Office of the Correctional Investigator Canadian Prison Law
Office of the Correctional Investigator Canadian Prison Law Conference Calls to Action: Engaging the Transformative Process Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia September 22, 2018 Dr. Ivan Zinger Correctional Investigator of Canada Office of the Correctional Investigator Role and Mandate
Ombudsman for federally sentenced offenders Independent oversight of federal corrections Conducts investigations into the problems of offenders related to decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions of the Correctional Service of Canada Focus is on compliance, fairness and legality
2 Top Complaints by Category: Indigenous FY 2017-18 3 Overrepresentation is increasing Indigenous population in Canada: 4.9% Current Status in Federal Corrections: 28% of federal inmates are Indigenous. 40% of in-custody women are Indigenous. Indigenous offenders represented 30% of all admissions to federal custody in 2017-18. The proportion entering the federal system is greater than the existing representation.
Most Indigenous offenders are released at their statutory release dates, at a rate of 72.5%, compared to 60% for the overall population. Later releases = greater representation of Indigenous population inside prison. All signs point to this trend continuing unless something changes. 4 Correctional Outcome Indicators Compared to non-Indigenous Offenders Incidents of self-injury o Indigenous inmates accounted for 48.3% of all self-injury incidents in 2017/18 Segregation o In 2017-18, Indigenous offenders comprised 36% of all segregation admissions
Use of force incidents o In 2017-18 , 47% of incidents involved at least one Indigenous inmate Maximum security o A higher proportion (18.3% vs. 14.0%) are classified as maximum security (Public Safety, 2018, in press) Gang affiliation o Over 20% Indigenous inmates are gang-affiliated (compared to 9% for non-Indigenous) Community supervision o Day parole rates remain far below those for the overall population (18% vs. 35.4%) o More often returned to custody on a revocation (39% vs. 31%) 5
Indigenous Social Histories and the Criminal Justice System More likely to be serving a Schedule 1 (violence) offence. Other family members likely to have spent time in prison. Over half attended or had a family member attend a residential school. Significant involvement with child welfare system. 80% report no high school diploma at admission. Alcohol and/or drug use part of offence cycle for vast majority. Higher prevalence of Hepatitis C and HIV infection. 6 Truth & Reconciliation Six Calls to Action Impacting Federal Corrections 1. Commit to eliminating the
overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in custody over the next decade. 2. Provide sufficient and stable funding to implement and evaluate community sanctions that will provide realistic alternatives to imprisonment. 3. Undertake reforms to the criminal justice system to better address the needs of offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. 4. Eliminate barriers to the creation of additional Aboriginal healing lodges. 5. Work with Aboriginal communities to provide culturally relevant services to inmates. 6. Provide more supports for Aboriginal programming in halfway houses and parole services. 7
Commissioners Mandate Letter ~ Highlights Work with Indigenous partners to increase the number of community-run healing lodges established under Section 81 of the CCRA, as well as the number of community-supported releases under Section 84. Ensure that Indigenous offenders have timely access to effective, culturally-appropriate interventions developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners, so as to prepare them for successful and timely conditional release.
Address the particular needs of Indigenous women within the correctional system. In consultation with Indigenous partners, re-examine CSC's governance structure and the role of the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee in order to ensure greater integration of Indigenous needs and perspectives into CSC decisions at the senior level. 8 Directions for Reform 1. Significant reallocation of CSC funding for to increase use of Section 81/84 provisions and
community corrections. Private home placements using sponsors and compensation for sponsorship: solution for immediate bed space challenges. Create Section 81 capacity in urban centres (many Indigenous people are released to cities). 9 10 Directions for Reform 2. National Leadership & Government Direction Time is of the essence! Appoint a Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections to ensure corporate priority and accountability.
Develop community options and placements now. Additional legislative reform to reducing over-representation? Honour TRC commitments, including annual public reporting on progress in reducing over-representation. 11 Directions for Reform 3. Administration of the sentence Meaningful application of Gladue factors. Indigenous communities to assume more responsibility for custody and community supervision through Section 81 & 84 agreements (Funding parity between section 81 and CSC Healing Lodges). Provide communities greater autonomy to decide level of care and intervention required.
Balancing institutional vs. community corrections funding. More access to Elders and better defined roles. Programming and services which are more responsive to unique needs and circumstances, including core programming, gang disaffiliation, life skills, education and vocational training. 12 It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its
lowest ones. - Nelson Mandela WWW.OCI-BEC.GC.CA 13
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