Terms of Reference: Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform

Terms of Reference: Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (ministry) launched a review of its segregation policies and practices in Spring 2015.

Early findings from the review identified areas where the ministry could act immediately to address pressing issues. On October 17, 2016, the ministry announced seven immediate actions to begin to reform segregation.

Recognizing the need to improve conditions for inmates in segregation and support these immediate measures, the ministry also announced that it would appoint an independent advisor to examine further the use of segregation in the province’s adult correctional facilities.

  1. Independent Review

The independent advisor shall conduct a review and make recommendations on corrections reform to the minister as follows:

  1. Interim report and recommendations, to be delivered to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services ("minister") within 60 days of the commencement of the appointment, on immediate steps that can be taken over the short term to address pressing issues related to segregation, including advice and options on an external oversight function.
  2. A report and recommendations, to be submitted to the minister in Spring 2017, or as may be agreed to by the minister, that supports comprehensive corrections reform and the objectives of integrated service delivery, rehabilitation, and reintegration of individuals back into the community. This will include recommendations on legislative and regulatory reform, as well as any further advice for segregation reform. The report will inform a Government Action Plan, intended for release in 2017.
  3. The independent advisor will work with the ministry on developing a phased implementation plan that is premised on the Action Plan.
  1. Mandate

The independent advisor will identify opportunities for corrections reform and will advise government on measures that will:

  • Reduce the number of people held in all forms of segregation, and the length of time individuals spend in segregation;
  • Improve the conditions of confinement for those who, for their own safety and the safety of others, must currently be segregated from the general inmate population;
  • Build a system in which appropriate alternatives to segregation are identified and made available for vulnerable inmates, such as pregnant women and those with acute mental health issues, and where segregation is used only in rare circumstances;
  • Improve oversight of inmates and correctional institutions in relation to segregation:
    • Internally -  to ensure that all policies and procedures related to segregation are sufficient, followed and accurately, consistently and fully documented to maximize awareness and transparency across the system; and
    • Externally - to ensure appropriate oversight of segregation placements and compliance with segregation policies;
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of all staff and inmates;
  • Strengthen the staffing model, including in relation to training and recruitment to align with a modernized approach to corrections and better support of vulnerable inmates; and
  • Reform legislation, regulations, policies and procedures to support the above objectives.

2.1 Interim Report and Recommendations

The independent advisor shall consider and provide an interim report and recommendations to the minister with respect to:

  • Current issues and challenges related to segregation practices in the province’s adult correctional facilities including systemic and capital/facility specific issues
  • Impact of these issues on vulnerable populations and advice on how best to meet their needs
  • The principles and approaches that should be applied concerning segregation decision-making
  • Actions that have been taken to date to reduce the use of segregation and improve conditions of confinement and
  • Whether there are further actions that could be implemented immediately to reduce the use of segregation and improve conditions of confinement, within the current staffing, programming, infrastructure and resource parameters.

The advice should take into consideration the recommendations from the ministry’s consultations with stakeholders on segregation reform and corrections transformation; reflect the recommendations from the Ombudsman as well as the remedies arising from the Jahn application and the work done by the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner.

The independent advisor shall deliver the interim report and recommendations within 60 days of the commencement of the appointment.

2.2 Spring 2017 Report and Recommendations

The independent advisor shall deliver a report with recommendations to the minister that supports comprehensive corrections reform, including but not limited to recommendations that address specific options for:

  • Legislative and/or regulatory reform
  • Policy, procedure and practice reform that are based on provincial interest and desired outcomes, but can be tailored to each facility where required (recognizing the variability in current capital infrastructure)
  • Enhancing programming and improving conditions of all forms of confinement
  • Opportunities to leverage efficiencies (e.g., through regional models)
  • Formalization of internal and external oversight functions
  • Opportunities to work with provincial, federal and community partners such as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ministry of the Attorney General, Correctional Service Canada and other correctional, health-care and community service providers and
  • Any other matter which, in the independent advisor’s discretion is advisable in light of the objectives set out in Section 2.

The report and recommendations shall take into account how to maximize potential investments in a way that supports broader corrections reform.

The independent advisor shall deliver the report and recommendations to the minister in Spring 2017, or as may be agreed to by the minister.

2.3 Implementation Plan

The independent advisor shall work with the ministry to develop a phased implementation plan that is premised on the Spring 2017 Report and Recommendations.

  1. Scope

In conducting their work, the independent advisor shall:

  • Review all available information and data gathered to date as part of the ministry’s internal review on segregation reform (in compliance with privacy requirements)
  • Review current staffing model, and resources, programming, infrastructure and/or other resources at all adult correctional facilities in the province
  • Review applicable legislation, regulations, policies, procedures and practices
  • Review available research and information on approaches and models to correctional services adopted by other jurisdictions, and
  • Conduct further engagement and consultations with stakeholders, as necessary.

Any relevant information in the ministry’s possession will be made available to the independent advisor, and if the independent advisor requires additional information not in the ministry’s possession, the ministry will make every effort to facilitate access, subject to any privilege or other legal restrictions.

 

The minister will ensure the independent advisor has access to all persons and places under the jurisdiction and authority of the ministry that the independent advisor considers necessary to complete his or her work.

The ministry shall be the sole owner of the underlying material, interim and final reports, recommendations and implementation plan developed in accordance with sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3. The independent advisor shall ensure that all reports and recommendations include a copyright notice in the following form: "© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, [insert year of publication*]"

Any material obtained or produced by the independent advisor in the course of the review, shall remain confidential and only be disclosed as required by law or these Terms of Reference.

The independent advisor shall ensure that the reports, recommendations and plan referred to in sections 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 are in a form appropriate for public release, consistent with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and other applicable legislation. The independent advisor shall also ensure that the reports are delivered in English and French at the same time, in electronic and printed forms. Compliance with these requirements will be supported by the ministry.

The independent advisor shall perform their duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding potential disciplinary matters involving any person or the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization, and without interfering in any ongoing criminal, civil or other legal proceeding.

  1. Accountability

The independent advisor will provide his/her report to the minister.

The independent advisor will be appointed by Order in Council.

  1. Resources

The ministry will provide the independent advisor with necessary and appropriate office space, resources, staff or supports in the performance of their duties, and in accordance with Management Board of Cabinet Directives and Guidelines and other applicable government policies. Supports include the ability of the independent advisor to engage on a temporary basis the services of persons having technical or specialized knowledge of the matters relating to the work of the independent advisor.

The independent advisor will have travel, meal and hospitality authority similar to that granted to the Chair of agencies and organizations whose employees are not covered by Part III of the PSOA.

  1. Conflict of interest

The independent advisor shall not engage in any activity that may conflict or potentially conflict with their activities and responsibilities as independent advisor. The independent advisor shall not use information obtained as a result of their role as independent advisor for any purpose not related directly to their role as independent advisor.

  1. Engagement with ministry

The independent advisor will regularly engage with the ministry to provide updates on the status and progress of their work.

  1. Communications

The independent advisor will work in collaboration with the ministry on all public communications. Materials prepared for public release will be in English and French and meet accessibility requirements. Translation and accessibility compliance will be provided by the ministry.

  1. Amendments

Amendments to these terms of reference may be negotiated between the minister and the independent advisor.