions.
Over the years, many of the Office’s recommendations
to improve procedural fairness at the SHUs were
nonetheless adopted. The Correctional Service
implemented clear admission criteria, began providing
written reasons for SHU transfers and offered
offenders an opportunity to respond to SHU transfer
recommendations. The lack of suitable programs and
activities, as well as adequate mental health services,
at the SHUs—originally noted in 1978—remain
concerns for this Office to the present day.
With the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms in 1982, Charter litigation enabled
courts to affirm fundamental rights and entitlements
of prisoners, and allowed for the development of
detailed procedural safeguards. Interestingly, many
OCI recommendations on the duty to act fairly
would eventually find their way into court decisions.
On June 23, 1983, the Solicitor General requested
that the Correctional Investigator conduct a full,
independent and impartial investigation into allegations
of mistreatment of certain inmates confined in the
Archambault Institution, following a deadly incident
that occurred at that penitentiary on July 25, 1982.
The OCI held 37 days of in camera hearings, resulting
in more than 7,000 pages of testimony and 98 exhibits.
Thirty-one inmates, 109 correctional officers and
45 other witnesses testified.
During the incidents of July 25, 1982, three correctional
officers were taken hostage in an escape attempt. In
the end, three correctional officers died while five
Page 13
were seriously injured. Some were stabbed to death,
while others were beaten and tortured by inmates.
Two inmates committed suicide during these tragic
events. Early reports pointed to harsh conditions of
confinement and inhumane treatment of offenders as
contributing factors to the violence. The overriding
purpose of the OCI investigation was to “…ascertain
whether any allegations by inmates of mistreatment
had any basis in fact and if so, to identify, where
possible, specific members of the Institution’s staff as
having been responsible for such mistreatment”.23 In
the end, many facts could not be established, but the
OCI found that at least two inmates were physically
mistreated; force and gas were used in violation of
policy; some offenders were verbally abused and
humiliated after the incident of July 25, 1982; several
inmates were denied adequate clothing, mattresses and
bedding; and health care staff did not follow procedures.
Prison overcrowding was first raised in the Annual
Report 1983/84, and double bunking in segregation
was raised the following year. Overcrowding would
fluctuate in the years to come; recently, it has again
become a serious problem. The practice of double
bunking in segregation would not be eliminated
until the late 1990s.
Caseload Rises,
Frustrations Mount
Although progress was being made, frustrations grew
between the Correctional Service and this Office in
the early 1980s. Between 1982 and 1986, the OCI
noted that the Correctional Service was taking a long
time to deal effectively and conclusively with a number
of outstanding OCI recommendations. In the Annual
Report 1985/86, the Office highlighted four areas of
outstanding offender concern that required immediate
attention:
The practice of double bunking in segregation
and dissociation areas continues, though we
have recommended it should cease.
22. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1977/78 at 11.
23. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Report on Allegations of Mistreatment of Inmates at Archambault Institution Following the Events
which Occurred on July 25 th, 1982 (1984).
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The time frames for processing grievances and
claims appeals at the National headquarters are
seldom met and although some efforts have
been made in this area, we do have concerns
about the thoroughness and objectivity of the
reviews of grievances and claims.
Our recommendation for equitable and
reasonable telephone access to inmates has
been shuffled downwards.
The duty to act fairly in processing involuntary
transfers, despite recent court decisions and the
Correctional Service of Canada directives which
detail responsibility in this area, continues to
prompt complaints from inmates encountering
an absence of fairness in some decisions on
these transfers.24
Between 1987 and 1992, the staff of the Office grew
slowly while the caseload exploded. In that five-year
period, the number of offender complaints grew from
1,329 to a staggering 5,090. The number of employees
in the Office increased from 9 to 16. The number of
areas of offender concern detailed in annual reports
also increased significantly over that period, from
14 in 1987 to 29 in 1991. In 1986, the Office created
the new position of Director of Investigations, which
was initially filled by Mr. Ed McIsaac. Mr. McIsaac
became the Executive Director of the Office shortly
thereafter, a position he still capably holds as of the
writing of this report.
During these five years, the Office voiced its frustration
on many occasions because, in its view, the responses
of the Correctional Service were characterized by
“…excessive delays, an absence of thorough objective
review and a reluctance to make decisions” in addressing
issues.25 For example:
Our communications with the inmate population
suggest that the current level of responsiveness
displayed by the Service, particularly at the
national level, to the addressing of a number of
24.
25.
26.
27.
14
Page 14
offender related-concerns has been unacceptable
and is in need of change.26
Delays, defensiveness and non-commitment are
inconsistent with the Service’s stated Mission
and the basic concept of administrative fairness
and I sincerely hope that our comments are taken
in the constructive way that they are offered.27
Concerns about the internal grievance system, health
care services, double bunking, temporary absences and
access to telephones remained strong throughout those
years. A few new noteworthy issues also emerged
during this period. For example, in 1981, the Cabinet
Committee on Social Development approved a new
inmate allowance program. With the assistance of
Statistics Canada, it calculated rates for inmate incentive
pay and set the maximum rate at $7.55 per day.
However, by 1986, the Correctional Service’s maximum
rate for inmate work and program participation was
only $6.90 per day. In the late 1980s, the Office began
raising its concern about inmate allowances. In its
Annual Report 1988/89, it noted that the maximum
rate of $6.90 per day had not kept up with inflation
and had remained unchanged since 1986. This rate,
which the Office judged inadequate more than 20
years ago, has not increased in the interim. Low
inmate allowances significantly limit the resources
available to offenders at the time of their release. They
also adversely affect the institutional environment by
spurring the creation of an underground market
economy. In 1981, the Correctional Service created a
typical inmate “canteen basket” to monitor the costs
of the products inmates most commonly purchased.
At that time, the canteen basket cost $8.49. Today,
the canteen basket costs more than $60, but the
maximum rate of $6.90 has not changed since 1986.
In 1981, the Correctional Service created a typical
inmate “canteen basket” to monitor the costs of the
products inmates most commonly purchased. In
1981, the canteen basket cost $8.49. The same
basket now costs more than $60.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1985/86 at 21.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1986/87 at 15 and Annual Report 1987/1988 at 17.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1989/90 at 38.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1990/91 at 43.
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Another new issue that was reported for the first time
in the late 1980s, and which remains a challenge for the
OCI, is the Correctional Service’s internal investigations
of serious bodily injuries and deaths. In 1987, the Office
conducted two reviews of internal CSC investigations
and described the results as follows:
In both instances the internal investigations
were found to be incomplete and lacking
objectivity, and the subsequent reviews of the
investigation reports conducted by Regional
Headquarters and National Headquarters
authorities were in my opinion nothing more
than a rubber stamping process.28
Signs of Progress
Yet, even in this difficult period, some progress was
being made, and the Correctional Service remained
committed to addressing systemic issues this Office
raised. In fact, in 1991, the Correctional Service
published a book entitled Our Story: Organizational
Renewal in Federal Corrections. Two years earlier, the
Correctional Service had undertaken an ambitious
reorganization, culminating with the adoption of a
new Mission Statement in February 1989. Our Story
was published as an attempt to reflect on the new
Mission and the core values of the Correctional Service.
The book offered the following comments on the
role of the OCI:
We are determined that the individuals within
our charge are treated fairly and with respect
and that they maintain the rights to which they
are entitled. Because of this, we support, indeed
value, the role of the Correctional Investigator.
It is frequently through his observations and
advice that we are afforded the opportunity
to take corrective action where it is merited.
Because of our unique relationship with the
Correctional Investigator, we have included in
our Mission document the strategic objective
to ensure that we are open and responsive in all
our dealings with the Correctional Investigator.29
Page 15
Two other key CSC initiatives are worth noting, as
both would result in positive change within federal
corrections. In both instances, extensive consultations
took place, which included input from this Office.
First, in 1989, the Secretariat of the Solicitor General
released Final Report: Task Force on Aboriginal Peoples
in Federal Corrections. At the prompting of the Solicitor
General of the day, the Task Force on the Reintegration
of Aboriginal Offenders as Law-Abiding Citizens was
established in March 1987 with the following mandate:
Examine the process which Aboriginal offenders
(status and non-status Indians, Métis, and Inuit)
go through, from the time of admission to a
federal penitentiary until warrant expiry, in order
to identify the needs of Aboriginal offenders and
to identify ways of improving their opportunities
for social reintegration as law-abiding citizens,
through improved penitentiary placement,
through improved institutional programs, through
improved preparation for temporary absences,
day parole and full parole, as well as through
improved and innovative supervision.30
When the Task Force was created in 1987, although
Aboriginal people comprised 2.5 percent of Canada’s
population, approximately 9 percent of federally
incarcerated inmates were Aboriginal people….
the proportion of people in federal custody who are
Aboriginal has now reached almost 20 percent.
The Task Force helped provide the blueprint for
Aboriginal federal corrections for the following decade.
Specific sections of the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act (CCRA) would be enacted that addressed
the unique spiritual and programming needs of
Aboriginal offenders, and new, more responsive
minimum-security penitentiaries would eventually be
created—the Healing Lodges. The CCRA would also
allow for the Minister to enter into agreements with
Aboriginal communities to provide correctional services
to Aboriginal offenders, including care, custody and
supervision. When the Task Force was created in 1987,
although Aboriginal people comprised 2.5 percent
28. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1987/88 at 20.
29. Correctional Service of Canada, Our Story: Organizational Renewal in Federal Corrections edited by Jim Vantour (1991) at 109–110.
30. Secretariat of the Solicitor General, Final Report: Task Force on Aboriginal Peoples in Federal Corrections
(Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1989) at 5.
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of Canada’s population, approximately 9 percent of
federally incarcerated inmates were Aboriginal people.
Unfortunately, the many government-wide initiatives
that followed did not improve these troubling statistics.
On the contrary, the proportion of people in federal
custody who are Aboriginal has now reached almost
20 percent.
Second, in April 1990, the Correctional Service released
Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally
Sentenced Women.31 The Task Force was commissioned
to review the overall situation at the Prison for Women
in Kingston (P4W) and to chart a new, appropriate and
effective direction for female offenders. Building on a
strong commitment to partnership, it was a tripartite
endeavour between the Correctional Service, the
Elizabeth Fry Society and Aboriginal women. The
Task Force employed a women-centered approach to
corrections, stressed the importance of meaningful
choices for women and emphasized a concern about
the overrepresentation of Aboriginal women in the
federal prison system. The report focused on the “special
needs” of women offenders and on the profound impact
of the physical and sexual abuse that many of them had
suffered. The primary recommendation of this landmark
report was the closure of P4W, and the development
of five regional facilities and an Aboriginal Healing
Lodge for women.32 The regional facilities began opening
in 1995 and P4W closed in 2000. The implementation
of the philosophy advocated in Creating Choices would
generate debate for many years to come.
Starting in the early 1980s and continuing until the
early 1990s, an extensive set of initiatives led to the
development of the federal government’s renewed
blueprint for criminal law in Canada. The publication
of the Criminal Law in Canadian Society and the
ensuing Correctional Law Review resulted in the
development of today’s frameworks for both criminal
and correctional law. The Correctional Law Review
“…was a comprehensive roll-up of all pertinent
litigation and recommendations to date, intended
to create a fair, modern code for penitentiary and
conditional release management that would help
Page 16
avoid excessive litigation and piecemeal reforms”.33
The Correctional Law Review, which was led by officials
from the Secretariat of the Solicitor General and subject
to extensive consultations, produced nine working
papers, including Correctional Authority and Inmate
Rights.34 This working paper acknowledged that the
“…Correctional Investigator varies somewhat from
the traditional ombudsman mould in that he or she
reports to the Solicitor General, not to Parliament”.35
Although the consultations clearly included comments
by many stakeholders to address this shortcoming, the
working paper ultimately proposed to maintain the
status quo. The work of the Correctional Law Review
eventually resulted in the enactment of the CCRA
in 1992.
A New Legislative
Framework
Nineteen years after the OCI was created pursuant
to the Inquiries Act, the Office finally received its own
legislative framework on November 1, 1992, with the
enactment of Part III of the CCRA. The Office was
now embedded within comprehensive legislation that
emphasized inmate rights, due process protections and
independent oversight of correctional operations. The
CCRA also for the first time articulated the purpose
and principles of federal corrections. As expressed in the
CCRA, the primary purpose of the federal correctional
system is to contribute to the maintenance of a just,
peaceful and safe society. The key principles to guide
the Correctional Service in achieving this goal were
also articulated in the CCRA, and are as follows:
1. The protection of society is the paramount
consideration in the corrections process.
2. Offenders retain the rights and privileges
of all members of society, except those rights
and privileges that are necessarily removed or
restricted as a consequence of the sentence.
3. Correctional decisions are made in a forthright
and fair manner, with access by the offender to
an effective grievance procedure.
31. Correctional Service of Canada, Creating Choices: the Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women (1990).
32. Correctional Service of Canada, The Closing of the Prison for Women in Kingston: End of an Era (2000).
33. Mary Campbell, “Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Canadian Prisoners, Rights” (1998) 2 Can. Crim. L. Rev. at 310.
34. Solicitor General of Canada, Correctional Authority and Inmate Rights (Correctional Law Review Working Paper No. 5, 1987).
35. Ibid. at 119.
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4. The Service uses the least restrictive measures
consistent with protection of the public, staff
members and offenders.36
The Annual Report 1992/93 was the first report issued
pursuant to the CCRA. Part III of the CCRA was
reproduced in its entirety in the annex to this report.
The Correctional Investigator reflected on the value
of the new legislation by stating:
My view is that the Act has not significantly
added to the powers which the Correctional
Investigator previously possessed. Rather, the
legislation has clearly established the “Function”
of the Correctional Investigator as that of an
Ombudsman and clarified the authority and
responsibilities of the Office within a procedural
framework which both focuses and paces our
activities. In essence, Parliament has provided
the Correctional Investigator, not with new
powers, but with specific direction and
momentum.37
The Office voiced its disappointment about the fact
that the CCRA did not establish direct legislative
reporting. Again, it reaffirmed the importance of the
necessity for an ombudsman office to be independent
from the government organization it is mandated to
investigate. Nevertheless, the Annual Report 1992/93
also made it clear that the main purpose of the Office
was not to publish reports, but “…to facilitate the
resolution of offender problems”.38 This core function
remains front and centre in the OCI’s operations to
this day.
Federal Corrections
at a Crisis Point
The beginning of the 1990s was a difficult time
for the Correctional Service. With well in excess of
3,000 double-bunked inmates, the capacity of the
Correctional Service to fulfil its legislative mandate
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
Page 17
was pushed to the limit. The OCI was seriously
concerned, stating that “…federal corrections is
at a crisis point”.39 It described the pervasive and
far-reaching effects of overcrowding as follows:
This situation, one must appreciate, reaches far
beyond the provision of a comfortable living
environment for federal inmates. It is our
contention that overcrowding impacts
measurably on the Service’s ability to provide
timely access to treatment programming and
thorough case preparation for conditional
release consideration; required daily exercise
and showers for those locked up twenty-three
hours a day plus in segregation cells;
meaningful employment and reasonable pay
levels; responsive institutional placements and
transfers consistent with security classifications;
reasonable ongoing contact with family, friends
and community resources; needed individual
attention from professional staff for those who
require it; and the assurance of a humane, safe
and secure institutional environment for both
inmates and staff.
In short, overcrowding impacts on virtually
all aspects of an individual’s life during the
period of incarceration and in the long run,
given that the vast majority of inmates will return
to society, on the protection of society itself.40
The above passage is important for at least two
reasons. First, due to the operational and financial
challenges the Correctional Service faced at the time,
its capacity and latitude to respond to the systemic
offender issues raised by the Office diminished
significantly. As a result, the Office began to show
increasing dissatisfaction with its level of responsiveness.
Second, as the current government explores criminal
law reforms that may significantly increase the prison
population, it must be mindful of the operational and
human consequences that overcrowding and limited
resources have on staff, inmates and, ultimately,
public safety.
Corrections and Conditional Release Act, S.C. 1992, Chap. 20, s. 4.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1992/93 at 1.
Ibid. at 3.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1993/94 at 1.
Ibid. at 2.
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As the current government explores criminal law
reforms that may significantly increase the prison
population, it must be mindful of the operational
and human consequences that overcrowding and
limited resources have on staff, inmates and,
ultimately, public safety.
Issues of emerging importance in the larger community
often manifest themselves within penitentiaries. In 1994,
the Expert Committee on AIDS in Prison, established
by the Correctional Service, reported on the increasing
incidence of infectious diseases in federal penitentiaries.
The Committee found the causes of disease to include
the use and sharing of contaminated drug paraphernalia.
The Committee presented a series of recommendations,
including a pilot needle-exchange project. The Office
endorsed all of the Committee’s recommendations.
By 2004, the Correctional Service had implemented
most of the Committee’s recommendations for
education, treatment and harm reduction. The only
outstanding recommendation related to making clean
needles available to inmates for exchange to prevent
serious communicable diseases, such as hepatitis C
and HIV, from spreading among the offender
population and, ultimately, to society at large. (This
issue, which the Office had raised repeatedly, again
gained national attention in 2004 when the Office
directed a recommendation to the Minister of Public
Safety to introduce a needle-exchange program in
federal corrections.)
On February 14, 1995, the Office submitted to the
Minister a Special Report pursuant to section 193
of the CCRA, concerning the inhumane treatment
of inmates at P4W in April 1994. The publication of
this OCI Special Report, which was shortly thereafter
tabled before Parliament, marked the first and only
time that the OCI has used this provision.
On April 26, 1994, cell extractions of eight women
offenders took place at P4W. An all-male emergency
response team (ERT) strip-searched the women,
who were then placed in prolonged confinement in
administrative segregation. The OCI Special Report
Page 18
concluded that the videotapes of the incident showed
“…a massive display of force being exercised in the face
of virtually no resistance”, and that the strip searches and
cell extractions were “…without question degrading
and dehumanizing for those women involved”.41 The
Correctional Investigator also criticized the Correctional
Service’s internal investigation of these incidents.
In fact, it chastised the report of the CSC Board of
Investigation as “incomplete, inconclusive and self
serving”, concluding it was a “white wash”.42 The video
was eventually aired on CBC and shocked Canadians.
The Arbour Commission
The government of the day did not wait long to respond
to the public outrage and established a royal commission
of inquiry to investigate both the events at P4W and
the Correctional Service’s response to the events. Later,
in a publication to celebrate the 50th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Correctional Service would state the following about
the importance of this inquiry:
The Commission, chaired by Justice Louise
Arbour, can be characterized as an indictment
against the Correctional Service of Canada. It is
no doubt that these events at P4W will always
remain a stain in the history of the Service.43
In her historic report, Justice Louise Arbour
acknowledged the significant role the Office played
in bringing these events to the attention of Parliament
and the Canadian public. She made the following
statement on the Office’s professionalism:
Throughout the events examined by this
Commission, and indeed, throughout this
inquiry’s process, including the investigations
and hearings, the Correctional Investigator
conducted himself in full compliance with the
letter and spirit of his legal mandate. In dealing
with the Correctional Service on the issues
before me, between April of 1994 and February
of 1995, the Correctional Investigator and his
41. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Special Report of the Correctional Investigator Concerning the Treatment of Inmates
and Following Certain Incidents at the Prison for Women in April 1994 and Thereafter (1995) at 5 and 6.
42. Ibid. at 2 and 4.
43. Correctional Service of Canada, 50 Years of Human Rights Developments in Federal Corrections (1998) at 28.
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staff were persistent, factual and professional;
their attitude and correspondence were never
inflammatory, and they showed considerable
patience in dealing with a bureaucracy which
was neither ready, willing nor able to participate
in any exercise of self-scrutiny or criticism.44
She also made the following specific comments on the
value and unique contribution of the Office:
It is clear to me that the statutory mandate
(of the OCI) should continue to be supported
and facilitated. Of all the outside observers of
the Correctional Service, the Correctional
Investigator is in a unique position both to
assist in the resolution of individual problems,
and to comment publicly on the systemic
shortcomings of the Service. Of all the internal
and external mechanisms or agencies designed
to make the Correctional Service open and
accountable, the Office of the Correctional
Investigator is by far the most efficient and the
best equipped to discharge that function.45
The Arbour Report resulted in the Correctional Service
undertaking a number of positive initiatives, including
training of senior managers and front-line staff on
the duty to act fairly and on the rule of law; the
establishment of several task forces and working groups
on administrative segregation, policy development,
reintegration and human rights; the appointment of
the Deputy Commissioner for Women; new procedures
regarding cross-gender searches; new strategies to address
specific mental health issues of federally sentenced
women; and a new CSC system for prioritizing offender
grievances and complaints. Although the Correctional
Service did not implement some key Arbour
recommendations, including independent adjudication
and a “separate stream” for women’s corrections,
the reforms it did implement would undeniably
change federal corrections for the better.
One key recommendation of Justice Arbour directly
affected the daily operations of the Office. In response
to her report, the Office began thoroughly reviewing
44.
45.
46.
47.
Page 19
the CSC’s use-of-force interventions, a task that included
viewing videotapes. This undertaking, which at the
time was not resourced, added a significant workload
to the Office’s operations. The Office now reviews
more than 1,000 use-of-force incidents per year.
Starting in 1994 and continuing for at least three
years, the Office was focused on the events leading
to the establishment of the Arbour Commission and
the resulting activities related to addressing Justice
Arbour’s many recommendations. The Annual Report
1994/95 included a copy of the OCI Special Report
on the events at P4W, as well as details on the
responses of the Correctional Service to the OCI
recommendations. The practice of including the
responses of the Correctional Service to the OCI
recommendations continues today. In the Annual
Report 1995/96, the Office proposed a way to address
one of Justice Arbour’s central concerns. In her report,
she advocated for greater judicial control and guidance
in response to the “…disturbing lack of commitment
to the ideals of Justice on the part of the Correctional
Service…”.46 She stated the following:
It is only because of the Correctional Investigator’s
inability to compel compliance by the Service with
his conclusions, and because of the demonstrated
unwillingness of the Service to do so willingly
in many instances, that I recommended greater
access by prisoners to the courts for the effective
enforcement of their rights and the vindication
of the Rule of Law.47
In response to, and in support of, the findings of
Justice Arbour, the Annual Report 1995/96 of the
Office recommended the following:
On the basis of my own experience over the
past few years and without limiting the judicial
guidance and control called for by Justice Arbour,
I believe there is a need for a mechanism between
this Office and the courts with the authority to
order timely corrective action in instances of
illegalities, gross mismanagement or unfairness.
Canada, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston (1996) at 170 (Chair: Justice Louise Arbour).
Ibid. at 195
Ibid. at 198.
Ibid. at195.
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The correctional environment, the impact of
administrative decisions on individuals within
that environment and the consistent failure of
the Correctional Service to approach individual
and systemic areas of concern in an objective,
thorough and timely fashion demand that a
timely and responsive binding avenue of redress
be available.
As such I recommend:
a) That an administrative tribunal be established
with the authority both to compel Correctional
Service compliance with legislation and policy
governing the administration of the sentence
and to redress the adverse effects of noncompliance.
b) That access to the tribunal be provided for in
those instances where if within a reasonable
time after receiving a recommendation from the
Correctional Investigator pursuant to s. 179 of
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the
Commissioner of Corrections takes no action
that is seen as adequate or appropriate.
The above recommendation is intended to
support and complement, not limit or replace,
the function of the Office in ensuring that areas
of offender concern are decided on in an
objective and timely fashion consistent with the
Service’s legislative responsibilities.48
Professor Michael Jackson, in his book entitled Justice
Behind the Wall, made the following comments on the
necessity of resolving long-standing OCI concerns:
One of the most important advantages of a
tribunal remedy is that it would bring closure
to those issues, often of a system-wide nature,
that have filled up the annual reports of the
Correctional Investigator. The very existence
of such an avenue of resolution would provide
a major incentive for the Service to resolve these
issues at an early stage.49
Page 20
In response to the Arbour Report, the Commissioner
called upon Dr. Maxwell Yalden, former Chief
Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights
Commission and a member of the UN Human
Rights Committee, to review the Correctional
Service’s capacity to meet its domestic and international
human rights obligations. The Working Group on
Human Rights issued its report in 1997. It recommended
establishing a procedure for submitting matters to
adjudication through a tribunal or a court process.
Concerns About
Independence Resurface
The Working Group on Human Rights also
recommended that the Correctional Investigator
report directly to Parliament, to ensure the overall
credibility and effectiveness of this independent
oversight mechanism.50 The Working Group also
commented on the relationship between the two
organizations, and stated:
The CI’s role and responsibilities very clearly
impact upon those of the CSC and, as a result,
are bound over time to involve some friction
between the two organizations, however much
management on both sides may strive to avoid.
… Although the most recent Annual Report
of the Correctional Investigator (1996–97)
points to some improvements in the working
relationship between the CI and the CSC, the
overall history of that relationship has been less
than satisfactory for either party. This raises
the critical question to what extent respect for
human rights of inmates or employees may
have suffered as a result.51
48. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1995/96 at 2.
49. Michael Jackson, Justice Behind the Walls (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2002) at 588.
50. Canada, Working Group on Human Rights, Human Rights and Corrections: A Strategic Model (Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada, 1997)
(Chair: Dr. Maxwell Yalden).
51. Ibid. at 31–32.
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The challenge related to the relationship between
an ombudsman office and the agency subject to its
oversight was echoed by the Office of the Auditor
General (OAG) in an audit report completed around
the same time on the operations of the OCI. The
OAG stated:
An ombudsman’s strength lies in its ability
to persuade others of the value of any
recommendation or opinion flowing from
an investigation. Consequently, the working
relationship between the ombudsman and
the institution within the scope of his or her
mandate must be carefully balanced. The nature
of the work implies that this relationship can
be neither too cordial nor too adversarial. This
balance of creative tension is not easy to achieve,
but is very important.52
The working relationship between the ombudsman
and the institution within the scope of his or her
mandate must be carefully balanced. The nature
of the work implies that this relationship can be
neither too cordial nor too adversarial.
The Working Group on Human Rights also captured
well the systemic issues that had strained the relationship
between the Office and the Correctional Service—
many of which are, unfortunately, still unresolved.
The Working Group concluded:
Among the bones of contention between the CI
and the CSC over the years are several that have
immediate and obvious implications for both
the substantive and procedural rights of federal
offenders, including the increasing prevalence of
“double-bunking” in both general and segregated
inmate populations, inmate pay, Special Handling
Units, and other aspects of custody involving
placement, segregation and transfer, use of force,
Page 21
the effectiveness of the internal grievance
procedure, and access to programming to
prepare inmates for reintegration.
The Annual Report 1998/99 detailed the beginning of
a major restructuring and modernization of the Office.
The OCI made these changes partly in response to
an OAG audit of the OCI’s operations. The Office
finalized an updated Policies and Procedures Manual,
which more clearly detailed the investigative process
and links to the OCI’s legislative responsibilities. The
OCI also developed a staff training program and
upgraded the computerized data collection system.
Information packages about the Office and its complaint
procedures were developed and forwarded to all federal
penitentiaries and parole offices, as well as to community
facilities that housed federal offenders.
In May 2000, the Sub-Committee on the Corrections
and Conditional Release Act released its report. The
report was in response to a CCRA provision requiring
that the Act be examined five years after its coming
into force. The Sub-Committee endorsed the mandate
of the Office and stated that it was “…in a good position
to right wrongs experienced by individual offenders
and bring to light systemic problems that lead offenders
to lodge complaints”.53 The Sub-Committee made
several recommendations to enhance the independence
and effectiveness of the Office. It too recommended
that the Office report to Parliament directly to enhance
its perceived independence, and that annual and
special reports be automatically referred to a standing
committee of the House of Commons for close
examination. Interestingly, it also recommended that
the Office conduct independent investigations into all
inmate deaths or serious bodily injuries, in addition
to those the law requires the Correctional Service to
conduct. It should be noted that section 19 of the
CCRA requires the Correctional Service to forward
all such investigations to the Office for review. The
government of the day did not pursue any of these
recommendations.54
52. Office of the Auditor General, The Correctional Investigator Canada (Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons) (1997) c. 33.
53. Canada, Sub-Committee on Corrections and Conditional Release Act of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, A Work in Progress: the
Corrections and Conditional Release Act (2000) (Chair: Mr. Paul DeVilliers).
54. Solicitor General Canada, Response to the Report of the Sub-Committee on Corrections and Conditional Release Act of the Standing Committee on Justice
and Human Rights: A Work in Progress: The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Ottawa: Solicitor General Canada, November 2000).
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A New Century,
New Challenges and
Opportunities
Page 22
The Office made the following assessment of women’s
corrections:
The Arbour Commission of Inquiry was a very
public and inclusive process. The Report was
a landmark for corrections in this country. Its
findings and recommendations focussed our
attention not only on the potential for Women’s
Corrections but as well on the requirement for
openness, fairness and accountability in
correctional operations.
In the early 2000s, the Office undertook a
comprehensive strategic review of its own operations,
with the assistance of Treasury Board of Canada,
Secretariat. This review resulted in funding increases
for the Office and helped inspire the creation of
coordinator positions in three key areas of offender
concern: women’s issues; Aboriginal issues; and
reviews of use-of-force incidents, as well as CSC
investigations into deaths or serious bodily injuries.
At the same time, the Office faced significant challenges
due to a growing number of offender complaints, and
“…had more [systemic] issues under review with the
Correctional Service than at any time in the Office’s
history”.55 The Office also continued to pursue the
lack of progress made on the implementation of
Justice Arbour’s recommendations.
The Office severely condemned placing maximumsecurity women and women with serious mental
health problems in male penitentiaries (in other
words, co-located units). What was to be a “temporary
measure”, according to the Correctional Service,
lasted over six years.
Moreover, the Office severely condemned placing
maximum-security women and women with serious
mental health problems in male penitentiaries (in
other words, co-located units). What was to be a
“temporary measure”, according to the Correctional
Service, lasted over six years. The Office believed that
women’s corrections had to be viewed within the context
of the “vision for change” provided by the CSC Task
Force on Federally Sentenced Women a decade earlier,
as well as in light of Justice Arbour’s recommendations
related to a “separate stream” for women’s corrections.
The response to Justice Arbour’s Report by the
Correctional Service has been anything but public
and inclusive. The clear “vision for change” of
a decade ago is clouded. The impact of the top
priority ascribed to Women’s Corrections in
1996 is open to serious question.56
In 2004, the Canadian Human Rights
Commission (CHRC) would confirm the Office’s
assessment of women’s corrections in a comprehensive
report, Protecting Their Rights: A Systemic Review of
Human Rights in Correctional Services for Federally
Sentenced Women.57 The report was based on a large
consultation with various stakeholders, including this
Office. As noted in the Annual Report 2003/2004,
the CHRC’s areas of concern and recommendations
were, for the most part, consistent with those of
Justice Arbour. The OCI had previously raised the
vast majority of concerns outlined in the CHRC
report. The CHRC report made several observations
and recommendations, including the following:
•
•
•
Women, particularly Aboriginal women, are
often incarcerated in a facility with a higher
security level than required, due to unresponsive
and discriminatory risk/need assessment tools.
The blanket policy that imposes an automatic
two-year maximum-security classification on
all offenders serving life sentences is unfair and
should be rescinded, as it adversely affects federally
sentenced women and Aboriginal offenders.
The delivery of health care is uneven across
the different women’s facilities, and the
55. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2000/2001 at 4.
56. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2001/2002 at 11.
57. Canadian Human Rights Commission, Protecting Their Rights: A Systemic Review of Human Rights in Correctional Services
for Federally Sentenced Women (2004).
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•
•
•
•
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implementation of the CSC Mental Health
Strategy for Women Offenders is inadequately
resourced to meet the needs of women.
The Correctional Service has an obligation to
effectively curb the spread of infectious diseases
and should pilot a needle-exchange program.
Women-centered training must be mandatory
for those who work in women’s facilities, and
refresher training must be regularly offered.
The Correctional Service should implement
independent adjudication for decisions related
to involuntary segregation.
Access to responsive programming and
meaningful employment is poor, especially for
Aboriginal women.
Community housing options, programming
and support for women are inadequate.
Page 23
•
•
•
In 2003, after 26 years as Correctional Investigator,
Mr. Ronald Stewart was not reappointed. After his
departure, an audit by the Auditor General of Canada
“…determined that the former Correctional Investigator
committed serious abuses and wrongdoing, some
of which resulted in substantial personal benefit”.58
Mr. Stewart subsequently issued a letter of regret that
stated, “At no time did I ever intend to do anything
wrong or take actions that could have resulted
in personal benefit. I deeply regret any procedures
that might have been viewed as inappropriate or
misleading”.59
Issues Receive Renewed
Attention
I was appointed as the Correctional Investigator on
April 1, 2004. Upon my arrival, it became apparent
that the Office would benefit greatly from higher
visibility to increase its effectiveness as an ombudsman
office. As I reviewed previous annual reports, I quickly
realized that there was no shortage of issues that needed
renewed public attention. I used the tabling of my
annual reports as opportunities to raise national public
awareness on issues of offender concern. My first four
annual reports allowed me and my staff to focus
public attention on the following issues:
•
2004: Public Health. I recommended that the
Correctional Service immediately implement a
prison-based needle-exchange program to best
protect inmates and society at large from the
spread of infectious diseases. The lack of a full
range of harm-reduction initiatives jeopardized
inmate health and the health of the general
public.
2005: Mental Health. I highlighted the fact
that the proportion of federal offenders with
significant, identified mental health needs had
more than doubled over the past decade. I also
stated that mental health services offered by
the Correctional Service to these offenders had
not kept up with the dramatic increase in the
number of offenders with mental illnesses.
2006: Aboriginal Offenders. I reported
that Aboriginal people accounted for a
disproportionate share of the federal prison
population. They represented 18 percent
of the federal prison population, although
they accounted for just 3 percent of the
general Canadian population. I stated that
the Correctional Service does not control
admissions to penitentiaries, but it does have
a constitutional and statutory obligation to
manage sentences in a culturally responsive and
non-discriminatory manner. The Correctional
Service’s own statistics confirmed that correctional
outcomes for Aboriginal offenders were not
improving in many areas that the Correctional
Service could positively influence.
2007: Barriers to Public Safety. I reported
on the increasing inability of the Correctional
Service to prepare offenders in a thorough
and timely fashion for conditional release
consideration. Our review of offender complaints
showed that many of these delays were directly
related to the Correctional Service’s inability to
provide the required assessments, treatment and
programming before the offender’s scheduled
parole hearing dates. I also highlighted the
chronic shortage of Aboriginal-specific core
programming in maximum-security institutions,
which meant that Aboriginal offenders could
58. Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Office of the Correctional Investigator (November 2006), c. 11 at para. 11.12.
59. Ronald Stewart. Letter dated August1, 2007 at http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2007/nr20071025-2-eng.aspx.
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not carry out their correctional plans and
transfer to lower-security institutions where
Aboriginal programs were more available.
The Pillars of Effective Corrections
1. The absolute necessity of fostering a strong culture
of human rights within the Correctional Service
of Canada.
2. The need for correctional staff and senior
managers to be accountable in their
administration of law and policy.
3. The requirement to assist offenders to ensure their
timely, safe reintegration into the community.
With increased visibility, the Office is now more often
sought out for public comment and called upon to
testify before various parliamentary committees. OCI
staff members have authored many articles on a variety
of correctional issues and have been invited to present
at local, national and international conferences and
workshops. In my opinion, this new focus has brought
a higher and more positive degree of openness and
transparency to federal corrections, and an increased
understanding of the role of the Office.
Upon my arrival, I also took the time to refocus the
Office’s operations on the protection of human rights.
The Annual Report 2004/05 highlighted three pillars
of sound correctional practice: the protection of
human rights; the acceptance of accountability; and
safe, supported, timely reintegration. Adherence to
these basic principles is key to the Correctional Service
meeting its dual statutory obligations: to provide safe,
humane custody; and to assist offenders, through
rehabilitative programming and supervision, to return
to their communities as law-abiding citizens.
In 2005, the OCI was selected as the lead partner
on an important three-year project, funded by
the Canadian International Development Agency,
with the prison administration of China. The Jail
Supervision Division of the Penitentiary Administration
Bureau of the Chinese Public Security Ministry (JSD)
24
Page 24
openly acknowledged significant human rights
challenges in its prisons and demonstrated an interest
in responding to a recent report of the UN Special
Rapporteur against Torture. The UN report was
critical of Chinese authorities’ treatment of their
prisoners. This project is unique because the JSD
is partnering directly with the OCI, whose statutory
mandate includes making recommendations on human
rights compliance. The OCI was specifically selected
for this project because of its unique mandate and its
established expertise in human rights in correctional
settings. Two delegations of senior prison officials from
China came to Canada and evaluated how Canada
manages its prisons and penitentiaries, and how it
provides oversight of its correctional operations.
Deaths in Custody
A year before my arrival, the Office received a CSC
investigation report on the death of Mr. Roger Guimond
and a video of the incident. After completing its
preliminary review on May 12, 2003, the Office
requested additional information. The Correctional
Service failed to provide most of this information and
considered the matter closed. After several other OCI
requests and meetings, the Correctional Service’s
National Headquarters finally reviewed the videotape of
the incident—three months after our initial intervention.
The Commissioner subsequently agreed to convene an
independent investigation of the incident itself and of
the Correctional Service’s previous investigation. In
September 2003, Mr. Roger Tassé, a former Deputy
Minister of Justice, was mandated to undertake the
independent investigation into the Correctional Service’s
conduct and management as regards to the death of
Roger Guimond on October 18, 2002, while he was
an inmate at Port-Cartier Institution. At that time,
the Office suspended its own investigation, pending
the results of Mr. Tassé’s inquiry.
The Correctional Service’s investigation into
Mr. Guimond’s death and management’s subsequent
review of the investigative report were seriously
flawed.
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During his rounds, a correctional officer found
Mr. Guimond, who was an epileptic, lying on the
floor in his cell. He was having trouble breathing and
there was white foam at his mouth. There was a long
delay of one hour and 17 minutes until the cell was
opened to administer first aid. Even after the cell was
opened, Mr. Guimond received no care, despite the
presence of the duty nurse. An ambulance was finally
called and arrived almost two hours after the problem
was first discovered. Mr. Guimond had convulsions on
two occasions and went into cardiopulmonary arrest.
He was finally transferred to an outside hospital but
was declared dead a short time later. A CSC regional
investigation found that the nurse had failed to meet
his obligations but that the Correctional Officers
had acted reasonably under the circumstances. The
Correctional Service’s investigation into Mr. Guimond’s
death and management’s subsequent review of the
investigative report were seriously flawed. Mr. Tassé
made the following comments related to the
Correctional Service’s investigative process:
I found that several individuals failed to get
to the bottom of things; there was a very poor
analysis of the incident and very poor steps
following it. This is the aspect of this affair that
I find distressing. To err is human; no one is
perfect. What is difficult to admit, however, is
that the incident was not seriously analysed and
there was no attempt to learn from it in order
to better manage similar incidents in the future.
As we will see in this report, there were several
times during this affair when the will of several
people in authority to get to the bottom of things
gave way to the easy way out, of refusing to face
the reality of the situation with all of its problems
or to take the necessary corrective measures.60
I believe that without the involvement of the Office,
this incident would have gone unaddressed. As a result
of our action and Mr. Tassé’s report, the Correctional
Service implemented a new protocol to evaluate
the management of medical emergencies; provided
additional training in crisis management; improved
the quality of its investigative procedures; and
improved the delivery of health care.
Page 25
In 2006, the Office continued to be concerned about
the high number of deaths and injuries in federal
institutions. The Office was especially concerned about
the number of similar findings and recommendations
made year after year by the Correctional Service’s
national investigators, provincial coroners and medical
examiners after reviewing inmate deaths. In spring
2006, the Office conducted a comprehensive review
of reports, observations and recommendations dealing
with deaths in custody and other matters. The project
examined all reported deaths—due to factors other
than natural causes—that occurred over a five-year
period in Canadian federal correctional institutions.
The study included all deaths that the Correctional
Service had determined were homicides, suicides,
overdoses or accidents.
The Deaths in Custody Study was submitted to the
Correctional Service in February 2007 and publicly
released in July 2007. It presented troubling findings.
The report provided evidence that the Correctional
Service must enhance its capacity to focus on observations
and recommendations related to deaths in custody.
The Correctional Service had failed to consistently
incorporate lessons learned and to implement corrective
action over time and across regions, as similar errors
were repeatedly made and noted. The study also
suggested that the Correctional Service resisted or failed
to act reasonably on a large proportion of coroners’
findings and recommendations, compared to the
findings and recommendations of its own boards of
investigation. The report concluded that “…the Service
fell short in implementing its own policies and practices,
and in doing everything possible to avert a fatality”.61
Subsequent to the Deaths in Custody Study, the Office
conducted two detailed investigations involving two
inmate deaths. Unfortunately, the two deaths raised
concerns that had been previously discussed in the
Deaths in Custody Study, as well as in previous OCI
annual reports.
60. Canada, Report of the Special Investigation Under Section 20 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act: Death of Inmate Roger Guimond on October 18,
2002 at Port-Cartier Institution (2004) (Chair: Mr. Roger Tassé).
61. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Deaths in Custody Study (2007) at www.oci-bec.gc.ca.
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First, the Office investigated the death of a 52-year-old
First Nations offender who, at the time of his death, was
in the Pathways Healing Unit in a medium-security
institution. In the early hours of Tuesday, October 3,
2006, the inmate inflicted a wound to his left arm,
which lacerated his brachial artery. He pressed his cell
emergency button, which prompted the correctional
officer on duty to attend his cell and to call for
additional staff assistance. By the time paramedics
arrived, approximately 33 minutes after the inmate
had pushed his cell emergency button, they found
him unconscious on the floor of his cell and not
breathing. The paramedics attempted to revive him
with defibrillator equipment and continued their
attempts to revive him while he was transported, in
leg irons, to an outside hospital. He was declared dead
a short time later.
The internal CSC investigations concluded that the
CSC staff who attended to this medical emergency
failed to respond adequately as per policy, and did
little to attempt to save the inmate’s life during the
33-minute period, except to call for an ambulance
10 minutes after he pressed his cell emergency button.
Page 26
Shortly after the death of Ms. Smith, pursuant
to section 170 of the CCRA, the Office reviewed
the circumstances surrounding her death. On
December 21, 2007, the Office provided the
Correctional Service and the Department of
Public Safety with an Interim Report into the Death
of Ashley Smith. The interim report raised troubling
questions about the ability of the Correctional
Service to fulfil its core mandate to provide safe and
humane care and custody for this inmate. The
criminal investigation into her death is ongoing at
the time of writing of this report and, therefore,
very limited information is available to the public.
Most of the issues the Office has publicly raised over
the years relate directly to the Correctional Service’s
current five key corporate priorities. That is not
surprising as, for the most part, both this Office and
the Correctional Service share the same concerns. In
fact, both have a mutual interest in resolving them.
This year’s OCI Annual Report will again address issues
of offender concern related to the Correctional Service’s
five key corporate priorities. My Office believes that
action on these priorities will go a long way toward
addressing longstanding areas of offender concern.
The Office concluded that, while in care of
the Correctional Service, the inmate self-inflicted
a life-threatening wound to his left arm, and
subsequently called for help by pressing his cell
emergency button. Although assistance was
eventually rendered, it fell short of what must
be expected from the CSC.
The second investigation conducted by the OCI
concerned the death of a 19-year-old woman,
Ms. Ashley Smith. On October 19, 2007, Ms. Smith
was pronounced dead at a Kitchener hospital. At the
time of her death, she was an inmate at Grand Valley
Institution for Women (GVI). As a result of her tragic
death, three front-line staff and one correctional manager
were charged with criminal negligence causing death.
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Page 27
THE CORRECTIONAL SERVICE
OF CANADA’S FIVE KEY
PRIORITIES
1.
Safe Transition of Eligible Offenders into the Community
2.
Safety and Security for Staff and Offenders in Our Institutions
3.
Enhanced Capacities to Provide Effective Interventions for First Nations,
Métis and Inuit Offenders
4.
Improved Capacities to Address Mental Health Needs of Offenders
5.
Strengthened Management Practices
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In its last three reports on plans and priorities
(2006/07 to 2008/09), the Correctional Service has
identified the following five key corporate priorities
to guide its efforts to deliver the best possible
correctional results consistent with its mandate:
1. safe transition of eligible offenders into the
community;
2. safety and security for staff and offenders in
our institutions;
3. enhanced capacities to provide effective
interventions for First Nations, Métis and
Inuit offenders;
4. improved capacities to address mental health
needs of offenders; and
5. strengthened management practices.
The Office will comment once again this year on
offender concerns as they relate to these five CSC
priorities, past recommendations, commitments and
progress in addressing the concerns. We will also make
special comments regarding the Correctional Service’s
internal offender grievance process.
1. Safe Transition of
Eligible Offenders into
the Community
We know that evidence-based programming and
treatment can significantly reduce re-offending,
and we acknowledge the Correctional Service’s
endorsement of such programming and treatment
approaches.
For almost two decades, this Office has raised
concerns in its annual reports about the degree to
which the Correctional Service prepares offenders
in a thorough and timely fashion for conditional
release consideration.
Page 29
As discussed in the Looking Back section, for almost
two decades, this Office has raised concerns in its annual
reports about the degree to which the Correctional
Service prepares offenders in a thorough and timely
fashion for conditional release consideration. Providing
timely, targeted correctional programs designed to
address identified criminogenic factors can significantly
reduce re-offending and thereby enhance public safety.
The Correctional Service’s latest Departmental
Performance Report stated:
Research shows that society is best protected
when an offender is gradually reintegrated into
society through supervised release, rather than
at the end of sentence with no control—no
supervision or constraints; no opportunity to
revoke the release on indication of problematic
behaviour; and no opportunity to reassess and
intervene in a manner that would reduce the
potential for re-offending.62
Recently, the Panel established by the Minister of
Public Safety to provide him with independent expert
advice endorsed this approach. In its report, A Roadmap
to Strengthening Public Safety, the CSC Review Panel,
chaired by Robert Sampson, specifically acknowledged
that implementing research-based correctional programs,
paired with evaluation and accreditation processes, is
the best approach and should be continued.63
Upon admission to a penitentiary, every inmate
is assessed, and a correctional plan prescribing
programming is put in place. Indeed, the Correctional
Service has some very good programs and initiatives
related to education, employment, substance abuse,
living skills, sex offender treatment, violent offender
treatment and family violence prevention that
significantly decrease re-offending.
The Correctional Service continues to make progress
in the area of risk assessment, either by enhancing
existing tools or by developing new tools to assess
the risk and needs of various segments of its prison
population, such as women offenders, Aboriginal
62. Correctional Service of Canada, Departmental Performance Report 2006–2007 (2007) at 32.
63. Canada, Correctional Service of Canada Review Panel, A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety (2007) (Chair: Mr. Rob Sampson) (www.ps-sp.gc.ca).
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offenders, violent offenders and sexual offenders.
However, this progress has been slow, and there is
evidence that some assessment tools continue to
impose security classifications that are higher than
necessary. That results in offenders, particularly women
and Aboriginal offenders, being unnecessarily placed
in higher security institutions than their situation
warrants, and thereby being denied access to needed
programs.
The Correctional Service has good programs, and
has made some progress in addressing the validity
and reliability of its risk and needs assessment tools.
However, this Office is concerned about the CSC’s
decreasing ability to move offenders through their
correctional plans in a timely fashion and to prepare
them for conditional release consideration. Limited
program capacity affects the ability of willing offenders
to participate in their correctional plans, thereby
delaying their safe reintegration into the community,
increasing both overcrowding and costs.
Now, as the Correctional Service faces increases to its
offender population, the situation has become critical.
Many of these delays relate directly to the Correctional
Service’s current difficulty in providing the required
assessments and treatment before an offender’s
scheduled parole hearing dates. More offenders will
return unprepared to the community, where they
will be supervised for a shorter period. For the great
majority of offenders, timely, gradual and supported
reintegration is the most effective way to enhance
public safety.
To address some of the issues associated with timely
case preparation and access to programs, a joint
working group involving the Correctional Service, the
National Parole Board and the OCI was established
more than four years ago. In November 2004, the
working group issued its Report on Factors Causing
Delays in National Parole Board Reviews. The report
made recommendations to facilitate timely conditional
release reviews. It also recommended ensuring that
offenders appearing before the Board receive the
30
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assistance and programs they need for their eventual
safe community reintegration in a timely manner.
To date, there is no evidence that the situation has
improved. On the contrary, the following is true:
•
•
According to the National Parole Board, the
proportion of inmates released from federal
institutions at the end of their sentences, with
no prior parole, increased from 66 percent in
2002/03 to 73 percent in 2006/07.
With a budget of $1.8 billion, the CSC
allocated only $37 million in 2006/07 for core
programming—one of the key elements of its
legislative mandate. That represents approximately
2 percent of its total budget.
We support the Correctional Service’s efforts to secure
resources to improve timely access to a full range of
effective offender programs and treatment. The following
specific barriers to reintegration in the area of access
to programs remain to be addressed by the
Correctional Service:
•
•
•
•
•
•
long waiting lists for programs in most regions,
resulting in programs being provided late in the
offender’s sentence, beyond his or her parole
eligibility dates;
waivers, postponements and withdrawals of
applications for National Parole Board hearings
because of delayed program access;
the fact that correctional plans must be developed
and implemented more quickly due to the
increased percentage of new offenders being
admitted with sentences of four years or less;
a shortage of program facilitators and program
officers, especially those with the skill sets required
to deliver Aboriginal-specific programming;
limited access to programs in the community,
especially for women and Aboriginal offenders;
limited or no anti-gang programming in most
institutions—meaning that, by default, reliance
on segregation and increased security levels are
quickly becoming the norm in managing this
area of concern;
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•
•
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difficulties in recruiting and retaining mental
health professionals;
delays in evaluation and national implementation
of Aboriginal-specific programming; and
the chronic shortage of Aboriginal-specific core
programming in maximum-security institutions,
which means that Aboriginal offenders cannot
carry out their correctional plans and transfer
to lower security institutions where Aboriginal
programs are available.
The Correctional Service is committed to making
genuine progress in the development of reliable and
valid risk and need assessment tools, and to increasing
its capacity to deliver programs. However, it seriously
lacks the resources it needs to fulfil its mandate of
preparing offenders for timely and safe reintegration
into the community. Addressing that lack must be
a priority.
1. I recommend that the Correctional Service
immediately allocate adequate resources to
measurably improve its capacity to provide
the required assessments and programming in
advance of the offender’s scheduled parole
hearing dates.
2. I recommend that the Correctional Service
establish as a priority the timely preparation
of cases to appear before the National Parole
Board, as per existing policy. Performance in
this priority area should be both measured
and closely monitored on an ongoing basis
through increased reporting at the regional
and national levels, and form a component of
the CSC Departmental Performance Reports.
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2. Safety and Security
for Staff and Offenders
in Our Institutions
The overall level of violence in penitentiaries remains
unacceptable. A key legislative responsibility of the
federal correctional system is to ensure that inmates
serve their sentences in a safe and secure environment.
For years, this Office has expressed concern regarding
the extent to which the Correctional Service provides
such an environment. Experience shows that
mechanisms such as positive, ongoing interactions
with offenders and alternative dispute resolution help
diminish institutional violence. Recent instances of
violence have been attributed to gang-related activities,
drug use and other chronic frustrations. Prison violence
remains for the most part unaddressed on a systematic
and integrated basis by the Correctional Service.
The overall level of violence in penitentiaries remains
unacceptable. A key legislative responsibility of the
federal correctional system is to ensure that inmates
serve their sentences in a safe and secure environment.
Additional mental health services would significantly
improve the institutional environment. Far too many
vulnerable offenders suffering from mental illnesses
are subject to abuse from other offenders, while many
more become the subject of avoidable use-of-force
interventions and extensive placements in segregation.
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The Deaths in
Custody Study
In 2006, in response to our concern about the high
number of deaths and injuries in federal institutions,
the Office conducted a comprehensive review of
reports, observations and recommendations dealing
with deaths in custody. The Deaths in Custody Study,
referenced in the Looking Back section of this report,
was submitted to the Correctional Service in February
2007 and publicly released in July 2007. The study
came to the disturbing conclusion that “it is likely
that some of the deaths in custody could have been
averted through improved risk assessments, more
vigorous preventive measures, and more competent
and timely responses by institutional staff ”.64
The Correctional Service indicated a willingness to
address many of the Deaths in Custody Study’s findings.
The Correctional Service committed to improving
the timeliness and effectiveness of the investigation
process, and to enhancing its mental health capacity
and responsiveness to incidents. Over the last year, we
have been made aware of initiatives aimed at addressing
concerns raised in the Deaths in Custody Study. These
include the following:
•
•
•
•
•
a new website, accessible to all CSC employees
and managers, that summarizes lessons learned
in the management of incidents that resulted
in deaths;
an ongoing survey of wardens on how best
to manage medical emergencies;
a new Commissioner’s Directive, “Use of
and Responding to Alarms”;
an ongoing review of the policy on recording
and reporting security incidents; and
a further commitment to a detailed analysis
of injuries sustained by offenders with mental
health issues.
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Although these are good initiatives, they fall short of
what is required and expected in the circumstances to
address the concerns raised in the Deaths in Custody
Study. There is concern that these initiatives will not
result in consistent application of corrective action
across the country and over time. In the meantime,
two of our own recent investigations, detailed in the
Looking Back section of this report, suggest that
preventable deaths continue to occur. Unfortunately,
we anticipate more cases.
Given the seriousness of the issues, I expect a much
more rigorous and coordinated response by the
Correctional Service in the coming fiscal year.
3. I recommend that the Correctional Service
develop an action plan on the steps it will
take to establish a process to ensure consistent
and timely implementation, as well as regular
follow-up, of its recommendations, and those
of coroners and medical examiners.
4. I recommend that the Correctional Service:
• establish a consistent framework for recording
and reporting attempted suicides, self-inflicted
injuries and overdoses;
• provide a systemic review and analysis
of the circumstances associated with these
types of injuries; and
• initiate corrective action to prevent the
recurrence of such injuries.
5. I recommend that the Correctional Service
ensure that all relevant reports related to
offender deaths are provided to coroners and
medical examiners in a timely fashion,
and that recommendations from these bodies
are immediately responded to.
64. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Deaths in Custody Study (2007) at www.oci-bec.gc.ca.
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3. Enhanced Capacities
to Provide Effective
Interventions for First
Nations, Métis and Inuit
Offenders
The overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in
Canada’s prisons and penitentiaries is well known.
Nationally, Aboriginal people are less than 3 percent
of the Canadian population, but they comprise almost
20 percent of the total federal prison population. For
women, this overrepresentation is even more
dramatic—they represent 32 percent of women in
federal penitentiaries. Using the latest census data, we
estimate the overall incarceration rate of Aboriginal
Canadians to be 983 per 100,000, or almost nine
times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal people.
In June 2006, the Correctional Service published a
Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections to address the
specific needs of all Aboriginal offenders and to help
the CSC move forward in three key areas:
•
•
•
implement initiatives within a continuum
of care to provide culturally appropriate
interventions that address the specific
criminogenic needs of First Nations, Métis
and Inuit men and federally sentenced women
offenders;
enhance horizontal collaboration and
coordination within the CSC, within the
Public Safety portfolio, and with other levels
of government, Aboriginal organizations and
stakeholders, to contribute to Aboriginal
community development and to help
Aboriginal offenders initiate and sustain
their healing journeys; and
address systemic barriers internally and increase
CSC cultural competence.
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In spite of the above, the overall situation for the great
majority of Aboriginal offenders has not significantly
improved. My Annual Report 2006/07 detailed a
persistent pattern of disadvantaged outcomes resulting
from existing policies, procedures, practices and
organizational structures. The Report focused on
inequitable results or outcomes of current CSC
policies and practices, such as the following:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Inmates of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage
face routine over-classification, resulting in their
placement in minimum-security institutions at
only half the rate of non-Aboriginal offenders.
The over-classification for Aboriginal women is
even worse. For example, at the end of September
2007, native women made up 45 percent of
maximum-security federally sentenced women,
44 percent of the medium-security population
and only 18 percent of minimum-security
women.
Placement in a maximum-security institution
and segregation limits access to rehabilitative
programming and services intended to prepare
inmates for release.
This over-classification is a problem because
it means inmates often serve their sentences far
away from their family, their community, and
the valuable support of friends and elders.
Aboriginal offenders are placed in segregation
more often than non-Aboriginal offenders.
Aboriginal inmates are released later in their
sentences than other inmates.
The proportion of full parole applications
resulting in National Parole Board reviews is
lower for Aboriginal offenders.
The use of work releases has dropped
dramatically, from 1,044 in 2003/04 to 655
in 2007/08—a 37 percent decrease. Work
releases for Aboriginal offenders dropped even
more dramatically—by 71 percent, from 160
to 47, in the same period. The Correctional
Service is failing to use an effective reintegration
tool with an almost 100 percent success rate—
work releases.
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Aboriginal offenders are more likely to be released
on statutory releases, as opposed to parole, resulting
in increased periods of incarceration and less time in
the community under supervision. The proportion
of Aboriginal offenders under community supervision
is significantly smaller than the proportion of nonAboriginal offenders serving their sentences on
conditional release. Aboriginal offenders continue
to be overrepresented among all offenders referred
for detention. Parole is more likely to be revoked for
Aboriginal offenders than for non-Aboriginal people.
The rate of revocations for breach of conditions (no
new criminal offence) is higher for Aboriginal offenders.
Aboriginal offenders are re-admitted to federal custody
more frequently than non-Aboriginal offenders, and
too often this cycle of unfair treatment begins again.
To break this cycle, the Correctional Service must do
a better job of preparing Aboriginal offenders while
they are in custody and provide better support while
they are in the community.
Aboriginal offenders are more likely to be released
on statutory releases, as opposed to parole, resulting
in increased periods of incarceration and less time
in the community under supervision.
In past OCI annual reports, this Office recommended
that the Correctional Service appoint a deputy
commissioner specifically responsible for Aboriginal
corrections to ensure that the Correctional Service
incorporates Aboriginal concerns into all of
its operational and policy decisions at the senior
level. This recommendation has not been accepted.
The Correctional Service instead expanded
the role and responsibilities of the Senior Deputy
Commissioner (SDC) by adding the Aboriginal
portfolio to his duties. Three years later, there is little
evidence that this change has had the desired result.
On the contrary, the gap in outcomes between
Aboriginal and other offenders continues to grow.
Page 34
The Corrections and Conditional Release Act
stipulates that the Correctional Service shall establish
a National Aboriginal Advisory Committee to advise
the Correctional Service on the provision of correctional
services to Aboriginal offenders. The National Aboriginal
Advisory Committee has not met since June 2004. In
response to my last annual report, the Correctional
Service indicated that “work to select new members
for the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee is
underway”.65 A year later, this Office has yet to be
informed of the re-establishment of this legally
required committee.
We continue to be concerned that the Correctional
Service does not have the necessary data collection
systems in place to monitor and evaluate its progress
in the area of Aboriginal corrections. We have for
years recommended that the Correctional Service
publicly issue detailed quarterly reports analyzing
key correctional outcomes for Aboriginal offenders,
including transfers, segregation, discipline, temporary
absences and work releases, detention referrals, delayed
parole reviews, and suspensions and revocations of
conditional releases. The Correctional Service indicated
in its Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections that it
would develop and implement an integrated monitoring
system for assessing the impact of policy and operational
changes on Aboriginal offenders by March 2007.
This date has long passed, and there is no evidence of
improved data collection or analysis. In fact, we have been
advised that the Correctional Service will now produce
only basic internal annual reports on Aboriginal
offenders, as it claims trends are not significantly
changing over time. Key correctional outcomes must
be the subject of close and regular monitoring to
evaluate progress on the implementation of the
Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections.
In response to my last annual report, the Correctional
Service stated that it uses the Departmental Performance
Report (DPR) to “…report on progress toward
the goals of the National Action Plan on Aboriginal
Offenders”.66 Unfortunately, the latest CSC DPR,
65. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2006/2007 at 45.
66. Ibid.
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for 2006/07, does not report on key correctional
outcomes that are of concern to this Office, including
transfers, segregation, discipline, temporary absences
and work releases, detention referrals, delayed parole
reviews, and suspensions and revocations of conditional
releases. Therefore, parliamentarians and Canadians
have no way of evaluating the Correctional Service’s
progress, or lack thereof, in this priority area of
concern. The lack of openness and the refusal to
engage in full reporting on this critical file remain
a serious concern to this Office.
Over the years, my Office and other observers have
become increasingly concerned about over-classification
of Aboriginal and women offenders, and the
discriminatory use of the Correctional Service’s
actuarial risk assessment tools. Actuarial risk
assessment tools are psychological scales that measure
the potential or risk of recidivism, institutional
adjustment or escape, and reintegration.
The Correctional Service developed an action plan
in response to findings questioning the validity of its
actuarial tools. Unfortunately, we understand that the
Correctional Service only expects to fully implement
new tools by fiscal 2009/10, more than six years after
the Canadian Human Rights Commission found
that women and Aboriginal offenders were subject
to systemic discrimination, and 13 years after Justice
Arbour raised this concern.
The combination of over-classification and lack of
Aboriginal programming best illustrates how systemic
barriers can hinder offender reintegration. Aboriginal
offenders are over-classified because of a poorly
conceived actuarial scale. As a result, Aboriginal
offenders are disproportionately and inappropriately
placed in higher security institutions, which have
limited or no access to core programs designed to
meet their unique needs. This scenario, for the most
part, explains why the reintegration of Aboriginal
offenders is lagging so significantly behind the
reintegration of other offenders. Clearly, correctional
outcomes cannot be explained by individual
differences alone.
Page 35
6. I recommend that the Minister immediately
re-establish the National Aboriginal Advisory
Committee, as required by law.
7. Once it is appointed, I recommend that the
National Aboriginal Advisory Committee,
as its first order of business:
•
•
review the Correctional Service’s governance
structure and resources allocated to ensure the
timely implementation the CSC’s Strategic
Plan for Aboriginal Corrections; and
examine the capacity of the Correctional
Service to monitor progress on key correctional
performance indicators, including transfers,
segregation, discipline, temporary absences
and work releases, detention referrals, delayed
parole reviews, and suspensions and
revocations of conditional releases.
4. Improved Capacities
to Address Mental Health
Needs of Offenders
As reported in the Correctional Service’s Report on
Plans and Priorities 2007/08, mental health problems
are up to three times more common among inmates
in correctional institutions than among the general
Canadian population. More than 1 out of 10 male
inmates and 1 out of 5 female inmates have been
identified at admission as having mental health
problems, an increase of 71 percent and 61 percent,
respectively, since 1997.
In July 2004, the Correctional Service approved a
Mental Health Strategy that promotes the adoption
of a continuum of care from initial intake through
the safe release of offenders into the community. In
December 2005, the Correctional Service secured
funds to strengthen the community component of
this strategy. This Office welcomed the news of these
new investments—approximately $6 million per year
for five years—in community mental health. We
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also note the Government of Canada’s inclusion
in its March 2007 Budget of new investments—
approximately $21 million over two years—to address
the lack of a comprehensive mental health intake
assessment process and to improve primary mental
health care in CSC institutions. The March 2008
Budget provided additional ongoing funding—
approximately $16 million per year.
Mental health problems are up to three times more
common among inmates in correctional institutions
than among the general Canadian population.
Even with the new funding, the current situation
remains problematic on several fronts. First, the
Correctional Service has difficulty recruiting additional
mental health professionals—such as nurses (including
those with psychiatric specializations), psychologists,
and behavioural science technologists and behavioural
counsellors—to fill existing funded positions. In fact,
before the recent funding was secured, the Correctional
Service had a large staff deficit in at least two of its
regions. Therefore, some funding lapsed. Recruiting
and retaining staff, and making the Correctional
Service an employer of choice for mental health
professionals, will remain a challenge for years to come.
The Correctional Service faces many barriers in
recruiting and retaining staff, many of which are
beyond its control. First, some government-wide
human resources policies hinder its ability to hire
and retain mental health professionals. Second,
the physical infrastructure of three of its Regional
Treatment Centres (RTCs) is archaic and not conducive
to addressing offenders’ treatment needs. As noted in
the CSC Panel Report, significant capital investments
are required to address this situation.67 Finally, no
funding has been secured for what is identified as
“intermediate mental health care”. There are many
offenders who need ongoing mental health care and
support, but who do not require the level of intensive
care offered in RTCs. These offenders, who make up a
significant proportion of offenders with mental health
concerns, are not receiving the level of care they need.
Page 36
Too often, their symptoms are managed through
placement in segregation. Infrastructure investments
are needed to establish intermediate mental health
care units to address this service gap.
The full implementation of the Correctional Service’s
Mental Health Strategy is urgently required. It will
ensure that the Correctional Service complies with its
legal obligation to provide every inmate with essential
mental health care and reasonable access to non-essential
mental health care that will contribute to the inmate’s
rehabilitation and successful reintegration into the
community, according to professionally accepted
standards. Improving outcomes in this area is critical.
In the Report on Plans and Priorities 2008/09, the
Correctional Service assesses the impact of not
providing adequate mental health services as follows:
Inmates with untreated mental health disorders
cannot engage in their correctional plans. They
may compromise the safety of other inmates
and front-line staff, and many may become
unstable within the community upon release,
particularly where service providers may not
perceive offenders as one of their client groups.68
8. I recommend that the Minister make
securing adequate and permanent funding
for intermediate mental health care a key
portfolio priority.
9. I recommend that the Correctional Service
make its training initiatives to ensure that
all front-line employees are trained in dealing
with mentally ill offenders a priority for the
current fiscal year.
67. Canada, Correctional Service of Canada Review Panel, A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety (2007) (Chair: Mr. Rob Sampson) (www.ps-sp.gc.ca).
68. Correctional Service of Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities 2008/09 (2007) at 31.
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5. Strengthened
Management Practices
In its latest report on plans and priorities, the
Correctional Service committed to strengthening
its management practices by ensuring that there is
a “robust and effective organization that is able to
deliver on its key operational priorities and other
activities in a cost-effective manner and to do this
in a way that is consistent with public service values
that are essential to a healthy workplace and to the
confidence and trust of Canadians”.69 The Correctional
Service states that it will do so by improving results in
the areas of harassment, staff grievances, respect, trust,
accountability, management practices, ethics, resources,
integrity, fairness, inclusiveness of the workplace and
respect. The Correctional Service should be commended
for its leadership efforts to strengthen its management
practices. We will limit our comments and observations
on this key priority to those initiatives that are of
concern because of their impact on the offender
population. Clearly, management practices can, and
do, influence the treatment of offenders.
Human Resources Issues
In its Strategic Plan for Human Resource Management
2007–2010, the Correctional Service acknowledges
that it must put into place robust measures to recruit
and retain a representative workforce. The Correctional
Service identified the need to continue to increase the
proportion of Aboriginal workers at all levels, particularly
in its executive ranks and in institutions with significant
Aboriginal offender populations. It planned to implement
a national strategy for recruiting Aboriginal employees
and senior executives to meet its needs, starting in
March 2008. This Office has yet to receive a copy
of this national strategy, or any indication of how
achievements will be evaluated and reported.
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The offender population is becoming increasingly
diverse, and the Correctional Service must ensure that
its workforce is representative of this diversity. A diverse,
representative workforce at all levels of the organization
is one of the best ways of promoting meaningful and
positive interactions among staff and offenders.
10. I recommend that the Correctional Service
increase the representation of diverse groups in
its workforce at all levels to reflect the ethnocultural diversity of its offender population.
A Special Word
on Grievance and
Harassment Complaints
This past year, the Correctional Service revised its
Commissioner’s Directive CD 081 on the internal
offender complaints and grievances system. The revision
involved a consultation with stakeholders. Initially,
the consultation failed to include proposed changes to
timeframes for response at the Commissioner’s level.
After my Office pointed out this shortcoming, the
Correctional Service consulted on the issue of a
proposed new timeframe for processing third-level
grievances. This process included a consultation with
offenders. In the end, the CSC revised CD 081 and
adopted extended timeframes for response to grievances
at the Commissioner’s level. The new timeframes moved
from 25 days to 80 days for routine grievances and
from 15 days to 60 days for high-priority grievances.
This amendment raises serious concerns in terms of
the Correctional Service’s legislative responsibilities
to provide “a procedure for fairly and expeditiously
resolving offenders’ grievances”.70
It is evident that the huge increase in response
times—within a system that has for decades been
criticized for its inability to respond in a thorough,
objective and timely fashion—places at issue the
69. Ibid.
70. Corrections and Conditional Release Act, s. 90.
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Correctional Service’s commitment to ensuring
that offender grievances are resolved in a fair and
expeditious manner. It further places in question the
commitment of the Correctional Service to complying
with the intent of the Arbour recommendations
directed at the Commissioner’s level of the process.
As previously noted, the current inmate grievance
process is rooted in the 1977 Report to Parliament
of the Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary System in
Canada. The timeline for the Correctional Service
to respond to inmate grievances was initially set at
10 working days for each of the four levels.
The relationship between this Office and the inmate
grievance process is longstanding. The initial Annual
Report 1973/1974 notes that “in conjunction with
the establishment of the Office of the Correctional
Investigator, the Canadian Penitentiary Service established
an inmate grievance procedure for dealing with inmate
complaints”.71 The Office commented on the need
for a timely response from the Correctional Service
if both organizations were to effectively fulfil their
respective mandates.
The Office, in its Annual Report 1989/90, concluded
with regard to the grievance process:
The effectiveness and credibility of any
levelled redress mechanism is dependent upon
a combined front-end process which is capable,
in a participative fashion, of thoroughly and
objectively reviewing the issue at question. It
also requires a final level within the process
which has the courage to take definitive and
timely decisions on those issues which are
referred to its attention for resolution. I feel the
difficulties with the current grievance process
are not directly related to its structure or its
existing procedures, but rather to the lack of
commitment and acceptance of responsibility
on the part of CSC’s senior management for its
operation. An improvement in the effectiveness
Page 38
and credibility of the process will only happen
when those responsible for its operation decide
to make it work.72
The Correctional Service initiated a formal review of
the grievance process in April 1989, the first of many.
In 1990 the Commissioner of the day, in response to
the Office’s comments concerning senior management
commitment and acceptance of responsibility, stated
“…the timelines of our responses will be seen—quite
correctly—as a real indicator of the importance we
place on resolving offender complaints”.
The difficulties with the process persisted, and
in 1993 the Office recommended “…that the
Service conduct an extensive national audit on the
management of the current procedure with a view to
not only ensuring that the timeframes and reporting
requirements are met, but to as well examine the
thoroughness and objectivity of the current procedure
and the level of credibility it currently holds with
the population it is intended to serve”.73 This
recommendation was rejected. The Correctional
Service opted to initiate its third “high-level review”
of the process in five years. This review eventually
resulted in policy changes but no improvement in
performance.
The inmate grievance system was a central area of
focus for the Arbour Commission. The Arbour Report
of 1996 stated:
It is striking that virtually all of the issues that
have arisen in the course of this inquiry were
raised in the first instance by the inmates in
complaints, grievances and, in some cases, in
letters addressed to senior Correctional Service
officials.
Some of these grievances were never answered
at all. Those that were answered were almost
always answered late; in some cases, several
months after the answers were due. There is
71. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1973/1974 at 13.
72. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1989/1990 at 29.
73. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1992/1993 at 24.
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no system to effectively prioritize those
grievances where the only effective response
would be one received on an urgent basis.
However, by far the most troubling aspect of
the responses to those grievances, which raised
important issues of fundamental inmate rights,
was the number of times in which the response
failed to deal properly with the substance of
the issue raised.74
In the Finding Section on grievances, Justice
Arbour stated:
The Correctional Investigator has pointed out
for years the chronic un-timeliness of the response
to the complaint and grievance process in the
Correctional Service. In reply, the Correctional
Service now takes the position that it has set
for itself unrealistic timeframes within which to
respond and that these will have to be readjusted.
I agree that grievances should be dealt with
within a timeframe that will allow an adequate
and informative response. The evidence I have
heard discloses that lengthy delays produce
often neither.75
The Correctional Investigator has pointed out for
years the chronic un-timeliness of the response to the
complaint and grievance process in the Correctional
Service.
In response to the Arbour Report, the Correctional
Service adjusted its policy on offender complaints and
grievances in June 1998. These adjustments included
the following:
•
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•
•
differentiation of response timeframes based
on priority; and
adjustment of timeframes to ensure thorough
investigations.
This Office was actively involved in the consultations
leading to these adjustments and supportive of the
policy direction taken. With respect to the issues of
timeframes and priorities, the policy stated:
CSC will ensure that offenders are provided
with complete, written responses to issues raised
in complaints and grievances within 15 working
days of receipt, when the complaint or grievance
is assessed as being a priority case, and within
25 working days in all other cases.76
The Office was advised during the consultation process
leading to the above-noted policy changes that the
extensions to the response timeframes of 5 days for
priority grievances and 15 days for other cases would
ensure a timely and thorough response to offender
concerns at all levels of the process.
The Annual Report 1999/00 acknowledged the
improvements to the grievance process and concluded:
This Office has a vested interest in ensuring
that the Service’s internal grievance procedure is
both fair and expeditious in resolving individual
offender complaints and identifying systemic
areas of concern. With in excess of twenty
thousand federal offenders, we cannot be, nor
were we ever intended to be, the primary reviewer
of offender complaints. The grievance process,
to be effective, must be and be seen by the
offender population to be thorough, objective
and timely in responding to their complaints.77
formal prioritization of offender grievances
based on their potential effect on rights and
freedoms;
74. Canada, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston (1996) at 150 and 151
(Chair: Justice Louise Arbour).
75. Ibid. at 162.
76. Correctional Service of Canada. Commissioner’s Directive 081: Offender Complaints and Grievances.
77. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 1999/2000 at 10 and 11.
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The backlog of grievance responses, mainly at the
regional and national levels of the process, had
returned by 2002. A recommendation in the Annual
Report 2001/02 again focused on the issue of delay:
I recommend, with respect to the Inmate
Grievance Procedure, that the Service initiate
action immediately, to clean up the backlog of
outstanding grievances and establish procedures
to ensure that grievances are addressed in a
timely fashion.78
In 2004, the Correctional Service initiated a “human
resources capacity review within the offender redress
process”. The Office was further advised that “CSC is
currently reviewing the grievance manual and all of
the grievance-related processes to improve timelines
of responses”. The timeliness of responses, specifically
at the Commissioner’s level of the process, did not
improve.
I concluded in my Annual Report 2004/05 that the
inmate grievance process was “…dysfunctional in
terms of ’expeditiously resolving offender grievances’,
most notably at the national level”.79 I recommended
that the Correctional Service take immediate steps to
review the operation of its process and that it retain
an external consultant to assist with its review. In
response to this recommendation, the Correctional
Service stated:
CSC is currently conducting a national review
of the offender Redress Process which will be
completed by February 2006. The review
addresses the efficacy of the current process,
as well as resource requirements and reporting
structures.
At the third level (Commissioner), timeliness
continues to be a serious challenge and must be
addressed. The review will address these issues.80
78.
79.
80.
81.
82.
83.
40
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I noted in my Annual Report 2005/06 that while
the Correctional Service had initially agreed with my
previous year’s recommendation, the branch responsible
for offender redress had conducted the national review
of the offender redress process, with no external
involvement. The CSC produced a report in May
2006 acknowledging that present operations “…are
not meeting statutory requirements”, but to date no
action plan has been finalized to reasonably address
the matter. I further commented that during fiscal
2005/06, only 15 percent of the grievances responded
to at the Commissioner’s level were addressed on time.
I recommended that the “…Correctional Service
immediately comply with its legal obligation and
establish a procedure for fairly and expeditiously
resolving all offender grievances”.81
The Correctional Service’s response of June 2006
was that it would “…continue to review and improve
its current process for responding to offender complaints
and grievances, at all levels within CSC”.82 The
Correctional Service further stated “…through resource
re-allocations, the backlog of grievances at the third
level (Commissioner’s), at the end of FY 05-06, had
been eliminated. Every effort will be made through
streamlining of processes and policy improvements to
sustain these gains and ensure timeliness of responses
at the national level”.83
Regarding this issue, I stated in my Annual Report
2006/07:
The Correctional Service in 1998, facing
excessively lengthy delays and a lack of
compliance with its own policy, extended its
timeframes “to better reflect the time required
to respond”. This Office raised concerns at the
time that such an extension was inconsistent
with the Correctional Service’s commitment to
“an effective timely redress process for offenders”
and did not reflect legal requirements. Almost
a decade later, only 22% of the grievances
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2001/2002 at 32.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2004/2005 at 19.
Ibid. at 58.
Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2005/2006 at 14.
Ibid. at 47.
Ibid.
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identified as high priority at the Commissioner’s
level were answered within these expanded
timeframes in fiscal 2006–07 and the
Correctional Service is again considering
extending the already extended timeframes.84
Given the above history on the matter, the movement
of the response time on priority grievances at the
Commissioner’s level from three weeks to three
months is unacceptable. Given the seriousness of
the situation, I see no other alternative than to
recommend outside assistance to ensure the timely
and fair resolution of third-level grievances.
11. I recommend that the Minister direct the
Correctional Service to immediately re-instate
the response times at the Commissioner’s level
of the Offender Grievance and Complaint
System at 15 days for priority grievances and
25 days for non-priority grievances, and that
the Correctional Service take the necessary
steps to comply with those timeframes.
84. Office of the Correctional Investigator, Annual Report 2006/2007 at 25.
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LOOKING FORWARD
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I am convinced that when the Correctional Service
pays adequate attention to offender concerns, its
effectiveness vastly improves, staff and inmates
co-exist in a safer environment, and the public is best
served. Everyone, including society at large, benefits
from a strong commitment to effective corrections—
the delivery of evidence-based correctional services
and policy within a framework respectful of legal
and human rights.
My Office is committed to continuing to engage in
a constructive dialogue with the Correctional Service
and to making progress on many longstanding areas
of offender concern. Our focus will continue to be
on ensuring fairness and accountability.
I am convinced that when the Correctional Service
pays adequate attention to offender concerns, its
effectiveness vastly improves, staff and inmates
co-exist in a safer environment, and the public
is best served.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the United
Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On
December 10, 2007, the UN Secretary-General
launched a year-long campaign to celebrate this
milestone. The theme of the campaign is “dignity
and justice for all of us”. To pay special tribute to
this anniversary, Ms. Louise Arbour, UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR),
reached out to all national human rights institutions
around the world to focus their attention on the
situation of persons deprived of their liberty in prisons
and other places of detention. The Office of the
UNHCHR invited the national human rights
institutions, including specialized ombudsman offices
such as the OCI, to undertake activities promoting
dignity and justice for detainees throughout 2008.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
designated the week of October 6–12, 2008, to
showcase these activities and publicly demonstrate
these institutions’ commitment to the fair and
humane treatment of detainees.
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Canada could take advantage of this UN initiative
and further demonstrate its commitment to protecting
and promoting human rights. The OCI urges the
Government of Canada to use this opportunity to
announce its commitment to signing and ratifying the
Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture.
This action would continue Canada’s long tradition
of promoting and defending human rights at home
and abroad. In this context, Canada would have an
opportunity to assess its domestic oversight framework
for all places of detention. The mandates of existing
oversight agencies could be reviewed to ensure that
all persons detained in Canada are subject to effective
independent oversight, and the independence of
oversight agencies could be reaffirmed or enhanced,
where required. That would clearly and unequivocally
demonstrate, to Canadians and the international
community, Canada’s commitment to accountability
in promoting and protecting human rights.
With respect to my Office, I am convinced the time
is right to implement the long-called-for change in its
reporting relationship to Parliament. Currently, I am
required to provide annual and special reports to the
federal Minister of Public Safety, who, in turn, must
submit them to both houses of Parliament within
30 sitting days. A key element of any ombudsman
operation is the independence of the Office from the
government organization it is mandated to investigate.
This independence has traditionally been established
and maintained by having the ombudsman office report
directly to the legislative authority that established it.
The current reporting relationship through the federal
Minister of Public Safety, given the Minister’s direct
responsibility for the Correctional Service, has been
an ongoing point of debate since the Office was created.
Reporting directly to Parliament is more consistent
with the traditional role of ombudsman offices and
would help ensure that the Office’s independence is
never questioned.
12. I recommend that as part of any review of
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,
the Minister propose that the Office of the
Correctional Investigator report directly
to Parliament.
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Again, this year I welcome the opportunity to thank
my staff members in the Office, who have worked
so tirelessly for the betterment of federal corrections.
Their professionalism and personal commitment to
the mandate of the Office reflect the core values and
ethics of the Public Service.
The Correctional Service is in a transitional phase.
Many initiatives are underway that will affect the
future of corrections. On April 20, 2007, the Minister
announced the establishment of an independent panel
to look at the CSC’s operational policies, strategies
and business plans, in order to determine future
directions for the Correctional Service. This initiative
was part of the government’s commitment to protecting
Canadian families and communities. The panel released
its report on December 13, 2007.85 It included 109
recommendations, focusing on five key themes:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
offender accountability;
elimination of drugs from prisons;
offender employment and employability;
physical infrastructure; and
elimination of statutory release and a movement
toward earned parole.
The government responded to the CSC panel
recommendations via its March 2008 Budget.86 It is
not clear how many recommendations will eventually
be implemented. However, the March 2008 Budget
funded the CSC’s Transformation Office to examine
the panel’s recommendations and develop detailed
responses.
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The next fiscal year promises to be another very
demanding one for the OCI, as our workload will
continue to increase. We are looking forward to
working collaboratively with the Correctional Service
on its five key priorities. We acknowledge that our
shared issues will not be easy to resolve. However, we
hope that the Correctional Service will respond not
only to our specific recommendations but also to the
context in which they arise, by setting the bar high
and committing itself to addressing these longstanding
offender concerns in a reasonable and timely way.
Canadians deserve nothing less than the best correctional
system in return for their significant and growing
investment.
In the coming year, the Office will meet with
stakeholders concerned about in-custody deaths and
will examine the feasibility of implementing a formal
reporting and information-sharing system in Canada.
Such systems already exist in other jurisdictions and
have proven to be invaluable in assisting to prevent
tragic deaths.
The Office will also continue to work with various
central agencies to enhance our corporate risk
management practices, our security and business
continuity policy, and our information management
and internal audit capacity.
With much work to do and many interesting challenges
to meet, I look forward to the coming year.
In addition, parliamentarians constantly solicit the
Correctional Service to estimate the costs of legislative
proposals that could, if Parliament adopts them,
significantly increase Canada’s penitentiary population.
Furthermore, the Treasury Board Secretariat is currently
examining the Correctional Service’s allocation of
funds to its priorities in a strategic review exercise.
Finally, the Correctional Service has established a task
force to examine its policy development and policy
communications processes. All these activities could
redefine federal corrections in Canadian society.
85. Canada, Correctional Service of Canada Review Panel, A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety (2007) (Chair: Mr. Rob Sampson) (www.ps-sp.gc.ca).
86. Budget 2008 at 170.
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ANNEXES:
STATISTICS
SUMMARY OF
RECOMMENDATIONS
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ANNEX A: STATISTICS
Complaints - see Glossary (1)
Internal Response - see Glossary (2)
Investigation - see Glossary (3)
Table A: Complaints(1) By Category
CATEGORY
I/R (2)
INV (3)
TOTAL
16
73
89
87
230
317
103
303
406
Case Preparation
Conditional Release
Post Suspension
Temporary Absence
Transfer
Total
58
23
8
42
132
119
17
36
75
247
178
40
44
117
379
Cell Effects
Cell Placement
197
15
323
64
520
79
Claims Against the Crown
Decisions
Processing
Total
7
18
25
4
28
32
11
46
57
Community Programs/Supervision
Conditions of Confinement
Correspondence
Death or Serious Injury
Decisions (General) – Implementation
6
98
31
4
8
11
252
39
6
8
17
350
70
10
16
Diet
Medical
Religious
Total
9
3
12
27
16
43
36
19
55
Discipline
Independent Chairperson (ICP) Decisions
Minor Court Decisions
Procedures
Total
7
7
25
39
3
8
15
26
10
15
40
65
Discrimination
Employment
4
38
8
62
12
100
58
69
127
113
57
170
171
126
297
Administrative Segregation
Conditions
Placement/Review
Total
File Information
Access – Disclosure
Correction
Total
Continued next page
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Table A: Complaints(1) By Category (cont.)
CATEGORY
I/R (2)
INV (3)
TOTAL
Financial Matters
Access
Pay
Total
42
41
83
63
49
112
106
90
196
Food Services
Grievance Procedure
Harassment
Health and Safety – Worksite
Ion Scan/Drug Dog
29
83
21
2
4
33
181
31
3
3
62
264
52
5
7
89
90
17
196
349
235
69
653
438
325
86
849
3
4
7
31
4
35
34
8
42
Methadone
Official Languages
Operation/Decisions of the OCI
10
7
20
46
2
7
56
9
27
Programs
Access/Services
56
124
180
Release Procedures
Safety/Security of Offender(s)
Search and Seizure
Security Classification
Sentence Administration
Staff Performance
Telephone
Temporary Absence Decision
35
45
18
67
19
136
61
16
58
131
23
105
16
180
128
52
93
176
41
172
35
316
189
68
Transfer
Implementation
Involuntary
Pen Placement
Voluntary
Total
42
68
28
26
164
112
124
56
99
391
154
192
84
125
555
11
5
10
27
21
32
Health Care
Access
Decisions
Dental
Total
Mental Health
Access
Programs
Total
Urinalysis
Use of Force
Continued next page
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Table A: Complaints(1) By Category (cont.)
CATEGORY
I/R (2)
INV (3)
TOTAL
Visits
General
Private Family Visits
Total
50
38
88
154
73
227
204
111
315
Outside Terms of Reference
Parole Process/Decisions
Other Issues
79
45
52
20
131
72
2139
4258
6398
Grand Total
Glossary
Complaint:
Complaints may be made by an offender or a third party on behalf of an offender by telephone,
facsimile, letter or during interviews held by the OCI’s investigative staff at federal correctional
facilities.
The legislation also allows the OCI to commence an investigation at the request of the Minister
or on the OCI’s own initiative.
Internal Response: A response provided to a complainant that does not require consultation with any sources of
information outside the OCI.
Investigation:
A complaint where an inquiry is made with the Correctional Service and/or documentation is
reviewed/analyzed by the OCI’s investigative staff before the information or assistance sought by
the offender is provided.
Investigations vary considerably in terms of their scope, complexity, duration and resources
required. While some issues may be addressed relatively quickly, others require a comprehensive
review of documentation, numerous interviews and extensive correspondence with the various
levels of management at the Correctional Service of Canada prior to being finalized.
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Table B: Complaints by Institution
REGION/INSTITUTION
Number of
Complaints
Number of
Interviews
Number of Days
Spent in Institution
WOMEN’S FACILITIES
Edmonton Women’s Facility
Fraser Valley
Grand Valley
Isabel McNeill House
Joliette
Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge
Regional Psychiatric Centre (Prairies)
Nova
Total
40
25
58
3
57
5
5
52
245
27
13
15
3
12
1
5
23
99
9
3
6
1
3.5
1
1
4
28.5
ATLANTIC
Atlantic
Dorchester
Shepody Healing Centre
Springhill
Westmorland
Region Total
133
254
20
146
26
579
40
80
5
49
21
195
6
7.5
4
6
1.5
25
ONTARIO
Bath
Beaver Creek
Collins Bay
Fenbrook
Frontenac
Joyceville
Kingston Penitentiary
Millhaven
Pittsburgh
Regional Treatment Centre
Warkworth
Region Total
110
46
73
178
34
164
577
198
32
71
251
1704
54
6
23
81
13
45
84
25
14
19
105
469
7.5
1
4.5
9.5
2
7
11
5
1.5
6.5
9.5
65
PACIFIC
Ferndale
Kent
Kwikwèxwelhp
Matsqui
Mission
Mountain
Pacific
Regional Treatment Centre
William Head
Region Total
33
152
6
85
140
97
127
111
23
774
11
41
0
37
78
50
53
60
13
343
2
9
1
6
8.5
8.5
5.5
5
4
49.5
Continued next page
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Table B: Complaints by Institution (cont.)
REGION/INSTITUTION
Number of
Complaints
Number of
Interviews
Number of Days
Spent in Institution
PRAIRIE
Bowden
Drumheller
Edmonton
Grande Cache
Ochichakkosipi
Pê Sâkâstêw Centre
Regional Psychiatric Centre
Riverbend
Rockwood
Saskatchewan Penitentiary
Stan Daniels
Stony Mountain
Willow Cree
Region Total
211
199
334
86
11
22
110
8
31
258
20
248
17
1557
80
61
76
16
10
6
23
2
13
90
3
91
9
480
12
12
9.5
2
2
1
3
0.5
2
11
0.5
9.5
2
67
QUEBEC
Archambault
Centre Régional Santé Mentale
Cowansville
Donnacona
Drummond
Federal Training Centre
La Macaza
Leclerc
Montée St-François
Port Cartier
Regional Reception Centre
Special Handling Unit
Ste-Anne des Plaines
Waseskun
Region Total
149
51
184
182
113
22
112
171
41
253
77
52
21
2
1430
33
22
88
77
32
1
44
8
11
80
24
24
9
0
453
6
3
9
12
7.5
1
6
2.5
1
9
3
4.5
1.5
0
66
(*) 6,289
2039
297
GRAND TOTAL
(*)
Excludes 97 complaints from federal offenders in the community and 10 complaints from federal
offenders in provincial institutions.
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Table C: Complaints and Inmate Population - By Region
REGION
Atlantic
Quebec
Ontario
Prairie
Pacific
Women’s Facilities
TOTAL
(*)
Total Number
of Complaints (*)
Inmate
Population (**)
579
1430
1704
1557
774
245
1337
3125
3557
3149
1884
490
6289
13543
Excludes 97 complaints from federal offenders in the community and 10 complaints from federal offenders
in provincial institutions.
(**) As of June 2008, according to the Correctional Service of Canada’s Corporate Reporting System.
Table D: Disposition of Complaints by Action
ACTION
Internal Response
Disposition
Information given
Not supported
Pending
Referral
Withdrawn
Total
Investigation
Information given
Not supported
Pending
Referral
Recommendation/Resolution Facilitated
Withdrawn
GRAND TOTAL
54
1553
71
14
400
102
2,140
Total
(*)
Number of Complaints
1342
336
71
1041
1324
142
4,256
(*) 6,396
Includes 97 complaints from federal offenders in the community and 10 complaints from federal offenders
in provincial institutions.
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Table E: Areas of Concern Most Frequently Identified
by Offenders
TOTAL OFFENDER POPULATION
Health Care
Transfer
Cell Effects
Administrative Segregation
Case Preparation
Staff Performance
Conditions of Confinement
Visits and Private Family Visits
Information – Access and Correction
Grievance Procedure
762
552
519
406
379
368
344
315
297
264
ABORIGINAL OFFENDERS
Health Care
Transfer
Case Preparation
Staff Performance
Administrative Segregation
Information – Access and Correction
Cell Effects
Visits and Private Family Visits
Conditions of Confinement
Safety/Security of Offender
Grievance Procedure
94
83
67
68
63
61
55
45
44
37
37
WOMEN OFFENDERS
Health Care
Staff Performance
Administrative Segregation
Conditions of Confinement
Safety/Security of Offender
Temporary Absence Decision
Case Preparation
Telephone
Visits and Private Family Visits
Information – Access and Correction
47
20
16
16
15
14
14
11
10
9
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ANNEX B: SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
1. I recommend that the Correctional Service
immediately allocate adequate resources to
measurably improve its capacity to provide
the required assessments and programming
in advance of the offender’s scheduled parole
hearing dates.
2. I recommend that the Correctional Service establish
as a priority the timely preparation of cases to appear
before the National Parole Board, as per existing
policy. Performance in this priority area should be
both measured and closely monitored on an ongoing
basis through increased reporting at the regional and
national levels, and form a component of the CSC
Departmental Performance Reports.
3. I recommend that the Correctional Service develop
an action plan on the steps it will take to establish a
process to ensure consistent and timely implementation,
as well as regular follow-up, of its recommendations,
and those of coroners and medical examiners.
4. I recommend that the Correctional Service:
• establish a consistent framework for recording
and reporting attempted suicides, self-inflicted
injuries and overdoses;
• provide a systemic review and analysis of the
circumstances associated with these types of
injuries; and
• initiate corrective action to prevent the
recurrence of such injuries.
5. I recommend that the Correctional Service ensure
that all relevant reports related to offender deaths
are provided to coroners and medical examiners in
a timely fashion, and that recommendations from
these bodies are immediately responded to.
6. I recommend that the Minister immediately
re-establish the National Aboriginal Advisory
Committee, as required by law.
56
7. Once it is appointed, I recommend that the National
Aboriginal Advisory Committee, as its first order
of business:
• review the Correctional Service’s governance
structure and resources allocated to ensure the
timely implementation the CSC’s Strategic Plan
for Aboriginal Corrections; and
• examine the capacity of the Correctional
Service to monitor progress on key correctional
performance indicators, including transfers,
segregation, discipline, temporary absences and
work releases, detention referrals, delayed parole
reviews, and suspensions and revocations of
conditional releases.
8. I recommend that the Minister make securing
adequate and permanent funding for intermediate
mental health care a key portfolio priority.
9. I recommend that the Correctional Service make
its training initiatives to ensure that all front-line
employees are trained in dealing with mentally ill
offenders a priority for the current fiscal year.
10. I recommend that the Correctional Service increase
the representation of diverse groups in its workforce
at all levels to reflect the ethno-cultural diversity
of its offender population.
11. I recommend that the Minister direct the
Correctional Service to immediately re-instate
the response times at the Commissioner’s level
of the Offender Grievance and Complaint System
at 15 days for priority grievances and 25 days for
non-priority grievances, and that the Correctional
Service take the necessary steps to comply with
those timeframes.
12. I recommend that as part of any review of
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,
the Minister propose that the Office of the
Correctional Investigator report directly to
Parliament.
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RESPONSE OF THE
CORRECTIONAL
SERVICE OF CANADA
TO THE
35TH ANNUAL REPORT
OF THE
OFFICE
OF THE
CORRECTIONAL
INVESTIGATOR
2007-2008
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INTRODUCTION
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC or the Service)
contributes to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and
safe society through the safe and humane custody and
supervision of offenders; and by assisting offenders to
rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community.
CSC manages 58 institutions, 16 community
correctional centres and 71 parole offices. At the end
of the 2007-2008 fiscal year, CSC was responsible for
approximately 13,600 federally incarcerated offenders
and 8,400 offenders in the community. Over the
course of the year, including all admissions and releases,
CSC managed 20,000 incarcerated offenders and
14,500 supervised offenders in the community.
CSC has long experienced growing challenges in
sustaining results due to three overarching realities:
longstanding operational and financial pressures;
a changing, more complex and more problematic
offender population1 which presents significant
security and reintegration challenges; and insufficient
investment in infrastructure – leading to rust-out
and to institutions not designed/configured to manage
the changing offending profile. Furthermore, from
1994-1995 to 2006-2007 latest that is available, the
average annual cost of maintaining offenders has
increased from $36,731 to $74,261.
Federal Budget 2007
Recognizing the gravity of these aforementioned
challenges, Budget 2007 provided CSC with bridge
funding over two years (2007-2008 and 2008-2009)
to meet only its most urgent requirements and to keep
the Service operationally viable, pending the results
of an independent review of CSC operations.
1
58
Independent
CSC Review Panel
The CSC Review Panel, launched by the Minister
of Public Safety in April 2007, was mandated to
review CSC’s operational priorities, strategies and
business plans with a view to enhancing public
safety. The Panel’s report was submitted to the Minister
and was publicly released on December 13, 2007.
The Report recognized the realities and
challenges currently facing the Service and
made 109 recommendations. It provides a
foundation for CSC’s transformation agenda
and a new correctional vision to contribute
to public safety. The most significant aspects
of the recommendations are categorized in
five major areas:
1. Offender Accountability
•
that the principles of the Corrections and
Conditional Release Act be strengthened to
further emphasize offender responsibility
and accountability.
2. Eliminating drugs from prison
•
that CSC strengthen its interdiction
initiatives on all fronts.
3. Employability/Employment
•
that the employability skills (job readiness)
of offenders are enhanced through
work opportunities in penitentiaries and
employment opportunities in the
community at the time of release; and
to implement a more structured workday
to allow for the proper balance between
work, education and correctional programs.
From 1997 to 2008, the federal offender population has been largely characterized by offenders with extensive histories of violence, previous youth and
adult convictions and serious substance abuse histories. This period has seen increased affiliations with gangs and organized crime (from 11% to 14%),
higher rates of infection with Hepatitis C and HIV, and serious mental health disorders (from 6% to 10%). In addition, the proportion of homicide
offenders has increased from 22% in 1997 to 25% in 2008 and there is an increasing trend toward maximum security designations (from 6% to 11%).
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4. Physical Infrastructure
•
Federal Budget 2008
that CSC explore new approaches to the
design and construction of regional “complexes” –
complexes that would reinforce an overall
correctional management model that stresses
the accountabilities of offenders and provides
opportunities to improve correctional results.
5. Eliminating Statutory Release
And Moving to Earned Parole
•
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that offenders must work to address risks
and needs and earn their way back to their
home communities, demonstrating that
they have changed and are capable of living
as law-abiding citizens.
Note: Earned parole is not part of the first phase of
transformation supported by the Government in Budget
2008. This change will require significant consultation,
planning and legislative change. Earned parole will be
reviewed at a later date.
Furthermore, the Panel’s report also recognized that
CSC’s priorities were integral to the organization’s
transformation but that they needed to be supported
through sustainable funding. The five (5) priorities
of the Service are:
1. safe transition of eligible offenders into
the community;
2. safety and security for staff and offenders
in our institutions;
3. enhanced capacities to provide effective
interventions for First Nations, Métis and
Inuit offenders;
4. improved capacities to address the mental
health needs of offenders; and
5. strengthened management practices.
Subsequent to the release of the Panel’s report,
the Government, through Budget 2008, made
a significant investment to initiate a new vision
for the federal correctional system. It provided
funding to ensure that CSC is firmly on track
to respond comprehensively to the Panel’s
recommendations. CSC’s baseline funding was
stabilized and funding was provided to enable
CSC to strengthen control of its institutions through
enhanced safety and security measures, including
training for correctional staff and greater investments
in illicit drug detection measures.
A CSC Transformation Team was established and is
leading CSC’s response to the Report’s recommendations.
It is recognized that this transformation will require
a long-term commitment and a phased approach. The
new vision for CSC will be characterized by a stronger
focus on how its efforts contribute to enhanced public
safety of all Canadians – CSC’s primary goal. As
well, there will be greater consistency in delivering
correctional services and a higher level of integration,
particularly between institutions and the community.
Finally, the principle of shared responsibility and
accountability of offenders to follow their correctional
plans and CSC to provide opportunities and tools
to do so will be clearer and better understood. Initial
initiatives identified by the Transformation Team
will assist in building the right foundations for future
investments in federal corrections.
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SAFE TRANSITION OF ELIGIBLE OFFENDERS
INTO THE COMMUNITY
Recommendation #1:
I recommend that the Correctional Service immediately
allocate adequate resources to measurably improve
its capacity to provide the required assessments and
programming in advance of the offender’s scheduled
parole hearing dates.
In the short-term, as part of the transformation
agenda, CSC will be exploring new models for a
streamlined assessment process and earlier initiation
of programs at the commencement of an inmate’s
sentence. By spring 2009, CSC will also develop
National Correctional Reintegration Program referral
guidelines for all national correctional programs
which will allow for a more efficient use of existing
program delivery resources.
CSC will also develop program delivery tools to help
Correctional Program Officers to address the needs
of offenders with education deficits, learning disabilities
and mental disorders. These tools will be based on
the findings of recent evaluations regarding the efficacy
of structured and didactic programs. These tools
will include methods of adapting program delivery
to homogenous groups.
Through the transformation agenda, CSC will initiate
proposals to develop and implement an integrated
program strategy. The proposed program model will
include an intervention designed specifically to
address the challenges of the changing offender
population.
Over the next three (3) years, CSC will position
correctional program delivery staff to:
•
•
•
facilitate appropriate supplementary
assessments and program referrals;
deliver programs focusing on Violence
Prevention and Substance Abuse to address
the capacity demands of a short-term offender
population; and
deliver the Community Maintenance Program.
Recommendation #2:
I recommend that the Correctional Service establish
as a priority the timely preparation of cases to appear
before the National Parole Board, as per existing
policy. Performance in this priority area should be
both measured and closely monitored on an ongoing
basis through increased reporting at the regional and
national levels, and form a component of the CSC
Departmental Performance Reports.
Gaps have been identified in the provision of
programming and the timely preparation of cases.
As part of CSC’s transformation agenda, the Service
will be focusing on approaches that enhance the timely
preparation of eligible inmate cases for presentation
for review by the National Parole Board. Work is
underway to improve efficiencies in the area of
correctional programs, program availability earlier
in the sentence, and efforts to actively encourage
offenders to participate in their correctional plan.
Focus on achieving results in these areas is expected
to increase the number of eligible offenders who are
prepared for safe release to the community.
Regional and National Headquarters will use
the Corporate Monitoring Tool to assess progress
in this area.
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SAFETY AND SECURITY FOR STAFF AND OFFENDERS
IN OUR INSTITUTIONS
Recommendation #3:
Recommendation #4:
I recommend that the Correctional Service develop
an action plan on the steps it will take to establish a
process to ensure consistent and timely implementation,
as well as regular follow-up, of its recommendations,
and those of coroners and medical examiners.
I recommend that the Correctional Service:
CSC has developed a number of different strategies to
increase and support its capacity for a more timely
analysis of the information contained in investigation
reports, as well as those of Coroners’ and Medical
Examiners. In addition, greater focus is placed on
communicating “significant findings” to the operational
sites. Three (3) such documents are currently available
to staff on the CSC Infonet site and additional
documents will be forthcoming in the fall of 2008.
All recommendations are seriously considered and,
when a recommendation is deemed appropriate and
feasible, an action plan is put in place. Every action
is tracked until such time as it is complete, acceptable
and documented. Since September 2007, a quarterly
report entitled “EXCOM Follow-up on Board of
Investigations (BOI) Actions” on actions completed
or pending is provided to the Senior Deputy
Commissioner.
a) Establish a consistent framework for recording
and reporting attempted suicides, self-inflicted
injuries and overdoses;
A revised Commissioner’s Directive (CD) 568-1,
Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents, was
promulgated on July 4, 2008. Specific definitions
have been included to ensure accurate recording
and reporting of incidents. The recording and reporting
of these types of incidents will initially be done in a
standardized way and modified only after an assessment
by other officials such as a psychologist or a security
intelligence officer.
The development of an Offender Management
System Renewal module on Incident Reporting is
currently underway and expected to be completed
by spring 2009 which will further assist in addressing
the recommendations made by the Office of the
Correctional Investigator (OCI).
CSC will also be producing the 2007-2008 Annual
Inmate Suicide Report by December 2008.
Resources within the Correctional Operations and
Programs Sector and the Health Care Sector now
exist to increase CSC’s capacity to monitor the progress
on action plans and support their implementation.
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b) Provide a systemic review and analysis of
the circumstances associated with these types
of injuries; and
In April 2008, CSC corresponded with the OCI
regarding the concerns about the number of incidents
that result in injuries which are not investigated.
CSC indicated that it would conduct further analysis
of inmate injuries in a phased approach.
CSC will begin with the area of mental health. In
collaboration with Health Services and Research, the
Service will focus on injuries sustained by inmates
categorized as suffering from a Mental Health affliction,
diagnosed and self-reported only. This will include
both victims and instigators. It is our hope that this
will allow the Service to better understand the
circumstances surrounding these incidents, what
conclusions can be drawn and what type of
follow-up if any, is required.
CSC’s intention is to focus on one area in order to see
where improvements can be made and which areas
require further analysis. We expect to have this initial
analysis completed by the end of December 2008.
c) Initiate corrective action to prevent the
recurrence of such injuries.
Quarterly reports will be produced by National
Headquarters (NHQ) Performance Assurance
Sector and the data will be provided by security level,
region, facility, and will indicate the number of
verified self-inflicted injury incidents. These reports
will be provided to NHQ Security Branch for review
and interpretation and as a result, further quantitative
analysis could be conducted by NHQ Performance
Assurance Sector, such as trends over time, comparisons
by gender, ethnicity, location of the incidents and
sentence length. The Inmate Injury Annual Report
for 2007-2008 is expected to be completed by the
end of December 2008.
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Through the continued production of quarterly
reports, CSC will be able to see where the incidents
are occurring and if necessary, follow-up with the
regions to discuss anomalies.
Recommendation #5:
I recommend that the Correctional Service ensure
that all relevant reports related to offender deaths are
provided to Coroners and Medical Examiners in a
timely fashion and that recommendations from these
bodies are immediately responded to.
CSC will continue to co-operate fully with the
Coroners and Medical Examiners and will share
relevant information in accordance with the law.
Coroners/Medical Examiners are provided with copies
of CSC Incident Investigation Reports on a regular
basis. Recommendations emanating from these
Coroners’ Inquests/Fatality Inquiries are sent to CSC
and integrated corporate responses are prepared for
the Commissioner’s signature. Timeliness is a priority
and response times are reflected based on the nature,
complexity and extent of the recommendations
provided to CSC.
Each province has different processes and timeframes
for the review of deaths in custody. This can result
in CSC receiving the Coroners’/Medical Examiners’
recommendations long after CSC has completed their
investigation and completed the corrective measures
and action plans. In some cases, many years have
passed. As a result, CSC’s replies may at times be viewed
as untimely when in fact CSC had responded quickly
after the incident.
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ENHANCED CAPACITIES TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE
INTERVENTIONS FOR FIRST NATIONS,
MÉTIS AND INUIT OFFENDERS
Recommendation #6:
I recommend that the Minister immediately
re-establish the National Aboriginal Advisory
Committee, as required by law.
The Commissioner is responsible for establishing the
National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC)
and he has made this a priority. The members have
been selected for the NAAC and notified of their
appointment and their first meeting will be taking
place on September 16-17, 2008.
b) examine the capacity of the Correctional
Service to monitor progress on key correctional
performance indicators, including transfers,
segregation, discipline, temporary absences and
work releases, detention referrals, delayed
parole reviews, and suspension and revocation
of conditional release.
These areas will be discussed with the NAAC with
the goal to seek advice on options to improve results
and help to inform of the next steps associated with
the transformation agenda as it relates specifically to
Aboriginal offenders.
Recommendation #7:
Once appointed, I recommend that the National
Aboriginal Advisory Committee as its first order of
business:
a) review the Correctional Service’s governance
structure and resources allocated to ensure
the timely implementation the CSC’s Strategic
Plan for Aboriginal Corrections; and,
CSC will be seeking the advice of the NAAC on the
provision of correctional programs to Aboriginal
offenders. This will include reviewing CSC’s Strategic
Plan for Aboriginal Corrections. As well, CSC will be
seeking advice from the Committee on how to consult
regularly with Aboriginal communities.
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IMPROVED CAPACITIES TO ADDRESS MENTAL
HEALTH NEEDS OF OFFENDERS
Recommendation #8:
I recommend that the Minister make securing
adequate and permanent funding for intermediate
mental health care a key portfolio priority.
In Budget 2008, CSC received permanent, ongoing
funding ($16.6M annually) to enhance institutional
mental health services and the overall continuum
of mental health care for federal offenders. These
funds will be directed toward implementing a
comprehensive clinical mental health intake assessment
of offenders at admission; increasing primary mental
health care in institutions; and enhancement of clinical
staffing ratios at treatment centres to meet consistent
standards. These additional funds will assist CSC to
improve both the continuum of mental health care
provided to offenders as well as the correctional results
for federal offenders with mental disorders, thereby
enhancing public safety.
Recommendation #9:
I recommend that the Correctional Service make its
training initiatives to ensure that all front-line
employees are trained in dealing with mentally ill
offenders a priority for the current fiscal year.
CSC recognizes the importance of training front-line
staff that are required to work with offenders who are
mentally disordered. Additional training for front-line
staff is included in the implementation plan of CSC’s
Mental Health Strategy.
The following provides an overview of some of the
training that has or will be provided to front-line staff.
Over 700 CSC employees (including parole officers,
nurses, and correctional officers) and contracted
agency staff in the community have been trained in
mental health awareness as part of the Community
Mental Health Initiative. Additional training will be
64
delivered during this fiscal year and over the next
two (2) years to institutional nurses, staff working in
Community Residential Facilities (CRFs) for women,
and correctional officers.
Specific training for psychologists has also been
developed on mental health assessment and diagnosis
and suicide risk assessment and intervention training.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has been
demonstrated to be an effective intervention for
certain mental disorders, has been implemented in
the women’s institutions. DBT training is a National
Training Standard (NTS) for staff that work in the
Structured Living Environments and Secure Units
of women’s facilities. In addition, DBT Awareness and
Training for Management in Women’s Institutions
is under development and will be implemented in the
Fall-Winter 2008.
Integrated Mental Health and Security Training
will be piloted this fiscal year and will assist staff in
developing awareness, knowledge, and skills for use
with inmates presenting with high risk/high needs
and mental health issues.
Institutional Heads and District Directors will
also ensure that all correctional officers have
received the approved CSC Suicide Prevention
and Intervention training either as a component
of the Correctional Training Program (CTP) or
on a stand-alone basis. As well, all other staff
who have regular interactions with offenders will
receive the Suicide Awareness component of the
New Employee Orientation Program (NEOP) either
as a component of their orientation or on a
stand-alone basis. It should also be noted that
all staff who have regular interactions with
offenders shall be provided with two hours of
refresher training in suicide prevention every
two years.
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STRENGTHENED MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Recommendation #10:
I recommend that the Correctional Service increase the
representation of its workforce at all levels to reflect
the ethno-cultural diversity of its offender population.
As part of its three-year Aboriginal Human Resources
Plan, CSC will develop a suite of initiatives to increase
Aboriginal representation at all levels that reflect the
offender population. Major components of the plan
during its first year include the development of a
package outlining the steps required to hire more
Aboriginal staff (Fall 2008); an Aboriginal Management
Development Program (Winter 2008); an Aboriginal
Employment Program aimed at recruiting Aboriginals
beyond market availability (Spring 2009); a Federal
Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) for
Aboriginal students (Winter 2008); and the development
of a comprehensive communications strategy to ensure
success of the overall plan (Spring 2009).
CSC also acknowledges that the ethno-cultural profile
of offenders is changing and is examining how to
achieve a representation workforce as part of its Strategic
Plan for Human Resource Management Plan.
Recommendation #11:
I recommend that the Minister direct the Correctional
Service to immediately re-instate the response times
at the Commissioner’s level of the Offender Grievance
and Complaint System at 15 days for priority
grievances and 25 days for non-priority grievances,
and that the Correctional Service take the necessary
steps to comply with those timeframes.
to offenders. Third-level grievances often present
complex issues that have general and systemic
application to the entire organization, as well as
important interests for the offenders concerned.
Responses may have a significant bearing on policies
and departmental operations. Grievance reviews can
give rise to significant discussion among operational
managers and policy holders. Many third-level
grievance responses require a considerable amount
of research, investigation, and consultation with
policy holders and operational experts. This process
can involve significant time irrespective of the
resources available to address grievances. While we
endeavour to respond to grievances as quickly as
we can, especially where these relate to personal safety,
liberty and security interests, we want to ensure that
each grievance receives the consideration it deserves
and that lessons learned from grievances are incorporated
into the subsequent management of the Service.
The Service recently examined the time frames for
third-level grievances in light of the aforementioned
considerations. Based on a review of the actual time
frames over several years for completion of third-level
grievances, it was determined that the revised third-level
time frames were reasonable in order to maintain
and enhance the effectiveness of our procedure. While
most grievances are completed long before the new
prescribed deadlines, it is prudent to recognize the
time that is required to address the most complex
problems.
In recent years, CSC has made substantial progress on
improving the quality of its grievance responses –
providing accurate, relevant, complete, and fair replies
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As the OCI has indicated, the Commissioner decided
to conduct a specific consultation of offenders and
inmate committees on the time frames. It is worth
noting that the results, which were shared with the
OCI, indicate that a minority (16%) disagreed with
the deadlines, while 24% agreed or had no concerns
with the new deadlines. Another 24% said they had
no comment, whereas 3% did not specifically voice
an agreement or disagreement with the deadlines, but
did not provide other comments.
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The Service completed 92.9% of grievances
submitted within the new time frames since
they were implemented. Completion rates will
be reviewed again at the end of this fiscal year
as previously indicated to the OCI. CSC is
committed to ensuring that the time frames
remain an element of our efforts to optimize
the complaint and grievance system as a means
of resolving offender problems and as a useful
tool for managers.
LOOKING FORWARD
Recommendation #12:
I recommend that as part of any review of
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act,
the Minister propose that the Office of the
Correctional Investigator report directly to
Parliament.
This recommendation deals with Part III of
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and
lies outside the jurisdiction of the Correctional
Service of Canada.
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1973-2008
Office of the Correctional Investigator
anniversary
O C I
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