CAB Report 2016 - Central North Correctional Centre
Community Advisory Board Annual Report
Central North Correctional Centre
March 31, 2017
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
- 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 of 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 superintendent 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
The objective of the CAB is to strengthen the liaison between the community stakeholders, Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). It allows the community to feel confident that their interests are being looked after with the support of members of the CAB.
The main goals that were tabled this year were achieved with the addition of a new CAB member. This addition guaranteed that our members could provide a higher number of onsite visits at CNCC. Another goal of the CAB was to increase the number of in-service training sessions throughout the year. This would allow for not only essential training for our newest member but act as a update on current best practices carried out at the facility for the experienced CAB members.
Community Advisory Board Members
Chair: Malcolm D. McKinnon, April 21, 2005 - April 18, 2019
Robert C. Haley, April 1, 2005 - April 19, 2019
Michael Gagnon, Aug. 2, 2007 - July 31, 2018
Melanie Marchand, Aug. 2, 2007 - July 31, 2018
Colleen Kelly-Berrichi, Nov. 19, 2015 - Nov. 18, 2018
Tim Vaillancourt, Aug. 2, 2007 - Dec. 14, 2016
Overview of CAB Activities for 2016
Number of CAB Meetings: 9
Community Advisory meetings are held monthly with the exception of July and August at CNCC, with one meeting not making quorum. The meeting attendees include the CAB members, Superintendent and Deputies. Minutes document the proceedings of the meeting by the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent. The Chair moderates the meeting using Roberts Rules of Order. All participants are encouraged to contribute material through the presentation of reports or the round table discussions. In service presentations are also scheduled to increase the knowledge base of the Board members.
Number of Site Visits: 19
The site visits to CNCC by the CAB have increased by 118 per cent from the previous year. All of the operational areas have been visited by CAB members on a regular basis. Visits are not scheduled based on the availability of our members. CAB members have had unfettered access to the institution dependant on security issues that may arise. Tours are conducted with correctional staff accompanying CAB members during the site visits or independently.
Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: 45
Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action: 7
Number of Concerns Directed to the superintendent: 8
- A CAB member expressed a concern with the lack of updated inventory sheets for cleaning materials and implements stored in cupboards located on the living units. It appears that items contained in the cupboard did not match the inventory list.
- Female offender counts are steadily increasing throughout the year. On many occasions during site visits, the female inmate counts can exceed 40 individuals (which exceeds the institutional bed count for females). This overcrowding forces staff to use the segregation area to lodge offenders. The CAB recommends studying ways to increase occupancy for the female unit. Can this be done using existing building space or investigating the possibility an additional building to accommodate the female population?
- There is a concern about the increased number of offenders being housed at CNCC with mental health issues. Many staff members have stated that they are not well trained in dealing with mentally ill inmates. They are looking for more substantial training that addresses ways of de-escalating situations when offenders are in crisis. Correctional staff are looking for more ways to support treating these offenders by having more medical staff available with psychological training.
- Correctional officers have advised the CAB members that the bullet proof vests are too restrictive when they are involved in facility searches. Staff were asking if there were any alternative vests that may be available that would offer similar protection and were more comfortable to wear. The Superintendent discussed staff members needs and would bring their concerns to an Employee Relations Committee meeting.
- A concern was brought to the CABs attention that a telephone in one of the units was not serviceable. This situation was remedied by adding a longer telephone cord to the phone in order for a male offender to take the handset into his cell to contact his lawyer.
- The CAB made an inquiry whether or not CNCC was in compliance with the new Segregation Review Policy. The Superintendent confirmed that segregation reviews were completed within the first 24-hours, five days and 30 days. CNCC was in compliance with the ministry directive.
- Lockdowns continue to be a concern to the CAB as it disrupts family visits and programming for the offenders. Lockdown statistics are showing improvement with the addition of more correctional officers. CNCC has developed a rotating lockdown schedule to maintain staff efficiencies. This schedule also allows the inmates to advise their visitors when they would be allowed to attend the institution. This is certainly more advantageous so family members do not end up making a needless trip.
- A discussion was held that either during the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program or institutional orientation, that a segment of the syllabus be dedicated to introducing the role of the CAB and their Terms of Reference.
Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: 1
Recruitment of CAB members has been a long lasting issue. Over the past several years it has taken an inordinate amount of time to process suitable candidates. It appears the applications seem to bog down in the security screening phase. This is an essential step in vetting our personnel but we are running the risk of losing candidates due to long recruitment time lines. One of our last members waited in excess of nine months to hear of their appointment. This process needs to be reviewed and recommendations be implemented to speed up the screening processes.
Presentations and Training
Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 4
There were four in-service educational sessions that were provided to the CAB. Educational presentations were reduced this fiscal year due to the ministry dealing with a potential labour issue. Program facilitators had stepped down from their positions during that time.
The Deputy Superintendent outlined the current classification procedures for offenders being incarcerated at CNCC. A power point presentation illustrated the forms required to be completed during the admission process. Discussion centred around procedures when offenders are identified with mental health issues. It is encouraging that an offender’s needs are reviewed by a multidisciplinary team. Psych/social needs, substance abuse concerns along with self-harming behaviors can be flagged and monitored.
The Health Care Manager reviewed her current staff compliment. Recruitment for nursing staff has been a challenge this fiscal year. New business cases have been proposed especially registered nurses with previous mental health experience. The Health Care Manager was implementing changes that would see her staff dedicated to specific units within the institution. This model has increased the efficiencies of delivering medications to offenders. Medical staff are working longer in the units which increases safety levels should an offender or staff incident occur. At the conclusion of the fiscal year, several nursing staff had been hired.
The Native Inmate Liaison Officer (NILO) provided services to aboriginal inmates at this facility. Smudging ceremonies are routinely done in all the units including the female unit. Special medicine pouches are provided to all aboriginal offenders. These pouches of medicine are sealed which allows inmates to carry them without posing any security concerns. This also allows them to observe a sacred aboriginal tradition. Circles are routinely organized to counsel offenders, empower participants to strive for better behaviours and life choices to prevent recidivism. Native feast days are celebrated throughout the year.
The first Vice President of OPSEU, Local 369 at CNCC attended a CAB meeting to familiarize himself on role of the CAB. He was able to understand what the composition of our committee was and what procedures were in place for the CAB to report. Our Terms of Reference was provided to him in order to educate the members of the Local. This was a positive step to help demystify the role of the CAB member’s presence within the institution.
The Program Advisory-Community Advisory Boards, Professional and Shared Services Field Operations and Corporate Support Branch attended a CAB meeting providing an overview
of the CAB rollout. This highlighted the facilities that will be receiving newly appointed members. It was also discussed that a new annual report template was being developed to facilitate our submission for the end of fiscal 2016.
Deputy Regional Director-Northern Region had an opportunity to attend a CAB meeting. He expressed greetings from the ministry and thanked the CAB members for their time and dedication to this valuable program. This was his first experience participating in a CAB meeting. He was pleased with the contributions with both the senior team at the Institution and each of the CAB members.
Number of Training Sessions Completed: 1
Community Advisory Board Conference, Nov 1-2, 2016
This was an opportunity for conference attendees to network with other CAB members and ministry officials. This was a great chance not only to meet new board members but to discuss best practises at their home establishments.
The Associate Deputy Minister opened the conference. Her remarks confirmed that the ministry will increase the number of new hires for correctional officers this year. Provincial institutions normally offer double bunking at the majority of institutions with the exception of St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre, Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre and Vanier Centre for Women. The ministry is looking at forming community support partnerships to help reduce the increasing population in our correctional facilities. The goal is to get occupancy rates at provincial institutions to 83 percent. Recidivism rates appear to be trending downward on an annual basis. Programing will be reviewed with the thought of partnering with community agencies for support leading programs such as anger management and anti-criminal behaviour.
The Corrections Transformation Secretariat is collaborating with other ministries to enhance skills training and techniques for probation and parole staff. This will address client risk factors and help reduce re-offending behaviours. The ministry is looking at methods to enhance offender training and educational opportunities. The Premier released a mandate letter in 2016 to MCSCS on plans to work with stakeholders and relevant ministries to support the long term transformation of the correctional system. Changes are needed with the increased number of inmates with mental health issues and more inmates self-identifying as Indigenous offenders.
Discussion on the need to hire additional correctional officers was highlighted along with enhanced training for correctional officers. It was suggested the corrections staff look for opportunities to heighten partnerships with community agencies such as the Salvation Army, John Howard Society and Elizabeth Fry Society. There is a review to search out avenues other than incarceration to deal with offenders. Incarceration should be a last resort. The ministry has engaged 21 focus groups to look at practices to best reintegrate offenders using case management models that work with the offender from entry into the correctional facility until the time of their release. Focus groups were also reviewing intervention-rehab programs and accommodations. Additional meetings will be scheduled throughout the year.
A training module on the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program as it relates to MCSCS was presented. Four regional teams are located in each of the ministry’s regions. Proactive training is provided to CISM personnel to ensure they have the competency to provide responsive intervention to staff members.
MCSCS’ Communications Branch outlined their objectives to highlight the role of the CABs in their communities. They want to position the CAB’s as a key link between the local community and the institution. News releases, backgrounders and speeches were deemed appropriate. It was suggested outlining the work of the CAB’s in supporting the needs of inmates and improving conditions in the province’s correctional facilities. Another important role of the CAB is that each group is providing independent information directly to the MCSCS.
Mental health strategic frameworks were discussed. MCSCS is committed to creating a psychologically healthy and safe environment that actively works to prevent critical interventions. Approximately 40 per cent of female offenders have been identified with having mental health issues. Thirty-five per cent of this group may have multiple mental health alerts. Over the past 10 years corrections client profiles have indicated increases in female inmates needing support for psychological and social issues. Discussion provided information on a plan for a new adult female detention centre in the Brampton area. This initiative is still in its formative stage, however, the existing Roy McMurtry Youth Centre will be converted, and will include a Schedule I mental health facility that will provide a secure treatment environment for female inmates with mental health issues. The Vanier Centre for Women also has enhanced mental health services with the development a Forensic Early Intervention Services.
Community Outreach for CABs was discussed. It was discussed that CABs be present for events like Police Services Week, Torch Run and partner with justice partners to educate the public on the existence of the CAB. These events not only educate the public on our role but will also assist in recruiting when vacancies open up for new members.
The operation of the Institution
CNCC is being managed at a superior level. The Superintendent has provided strong leadership to all staff. The Deputy Superintendents oversee their portfolios with above average skill sets. The senior cadre work well together as one collective unit with a collective vision to provide the best service to the community, offenders and staff. Over the last several years, great strides have been made to recruit top performers into positions at the management level at CNCC. This has been one of the main reasons for the continued success in the facility’s operations. All of these individuals take personal pride in their roles and take ownership in facilities operations. CNCC has increased their positive relations within the community. To name a few events, CNCC staff were involved in the Special Olympics Torch Run partnering with local police, fire and paramedics services. Staff members participated in the Terry Fox run and generated an outstanding $4,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Male offenders in the carpentry program constructed a float for the Midland Santa Claus parade in collaboration with Midland Police Service. The carpentry crew had also constructed decorative birdhouses for the Barrie and Area Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (VCARS) 20th Anniversary Dinner. CNCC was acknowledged in the Martyr’s Shrine Newsletter for the sponsorship/donation for the Tiawenk Fundraiser and Auction on September 24th, 2016.
Institution impact on the community
CNCC is one of the largest employers in the Midland and Penetanguishene area. It is recognised in the top 15 public sector employers in the County of Simcoe with 526 employees. The sustainability has been good for an area that has suffered economic downturn due to the closing of local manufacturing facilities. With many employees living in the vicinity of the institution it allows them to support local businesses for both smaller purchases like food, clothing, fuel up to larger purchases of vehicles and real estate. One slight detractor was that during the time of labour unrest. Employees were holding off making substantial purchases until such time their contacts was settled.
The community is very accepting of CNCC. This facility is a maximum security institution that accommodates approximately 1,100) offenders. There have been no concerns from community stakeholders with respect to security. It must be noted that there have been no instances where there has been a security breach since the institution opened. Community escorts of offenders leaving CNCC for medical appointments and treatments are scheduled with sufficient staff to ensure public safety is not compromised.
There is an enormous link between community and the facility through the use of volunteers. This fiscal year had 120 regular volunteers, and 20 one-time volunteers to assist in delivering Sunshine Bags (which contained a holiday card, two cookies, note pad and small pencil) at Christmas. Dedicated community members made 1428 visits to CNCC in 2016, for a combined total 4725 hours of service. Activities included, delivering religious programs, pastoral visits, library services, Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, bible studies, pet visitation, PASAN (community-based Harm Reduction/HIV/HCV organization) and the previously mentioned distribution of Sunshine Bags. Placement students provided an additional 1930 hours of service to CNCC. The facility celebrated and acknowledged the service of volunteers on two occasions; with the Annual Volunteer Recognition Event in June 2016 and a Sunshine Bag Thank You lunch in December 2016.
After a year of piloting the service, Volunteer Services could officially add pet visitation to the roster when final approval was received on April 21, 2016 from the Assistant Deputy Minister. This is exceptionally good news in that pets are able to provide much needed service to special needs offenders. Pet therapy generated a lot of discussion throughout the province and in July the Coordinators of Volunteer Services came from the Toronto South Detention Centre and South West Detention Centre in Windsor to tour CNCC and observe the pet visitation in action. Information packages that thoroughly outlined the process CNCC took to get program vetted from both management and the Health and Safety Committee were prepared and handed out the. Volunteer Services are a contributing member of the reintegration/rehabilitative team at CNCC Volunteer programs and services enhance the work of the staff, for the overall benefit of the offenders, and do so at no charge to the institution or the offender. This is a unique opportunity that does not represent authority. It is a welcome reprieve for offenders to enjoy something only community volunteers can offer.
Administration of the Institution
CNCC is a well-run facility. There have been changes in the Superintendent’s role this year. The upper echelon transition has been seamless. As previously mentioned, the senior management team can best be described as a cohesive group. All team members manage their portfolios with a high degree of skill and professionalism. Communication between the Superintendent, Deputies and the rank and file are good. It is noted the management are regularly touring the facility to interact with staff. The touring by the management team has not only assisted in opening the lines of communications up with staff but more importantly helps in maintaining good morale.
The Treatment of Inmates
The CAB has had the opportunity to tour the institution at all hours of the day which has allowed them observe many types of activities. No member of the CAB has reported or observed any instances of inmates being mistreated. Staff members who been involved in use of force incidents have these occurrences reviewed by the Superintendent. The review looks into the nature of the incident, ascertaining if the use of force was necessary, degree of injury sustained and decides if the actions taken were appropriate in order to control the situation. Should initial investigations need to be escalated for future review, the Superintendent does utilize the services of the Correctional Services Oversight and Investigations. If an instance arises that the use of force was deemed inappropriate, disciplinary actions have been undertaken.
Meals are provided to all offenders at CNCC on a daily basis. Several menus are prepared for offender’s diets such as vegan, halal and diabetic considerations. Medical treatment is available to inmates at CNCC with their onsite infirmary. Staff nurses are routinely observed providing inmate’s medications in their living units. Should offenders require more specialized treatments that are beyond the scope handled by the medical unit, arrangements are made for them to seek treatment at our local hospitals Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland or Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.
Summary of Recommendations to the Ministry
- The CAB recommends that the timelines to appoint new members be shortened. This is to ensure that candidates are given the impression that the Ministry is “uninterested” in their application. It also allows the CAB to maximize their effectiveness with a larger complement of members.
- Increase support to offenders suffering with mental illness. Consideration should be given to supportive programs and augmenting medical staff with mental health disciplines. More training for correctional officers to deal with mental health issues including intervention techniques.
List of Attachments
Submitted March 31 2017
Malcolm D. McKinnon, Chair
Community Advisory Board,
Central North Correction Centre
June 8, 2017
Mr. Malcolm McKinnon
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Central North Correctional Centre
Dear Mr. McKinnon:
Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Central North 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.
June 21, 2017
Mr. Malcolm McKinnon
Chair Community Advisory Board
Central North Correctional Centre
Dear Mr. McKinnon:
Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and 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 the timelines to appoint new members be shortened. This is to ensure that candidates are not given the impression that the ministry is “uninterested” in their application. It also allows the CAB to maximize their effectiveness with a larger complement of members.
The ministry is committed to ensuring that CAB appointments are made in a timely manner to reduce any potential issues this may cause with operating the board. I assure you we are very interested in all applications received from the Public Appointments Secretariat. We review and screen each application in detail to ensure we select applicants who meet our eligibility criteria and are able to carry out the duties of the CAB.
In 2016, the ministry developed new, more streamlined appointment and re-appointment processes, which provides consistency across the board to complete more timely appointments.
As you know, all potential CAB candidates must undergo an enhanced security screening following the interview process. Enhanced screening normally takes up to eight weeks, however, there have been a few instances where screening has taken longer than expected. This is not considered the norm.
We are working internally to reduce delays in the appointment process and will notify the CAB and their potential candidates when delays are anticipated in order to better inform the process and manage expectations. The ministry will continue to do our part in reducing delays to appointments to ensure all of the CABs can operate with a full board in the coming year.
Recommendation 2: Increase support to offenders suffering with mental illness.Consideration should be given to supportive programs and augmenting medical staff with mental health disciplines. More training for correctional officers to deal with mental health issues including intervention techniques.
The ministry is in the process of hiring an additional 239 staff to increase supports for clients, particularly those with significant challenges related to long-term segregation. To date, just over 200 positions have been filled. This means that clients in segregation will receive enhanced care, consultation with the inter-professional team and continuous monitoring and evaluation which will include individualized rehabilitative programming.
Of the 239 positions in the province dedicated to segregation, CNCC has received 36 positions outlined as follows:
- five correctional officers
- five sergeants
- five staff sergeants
- one deputy superintendent
- three records clerks
- five nurses
- five mental health nurses
- one psychologist
- one social worker
- one rehabilitation officer
- two recreation officers
- one chaplain
- one librarian
All of these positions have been hired except for the mental health nurses. Interviews for the mental health nurses took place on June 8 and 9, 2017. We have tentatively hired a psychologist pending security clearance.
CNCC also received a new social worker and a new rehabilitation officer as part of the female mental health funding received in 2016. Both positions have been filled.
In 2016, the ministry delivered mental health training entitled “Understanding and Responding to Inmates with Mental Health Challenges,” which provided all institutional staff with a foundation for working with clients with mental health issues. As of October 8, 2016, the final training numbers show that 407 out of 426 (95 per cent) staff and managers have completed the training at CNCC.
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 are ongoing and will conclude by June 30, 2017.
In addition to the mental health training noted above, as a part of the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program, all new graduates complete a rigorous assessment and eight-week training program, which includes mental health training and inmate management techniques, prior to commencing service in our facilities.
CNCC has also been taking steps internally to better service their clients with mental health needs. A male step-down unit has been running at CNCC for over six years. This unit provides clients with increased access to mental health resources so they can be stabilized and eventually reintegrated into the general population. CNCC also has a male mental health unit separate from the step-down unit which is a single-cell accommodation for clients who require even more mental health and medical supports. This unit also receives the benefit of a volunteer pet therapy program which has been a welcome addition to the services offered by the institution.
CNCC has also converted their female segregation unit into a specialized unit for female clients with mental health needs or for those who are in protective custody. The institution is operating the unit in a more therapeutic way, allowing the women to access the day room and the
multi-purpose room and providing access to more mental health resources.
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 superior management of the institution, the wide-range of volunteer programs running at CNCC and the upstanding treatment of clients by staff. I would further like to recognize the institution for facilitating a smooth transition between superintendents last year and for the support of all staff throughout the changes.
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 CNCC 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.
Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services