Transforming Federal Corrections (Bill C-83)
- The Correctional Service of Canada continues to implement legislative changes that stand to transform the federal correctional system.
- The safety and security of staff and offenders are paramount when making decisions about offender accommodation. The Correctional Service of Canada continues to implement a number of measures to ensure it provides a correctional environment that is safe, secure and conducive to offender rehabilitation, and ultimately, public safety.
- The Corrections and Conditional Release Act was recently amended to strengthen and improve mental health services in prisons and eliminate the use of segregation, among other things.
- For all Indigenous inmates, a thorough Indigenous Social History review is completed and identified social history factors are considered in all decision-making.
- Structured Intervention Units allow the Correctional Service of Canada to address the safety and security risks of these offenders, while providing them with ongoing meaningful human contact and interventions, programs, mental health care and social supports they need to safely return to the general offender population as soon as possible.
- Structured interventions, programming and cultural and spiritual engagement are to be provided to inmates transferred to a Structured Intervention Unit to address the specific inmate needs that led to their transfer to a Structured Intervention Unit.
- Structured Intervention Units are resourced to ensure delivery of a variety of programs and interventions designed to mitigate the risk of inmates and trauma-related exposures leaving them ready to return to a mainstream population when deemed safe to do so.
- The Correctional Service of Canada did not bring forward any additional funding requirements for the 2019-2020 Supplementary Estimates “B” exercise.
- The total funding sought in Main Estimates for 2020-2021 is $2.5B. This represents a decrease of $26.3M or -1.0% over the previous year.
- One of the main factors contributing to the changes in funding levels includes:
- A $49.7M increase related to Transforming Federal Corrections (Bill C-83).
On October 16, 2018, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act. It received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019 and provisions came into force on November 30, 2019 to eliminate administrative and disciplinary segregation and to implement a new correctional interventions model.The reforms in C-83 also strengthen health care governance; better support victims in the criminal justice system; and consider the specific needs of Indigenous offenders.
Structured Interventions Units (SIUs)
SIUs allow inmates to be separated from the mainstream inmate population—providing the opportunity to maintain their access to rehabilitative programming, interventions, and mental health care. Inmates in an SIU:
- receive interventions and programming specific to their situation;
- have an opportunity to be outside of their cell for at least four hours a day, with additional time for a shower;
- have an opportunity to interact with others for at least two hours a day; and
- receive daily visits from healthcare professionals who may recommend for health reasons that the inmate’s conditions of confinement be altered or that they not remain in the unit.
Structured interventions and programming are available to inmates to address their specific risks and needs, with the goal of facilitating their reintegration into a mainstream inmate population as soon as possible. It is expected that SIUs will enhance correctional outcomes, as well as assist in reducing the rate of institutional violent incidents, resulting in a safer environment for staff, offenders and visitors.
Independent External Decision Makers (12)
Have been appointed by the previous Minister of Public Safety to decide cases of inmates placed in SIUs. The creation of these new positions respond to feedback received from stakeholders about the importance of external and independent oversight of the new SIU approach.
To prepare for the opening of the initial sites, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) recruited and hired operational and interventions staff to meet the needs of the SIUs. Recruitment continues to ensure that CSC will have the necessary staff to open additional SIUs in the future.
Considering Factors Unique to Indigenous Offenders
Bill C-83 introduced a legislated requirement for the CSC to ensure that systemic and background factors unique to Indigenous offenders are considered in all correctional decision-making.
Enhancements to Health Services
All inmates authorized for transfer to SIU will be referred for a health assessment. The assessment will focus on the inmate’s health status, and consideration of a referral for health services.
The health assessment process includes:
- an assessment of health, including mental health, by a registered health care professional within 24 hours of the inmate’s authorized transfer to a SIU;
- a daily visit by a registered health care professional. The visit must include a visual observation, without physical barriers, of the inmate, unless, due to exceptional circumstances, such observation would jeopardize the safety and security of any person or of the institution; and
- a mental health assessment that will be completed no later than the 28th day from the inmate’s authorization for transfer to the SIU, or earlier based on the mental health needs of the inmate.
An evaluation of existing infrastructure within the ten proposed SIU sites was conducted. Most of the re-fits ranged from minor to moderate were necessary.
Majority of the work was carried out in the lead up to the opening of the SIUs on November 30, 2019. For some sites, there is work outstanding and mitigation plans are in place to ensure that the SIUs are operational.
The re-fits included additional yards, program, interview, and intervention space in order to permit the operation of SIUs to meet the legislative requirements for time out of cell and meaningful contact.
Prepared by: Jessica Martineau, Officer Parliamentary Relations, 613-943-1726
Approved by: Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissionner, Communications & Engagement, 613-995-6867
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