CAB Report 2014 - Central East Correctional Centre

Community Advisory Board Annual Report


Central East Correctional Centre

Lindsay, Ontario

March 31, 2015


Overview

The Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) Community Advisory Board (CAB) was established in February 2003. Formerly known as a Board of Monitors, the CECC was Ontario’s second CAB.

CECC CAB members

Chair: Ed Lafosse, appointed May 1, 2012, term April 30, 2015

Board Members:

Chris Ciceri, appointed Aug. 1, 2014, term July 31, 2016
Jean Jones appointed Aug. 2, 2012, term Aug. 1, 2015
Nancy Martin, appointed Aug. 16, 2013, term Aug. 15, 2016
Sandy McNeil, appointed April 1, 2014, term March 31, 2016

Meetings

The CAB held nine meetings during this reporting period. Due to vacancies on the Board, two of these meetings only had sufficient members for a quorum. The meeting minutes were forwarded to the Minister and Program Advisor on a regular basis. We received two Institutional Count and Incident reports.

Site visits

With a skeleton board and health complications, the number of institutional visits was reduced to 42 over the year. Employee Relations Committee and Joint Health & Safety Committee meeting minutes are available for review by the CAB when they visit the facility. Binders are kept on a bookshelf in the main administration for easy access.

Number of concerns directed to the minister

Seven concerns and two congratulatory messages were directed to the minister.

  1. A request for revised CAB Terms of Reference, which includes a review of the Annual Report by the minister and comments provided
  2. Request for a meeting with the Central North Correctional Centre CAB in Penetanguishene (first made in 2010)
  3. Opposition to submitting the proposed Memorandum of Understanding and Risk Management Assessment
  4. The high frequency of rotational lockdowns
  5. The Board did not receive a response to its concern about who is responsible for construction penalties for stopped and delayed projects
  6. The excessive presence of contraband and related inmate assaults
  7. Question whether it is worthwhile preparing and submitting an Annual Report when minimal feedback is provided from the minister
  8. Welcoming Ms. Sandy O’Neil, the fifth mandatory appointment to the CAB, in May 2014
  9. Kudos to the CECC Deputy-Superintendent, Programs on the successful integration of trans inmates into the female unit

Observations

The Operation of the Institution

Outdoor Offender Work Program

The Outdoor Offender Work Program has been operational since 2009. Approximately 25 inmates participate in this program annually. There are four positions. Projects include various areas of property maintenance and, the collection and removal of garbage. A female inmate was accepted into the program and assisted with property maintenance. Additional opportunities for female inmates to work outdoors are being investigated.

The Volunteer Program

The Volunteer Program is an extremely important operational component. CECC has enthusiastic volunteers providing excellent support to inmates. We also acknowledge the many agencies and students that provide services to our inmates. Our more than 200 volunteers are acknowledged and celebrated at an annual banquet.

Annual art contest

An annual art contest for inmates to showcase their talents was discontinued upon the retirement of the Volunteer Co-ordinator. The contest enjoyed great success for five years. A new Volunteer Co-ordinator has significantly expanded programming in various areas.

CAB vacancies

There are six members required on the CAB. Since August 2010, there continues to be vacant positions on this board. CAB members believe the ministry’s lack of action to fill vacancies is indicative of this board’s low level of importance.

Institution Impact on the Community

Access to health care professionals

Along with many other Ontario communities, Lindsay is an under-served 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.

Community involvement

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 contributes to various charities. The 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, along with other formal events.

Administration of the Institution

Condition of the institution

All construction projects, including an upgrade to the fire-alarm system, were postponed to accommodate the transfer of federal detainees from the Toronto West Detention Centre. The air quality and ventilation system throughout the entire institution continue to present concerns for staff and inmates. CAB members observed air vents clogged with lint within 24-hours of being replaced by maintenance staff. The ventilation and air quality has also been raised at Health & Safety meetings. The CAB is concerned with the overall cleanliness of the institution.

Contraband

The offender population is changing with more gangs and more drugs. The prevalence of contraband substances continues to be a serious issue. There is excessive pressure and intimidation on the Work Program inmates to traffic contraband. Random searches and canine searches are regular occurrences.

X-ray equipment

Staff has expressed their concerns about the ineffective x-ray equipment and lack of training provided.

Pod 3

Pod 3, Section A is empty. With shared occupancy of cells – possibly through federal discussions – additional sections could be available for intermittent inmates. The CAB is requesting an investigation whether additional sections of Pod 3 can be made available to accommodate intermittent inmates, which will also disrupt trafficking schemes and the circulation of contraband.

Pod 4

The sentenced offenders in Pod 4 cannot work and are not offered recreation time. A review of this situation is requested.

Staffing

Staffing resources have been stretched to the limit with consistency and important efficiencies being jeopardized. The shortage of day-shift managers has resulted in additional lockdowns. New recruits were welcomed and have reduced staff pressures.

Telemedicine

The telemedicine process requires numerous escorts for outside medical appointments and reduces available staff.

Offender-on-offender assaults

The number of offender-on-offender assaults has significantly increased with many being contraband related. The high rate of offender-on-offender assaults continues to be a serious concern.

Cost recovery

The CAB is requesting feedback from the ministry whether all the costs related to federal detainees’ care is reimbursed. For example, are the costs of transporting detainees for medical reasons, Canadian Border Services hearings and required escorts, as well as other federal detainee-related costs being reimbursed?

The Treatment of inmates

Worship Centre

The CAB is pleased that the Worship Centre has a busy schedule with inmates attending various non-denominational services and numerous multi-faith events. The Co-ordinating Chaplain, for example, received comments acknowledging the respectful treatment of the inmates during the religious observance of Ramadan.

CAB members enthusiastically encourage the implementation of the Chaplain’s project of streaming funeral services for family members at CECC.

Immigration detainees

Immigration detainees are of some concern since they are housed here on an unclear timeline.

Programming

The Education Department provides a valuable program for the inmates to earn credits towards obtaining their high school diplomas. As well, the inmates earn valuable credits by participating on the Work Board. The department reports; “it is wonderful to see the reaction of inmates when they are told they can earn credits towards their high school diplomas. This creates hopefulness.”

The new Volunteer Co-ordinator significantly expanded programming for male and female inmates, including life skills, parenting and basic literacy and numeracy skills JK to grade 8.

The Native Institutional Liaison Officer provides advocacy and special programs for the First Nation and Inuit inmates.

An innovative program of policy development, staff training and awareness development contributed to the successful integration of trans inmates in the female unit.

Mental health

CECC has a number of inmates with mental health challenges. The CAB is concerned over the lack of alternative facilities available for special-needs inmates. A designated section is being planned to accommodate the inmates with mental-health challenges and special needs, who currently reside in segregation and throughout the facility. The inmate population with Alzheimer’s and dementia require additional special care. Increased access to mental health professionals is strongly encouraged.

Personal hygiene

Issues around the cost of haircuts arose. Detainees would like to have access to hair clippers so they could do each other’s hair and save money for more pressing expenses.

Staff shortages

Staff shortages have a major impact on the social workers’ and addiction counsellors’ access to inmates. There are high caseloads subject to numerous time constraints.

Lockdowns

Frequent lockdowns negatively impact offenders. As well, inmate programs are cancelled.

Inmate brews

There is a concern about the frequency of inmates preparing brews and the harmful consequences.

Creative expression

CAB members personally congratulated three female inmates who painted detailed murals in the general purpose rooms of Pods 8 and 9.

Recommendations

The following concerns have been identified by Board members and will be closely monitored over the next year:

  1. Proactive recruitment of Board applications using an effective screening process and a more efficient approvals process.
  2. The lack of feedback from the ministry to the CAB Annual Report.
  3. There is an excessive presence and use of contraband in the facility.
  4. The number of offender-on-offender assaults related to the institutional tracking of contraband continues to be high.
  5. A designated area is required to accommodate inmates with mental-health challenges and special needs, who currently reside in segregation and throughout the facility.
  6. The inmate population with Alzheimer’s and dementia require additional special care.
  7. Lack of success in recruiting a physician results in additional, expensive escorts to the hospitals and medical specialists for health care.
  8. Smoking on the premises continues to be problematic.
  9. Both the air quality and ventilation systems throughout the entire institution continue to present concerns for the staff and the inmates.
  10. Overall cleanliness of the institution remains a concern.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services letterhead

October 27, 2015

Ms. Nancy Martin

Community Advisory Board Chair

Central East Correctional Centre

Dear Ms. Martin:

Thank you for your submission of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) 2014 Annual Report for the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC).

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ constant focus is on transforming Ontario's correctional system to improve staff and inmate safety, provide effective rehabilitation and reintegration programs, and strengthen inmate mental health supports. Moving forward in these key areas is at the very core of building safer, stronger communities right across our province. We cannot do this without the commitment of individuals such as you and the other dedicated volunteers who make up our Community Advisory Boards. Your local perspective is invaluable to strengthening the links between our correctional facilities and our communities.  

I have reviewed your report and appreciate the thoughtful comments you have made about CECC. You will be pleased to know, a new Annual Report process has been implemented in conjunction with the development and submission of the 2014 Annual Report, including a standardized template. With the standardized approach to reporting issues, the ministry is able to review and provide responses in a meaningful way.

Deputy Minister Stephen Rhodes will be responding in detail to each of the valuable recommendations you have made. Please accept my sincere thanks for this report, your work with the Superintendent, and your role in the community. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work of the former CAB Chair, the late Ed LaFosse who passed away recently. I want to thank you for stepping up to fill the CAB Chair role following his passing.

Sincerely,

Yasir Naqvi

Minister


Deputy Minister, Correctional Services letterhead

October 27, 2015

Ms. Nancy Martin

Community Advisory Board Chair

Central East Correctional Centre

Dear Ms. Martin:

Thank you for your submission of the 2013-2014 and 2014 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Reports for the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC). The Annual Reports have been reviewed by ministry staff and several recommended actions have been taken.

As the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, noted in his letter to you, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ constant focus is on transforming Ontario's correctional system to improve staff and inmate safety, effective rehabilitation and reintegration programs, and strengthening of inmate mental health supports. Moving forward in these key areas is at the very core of building safer, stronger communities right across our province.

I am pleased to provide the following responses and next steps for the recommendations put forward in the CECC Annual Report:

  1. Proactive recruitment of Board applicants using an effective screening process and a more efficient approval process.

The ministry recognizes the importance and benefit of local community engagement. The CAB plays an important role providing the Minister and ministry with its observations and recommendations. The ministry is currently in the process of expanding CABs into other correctional facilities. A total of seven institutions will have a CAB established by the end of 2015.

It is our goal to appoint new CAB members and fill CAB vacancies in a timely manner. New appointment and reappointment processes are being developed to improve the timeliness in filling vacancies.

  1. The lack of feedback from the Ministry to the CAB Annual Report.

The Annual Report is important and beneficial in providing the ministry with observations and recommendations on the operation and administration of the institution, the impact of the institution on the local community, and the treatment of inmates.

A new Annual Report process has been implemented in conjunction with the development and submission of the 2014 Annual Report, including a standardized template. With a standardized approach to reporting issues, the ministry is able to review and provide responses in a meaningful way. The new Annual Report process also has clearly established timelines and response protocols.

Additional feedback and updates will continue to be provided by the Advisor, Professional and Shared Services (PSS) through the quarterly CAB Chair teleconferences.

  1. There is an excessive presence and use of contraband in the facility.

The ministry has a number of mechanisms and policies and procedures in place to detect the introduction of contraband into provincial institutions. At CECC, the Superintendent reports the presence of contraband has stabilized due to increased searches, enhancement of the CCTV system from analogue to digital, increased use of BOSS chairs, wands and canine units, as well as onsite Kawartha Lakes Police Service (KLPS) personnel. The process of maintaining continuity of evidence has also been enhanced and offenders charged with criminal offences relating to contraband are facing greater prosecutions. A dedicated Search Team and Operational Manager were also implemented in April 2012. These staff work in conjunction with the local Field Intelligence Officer to ensure that searches are completed as required, and that the use of contraband is detected and curtailed.

In addition, an electronic security audit was conducted at CECC in July 2011, for the purpose of upgrading the facility’s 10-year-old security systems to meet existing MCSCS standards. One of the priorities identified was to refresh and expand the institution’s video surveillance system to a new IP-based system so that all cameras (275+) would have recording capability. The commissioning of the system was completed on April 25, 2013, and included the addition of 17 cameras throughout the facility to reduce blind spots. The cameras have improved viewing and recording capabilities and will be effective in deterring offender misconduct related to contraband, and in assisting the ministry with investigating and charging offenders with both institutional misconducts and criminal offences.

Eight walk-through metal detectors were acquired in 2013 and strategically placed throughout the institution. Whenever offenders are relocated or escorted from their respective living units, they are required to pass through the corresponding metal detector. In addition, the x-ray machine located in the reception area of the institution used to screen public visitors was replaced. Staff trainers were identified and trained and training was provided to staff in April 2015.

  1. The number of offender-on-offender assaults related to the institutional trafficking of contraband continues to be high.

As mentioned earlier, the ministry has a number of policies and procedures in place to assist in detecting and deterring contraband and inmate on inmate assaults. The ministry also employs video surveillance systems and CCTV cameras to assist in curtailing contraband and inmate assaults.

  1. A designated area is required to accommodate the inmates with mental-health challenges and special needs, who currently reside in segregation and throughout the institution.

The ministry is committed to ensuring correctional facilities are responsive to the needs of inmates who suffer from mental illness.

We have initiated a review of the use of segregation in provincial institutions and our segregation policies. The review will include consultation with staff and various stakeholders. It will also examine the best practices of other jurisdictions. The final report will be submitted with findings/recommendations for the ministry’s action in December 2015.

At CECC, offenders in segregation continue to be reviewed on a daily basis by Health Care and Chaplaincy and offenders with special needs are assessed on a regular basis by the Social Work Department.

The Psychology Department reviews all reported suicidal offenders, and a psychiatrist is on contract with the facility and visits on a weekly basis. Segregation reviews are held regularly by Operations staff as well. The nurses attend all segregation reviews and are in regular contact/communication with Psychology and Social Work departments.

The ministry has developed training in conjunction with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to assist staff in understanding and responding to inmates with mental health challenges. This training will be provided to all frontline correctional staff and managers.

  1. The inmate population with Alzheimer’s and dementia require additional special care.

While the Superintendent at CECC reports that very few offenders fall into this category, he will monitor and ensure that these inmates’ needs are being addressed.

  1. Lack of success in recruiting a physician results in additional, expensive escorts to the hospitals and medical specialists for health care.

A contract for physician services at CECC was finalized on April 21, 2015.

  1. Smoking on the premises continues to be problematic.

In accordance with the Ontario Government Policy on Smoke-Free Workplaces, smoking is not permitted at correctional institutions. This also includes buildings, yards, courtyards, outbuildings and grounds. The policy also applies to Correctional Services vehicles.

According to the Superintendent at CECC, the institution’s standing orders clearly stipulate that smoking is prohibited within the facility’s buildings, yards, courtyards, out buildings and in ministry vehicles. The Standing Orders also prohibit the possession of tobacco products within the secure confines of the facility, and specifies that the Smoke-Free Policy applies to all employees, offenders, visitors and all other persons on the premises.

Employees at every level are expected to demonstrate respect, mutual understanding, good judgement and co-operation in meeting the objectives of the ministry’s Smoke-Free Workplace Policy. The Employer has posted several “No Smoking” signs throughout the complex and has consistently reinforced the policy at Local Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee meetings, Local Employee Relations Committee meetings and Management meetings.

  1. Both the air quality and ventilation systems throughout the entire institution continue to present concerns for the staff and the inmates.

Air quality testing has been conducted on several occasions at CECC, and particulate samples have been taken. Results have indicated that the air quality exceeds all standards, and Ministry of Labour industrial inspectors have also indicated the air quality at CECC is acceptable. Nevertheless, the institution installed Geo Pleat filters (green product) in 2010. These filters have a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 13 and provide a higher than normal rate of filtration.

Additional air filters have been added to inmate dayrooms to enhance the ventilation system, and to increase the life span of our air handling units.

  1. Overall cleanliness of the institution remains a concern.

CECC has a complement of four housekeeping staff working a six-day schedule. They face daily challenges given the size and demands of the facility. Employees are occasionally brought in on their days off (Fridays/Saturdays) to assist in extra cleaning duties (air vents/diffusers, carpet steam cleaning, etc.) as deemed necessary. Enhanced cleaning is also conducted throughout the facility during flu season in order to minimize the potential for infections. The Superintendent informs me that the overall cleanliness of the facility is improving.

I appreciate the CAB indicating in its Annual Report the many CECC success stories, such as those concerning the volunteer programs and volunteers, the Outdoor Offender Work Program as well as the community support provided by CECC staff to the local food bank, local Army Cadet Corps, and the United Way, and its impact upon the local community. I am also pleased to note the innovative approach CECC has taken towards the successful integration of transgender inmates, as well as the sensitive handling and caring manner of the chaplaincy pilot project of streaming funeral services for family members at CECC.

Thank you for the work that you do and the role you play as volunteer members of the Community Advisory Board. Please be assured that the ministry values your input and recommendations. Your commitment and dedication is admirable and your positive working relationship with management and staff at the CECC is commendable. I am looking forward to your ongoing support as we further with this very important work.

Sincerely,

Stephen Rhodes

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services