CAB Report 2016 - Central East Correctional Centre

Community Advisory Board Annual Report
2016


Central East Correctional Centre

Lindsay, Ontario

March 31, 2017


Preface

Legislative Authority

Ministry of Correctional Services Act, Section 14.1, 2000, c. 40, s. 4.

“The Minister may establish a local monitoring board for a correctional institution, composed of persons appointed by the Minister.”

Principal Duties of the Community Advisory Board

  • To satisfy themselves as to the state of the institution premises, the administration of the institution, and the treatment of inmates;
  • To develop effective relationships with the Superintendent and share minutes from the Board meetings;
  • To inquire into and report back on any matters requested by the minister MCSCS;
  • To direct to the attention of the Superintendent any matter they consider expedient to report; and
  • To report to the minister any matter which they consider expedient to report, normally achieved through the Annual Report or through exceptional situation reports.

Overview of the Annual Report

One of the required functions of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to develop and submit an Annual Report outlining and describing the Board’s activities in the previous year. The Report will also contain observations and recommendations to the Minister, Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), on aspects of the operation of the institution.

The Annual Report is submitted to the minister, with distribution to the institution superintendent. The Annual Report or excerpts may only be made public with the approval of the minister.

Objectives of the Annual Report

The purpose of the Annual Report is to highlight the work of the CAB and to identify any areas of concern and/or support for the operation of the institution. The Annual Report should include observations, findings and recommendations, in the following areas:

  • Advice to the minister on any aspect of the operation of the institution;
  • Any observations communicated to the uperintendent regarding the operation of the institution;
  • Advice provided to the minister and superintendent regarding a community or citizens’ perspective on the operation of the institution;
  • Observations communicated to the minister and superintendent, regarding the treatment of inmates in the care of the institution;
  • Observations on the state of the institution and the administration of the facility; and
  • The establishment of cooperative and supportive relationships with the superintendent, managers, and staff of the institution.

Objectives and Goals

  1. Support the upgrading of institutional security to address contraband issues.
  2. Prepare a comprehensive orientation booklet for new CAB members which addresses site visit protocols and makes clear the reasons for site visits.
  3. Invite one speaker per meeting in order that all members become familiar with programs and services within the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC), and understand labour practices.
  4. Increase the number of site visits by Board members on an annual basis.
  5. Note accomplishments and innovation within CECC by staff and inmates, with inclusion in CAB meeting minutes.
  6. Continue to monitor and enthusiastically support mental health initiatives and programs.
  7. Monitor ministry initiatives, such as segregation protocols.
  8. Attend as many CAB training opportunities as possible.
  9. Develop goals for site visits.

Community Advisory Board Members

Chair: Nancy Martin, Aug. 1, 2014 - July 31, 2019

Board Members:

Jean Jones, Aug. 1, 2007 - Aug. 1, 2017
Melissa Morrison, July 21, 2015 - July 20, 2018
Kathy Lefort, Nov. 1, 2016 - Oct. 31, 2019


Overview of CAB Activities for 2016

Number of CAB Meetings: 10

Summary of meetings

The Board held 10 meetings in total - eight meetings with the Superintendent or a designate present and two planning/discussion meetings. Due to CAB vacancies, six of these meetings only had a quorum of three members. The meeting minutes were forwarded to the ministry and program advisor, Professional and Shared Services (PSS), on a regular basis.

Number of Site Visits: 43

Summary of site visits

The CAB’s oversight of operations and fulfilling required responsibilities may have been insufficiently addressed due to the delay in appointing new candidates to fill three vacancies. Even with a board of only three members for most of the year, the number of institutional visits was 43 this year. 

Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: Incident Report and Superintendent’s Report 

Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action:  0

Number of Concerns Directed to the Superintendent: 21

Summary of Concerns Directed to Superintendent:

  1. The CAB members are pleased that the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) secured a three-year contract with binding arbitration. The CAB requested information on how the process of rebuilding rapport will evolve.
  2. Concerns about staff training being postponed were addressed by the employment contract settlement. Staff training will resume as soon as possible.
  3. Excessive lockdowns, particularly in the evenings, continue due to staff/manager shortages.
  4. Segregation procedures are being reviewed by MCSCS. CECC has 80 segregation beds. Questioned how these beds and other temporary segregation cells are best utilized.
  5. The volume of mental health reviews are extremely labour intensive. Requested information how staffing resources are being addressed. 
  6. Prior to the installation of a new technology body scanner in August 2016, contraband and ceramic knives continued to create serious/dangerous interactions. The CAB has requested clarification how trafficking of contraband is being impacted.
  7. Some inmates are hoarding their medications to create ‘super brews’, which can be dangerous. Inmates who are intoxicated and combative may cause injuries to other inmates and staff.
  8. Requested information on how the process of implementing 7am to 7pm lockout for inmates will impact staff and the inmates.
  9. Strong concerns with long delay for appointment of CAB successful candidate.
  10. Requested clarification on how a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration at CECC impacted the institution, the inmates and the detainees in February 2016.
  11. Requested clarification how Compressed Work Week (CWW) Agreements will impact staff and how will they respond.
  12. Delighted that a mental health proposal to change the female segregation area to a mental health unit by the Deputy Superintendent of Programs was accepted. Requested information on how this pilot project will operate in CECC female unit.
  13. Questioned how the presence of new correctional officers (COs) will impact the frequency of lockdowns and overtime for current staff.
  14. When in public, the CAB frequently hears negative comments about segregation. Requested presentation to provide clarity on segregation policies and procedures.
  15. Board members are disappointed with delay in obtaining senior administration’s approval to participate in the mental health training. The provincial training target was met and the training was cancelled without prior notification.
  16. CAB expressed concerns regarding the change of administrative support for the CAB. Due to staffing changes, there were some inconsistencies with CAB meeting minutes. Revised minutes for August 2016 meeting were not prepared for the November 2016 meeting. The CAB also did not receive minutes for October 2016 meeting. Issues surrounding CAB meeting minutes have been resolved.
  17. CAB Requested information how CWW schedules will be introduced in January 2017 and how this will impact staff.
 

Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: 1

Summary of Concerns Directed to the Minister

Six members are required on the Community Advisory Board. There has not been a full complement of members for the past 10 years. The CAB requests that the ministry take initiative to appoint two additional members to the CECC CAB. Considering the size of the correctional facility, CAB vacancies put an undue burden on current members.

The CAB appreciates an appointment was made in 2016. Ms. Kathy Lefort was welcomed in November.

The Board members appreciate the response received from the Associate Deputy Minister of Correctional Services which addressed each recommendation in our 2015 Annual Report. This letter acknowledged the importance of providing the ministry with observations and recommendations on the operation and administration of the institution, the impact on the community, the treatment of inmates and our success stories.

Presentations and Training

Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 3

Summary

Correctional Officer Provincial Drill Instructor – Ceremonial Unit
Deputy of Staff Services at CECC - Demonstration and explanation of body scanner operation
Deputy Superintendent of Security - Segregation requirements and related issues

Number of Training Sessions Completed: 2

Summary

Two CAB members attended the CAB Conference in November 2016.

Ms. Kathy Lefort attended CAB member orientation.

Kudos to former Minister David Orazietti and his MCSCS staff for preparing and presenting the second annual CAB Conference on November 2, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Toronto airport hotel. Also, kudos to the Regional Director of Central Region, for moderating and providing a very informative day.

At the Conference, the members of eight CABs appreciated the opportunity to network, hear presentations and discuss these important topics: Transformation Strategy overview, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program, internal and external communications for CABs, mental health update/female mental health initiatives, panel discussion – community engagement opportunities for CABs, correctional officer hiring and outreach, and an interesting Question and Answer wrap-up. Informal discussions among members were very interesting. Best practices were shared in conversations and new friendships formed.

The Conference agenda did not provide sufficient time for important small group discussions. The best practice recommendations addressing the assigned topics were written on flip board paper and posted on the wall. Unfortunately there was not sufficient time to read this information and these recommendations were not circulated to the various CABs after the Conference.

Observations

The Operation of the Institution

The ministry is expanding mental health initiatives for inmates. Mental health services have an increased mandate resulting from 10 public interest remedies in a settlement reached with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario settlement and a former Correctional Services inmate. As part of the admission process, trained staff use a mental health screening and assessment process with inmates. The screening tools are used to assess and identify inmates who may have mental health challenges. This tool ensures inmates with mental health concerns are identified as quickly as possible and referred to the appropriate professionals and services. The assessment can identify suicide risk, risk of victimization, prevent mental and psychiatric decompensation and allay fears. Health Care staff gather information, rate the new inmate’s state of mental health and determine the best placement within CECC. After screening, each identified inmate is seen by the mental health nurse and/or the psychologist and a plan of care is developed.

The approved Mental Health Unit will hopefully reduce the number of segregation beds used for mental health situations. The approved Mental Health Unit is to have a ‘step-down’ unit for inmates with mental health challenges providing dayroom programs and socialization. Compatibility assessments will be done to determine if inmates can be housed two in a cell. This process will be a direct supervision module with input from staff on the daily care and activities for each inmate.

The Offender Work Program is an important component of operations. In 2016, 434 sentenced inmates participated in this program, which provides educational credits and work experience for their resumes. General population inmates work in the kitchen, warehouse, grounds, maintenance and scrub/Admission and Discharge. Protective Custody inmates work in the Trilcor industries marker plant and tailor shop. Projects include property maintenance and collection/removal of garbage.

Through discussion with staff and inmates there seems to be pressure and intimidation on program inmates to traffic contraband. The offender population has been evolving over time, with more gangs, more drugs and an increasing number of ceramic knives. The financial rewards are an attractive incentive to facilitate trafficking throughout the institution regardless of the increased level of investigations. Random searches and canine searches are regular occurrences. The addition of a new body scanner in August 2016 has also provided an added layer of security versus contraband.

The Volunteer Program is an extremely important operational component. CECC has enthusiastic volunteers providing excellent support to the male and female inmates. Also, we appreciate the many agencies and students that provide services to our inmates. CECC staff strive to help inmates be better equipped for success. Our 220 volunteers are acknowledged and celebrated at an annual volunteer banquet.

Ramadan celebrated from June 6 to July 5 was challenging, with long daylight hours. The meals must be served after sunset and before sunrise. Night shift staffing and summer vacations staffing were impacted by Ramadan.

The Worship Centre provides regular non-denominational services and numerous multi-faith events for the inmates. The inmates welcome the opportunities to participate. The staff escorts for the inmates, to and from the Worship Centre, are commendable with wonderful cooperation offered

Institution Impact on the Community

The community continues to benefit from goods and services contracts. The Other Direct Operating Expenses Annual Budget for the April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016 fiscal year was $8.6 (including transfer payments). Approximately 23% of the annual budget was spent on local supplies and services, in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The top expenditures comprising more than 77% of the budget are listed in decreasing order: food costs, health care (which include pharmaceutical drugs and health care service providers), clothing and hygiene products for inmates, building repairs and maintenance. Institutional meals are transported to CECC. Food costs represent a minor expenditure within the local community.

Along with many other Ontario communities, Lindsay is an under-serviced area for doctors and nurses. A popular belief among community members is that CECC is recruiting doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses away from the community. The public may not be aware recruitment for health care workers is also challenging for CECC. The CECC salary scale for health-care professionals is lower than for those employed in hospitals.

CECC staff continues to support the community through events such as the Local Food Drive, the United Way, and the Rick Morey Memorial Hockey Tournament, which contribute to various charities. The CECC boardroom is available for the local Army Cadet Corps Leadership and First Aid training. CECC staff and the Army Cadet Corps provide mutual support, by attending inspection parades and Regional Training for the Ceremonial Unit and other formal events.

A CAB member met with Elizabeth Fry Society Executive Director (Peterborough) to discuss concerns regarding treatment of inmates. This member has also met with a small citizens group to discuss their concerns around discharge of inmates in the community and concerns regarding the death of an inmate.

An interview was conducted with the local press by the CAB Chair. This appeared in Kawartha Today, and highlighted the role of the CAB in CECC. The CAB found this to be very positive and well received by the community.

Administration of the Institution

CECC is a well-managed facility. When issues arise, effective corrective actions are implemented in a timely manner. The primary consideration is maintaining safety and security for everyone.

For many months, staffing resources were stretched to the limit. Consistency and important efficiencies were jeopardized. Rotational lockdowns were frequent. The Superintendent reported, with various staff on temporary assignments, staffing shortages and insufficient managers, the overtime protocol was quickly exhausted. Attrition has also decreased the staffing complement.

The number of offender-on-offender assaults remains a serious concern with many being contraband related. The closure of various correctional centres across the province has impacted various prison populations, with members from rival gangs in the same units creating conflicts. As well, the frequency of inmates preparing brews and the harmful consequences remain problematic.

The compressed accommodations for Canadian Border Services (CBS) detainees sharing each cell provided more area for intermittent and overflow inmates.

The ministry is in the process of updating policies and continues efforts to transform the correctional system. The CAB is pleased the ministry is revising the segregation practices and developing new guidelines that support mental-health initiatives.

The Treatment of Inmates

The educational department provides a valuable program for the inmates to earn credits for obtaining their high-school diplomas. As well, the inmates earn valuable credits by participating on the Work Board. Being able to obtain education diplomas and gaining work experience can significantly improve the inmates’ opportunities in their communities. The CAB is impressed with the professionalism, insight and empathy of the teachers providing academic education to our inmates.

The Volunteer Coordinator has significantly expanded programming. An annual art contest for the inmates, which showcases their talents, has enjoyed great success for seven years. A very successful annual Writing Contest was introduced, with numerous inmates participating.

Programs help inmates deal with personal matters and prepare for release. The programs provided for the female inmates are parenting, life skills, story time, meditation and Yoga, artist crafts, cooking, , basic literacy skills, JK to grade eight (reading/writing/math), smoking cessation, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and harm reduction workshops.

In a monthly arts and crafts workshop, inmates make small blankets or fleece hats for donation to the local animal shelter or the Youth Emergency Shelter (YES). As well, new programs for male inmates in sentenced pods include parenting, story time, arts & crafts, holiday celebrations and basic literacy skills JK to grade eight (reading/writing/math).

The inmates have been negatively impacted by staff shortages resulting in frequent lockdowns. There are high caseloads for social workers and addiction counsellors who require access to their clients. Access can be limited when the institution is under lockdown. Inmate programs, visits, phone calls, meetings with lawyers, and access to telehealth care are delayed or cancelled until a window of opportunity is available.

The Board is pleased the Worship Centre has a busy schedule, with the inmates attending various non-denominational services and numerous multi-faith events. Before his deportation, a federal detainee completed three beautiful murals for CECC. “Creation” is mounted on the chapel wall and is an acrylic reproduction of his drawing that won first prize in the envelope art competition. 

Streaming funeral services into the Worship Centre is provided for immediate family inmates when consent is provided by the family. Temporary absence permits can be approved for immediate family inmates to have a private visit with a family member in palliative care or at the funeral home when wearing shackles and accompanied by a correctional officer.

Indigenous inmates who self-identify have the opportunity to smudge daily. The Native Institutional Liaison Officer (NILO) provides advocacy and special programs for First Nation, Métis and Inuit male and female inmates. There is an Indigenous library and various First Nations and Inuit newspapers, magazines, books and relevant articles are distributed. The NILO assists clients with their applications for Indigenous Status, Métis Status and Bill C-3 Status, and other required applications.

As well, the NILO extensively researches Indigenous and Northern Affairs & First Nation Membership to discover which First Nation an inmate’s parents may have belonged, assists with Adoption Disclosure forms for all provinces to help inmates discover their parents, help women whose children were adopted to open files for their children to connect at age 18 or older, and registers inmates with Service Ontario for access to family members 18 or older. Extensive NILO programs include diverse Native and Inuit teachings, life skills programs and individual counselling. Indigenous, Métis and Inuit populations fluctuate but there are about 75 inmates at CECC at any given time.

The Coordinating Chaplain received comments acknowledging the respectful treatment of the inmates during the religious observance of Ramadan.

Prisoner Justice Day began on August 10th, 1974 in Canada. This day is respectfully acknowledged, with many inmates fasting and not participating in programs. Staff assisted with food services, as replacements for the Work Program inmates.

An inmate barber services program was introduced in 2015. This program has been expanded to include almost all units. The Health and Safety Committee approved the placement of hair clippers in most units, to be used by a designated inmate barber in the multi-purpose room.


Summary of Recommendations to the Ministry

A CAB Conference agenda did not provide sufficient time for important discussions among small groups around workshop recommendations posted on the wall.  Unfortunately, there was not sufficient time to read this information and these recommendations were not circulated to the various Boards after the Conference.

  1. The CAB recommends that future CAB conference agendas include a generous amount of time for CAB members to share best practices and have opportunities to have wide ranging discussions about their role and what works well within their institution.

The CAB has expressed concern when incidents of note (death of an inmate, disturbances) occur in the institution. The board appreciates that communications must be handled with care but perhaps the communication could be more specific regarding the process. The CAB has raised concerns about the communication protocol of the ministry when events of an investigation, who is investigating, and possible timelines for the resolution of the issue at hand. Frequently information about the death of an inmate or a disturbance in the institution is reported in the press using sources from the community which are one sided. Often, the institution has a point of view as well. A more fulsome point of view from the institution would help balance the story and may clear up some misconceptions about the operation of the institution.

  1. The board recommends that the ministry review its communication with an eye to being more specific about events, within the confines of inmate and public safety. The ministry may wish to consider delegating some communications to the local level in order to bring a local perspective to the community.

Although there is an increase in staffing numbers, the CAB expressed concerns about the number of lockdowns caused by staff shortages, holiday and sick days in 2016. Lockdowns are a hardship to the inmates and tend to interfere with programs and visits to the inmates.

  1. The CAB recommends that lockdowns be closely monitored by the ministry with the goal of ensuring lockdowns are minimal.  

CAB members who wish to attend training sessions within the institution (for example mental health training) have expressed a wish to attend sessions where appropriate. CAB members believe that they would gain more insight into the work of correctional officers if they were invited to some training sessions.

  1. The CAB recommends that they are included in some training opportunities that are given to correctional officers, when appropriate.

The mental health training for correctional officers was a good first step in helping them gain insight into mental health/illness. However, it is important that officers are trained to fully understand effective intervention techniques. Intervention techniques are skills required by correctional officers when faced with an inmate in crisis. This would help officers learn newer and more effective ways of helping inmates to decompress during a crisis and the officers   would be more confident in their approach to defusing potentially dangerous situations for both the officer and the inmate.

  1. The CAB recommends further mental health training for correctional officers specifically addressing crisis intervention skills and regular and on-going training of mental health issues

The board notes the difficulty in recruitment health staff but understands that this will be addressed in the near future. The board hopes that this will help with timely attention to health issues within the institution. There are inmates with serious mental and /or physical challenges and on site medical attention would be more effective than hospital transfer both in terms of health and costs

  1. The CAB recommends that the ministry ensure that there is a full complement of medical staff available at the institution at all times.

Appendix

List of attachments

There are no attachments

Submitted:
_____________________________________
Nancy Martin, Chair, March 31, 2017


Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services letterhead

June 8, 2017

Ms. Nancy Martin
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Central East Correctional Centre

Dear Ms. Martin:

Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Central East Correctional Centre. This letter confirms our receipt of the Annual Report for 2016.

We truly appreciate all of the time you and your fellow CAB members give each year to this program. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services values all of the work you put into the Annual Report, providing us with a comprehensive list of recommendations based on your observations at the institution.

In order to provide feedback and to address the issues and recommendations for your specific institution more efficiently, we have updated the review process. The Superintendent and Regional Director will meet with the CAB to provide a response to items in the Annual Report that can be resolved at the local level. In addition to this meeting, the Associate Deputy Minister will respond to the higher level operational and systemic issues that have been identified.

The ministry understands the importance of addressing the recommendations from the Annual Report and will work to respond to the issues in a timely manner.

I look forward to working with the CABs in the coming year to continue to increase transparency and provide the public with a greater understanding of the work being done in correctional services.

Sincerely,

Marie-France Lalonde
Minister


Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services letterhead

June 21, 2017

Ms. Nancy Martin
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Central East Correctional Centre

Dear Ms. Martin:

Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services we offer our responses and proposed actions to your recommendations below.

As the Honourable Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, noted in her acknowledgement letter to you, the ministry understands the importance of addressing your recommendations. The CABs have been vital in providing an objective view on the operational and systemic issues in our facilities.

The ministry is committed to collaborating with our correctional partners to modernize Ontario’s correctional system and to be a leader in correctional service delivery.

The transformation of Ontario’s correctional system is ongoing. Segregation remains one of our top priorities for reform. The Ombudsman recently released a report on the use of segregation and the report from our Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform, Mr. Howard Sapers, was released on May 4, 2017, outlining his recommendations for the use of segregation in Ontario.

Addressing access to mental health supports for our clients has also been a high priority item with respect to transformation. Additional resources have been provided to various institutions across the province to better care for our clients with mental health issues.

On behalf of the ministry, thank you for the time you have given to this program. Your observations and recommendations will assist us on our journey towards improving Ontario’s correctional service.

I am pleased to provide the following responses.


Recommendation 1: The CAB recommends that future CAB conference agendas include a generous amount of time for CAB members to share best practices and have opportunities to have wide-ranging discussions about their role and what works well within their institution.

The ministry will ensure that the annual CAB conference reserves a substantial amount of time for networking and to include exercises that allow CAB members to share personal experiences as members, best practices, and strategic plans.

We have already begun planning for the 2017 conference and are finalizing details on a venue. Once finalized, the engagement process for agenda items will begin. This year, the ministry will connect with the Chairs prior to finalizing an agenda to ensure that topics of discussion and networking opportunities satisfy CAB needs. The intent of the conference is to ensure that CAB members receive the information they need to operate as effectively as possible and we will foster a more inclusive planning process.

Recommendation 2: The board recommends that the ministry review its communication with an eye to being more specific about events, within the confines of inmate and public safety. The ministry may wish to consider delegating some communications to the local level in order to bring a local perspective to the community.

As you know, the ministry’s Communications Branch is responsible for coordinating all media responses received by the ministry, which is consistent with the Ontario Public Service communications practices. The Communications Branch outreach strategy includes a multi-channel approach to improve engagement with the public, however, in terms of responding to media requests, information is delivered by our corporate spokespeople. The ministry has made improvements to the internal media response process, which has reduced the time it takes to get responses to the media.  

The ministry encourages the CAB to connect with the local media and look for opportunities to discuss the role of the CAB and highlight the good news stories coming out of CECC for the public.

Recommendation 3: The CAB recommends that lockdowns be closely monitored by the ministry with the goal of ensuring lockdowns are minimal. 

Lockdowns can occur for a variety of reasons, including response to a serious security concern or medical quarantine, staff shortages resulting from a combination of leaves (vacation, sickness or other). Correctional Services monitors lockdowns (full and partial) and aims to reduce the number of lockdowns in our facilities so that impacts to clients are minimal and visits and programs can run as scheduled.

The ministry understands that there are still challenges related to staffing which can impact the number and frequency of lockdowns. The Correctional Services Recruitment Unit (CSRU) is responsible for the development and delivery of our recruitment strategy. In order to meet the needs of Correctional Services, the ministry aims to hire 1,200 recruits by the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The Recruitment Unit is working on posting open competitions for Correctional Officer positions every two months (approximately five to six postings per fiscal year).

In the 2016-17 fiscal year (April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017), 798 recruits graduated from the Correctional Officer Assessment and Training (COTA) program and were deployed across the province. Seventy-one of these new recruits were assigned to CECC.

As more recruits complete the COTA program and begin their tenure at one of our facilities, the ministry will see improvements with respect to lockdowns related to staff shortages.

At CECC, management is working internally to reduce impacts of lockdowns by diverting staff to different areas of the institution during times of staff shortages. This will ensure that the entire institution is not locked down at the same time, alleviating some of the pressures associated with lockdowns and allow some units to function under normal operating conditions. The ministry continues to monitor and take steps towards reducing full and partial lockdowns at CECC.

Recommendation 4: The CAB recommends that they are included in some training opportunities that are given to correctional officers, when appropriate.

The ministry supports CAB members observing training opportunities for staff and when appropriate, the CAB members may participate in some on-site training sessions.In order to facilitate this, the superintendent at CECC will provide the CAB with a listing of upcoming training opportunities. The CAB members can then select which sessions they wish to participate in and the institution will make the necessary arrangements for observation/ participation.

I understand as well that CECC management has invited training facilitators to attend some CAB meetings to provide members with information on the types of training available and upcoming opportunities which may be of interest to the CAB members.

Recommendation 5: The CAB recommends further mental health training for correctional officers specifically addressing crisis intervention skills and regular and on-going training of mental health issues.

In June 2016, the “Understanding and Responding to Inmates with Mental Health Challenges” training was completed, reaching 92 per cent compliance across the ministry.  Currently, the Ontario Correctional Services College (OCSC), in consultation with the Institutional Training Manager group, is compiling a list of correctional staff that still require this training. Courses for this group of staff will be scheduled between May 23 and June 30, 2017. At CECC, the final training numbers from October 2016, indicate that 395 staff (87 per cent) have completed the training.

As well, as a part of the COTA program, new graduates will complete a rigorous assessment and eight-week training program, that includes mental health training and client management techniques, prior to commencing service in our facilities.

The ministry also has the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program, which was established to address critical incident stress among employees exposed to a critical incident in the workplace. The CISM program provides proactive education regarding critical incident stress to correctional staff as well as responsive interventions in a crisis event or emergency situation. This will minimize the harmful effects of job stress by providing staff with methods that reduce potential stress related reactions and immediate crisis intervention.

Correctional Services is committed to recognizing and decreasing the impact of Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) on all our employees’ mental health and well-being. A mental health curriculum outlining topics for employee (staff and managers) training will be developed. The curriculum will focus on topics identified in the literature as being essential for correctional staff. While the action plan is being developed, initial training will be offered to provide basic awareness and start helping employees increase their resilience. Delivery of initial training is expected to start in the fall 2017.

Recommendation 6: The CAB recommends that the ministry ensure that there is a full complement of medical staff available at the institution at all times.

The CECC operates under a 24-hour health care model. There are nurses on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to attend to our clients. CECC also has a primary care physician who holds clinics at the institution during regular business hours and remains on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in case consultation is required.

As part of the mental health initiative, additional funding for health care positions was provided to CECC. The institution received six new nursing positions and five new mental health nurse positions to increase availability of services to clients. There are currently four mental health nurse vacancies and recruitment is underway. CECC is in the process of selecting candidates for interviews and is anticipating that these positions will be filled by mid-summer 2017.

Conclusion

The role of the CAB is not only to provide us with recommendations on improvements, but also to highlight some of the great work going on in our institutions. I would like to thank you for recognizing the many success stories as outlined in the Annual Report, including the success in the offender work program at CECC, the value of the volunteer programs and the staff participating in community events. We were also pleased that Mr. Bill Johnston assumed the role of superintendent at CECC on a temporary assignment in 2016. His experience as the superintendent at the Central North Correctional Centre has been essential in making improvements to the operations at CECC.

I truly appreciate all of the hard work that went into your Annual Report this year. The recommendations made by the CAB are important to our continuous growth and transformation.

I would like to thank you for volunteering your time to the ministry as CAB member. Committed volunteers are hard to find and we are grateful to have you and all of the CAB members at CECC as a part of the correctional services team.

I look forward to working with the CAB this year on implementing as many of the recommendations as possible and I am excited to see this innovative program develop into its full potential.

Sincerely,

Marg Welch
Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services