CAB Report 2016 - South West Detention Centre
Community Advisory Board Annual Report
South West Detention 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
- To provide the minister and Southwest Detention Centre (SWDC) management with a local citizen focused community perspective on the operation of the correctional facility.
- CAB members conduct regular ad hoc visits to the facility to observe operations, talk to inmates and staff.
- Communicate observations to SWDC management at regular intervals
- Provide recommendations to the minister, by means of an annual report, based on CAB activities throughout the year
Community Advisory Board Members
Chair: Toni Scislowski, March 15 2015 - March 15 2017
Mara Conrad, March 15 2015 - March 15 2018
Antun Peakovic, March 15 2015 - March 15 2018
Catherine Brooke, March 15 2015 - March 15 2018
Teddy Kwan, March 15 2015 - March 15 2017
Tom Kavanaugh, March 15 2015 - March 15 2017
Overview of CAB Activities for 2016
Number of CAB Meetings: 10
The CAB held 10 meetings throughout the year. Most meetings were attended by the superintendent or designate. Initially, the CAB was provided with updates by each department head which increased the CAB’s awareness of activities in the facility. At each meeting an interactive discussion was held regarding CAB members’ observations during site visits. All meetings were minuted.
Number of Site Visits: 24
Site visits were conducted in groups of two CAB members.
Regular site visits were conducted with an effort to attend every section of the facility over the course of the year. CAB members identified issues that were brought forward and relayed this information to the superintendent at monthly meetings. If there was an immediate concern, the superintendent was notified at the time.
Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: 8
Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action: 1
Number of Concerns Directed to the Superintendent: 10
Concerns that were brought forward to superintendent included:
- suboptimal staffing levels in Health Care department
- suboptimal staffing levels of correctional officers (CO’s)
- staff concerns regarding the lack of a Transitional Unit where inmates can be observed after admission
- inmate complaints about Cook Chill food (quantity/quality) and lack of canteen choices
- the absence of actual outdoor space for inmates to access
- method for using Bell payphone. Not accessible to some inmates who need to make collect calls and are not a Bell subscriber
- the lack of child friendly visit space
- lack of public access to the facility - the bus stop is 2.7 km away and there are no sidewalks on the road route to the facility, there is no street lighting - this impacts visitors, staff and inmates being discharged
- staff at SWDC not being aware of the CAB
- some staff requested more training opportunities
- It should be noted that at the time of this report, staffing levels in the Health Care department and correctional officer ranks are almost at full complement due to hiring process completion.
- It should also be noted that there is an initiative in place at this time where Direct Supervision (DS) compliance officers are assisting staff in enforcing the nine principles of the DS model.
- Additionally it is anticipated that the Transitional Unit will be functional by the end of May 2017.
There is currently an initiative to communicate the existence and role of the CAB through direct communication channels, banners, newsletters and email.
Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: None. This is the first reporting year for SWDC CAB
Presentations and Training
Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 7
Presentations were made by SWDC staff on:
- Use of Force-Local Investigation Reporting
- Direct Supervision model
- three meetings included information sessions from various departments
- CAB member presentation following CAB conference
- CAB member attended SWDC multidisciplinary meetings plus some of core programming, and reported back to the group
- CAB member job shadowed Discharge Planner, and reported back to the group
- two CAB members attended panel discussion on trans issues
Number of Training Sessions Completed: 1
The annual CAB conference was attended by one member. A summary of the highlights of the conference were shared with the group.
The Operation of the Institution
The CAB members ensured that each area of the facility was visited over the course of the year.
Overall, CAB members reported an efficient, modern, well run institution. The entire facility is operated under the DS Model. Because the facility is new, it has taken time to get all processes running efficiently. Adjustments have been made as the need arises. CAB members would like to acknowledge the level of ongoing support and assistance they have received from SWDC staff. Whenever concerns or issues were raised to management at the facility they were quick to investigate and respond by email with a written reply, or by a telephone call.
CAB members have found the Superintendent to have exceptional knowledge and understanding of the entire facility.
CAB members have observed a good transition in terms of combining staff from various facilities with the opening of SWDC.
Inmate mental health challenges persist. There is a mental health nurse on site (as staffing allows) social workers and chaplaincy services.
There is a quarterly newsletter distributed to inform staff of events, news and provide updates. CAB members have found the initiative informative and a great communication tool throughout the facility.
It has been a challenge getting the existence and role of the CAB disseminated throughout the institution. Many staff are unaware of the CAB.
Institution Impact on the Community
SWDC has implemented advanced technology to improve justice processing timelines. The Defence Remote Access is a pilot project which allows defence lawyers to video conference with inmates improving accessibility and timeliness of service. Additionally, SWDC offers video bail release proceedings which assists in timeliness, staffing and access. CAB members note these processes can be implemented in other facilities as the result of piloting at SWDC.
SWDC continues to support the community through a variety of events (see Appendix #1).
Community partnerships are well implemented with a large number of community organizations interacting with the inmates of SWDC (see Appendix #2).
The state of the art gymnasium, soccer field and cricket pitch were commissioned in the past year and well used by community members.
A large volunteer base encourages community members to share their expertise, contribute to their education and benefit the inmate population.
There is a lack of child friendly visit space. Phone video banks and waiting area are separate.
Many CAB members observed children visiting inmates.
There is a lack of public access to the facility. The closest bus stop is 2.7 km away and there are no sidewalks on the road route to the facility. As well, there is no street lighting on the road leading to the facility. This impacts visitors, staff and inmates being discharged. This is also a safety issue.
The community is unaware of existence of CAB.
Administration of the Institution
CAB members have reported on a professional, accountable, transparent administration who has exhibited responsiveness to staff, inmates and CAB members.
Through an administrative commitment to the DS Model staff have implemented the concept in a professional manner. Interaction with inmates is a focus and proactively inhibits problems on the living units.
The administration of SWDC has championed several pilot projects which can be modelled in other facilities. These include the Education pilot where inmates can receive their grade 12 diploma through the Windsor Essex County Board of Education.
Additional pilots include a Behavior Modification Unit whose processes and procedures are proactive and reduce the number of inmates in segregation.
The CAB partnered with the SWDC and submitted a letter of support to nominate the superintendent's executive assistant as the American Jail Association (AJA) American Civilian of the Year for 2016. The outcome was that the employee was nominated, invited and attended a gala which was hosted by the AJA in Texas in May 2016.
The CAB noted there is no Canadian Jail Association where best practices and initiatives can be shared.
Recruitment and hiring of staff takes too long. Potential candidates have taken other jobs while waiting for the long process to be completed. This appears to be wasteful and inefficient.
The Treatment of Inmates
In this state-of-the-art facility, inmates have reported they like the layout of the facility and the DS model. They note they feel safer, more secure and like the transparency of the cell block area. They feel the number of assaults has decreased and the openness of the common areas make the inmates more accountable. They have areas where they can relax and watch television.
There is a gardening program for female inmates.
As previously noted, there is an education pilot where inmates can work toward a Grade 12 diploma. There is one graduate to date who was highlighted in the local news.
There is now a dentist, who has been on contract for the past year.
There is a new social worker who has expertise in mental health.
There have been challenges getting the life skills room for female inmates operational because of the need for volunteers to run the program. There is an individual who will be starting sewing classes and a tentative person interested in teaching hairdressing.
Overall, there is a large volunteer base utilizing their expertise to assist inmates in various areas.
Inmates continue to complain about Cook Chill food in terms of quality and quantity.
A behavior management unit is soon to open. This, along with the transition unit, utilizes sanctions and incentives as an alternative to segregation. The result is a reduced number of inmates in the segregation unit.
There are currently 57 core programs running.
There is a group of committed recreation staff who often come to run programs on long weekends to keep inmates busy.
There is no outdoor area for inmates even though SWDC is a new facility. There are enclosures (fresh air yards) where inmates can play basketball but the area is not a true outdoor space even though it meets ministry standards.
Social workers and discharge planning continue to be needed.
There is a lack of child friendly visit space.
Summary of Recommendations to the Ministry
- Improve mental health services to staff and inmates.
- Make true outdoor space accessible. Consider this recommendation when building or renovating other facilities.
- Contact local authorities to work with ministry to improve public access to facility in terms of bus route, sidewalks and lighting. These are serious safety concerns. The CAB recommends that the ministry provide funding to ensure that the safety issues are addressed.
- Continue with commitment for public education programs within the facility allowing inmates to get a high school diploma. Make the education pilot a permanent program at SWDC.
- Utilize and implement lessons learned using SWDC as a role model for other institutions.
- Continue support of DS model with a full staffing complement.
- Continue to promote/fund auxiliary roles within the facility. These include social work, discharge planning, core and life skills programming, health care and mental health staff).
- Consider exploring transition from Cook Chill to traditional kitchen within facility. Include provisions for a life skills cooking program and food preparation certification for inmates working in the kitchen. This will provide inmates with transferrable skills which are marketable in the labour market.
- Improve ministry internal and external communication strategies regarding the existence and role of CAB.
- CAB recognizes the value of meeting with the minister. Recommend meetings at least once yearly.
- Consider support for creation of Canadian Jail Association.
List of Attachments
- January 22 - Barbeque for Polar Plunge - Special Olympics - $600 raised
- February 6 - Several staff participated in the Polar Plunge – Plaque received for “Best Team Spirit”
- March - Cookie Contest for Cancer - $430 raised
- April 9 and 10 - Basketball Tournament – Raised $3,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation
- May 4 - Staff volunteered their time for McHappy Day at McDonalds
- May 25 – Staff participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run
- June 1 – Staff participated in the Tim Horton’s Camp Day
- June 15 – Staff participated in the Cops and Cowboys fundraiser for Special Olympics at the Lone Start Restaurant
- June 17 and June 23 – Barbeques held for Camp Brombal (for underprivileged children) - $1,000 raised
- June 29 – Sirens for Life blood drive held in conjunction with a barbeque - $400 raised for the pediatric ward of Metropolitan Hospital and 59 units of blood donated to the Canadian Blood Services
- July 21 – Barbeque for the Federated Health Campaign - $200 raised
- November 23 – Barbeque for Movember Windsor Essex County Cancer Cure - $450 raised
- December – donated food and clothing to the Goodfellows and $415 in cash
Approximately 125 active volunteers with volunteers coming from:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (County and City groups)
- Narcotics Anonymous - Windsor
- HEP-C Outreach (Street Health – Windsor Essex Community Health Centre)
- WEST (Women’s Enterprise Skills Training)
- House of Sophrosyne
- Hiatus House
- The Welcome Centre
- Windsor Life Centre
- SACC (Sexual Assault Crisis Centre)
- Saint Vincent de Paul
- Southwood Community Church
- The Gideons
- The Tuesday Night Church Ladies (a group of women who hail from different churches and religious foundations)
- The Good Hope Group (a group of men and women who hail from different churches and religious foundations who attend 1st Saturday every month)
- Heavens Saints Motorcycle Ministry
- The Lazareth Group
- Windsor Islamic Society
- CanAm Native Friendship Centre
- Native Elder
- Employment Assessment and Skills training
- Life Skills Training (Sewing Machine skills learning)
- Barber (cuts hair 1st Monday every month)
Submitted March 30 2017
Toni Scislowski, Chair
June 08, 2017
Ms. Toni Scislowski
Chair, Community Advisory Board
South West Detention Centre
Dear Ms. Scislowski:
Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the South West Detention Centre. This letter confirms our receipt of the Annual Report.
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 20, 2017
Ms. Toni Scislowski
Chair, Community Advisory Board
South West Detention Centre
Dear Ms. Scislowski:
Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the South West Detention Centre (SWDC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by the ministry 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 reformation 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 mental health 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 Correctional Services in Ontario.
I am pleased to provide the following responses.
Recommendation 1: Improve mental health services to staff and inmates.
The Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program was established to address critical incident stress among employees exposed to a critical incident in the workplace. The CISM program provides proactive education regarding critical incident stress to correctional staff as well as responsive interventions in a crisis event or emergency situation to minimize the harmful effects of job stress by providing staff with methods that reduce potential stress-related reactions and immediate crisis intervention.
Ontario’s Correctional Services is fully committed to recognizing and decreasing the impact of Occupational Stress Injury on all our employees’ mental health and well-being. Ensuring our employees have the knowledge and skills to recognize and address the impact and signs of occupational stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, in themselves and others, as well as having resources and supports available to help them deal with occupational stress, is a key focus for us.
A mental health curriculum outlining topics for employee (staff and managers) training will be developed. The curriculum will focus on topics identified in the literature as being essential for correctional staff. While the action plan is being developed, initial training will be offered to provide basic awareness and start helping employees increase their resilience. Delivery of initial training is expected to start in the fall 2017.
At this time, 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. At SWDC, they received an additional records clerk to bolster their staff complement for segregation. In addition to the segregation position, SWDC also received an additional social worker as part of the mental health funding for working with women. Both positions have been filled.
SWDC is also in the process of filling vacancies in its health care department. SWDC is currently recruiting for two vacant mental health nurse positions and is transitioning its current health care manager into the nurse practitioner position. The position for a new health care manager was posted in June 2017 and is awaiting candidates for the interview process.
Recommendation 2: Make true outdoor space accessible. Consider this recommendation when building or renovating other facilities.
The design of the South West Detention Centre has yard space built into the unit and affords clients with direct and increased access to yards for recreation and fresh air than is currently available in older facilities.
We also consider access to outdoor space needed for cultural specific events and ceremonies for example for healing/sweat lodges. Requests for access to outdoor space will be evaluated individually as required and site-specific details will be considered.
We recognize that there is always room for improvements and will consider this recommendation in future builds as we move forward with reforming Ontario’s correctional system as part of the government’s plan to keep communities safe and support rehabilitation and community reintegration.
Recommendation 3: Contact local authorities to work with ministry to improve public access to facility in terms of bus route, sidewalks and lighting. These are serious safety concerns. The CAB recommends that the ministry provide funding to ensure that the safety issues are addressed.
Prior to the construction of SWDC, a citizens committee responsible for providing a community perspective on the construction of the new facility was established. This committee consulted with the local authorities on matters regarding municipal infrastructure. After construction, this citizen committee was dissolved and there has been no further consultation with local authorities. Although this falls under municipal jurisdiction, we will take your recommendation into consideration and determine the course of action required to address the safety and security concerns of the CAB, which includes re-engaging the municipality on the issue.
Recommendation 4: Continue with commitment for public education programs within the facility allowing inmates to get a high school diploma. Make the education pilot a permanent program at SWDC.
The ministry strongly supports the partnerships between our institutions and local school boards to provide clients with educational programs that allow them to achieve higher education and Grade 12 diplomas. At SWDC, the Greater Essex County District School Board is delivering the education program which is funded through the school board. They provide SWDC with one teacher on-site. The program has been extended for 2017. It will be the decision of the school board to continue with the program and provide ongoing funding beyond 2017.
Most recently, two female clients graduated from the education program at SWDC in May 2017 with a Grade 12 diploma.
Recommendation 5: Utilize and implement lessons learned using SWDC as a role model for other institutions.
SWDC is a state-of-the-art direct supervision (DS) facility that strengthens our ability to provide rehabilitation and reintegration programs to our clients. The ministry intends to use SWDC as a model and will continue to expand the use of DS to other facilities in the province where feasible. Although a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the DS model has not been completed for SWDC, reports of the success of the model from the institution are encouraging. A formal review of DS at SWDC will take place once we have enough data. It is important that SWDC not be evaluated too early in its life cycle, and that the evaluation begins only when the facility has been functioning in a steady state for an extended period of time.
Recommendation 6: Continue support of DS model with a full staffing complement.
SWDC is currently operating with a full staffing complement. The ministry will strive to maintain current staffing levels through our recruitment efforts to continue to operate the DS model successfully.
Recommendation 7: Continue to promote/fund auxiliary roles within the facility. These include social work, discharge planning, core and life skills programming, health care and mental health staff.
As previously in Recommendation 1, 239 new positions were added across the province and SWDC received one new records clerk. SWDC also received an additional social worker for women as part of the female mental health funding which brings the social worker total to four. Other staff include three mental health nurses, 21 registered nurses, a psychologist, three rehabilitation officers, a chaplain and two nurse practitioners. On contract, there is also a Native Inmate Liaison Officer, dentist, a primary care physician, and a psychiatrist.
There are also over 100 volunteers at SWDC providing a variety of programming including life skills, parenting, addictions counselling, discharge planning, and various cultural and religious programs.
Recommendation 8: Consider exploring transition from Cook Chill to traditional kitchen within facility. Include provisions for a life skills cooking program and food preparation certification for inmates working in the kitchen. This will provide inmates with transferrable skills which are marketable in the labour market.
The ministry is examining a variety of options to modernize the food service delivery program throughout the province. We do understand that a cooking program would provide practical skills and training for clients at SWDC.The ministry will take this recommendation under advisement and will work with corporate subject matter experts to determine next steps. The CAB will be provided with an update on this as it becomes available.
Recommendation 9: Improve ministry internal and external communication strategies regarding the existence and role of CAB.
The ministry is committed to improving the profile of CABs in our institutions as well as in the community. As you know, in the fall of 2016, posters and pamphlets outlining the role of the CABs, were sent to institutions to be placed in client living areas and at reception.
Each facility was also tasked with creating standing orders for the CAB within six months of implementing a board at their respective institution. SWDC has completed this requirement and established standing orders in November 2015. All staff have access to standing orders onsite at the institution.
Additionally, a memo was sent to SWDC staff outlining information on the role and purpose of the CAB. The ministry encourages the SWDC to engage with local media to profile the positive work that the CAB does and look for opportunities to highlight for the public the good news stories coming out of SWDC.
Recommendation 10: CAB recognizes the value of meeting with the minister. Recommend meetings at least once yearly.
The ministry recognizes the value in networking with senior officials and is dedicated to providing the CAB with annual events to support your role as members. Last year, due to changes in leadership over the summer, we were not able to secure a date to host the annual CAB chair meeting with the minister. However, the ministry did host the annual CAB conference for all members on November 2, 2016.
The Associate Deputy Minister of Correctional Services provided opening remarks and time was allotted for a question and answer period. Both the Assistant Deputy Minister of Operational Support and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Institutional Services were in attendance. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Operational Support attended all day to answer questions.
This year, the annual CAB chair meeting with the minister is confirmed to take place on July 14, 2017. We are also in the middle of planning the 2017 CAB Conference which is set to take place in the fall of 2017.
Recommendation 11: Consider support for creation of Canadian Jail Association.
There are several Canadian, American and other International associations/groups already established which offer membership opportunities to correctional services professionals in Ontario. These reputable resources provide online materials, journals, learning events, and other assets which are applicable to working in correctional services. These include but are not limited to:
- The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ)
- The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA)
- The American Jail Association (AJA)
- American Correctional Association (ACA)
- Asian and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators (APCCA)
- International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy (ICCLR)
- International Community Corrections Association (ICCA)
- International Roundtable for Correctional Excellence (IRCE)
- Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA)
Some of our staff may already belong to one or more of these groups. Several of these associations provide basic memberships or access to online material at no cost to the ministry.
I would encourage you and your members to take advantage of these resources which provide a global perspective on correctional issues.
The ministry itself is also a member of the Heads of Corrections (HOC) and its subcommittees. HOC is a Federal-Provincial-Territorial working group created to share information and improve correctional services across Canada.
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 support you receive from staff during tours, the positive amalgamation of staff from various institutions and the benefit to client from volunteer programs. I would also like to congratulate SWDC for their successful implementation of the direct supervision model and for acting as an inspiration for future institutions.
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 reformation.
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 SWDC 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