OCDC Task Force - Progress Report #2

Corrections

Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Task Force Recommendations

Progress Report #2

Task Force Recommendations – Report Back

On October 27, 2016, Ontario released its first status report on the actions taken to address recommendations from the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) Task Force Action Plan.

The first report outlined the completion of 11 recommendations, as well as progress to implement the remaining recommendations.

This is the second of three progress reports that will be publically available on the ministry’s website. It includes actions taken since Progress Report #1.

For information on recommendations that were completed in the last report, see Progress Report #1.

Tracking Institutional Trends

Quarterly Trend Analysis – Short Term

Recommendation 1:

MCSCS should conduct a quarterly trend analysis in order to better monitor conditions at OCDC, and the progress being made on implementing Task Force recommendations.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The latest quarterly trend analysis for the period of July 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016 has been completed.
  • The ministry will continue to monitor trends and identify any emerging patterns that may require action.
  • The quarterly trend analysis reports will continue to be posted on the ministry website until the final OCDC Progress Report is released in July 2017 and afterwards posted on the open government website.

Open Data – Medium Term

Recommendation 2:

Within the terms of the Open Data Directive, all data collected by MCSCS as a result of the Task Force recommendations should be made available to the public.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The ministry continues to work with the Open Government Office to have OCDC-related reports posted on the Open Data website by summer 2017.
  • The quarterly trend analysis reports will continue to be posted on the ministry website until the final OCDC Progress Report is released in July 2017. Subsequent data releases related to OCDC will be posted on Open Data for continued public access.

Population Management and Administration

Phone Calls to Family Members – Long Term

Recommendation 5:

MCSCS should explore more cost effective measures for inmates to communicate with family members and other support networks when transferred to an institution outside of the inmate’s community. Additionally, remand offenders that are moved from OCDC to alleviate capacity pressures should be provided one phone call a week to family members at no cost.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The ministry has implemented a short-term solution to make it easier for inmates on long-term remand who were transferred away from OCDC to stay in touch with their families. OCDC long-term remand inmates who were relocated to Central East Correctional Centre can make one free phone call per week, for a maximum duration of 20 minutes, under the supervision of a correctional officer.
  • Longer term strategies, which will focus on cost-effective measures that will make it easier for inmates to communicate with their families and support networks, continue to be actively explored and developed. The ministry is continuing discussions with the service provider.

Inmate Request/Complaint Tracking and Processing – Short Term

Recommendation 6:

MCSCS should review and revise the inmate request and internal complaint process to ensure the systems in place are tracked, clear and transparent, with clearly defined service standards for complainants. This should include annual public disclosure of the nature of inmate complaints made to the ministry, remedial action taken and number of days to resolution.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The new inmate complaint process continues to operate effectively, and is monitored closely. Complaints are tracked and adherence to service standards is monitored.
  • Between September 30, 2016 and January 12, 2017, 127 inmate complaints were received. Of those 127, 122 were resolved. The remaining five have been assigned to the responsible Deputy Superintendent for further action. 
  • Please note, there was an error in the previous public report which indicated that a summary report of inmate complaints was targeted for January 2017, however, it should have indicated January 2018. This date is to allow for one full year of data to be collected.

Professional Visits – Short Term

Recommendation 8:

MCSCS should increase the time available for professional visits in order to ensure these visits are more effective and useful for inmates. The ministry should also explore providing legal counsel with a laptop with appropriate software during legal visits strictly for the purposes of disclosure.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The new visit schedule (9am – 9pm) has been in place since November 21, 2016. OCDC is currently working to ensure that all parties are aware of the schedule change, and is monitoring the number of visits that take place during the extended period.
  • Laptops continue to be available for lawyer and inmate use.

Bail and Remand

Pre-Trial Custody Project – Medium Term

Recommendation 9:

On May 2nd, 2016, the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) launched a Pre-Trial Custody Project for six months deploying two prosecutors with specific expertise to provide timely advice to police on police releases and bail, and to expeditiously and efficiently review all in coming and existing custody matters with a view to resolution on a principled basis. This project also aims to reduce time to trial where possible.

Data should be collected by MAG on the project in order to determine if it has resulted in a reduction in remand within the region, and whether there has been a subsequent reduction in remand overall. If the project meets its objectives, the Crown should incorporate the methodology of the Pre-Trial Custody Project into internal practices.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

On December 1, 2016, the Attorney General launched a comprehensive action plan aimed at making Ontario’s criminal justice faster and fairer (“the Action Plan”).  The Action Plan includes an investment to hire new judges, Crown Attorneys, duty counsel and court staff across Ontario, while providing additional resources to community agencies to provide more supports and options for the safe release of persons awaiting trial.

Owing to the success of the Ottawa Pre-Trial Custody Project, the Ministry of the Attorney General is pleased to report that, as part of the Action Plan, it is investing the necessary resources to ensure that the two crown prosecutor resources being piloted as part of the Ottawa Pre-Trial Custody Project have been made permanent and, in addition, the range of services provided by these Crowns will be expanded in Ottawa

More specifically, the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s office will have a permanent “bail vettor Crown” going forward, who will incorporate the successful practices of the Pre-Trial Custody Project in order to facilitate more timely and effective bail decisions. 

In addition, MAG and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) have agreed to “embed” a Crown Attorney within the OPS, who will provide real-time advice and support on bail decisions to OPS upon request.  The embedded Crown will also work with the police and community-based health and social service agencies on meaningful alternatives to criminal charges for vulnerable, low-risk accused, including those who suffer from mental health issues and addictions.

MAG will continue the active collection and analysis of data for the purpose of assessing the impact of the work by these Crowns on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the bail system in Ottawa.

Additional Dedicated ‘In Custody’ Trial Court – Medium Term

Recommendation 10:

The Ontario Court of Justice should establish an additional dedicated ‘in custody’ trial court in Ottawa, with the appropriate court and crown staffing, to reduce the time to trial issues related to in-custody matters. This recommendation aligns with the Pre-Trial Custody Project.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

As indicated in Progress Report #1, the assignment and scheduling of judges and justices of the peace are within the independent and exclusive jurisdiction of the Ontario Court of Justice.  The Ministry of the Attorney General has brought this recommendation to the attention of the Office of the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Funded Bail Beds – Medium Term

Recommendation 11:

MCSCS and MAG should work with partner ministries such as the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) and community agencies to review the feasibility of funding bail beds for offenders whom the court determines could be appropriately housed and supervised in the community.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

MAG is pleased to report that, as part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan, Ontario is investing in the creation of a dedicated bail bed program to provide safe, supportive and supervised housing for vulnerable accused persons who require enhanced supervision in the community.  Ottawa has been selected as one of five locations in Ontario where dedicated resources will be provided to establish bail beds.   MAG is currently in discussions with service providers in Ottawa to deliver this program, including John Howard Society and Elizabeth Fry Society.  It is anticipated that there will be approximately 15-20 bail beds available and operating in the Ottawa area starting in April 2017.  The government would like to thank the OCDC Task Force for their advice and insight, which directly contributed to the decision to provide dedicated “bail bed” funding in the Ottawa area and elsewhere.

Bail Process – Medium Term

Recommendation 12:

MCSCS should, in collaboration with MAG, examine the bail process, including possible increased appearances by video and early access to Legal Aid.

The greater use of technology and/or the presence of duty counsel or legal aid within the institution should also be considered. Lastly, Justices of the Peace should be encouraged to routinely consider whether it is appropriate to endorse bench warrants to give police officers an option to release at the station on arrests related to breaches of recognizance.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1

MAG has taken several important steps since Progress Report #1 to address this recommendation.  Specifically, as part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan, it has been determined that dedicated funding will be provided to Legal Aid Ontario to provide accused individuals with earlier access to legal aid services, including directly at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.  Ontario will be making the following new investments in the Ottawa area:

  • Funding will be provided to Legal Aid Ontario to establish an experienced duty counsel bail coordinator at the Ottawa courthouse.  The duty counsel bail coordinator will work with Crowns – including the new, dedicated “bail vettor Crown” – to triage and expedite the bail process, ensuring meaningful bail decisions are made while protecting public safety and victims of crime.
  • Funding will be provided to Legal Aid Ontario to place a dedicated duty counsel in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre – beginning April 1, 2017 – to allow duty counsel to more immediately and effectively address bail matters by providing legal advice, facilitating quick applications for legal aid certificates and preparing accused persons for their bail hearings.

*See also: Action Since Progress Report #1 related to Recommendation 21 – Access to Video Technology

Policing Reforms– Long Term

Recommendation 13:

MCSCS should develop a policy for police services with the goal of diverting low-risk individuals away from pre-trial detention. Specifically, explicit guidance should be given to arresting officers and officers in charge regarding what classes of offences should be presumptively subject to release from police stations.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The ministry is continuing to  identify inter-ministerial partners and other stakeholders that need to be engaged to develop such a policy.  There are no further updates to report on at this time.  Future updates will be provided in the next progress report.

Policing Reforms – Medium Term

Recommendation 14:

Individuals released from police custody should be proactively informed of the procedures that can be used to vary police-imposed conditions under ss 499(3) and 503(2) of the Criminal Code.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • MCSCS and MAG are drafting a memorandum to all police services boards and Chiefs of Police in Ontario about proactively informing those released from police custody of the procedures that can be used to vary police-imposed conditions under the relevant Criminal Code sections.
  • The memorandum is projected to be distributed to all Chiefs of Police in Spring 2017.

Enhancing Community Support Programs – Long Term

Recommendation 15:

Ontario should work with community agencies to examine strategies that would assist vulnerable individuals who are in the court system such as phone call reminders, transportation assistance, and referrals to social service agencies.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

As part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan, MAG will be providing substantial new investments to expand the Bail Verification and Supervision Program (BVSP) across Ontario, including in Ottawa.  The BVSP provides support to low-risk accused who do not have the finances or social ties to be released safely into the community on bail.  The program ensures people have supervision, attend court dates, meet their bail conditions and helps them navigate the criminal court process.

Ontario’s new investments will provide additional funding to John Howard Society in Ottawa to expand the reach of the existing Ottawa BVSP. The expansion of the BVSP in Ottawa includes amending the eligibility criteria of the BVSP to allow for more people who are struggling with mental illness, poverty, homelessness and addictions to access this program and be safely released into the community. The enhancements also include additional funding for mental health services for BVSP clients and continuation of funding provided to Ottawa BVSP for Weekend and Statutory Holidays Court to alleviate overcrowding pressure at OCDC.  In addition, MAG is pleased to report that funding will be provided to John Howard Society in Ottawa to open satellite offices in Pembroke, Perth and L’Orignal.  MAG is currently in the process of working with the service provider to determine the final details of these new satellite offices.

In addition, MAG has developed an Indigenous Bail and Remand Program - a comprehensive strategy to address some of the unique issues and barriers faced by Indigenous persons at bail. This initiative includes creating  new Indigenous BVSPs operated by Indigenous organizations and communities, and enhancing existing BVSP programs to improve and expand the services provided to Indigenous clients by building relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations, and incorporating culturally appropriate programing, training, case management and dedicated Indigenous staff positions.  MAG is currently engaging with local Indigenous service providers to explore the establishment of Indigenous-specific supports in the Ottawa area.

Enhancing Judicial Decision Making–Long Term

Recommendation 16:

Given the fundamental importance of bail decisions and conditions of release, further specialized legal training prior to adjudicating bail matters should be considered for justices of the peace.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

As indicated in Progress Report #1, education of judges and justices of the peace is within the independent and exclusive jurisdiction of the Ontario Court of Justice.  The Ministry of the Attorney General has brought this recommendation to the attention of the Office of the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Addressing Delays in Bail Court –Medium Term

Recommendation 17:

Bail cases that are not ready to proceed in the morning should be held down until later in the day. All hold down requests that are intended to facilitate the timely release of the accused should be granted by the presiding justice.

It should be presumed that all cases will be dealt with to the fullest extent possible each day. Policies should ensure that the courts have the resources to remain open until individuals who are ready to have their bail hearing have been addressed.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

Decisions relating to the scheduling of cases are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary.  This recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Diversion Programs–Long Term

Recommendation 18:

MCSCS and MAG should increase the availability of pre- and post-charge diversion programs for individuals suffering from addictions and mental illness. Particular attention should be paid to the development of pre-charge diversion options for administration of justice charges for those with mental illnesses.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

As described above in MAG’s response to Recommendation #9, MAG has launched a new program as part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan that will embed a Crown Attorney with the Ottawa Police Service, effective February 1, 2017.  The “embedded Crown” will provide real-time advice and support on bail decisions to police upon request.  In addition, the “embedded Crown” will be mandated to work with police and community-based health and social service agencies to facilitate pre-charge diversion – where appropriate – for vulnerable, low-risk accused, including who suffer from mental illness and do not belong in a correctional facility.

Further, as previously mentioned, one of the province’s dedicated bail vettor Crowns will be placed in the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s office. The bail vettor will continue the work of the Pre-Trial Custody Project to make bail court more efficient, by facilitating more timely and informed bail positions, and in appropriate cases, earlier resolutions which may include mental health diversion.

The expansion and enhancement of the BVSP in Ottawa will make it possible for more people who are struggling with mental illness, poverty, homelessness and addictions to access this program and be safely released into the community.  As part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan, funding has already been provided to John Howard Society in Ottawa to provide these additional supports in the community, as well as to expand their services to new satellite locations in their area including Pembroke, Perth and L’Orignal.

Bail Conditions–Medium Term

Recommendation 19:

The courts should refrain from imposing bail conditions that are likely to criminalize the symptoms of an underlying mental health issue.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

MAG is pleased to report that it has made important progress in response to this recommendation.  Specifically, as part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan, Ontario has committed to introducing and implementing a revised and modernized Crown policy on bail within six months.

To support this work, three prominent and well-respected bail experts - former Chief Justice Brian Lennox, former Deputy Attorney General Murray Segal, and Deputy Crown Attorney Lori Montague – have been appointed to provide advice on modernizing Crown policies and procedures on bail.  These experts will provide specific advice on a number of subjects related to effective and timely bail decision-making, including appropriate positions on bail and requests for bail conditions with respect to populations with mental health issues.

MAG will provide further updates on its delivery on this commitment in future report-backs to the OCDC Task Force.

Gladue Considerations–Short Term

Recommendation 20:

Courts should develop ways to incorporate Gladue considerations into the bail process and have regard to the systemic barriers Aboriginal people face in the process of arrest and judicial interim release in order to properly consider these in the determination of release.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

In November 2016, the Indigenous Justice Division hosted a three-day Gladue Summit to gather input from Indigenous community members, service providers, organizations and mainstream justice sector representatives to identify service gaps and to discuss how to improve service delivery.  Some of the discussions at this Summit focused on bail, and the application of Gladue principles at the bail stage.

As noted above, as part of the Attorney General’s Action Plan and our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous people, MAG is creating new Indigenous BVSPs operated by Indigenous organizations and communities, and enhancing existing BVSP programs to improve and expand the services provided to Indigenous clients by building relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations, and incorporating culturally appropriate programming, training, case management and dedicated Indigenous staff positions.

MAG is currently engaged with local Indigenous service providers to explore the establishment of Indigenous-specific supports in the Ottawa area.

Finally, as noted above, MAG has appointed three bail experts – former Chief Justice Brian Lennox, former Deputy Attorney General Murray Segal, and Deputy Crown Attorney Lori Montague – to provide advice on modernizing Crown policies and procedures on bail. These experts will consider a number of subjects related to effective and timely bail decision-making, including the use of sureties and bail conditions, and consideration of Gladue principles at the bail stage. In consultation with MAG’s Indigenous Justice Division and Indigenous partners, their advice will support MAG’s development of a new Crown policy on bail that will be released within six months.

MAG will provide further updates on its delivery on this commitment in future report-backs to the OCDC Task Force.

Access to Video Technology – Long Term

Recommendation 21:

MCSCS should expand the use of video technology for counsel to provide legal advice for inmates and facilitate professional visits.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • As part of the pilot at the South West Detention Center (SWDC), bail-related court appearances for inmates can also be conducted via video from SWDC as of November 2016. The official end of this pilot project is end of February 2017.
  • Performance measurement results for the months of September 2016 and October 2016 have been collected and reported to the Steering Committee. The December 2016 results are in progress.
  • Employees have been developing monthly dashboards based on the performance measurements and the dashboards have been shared with Steering Committee members and project sponsors.
  • Plans are underway to implement another pilot project at Monteith Correctional Complex in Spring 2017 for both remote defense access and video bail-related court appearances.
  • The Monteith Correctional Complex pilot project will use lessons learned from the SWDC pilot to implement video technology so that counsel can provide legal advice for inmates remotely, as well as conduct full video bail hearings.
  • The results from these two pilots will be used to help implement similar video technology at OCDC.  
  • There are plans to use the results from all three proofs of concepts to develop and inform a potential province-wide implementation strategy for the expanded use of video.

Health Care

Comprehensive Health Care Review – Medium Term

Recommendation 22:

MCSCS should undertake a comprehensive review of health care services provided at OCDC to ensure the adequate, effective and efficient delivery of services to meet the complex needs of the male and female inmate population.

This review should include, but not be limited to, the timely access to medication, engagement of nurse practitioners and staffing overall, methadone delivery and timely access to health care professionals including dentists. The purpose of the Health Care Review and the implementation of its findings should be to improve the immediate health care conditions at OCDC.

Status: Complete

Action since Progress Report #1:

  • The OCDC Health Care Review is complete.
  • The implementation plan for the OCDC Health Care Review has been developed. The ministry will monitor progress and report on the status of plan objectives to senior ministry representatives.
  • Work continues on the implementation of the review recommendations. Progress to date includes:
    • Incorporated three correctional officer posts into the Health Care Unit staffing schedule in order to facilitate enhanced inmate access to health care.
    • Communicated and enforced the need for a cover sheet when faxing any documents that contain medical information.
    • Established clear communication to health care staff regarding documentation expectations.
    • Established a schedule for reviewing health care policies and related Standing Orders or Directives.
    • Emergency response and equipment training completed by health care staff including an established schedule for ongoing training.
    • Stocked emergency supplies such as epinephrine in all emergency bags.
    • Established a schedule for checking emergency equipment on a regular basis and after it is used.
    • Weekly on site dental services initiated.
    • Conducted segregation assessments, including initial, daily and release assessments.
    • Initiated a triage system for inmate health care requests.
    • Established a process for operation of the negative pressure cell.
    • Implemented a Standing Order for the triaging and booking of patients on the doctor daily parade.
    • Implemented a Standing Order for daily assessment of suicide patients by the nurse.

Addiction Support – Medium Term

Recommendation 23:

Given the increasing number of inmates with substance alerts at OCDC as indicated in the trend analysis, MCSCS should expand programming and support for inmates with addiction issues.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • Social workers for male and female inmates have attended a three-day “Change is a Choice” training course in Hamilton which started on January 17, 2017.  Programing will be initiated as soon as possible for both male and female inmates. 
  • The volunteer Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programming continues to be offered at OCDC to both male and female inmates. 
  • The Case Management Team from the Ottawa Drug Court will make a presentation to female at male inmates at OCDC (date TBC).

Step-Down and Mental Health Units – Long Term

Recommendation 24:

MCSCS should establish Step-Down and Mental Health Units with dedicated trained staff for both men and women at the OCDC to better support inmates with mental healthcare needs.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The ministry continues to work towards establishing the Step-Down and Mental Health Units.
  • Design consultants have been assigned to the project. The design process is first, with procurement and construction to follow.
  • The ministry is making upgrades in the Step-Down and Stabilization areas which include cleaning, painting, furniture replacement, new doors and glazing. These upgrades will be completed concurrent with the meal hatch program.
  • An existing segregation area has also been successfully repurposed as interim step-down units.  This allows up to 16 inmates with mental healthcare needs to access the same privileges as regular non-segregated inmates, such as time out of their cell, fresh air, phones, showers, television and programming.  The establishment of these interim step-down units has reduced the number of inmates in segregation. 
  • All three interim step-down areas were operational as of January 13, 2017.

Alternative Housing Options – Long Term

Recommendation 25:

MCSCS should, through the Correctional Services Transformation Strategy, collaborate with partner ministries and community agencies to explore alternative housing options such as mental health facilities or dedicated addiction treatment spaces for those sentenced offenders with mental health needs.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • Data collection and the first meeting with internal stakeholders took place on December 7, 2016.
  • During the meeting, roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders were defined and an action plan was developed.
  • Next steps include identifying a lead to set up the following:
    1. A working group with community health and housing service providers to develop alternative housing strategies in the community.
    2. A working group to work with internal stakeholders (this may include health care professionals, correctional and management staff at OCDC) to establish an effective communication flow and collaborative approach when an inmate is deemed to be incapable of consenting to medical intervention (Form 1 issued).

Transfer of Health Care Delivery – Long Term

Recommendation 27:

The ministry should initiate discussions with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and other partner ministries to transfer the delivery of health care services provided at Ontario’s adult correctional institutions to the MOHLTC.

Status: In Progress

 Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The ministry will continue  to engage the MOHLTC regarding health care service delivery within Ontario’s adult correctional institutions. There are no further updates to report on at this time.  Future updates will be provided in the next progress report.

Conditions of Confinement

OCDC Information Brochure – Short Term

Recommendation 28:

To assist inmates in orienting themselves to the institution, an OCDC information brochure on procedures, rights and operations at the institution should be developed and distributed to inmates. This should also include information on complaints, requests, visits, as well as the process and contact numbers for Legal Aid Ontario.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • A brochure was developed and distributed to inmates in July 2016.
  • Updates have been made to the brochure to include information regarding the body scanner, extended visit periods and inmate complaint process.  
  • The updated brochure will be circulated and posted throughout the institution, including all living units.  The updated brochure is posted behind glass in Admitting and Discharge and weekly checks are also being made in the living units to ensure the brochure is visible to the inmates.

Cleanliness of the Institution – Short Term

Recommendation 29:

To improve the health and sanitary conditions at OCDC, an enhanced schedule and scope of cleaning for the entire institution should be put in place to improve and maintain the overall level of sanitation and to prevent spread of contagious disease and mould, including a regular and thorough cleaning of all walls, showers, floors and windows, and insect extermination.

This should also include the disinfection of all hygiene products and regular washing of bedding for inmates as per the standing orders of the institution. In order to prevent the spread of disease in the shower area, shower sandals should be provided to all inmates.

Status: Complete

Action Since Report #1:

  • The enhanced cleaning plan is in place. OCDC continues to monitor progress and adjust the plan according to operational needs or areas that require attention at any given time.
  • Cleaning and painting of inmate living areas has begun, with the female dorm completed in January 2017. The thorough cleaning and painting in men's maximum security units is scheduled to occur concurrently with construction work that is already planned for those areas.

Food and Nutrition – Medium Term

Recommendation 30:

MCSCS should re-evaluate its food delivery system options including dietary requirements, quality of food items purchased and costs. The ministry’s food services managers, dietary coordinator and procurement staff should meet on a regular basis to review complaints arising from food service at all institutions, determine if new food items are to be added and whether existing vendor contracts should continue. There should also be nutrition information and education made available to inmates.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • As part of a province wide review of the ministry’s food services program and in response to the OCDC taskforce findings and recommendations, the ministry is looking at options for improvement.  Findings and recommendations are currently planned for 2018.
  • The existing OCDC food services program has benefited from improved measures through the recalibration of ovens, the use of temperature-controlled carts and the introduction of quality monitoring audits. 

Recreation – Long Term

Recommendation 31:

MCSCS should reintroduce recreation positions at OCDC with the necessary resources and equipment.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • On December 15, 2016, the ministry announced significant reforms to Ontario’s Correctional System, which included the hiring of 32 new Recreation Officers across provincial institutions. Hiring is currently underway and will be complete before the end of March 2017. OCDC continues to explore how the introduction of these positions can be most impactful.

Support for Diverse Inmate Population – Medium Term

Recommendation 32:

MCSCS should provide increased spiritual/cultural counselling and programming for the diverse inmate population at OCDC. This should include, but not be limited to Indigenous Persons, Muslims, new immigrants and racialized inmates.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The Native Inmate Liaison Officer, the Multi-Cultural Inmate Liaison Office, the Muslim program and the Sweat Lodge program continue to offer culturally specific programming to inmates. 
  • A new literacy pilot for all inmates will commence at OCDC. An implementation date will be determined in the near future.
  • OCDC will continue to explore additional programs to support other racialized inmates.

Institutional Phone System – Long Term

Recommendation 33:

MCSCS should review its inmate telephone system with a view to improving affordability and making calls to cellular phones.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • As of November 7, 2016 OCDC inmates who were relocated to other institutions can use the discharge phone to make one free phone call per week, of a maximum duration of 20 minutes, under the supervision of a correctional officer.
  • Longer term strategies, which will focus on cost-effective measures that will make it easier for inmates to communicate with their families and support networks, continue to be actively explored and developed.  The ministry is continuing discussions with the service provider.

Use of Segregation – Medium Term

Recommendation 34:

Specific to this review and at OCDC, the MCSCS should:

  • Ensure inmate access to privileges, rights and entitlements such as fresh air, interaction with others, out-of-cell activity and mental health supports.
  • Enhance or establish mental health treatment capacity across the system to address the overuse of segregation for those with mental health needs.
  • Ensure the implementation of the segregation review is supported by the appropriate staffing models and staff training.
  • Focus on data collection and tracking, including greater public accountability and transparency in publishing segregation data.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • On December 15, 2016, the ministry announced Ontario is taking action to reform the provincial correctional system by increasing access to health care services, improving conditions of confinement and supporting rehabilitation and reintegration programming for adult inmates.
  • The government's plan to address immediate priorities in the system will support improvements such as better access to programs and services, improved facilities and more time out of cells for those in segregation and those with mental health issues.
  • New initiatives include:
    • Hiring an additional 239 staff to increase supports for inmates, particularly those with significant challenges related to long-term segregation, including correctional officers, nurses, mental health nurses, social workers, psychologists, managers and program staff.
    • Enhancing services for inmates to ensure they have access to a standardized set of core services, spiritual services and programming with a focus on enhanced mental health and well-being of inmates
    • Implementing dedicated segregation managers at institutions with higher segregation rates to help reduce the use of segregation and support inmates as they transition back to general population
    • Retrofitting, repairing and repurposing existing spaces, including common rooms and yards, for example installing TVs, changing/upgrading doors and repainting and creating new day areas
    • Ontario has appointed an independent advisor, Howard Sapers, on corrections reform to provide advice to the government on the use of segregation and ways to improve the province’s adult corrections system
    • Howard Sapers’ analysis will build on the work done to date, examine the future of segregation in Ontario’s correctional facilities, provide advice to the government as it works to reduce the number of people held in segregation, the length of time individuals spend in segregation, and improve the conditions under which they are held.
  • The seven immediate action items outlined in October 2016 have been implemented, and work continues across provincial institutions, including OCDC, to reduce the number of inmates placed in segregation and improves conditions for those who, for their own safety and the security of others, must be segregated from the general inmate population.

Direct Supervision – Long Term

Recommendation 35:

MCSCS should implement the direct supervision model at OCDC. Task Force members understand that this would be a lengthy implementation goal that would go beyond the definition of long term as defined in this report.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • Work continues on the broader provincial review and evaluation of resources and infrastructure changes.  The ministry is currently reviewing the direct supervision model in place at the Toronto South Detention Centre and the South West Detention Centre.  This evaluation will inform any decision to expand the direct supervision model across the province.  
  • Further updates will be provided, when available, in future public progress reports.

Community Groups and Volunteers – Short Term

Recommendation 37:

MCSCS should facilitate more involvement from community groups and volunteers who can provide voluntary educational and other programs to inmates.

Status: In Progress

Action since Progress Report #1:

  • OCDC continues to seek opportunities with additional volunteer groups. Meetings with volunteer groups have been set up for March and April 2017.
  • The OCDC female unit has additional programming with a weekly Native group meeting.
  • The Case Management Team from the Ottawa Drug Court will present to female and male inmates at OCDC (date TBC).

Capital Improvements

Infrastructure Modifications – Long Term

Recommendation 38:

In addition to infrastructural modifications to accommodate Step-Down and Mental Health Units (see Recommendation 24), MCSCS should examine additional infrastructural needs of the institution to improve the health and safety of both inmates and staff and also accommodate the delivery of expanded programing.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • Replacement of meal hatches is ongoing in the maximum security wing of OCDC. However, the ministry is anticipating some delays beyond March 2017 given that during the door investigation it was found that additional modifications are required to ensure that the security requirements of the institution are adhered to.
  • Upgrades to Step-Down and Stabilization areas within OCDC will be completed during the meal hatch project.  These upgrades include cleaning, painting, furniture replacement, new doors and glazing.
  • Performing both projects at the same time will allow for OCDC to operate with minimum disruption, and only require one area of the institution to be out of operation at a time.

Physical Inspection – Long Term

Recommendation 39:

MCSCS should undertake a full facility physical inspection to improve health and safety conditions, and create a more hygienic environment for inmates and staff. This inspection would determine and recommend immediate maintenance and renovations, including, but not limited to, security, painting and cleaning of air ducts. It would also establish a long-term, lifecycle approach for the physical infrastructure.

Status: Complete

Action Since Progress Report #1:

  • The Leasehold Asset Management Plan report was finalized and received on October 26, 2016.
  • The cleaning and painting of the inmate living areas referenced in recommendation 29 were also in alignment with the findings of the Leasehold Asset Management Plan.
  • The ministry also utilized the information provided in the report to inform the ministry’s annual budget submission.

Reintegration into the Community

Temporary Absences Permits – Long Term

Recommendation 41:

MCSCS should increase the use of temporary absences for inmates near the end of their sentences by working in collaboration with the Ontario Parole Board.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

The ministry continues to meet with the OPB to discuss next steps and to look at options in order to increase appropriate temporary absence permits through a consultative process.  There are no further updates to report on at this time.  Future updates will be provided in the next progress report.

Discharge Planning and Parole Application Support – Long Term

Recommendation 42:

MCSCS should provide necessary resources to assist with discharge planning for inmates and better support mechanisms for inmates preparing for parole applications at OCDC. This includes incorporating a case management team approach for discharge planning and parole applications, initiating discharge planning upon admission and enhancing community partnerships to better support the reintegration, discharge and parole planning for inmates.

Lastly, the Task Force also recommends the Ontario Parole Board and the ministry to review the role of community agencies in facilitating an inmate’s preparation for parole.

Status: In Progress

Action Since Progress Report #1:

The ministry is continuing to engage the OPB to discuss next steps in order to review the role of community agencies in facilitating an inmate’s preparation for parole.  There are no further updates to report on at this time.  Future updates will be provided in the next progress report.