Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OCDC Task Force - Progress Report #1


Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Task Force Recommendations

Progress Report #1

Task Force Recommendations – Report Back

On March 25, 2016, the OCDC Task Force was established and mandated to develop an action plan that addresses overcrowding and capacity issues, and improves the health and safety of all inmates and staff at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC).

The Task Force gathered input, advice and feedback from community organizations, the judiciary, those with lived experience, and the public.  As a result, the Task Force put forward an action plan with 42 recommendations. The Task Force submitted the action plan to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) on June 1, 2016. 

To ensure the effective implementation of the recommendations, the action plan included regular tracking and reporting on the status of the recommendations and the actions taken to respond to them.

This is the first of three progress reports that will be publically available on the ministry’s website.

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 to date:

  • The latest quarterly trend analysis has been completed.
  • Data that has been collected and reviewed includes:
    • Average Counts – average of institutional daily counts;
    • Special Purpose Counts – non-operational or special purpose beds (e.g. medical beds, segregation beds);
    • Admits – overall admissions, regardless of reason for admission;
    • Admit Alerts – review of alerts added to an offender’s record to identify supervision or management concerns (e.g. dietary or religious food requirements, health concerns, non-association orders); and
    • Sentenced Admissions – sentences imposed for offenders initially admitted on remand, as well as offenders who are admitted on sentence to incarceration with no preceding remand.  
  • The ministry will continue to monitor trends and identify any emerging patterns that may require action.

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 to date:

  • The release of datasets in relation to OCDC Task Force Recommendations has been included in the MCSCS Open Government 2016-17 Work Plan.
  • The ministry will be meeting with the Open Government Office, Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) in the coming month to discuss the nature of the data and posting schedules.
  • The ministry will continue to collaborate internally and with partners at TBS to ensure that all requirements are met and data sets are posted as committed to in the OCDC Task Force Action Plan. 

Population Management and Administration

Provincial Inmate Transportation Coordinator – Short Term

Recommendation 3:

MCSCS should reintroduce the position of Provincial Inmate Transportation Coordinator to balance inmate capacity throughout the province and reduce overcrowding at OCDC and other institutions.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • The role of Provincial Coordinator of Inmate Transfers was re-established in May 2016. The Provincial Coordinator is responsible for the centralized coordination and management of inmate transfers, through daily assessment of institutional count pressures across the province. The role is performed as part of the Manager, Offender Transfer Operations position.
  • The current Provincial Coordinator was appointed, on an acting basis, on May 9, 2016. The re-introduction of this role has resulted in improved oversight and control, resulting in a reduction of the average daily bed utilization at OCDC to 87%.

Movement of Sentenced and Long Term Remand Inmates – Short Term

Recommendation 4:

Offenders at OCDC that are sentenced to more than 30 days should be moved to other institutions that provide access to increased programs and services to assist with offender treatment and rehabilitation.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • OCDC and the Eastern Regional Office have prioritized the classification of long-term remand and sentenced offenders to ensure that any eligible inmates can be transferred by the Provincial Coordinator in order to balance bed counts.  This classification allows inmates to be moved to other institutions that provide access to increased programs and services that assist with offender treatment and rehabilitation.
  • In February and March 2016, OCDC had an average daily total count at 106.3% and 106.9% capacity respectively. As a result of action on multiple Task Force recommendations, the daily capacity at OCDC has been reduced to an average of 87%.
  • CDC management has also noted a reduction in the number of inmate on inmate fights, inmate complaints, and the reclassification of inmates within OCDC as a result of the head count stabilization.
  • With the stabilization of the OCDC head count, inmates at OCDC, as well as those who have been moved to other institutions to balance bed usage across the province, have improved access to programs and services that support their needs while in custody.
  • The institution continues to explore options to move sentenced and long-term remand inmates and OCDC senior administration reviews the bed count on a weekly basis.

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 to date:

  • The ministry is currently exploring options within the existing contract with its telephone service provider, including leveraging the current Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) pilot at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) which involves the use of calling cards for inmates.
  • In the next six months, the ministry will monitor, evaluate and report on the current CBSA pilot at CECC to inform the development of an implementation plan to launch and sustain a new service at OCDC. This is a long-term recommendation and the time frame for implementation will be one year or longer.

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 to date:

  • OCDC has reviewed the existing inmate complaint process. Following this review, the process has been updated to ensure complaints are tracked, clear and transparent. The process will be as follows:
    • Inmates will complete a ‘BLUE’ Inmate Request form if they have a complaint and submit it to an officer on duty. The form is now on blue paper so they can be easily identified.
    • Once the form has been submitted, it will then be passed on to management.
    • OCDC administration staff will record these complaints on the Complaint Tracking Sheet for monitoring, reporting and follow-up purposes.
    • Complaint forms will be stamped with the date received and the form will be sent to the appropriate department for action/decision. A copy of the complaint will also be returned to the inmate.
    • The inmate will receive written confirmation of the action or decision that was taken with regards to the complaint within 10 business days. Should the process for resolution take longer than 10 business days (e.g. seriousness of complaint, feasibility of resolution), the inmate will be informed of the delay within the 10 business days.
    • The Deputy Superintendent, Operations, will receive a summary report of all outstanding and resolved complaints every two weeks. The Deputy Superintendent, Operations, will be responsible for reviewing and monitoring the records on an ongoing basis to ensure accountability of staff in reviewing and responding to concerns.
  • Staff and inmates were advised of this change in writing and the new process was in place as of September 30, 2016.
  • A summary report of the nature of inmate complaints, remedial action taken and the number of days to resolution will be made publicly available annually. The first report is targeted for January 2017.

Provincial Bailiff Transfer Schedule –Medium Term

Recommendation 7:

MCSCS should review the provincial bailiff transfer schedule to ensure it meets the needs of the operations of OCDC with the least intrusive impact on the inmates and the courts. Schedule revisions should be reviewed quarterly by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Institutional Services to ensure they meet the transfer needs of the institution.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • New schedules were introduced in the early spring of 2016, and involve two trips per week to OCDC to ensure there is sufficient capacity to accommodate transfers. The Provincial Coordinator and Offender Transport Unit continually monitor schedules on a routine basis to determine whether operational needs are met.
  • Schedules will be reviewed quarterly by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Institutional Services, with any revisions made during that quarter or proposed future revisions highlighted.
  • The schedule frequency has assisted in reducing the head count, which has been maintained at an average of 87% capacity.

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: In Progress

Action to date:

  • OCDC Management and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has agreed to a new schedule, which extends the time available for professional visits from 9am – 5pm to 9am – 9pm Monday through Sunday. Other details of the schedule are currently being finalized, and implementation will occur as soon as possible.
  • Four laptops have been made available for lawyer and inmate use for the purposes of disclosure.

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: In Progress

Action to date:

In response to this recommendation, MAG is engaged in the active collection and analysis of data for the purpose of assessing the impact of the Pre-Trial Custody Project, in particular for determining whether the Project is improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the bail system.

At the time of this quarterly report-back, MAG is able to report that the Pre-Trial Custody Project is delivering measurable benefits in the area of bail and remand in the Ottawa region.  Most notably:

Reduced Wait Times for Bail Dispositions

With access to additional Crown resources, inmates who opt to have a bail hearing are having their hearings quicker than they did for the same period a year ago. There has been an almost 6% increase in the number of bail dispositions within one appearance and a 5% increase in the number of bail dispositions within 3 days of arrest in April-June 2016 as compared to the same period a year ago.

Reduced Wait Times for Case Resolution

The infusion of Crown resources has expedited the process for accused persons who wish to resolve their cases by way of guilty plea. There has been an almost 10% rise in the number of dispositions in 1 to 3 days from April-June 2016 as compared to the same period a year ago. 

This has resulted in moving an inmate from “remand” status to “sentenced” status sooner and expedited transfer out of the remand centre to appropriate correctional facilities to serve the sentence.

The two additional Crown resources have also dedicated themselves to looking at complex files at the outset, resulting in more resolutions up front and therefore a reduced need for trial time at all.

Reduced Wait Times to Trial for In-custody Cases

As a result of the Pre-Trial Custody Project and the dedicated Crown resources, the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s office - working collaboratively with its justice partners - have significantly reduced the ‘time to trial’ for in-custody accused persons for both one day and multi-day trials (up to 3 days).  At the time the OCDC Task Force was struck, the “time to trial” for one day in-custody matters was on average in the 7 to 9 month range and for multi-day trials, it was 10-12 months.  This time has been cut in half.  In-custody accused persons are currently offered a one-day trial within 2 to 3 months and multi-day trials within 4 to 5 months, on average.

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 to date:

The assignment and scheduling of judicial resources are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary.  This recommendation has been brought to the attention 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: In Progress

Action to date:

As set out in the Attorney General’s mandate letter, MAG is working on developing a Bail Action Plan that will balance the need for timely and appropriate bail decisions with protecting public safety.  This plan will incorporate initiatives for Indigenous people and people dealing with mental health and addiction issues.  Bail beds are actively being considered as part of this plan.

MAG has been working with MCSCS, MOHLTC and other ministries on this issue and there have been informal discussions with community agencies.  Opportunities for alignment with MCSCS’ Strategy for a Safer Ontario and Corrections Transformation Strategy are also being considered.

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 to date:

Examination of the Bail Process

As indicated in the response to Recommendation 11, MAG is actively working on the development of a Bail Action Plan that will balance the need for timely and appropriate bail decisions with protecting public safety.  In developing this plan, the ministry is closely examining the bail process and closely considering opportunities to make greater use of video technology and facilitating early access to defence counsel.  The ministry looks forward to providing further updates on these initiatives in future quarterly reports to the Task Force.

Endorsed Warrants

The Ottawa Crown’s Office and the Ministry of the Attorney General recognize and emphasize to all Crowns the importance of restraint in making a request for un-endorsed bench warrants.  The Pre-Trial Custody Project Crowns have served to increase the availability of Crowns to the police for providing advice on issues relating to custody and bail, including circumstances relating to bench warrants.

With respect to encouraging Justices of the Peace to consider endorsing warrants, judicial education is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary and this recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Ontario Court of Justice.

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 to date:

  • Through the Strategy for a Safer Ontario, MCSCS is in the early stages of working with community safety partners, including MOHLTC, to explore an interdisciplinary approach to the expansion of criminal justice diversion programs.
  • Given the scope of this recommendation and the significant financial commitment that may be required from the various inter-ministerial partners identified as having an impact on criminal justice diversions, it is expected that this is a long-term project with an anticipated one to three year implementation timeline.

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 to date:

  • The ministry is currently determining the full scope of work associated with recommendation 14, including identifying inter-ministerial partners and other stakeholders that need to be engaged.
  • MCSCS will work with the Ministry of the Attorney General to develop a communication to police services in Ontario about providing proactive information from those released from police custody.
  • Robust consultation with police services, Legal Aid Ontario, other legal clinics and affected stakeholders will be required. As such, the timing for completion is anticipated to be between 6 to 9 months.

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 to date:

As indicated in MAG’s response to Recommendations 11 and 12 above, MAG is working on the development of a Bail Action Plan that will balance the need for timely and appropriate bail decisions with protecting public safety.  This plan will incorporate initiatives to assist vulnerable individuals in the court system. 

MAG currently funds social service agencies that operate the Bail Verification and Supervision Program (BVSP) in 17 communities across Ontario (serving 27 court locations).  As part of their role in supervising individuals on bail, BVSP staff remind the individuals they supervise of their upcoming court appearances and also connect them with necessary social services.  Ottawa has a BVSP run by the John Howard Society and funded by MAG in the amount of $406,000 annually.  The Ottawa BVSP has a supervision caseload of up to 300 persons at any given time.

The work on the Bail Action Plan is well underway and MAG will have more to report on its initiatives in the next quarterly report.

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 to date:

Judicial education is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary.  This recommendation has been brought to the attention 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 to date:

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 to date:

Diversion for accused persons dealing with mental health and addiction issues is actively being examined as part of MAG’s forthcoming Bail Action Plan.

The Ministry of the Attorney General is committed to post-charge diversion programs within the criminal justice system.  Crown counsel is given wide discretion in this area.  As an example, Mentally Disordered and Developmentally Disabled diversion program exists and operates in each jurisdiction across the province. This program allows an alternative to formal adjudication, in appropriate circumstances and specifically serves to address the needs of those individuals without the need of prosecution.

While pre-charge diversion falls within the purview of the police, MAG is considering ways in which Crowns can support police in this area.

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 to date:

As noted in above, MAG is working on developing a Bail Action Plan that will balance the need for timely and appropriate bail decisions by Crowns, with protecting public safety.  There will be a particular focus on effective responses to individuals with mental health issues.

With respect to judicial decision making in relation to conditions, it is important to note that the judiciary is independent and must exercise its discretion free from influence by government or elected representatives.  This recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Ontario Court of Justice.

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 to date:

The Ministry of the Attorney General is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to addressing issues facing Indigenous people in all aspects of the justice system.  The application of Gladue principles in Ontario Courts is important in addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

To support this commitment, MAG has – for the first time in its history – funded, established and operationalized a dedicated Aboriginal Justice Division, which is mandated with leading the development of new programs and services to support Indigenous people in Ontario’s justice system.

Ontario is taking the following steps to further incorporate Gladue considerations into the justice system (including the bail process) and to address some of the systemic barriers that Indigenous people face in the criminal justice system:

  • Ontario has committed an additional $13.3 million over three years to expand the Gladue program.  Next month, the Aboriginal Justice Division is hosting a three-day Gladue Summit to gather input from Indigenous leadership, communities, organizations and justice sector representatives to determine service gaps and ensure effective, efficient and coordinated service delivery. 
  • Ontario is developing a dedicated Indigenous Bail and Remand Pilot Program to provide alternatives to pre-trial custody by creating opportunities for community supervision. This program will incorporate culturally appropriate programming, training and case management and aims to lower the use of pre-trial custody for Indigenous accused persons and reduce breaches of bail conditions. 
  • Ontario is providing $4.9 million in additional funding to expand the Aboriginal Courtworker program over the next 3 years.  This program facilitates access to justice by assisting Indigenous people involved in the criminal and family justice systems to understand their rights and responsibilities, and to obtain culturally sensitive treatment and services.

With respect to judges and justices of the peace, judicial education is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary.  This recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Ontario Court of Justice.

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 to date:

  • A six-month pilot project was launched at the South West Detention Centre on September 1, 2016, and will conclude in February 2017. 
  • In order to measure the success of the pilot, a number of performance metrics (e.g., number of remote counsel consultations and number of bail hearings via video) will be reported to the project’s Steering Committee, comprised of ADMs and Directors from MCSCS and MAG, on a monthly basis. 
  • The recommendations from this pilot will inform expanded use of video technology for counsel to provide legal advice for inmates and facilitate professional visits at OCDC and other institutions across the province.
  • This is a long term recommendation and the timeframe for implementation will be one year or longer.

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 to date:

  • The OCDC Health Care Review provided recommendations, both short and long term, to improve the delivery of services to inmates in custody.  A  summary of the review is available.
  • The recommendations focused on:
    • making improvements to responsibility and oversight of health care services
    • management of health information
    • staff training
    • patient access
    • safety
    • emergency equipment and response
    • policy compliance
    • professional practice
  • The final review document was approved by senior ministry officials the week of September 15, 2016.

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 to date:

  • An additional social worker was hired on April 18, 2016 and is providing basic life skills programming for male inmates while attending substance use-specific training. Following the completion of training, substance use programming for inmates will begin. .
  • Volunteer groups continue to facilitate Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous Programs at OCDC. 

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

  • Senior ministry officials, including medical consultants, have conducted a feasibility study for the step-down and mental health units. The study will inform the planning stage of the project that includes a detailed scope of work.
  • The work will include programming and implementation of a service delivery model that provides inmates:
    • Timely access to essential services
    • Improved and broader access to programs and support with a focus on continuity of care
    • Screening and assessment services
    • Treatment and community outreach
    • Clinical and psychotherapeutic support
    • Suicide and self-injury prevention
    • Management and transitional services
  • Programming will focus on providing inmates who are struggling with severe mental health issues with effective coping strategies. The aim is to ensure that they reach a certain level of functionality that would prepare them for self-sufficiency both within a correctional system and upon release in the community.
  • After the scope of work is determined, the ministry will work with Infrastructure Ontario to proceed with a Request For Proposal (RFP) for design.
  • Planning for the step-down and mental health units is currently underway. Details on the implementation plan and an operational timeline for the units will be provided in the next OCDC Taskforce Progress Report on January 31, 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 to date:

  • The ministry developed and approved a Corrections Mental Health Strategic, Framework, in consultation with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which addresses the importance of providing Correctional Services staff with the necessary resources and education to improve access, support, care and treatment for clients with mental health issues within Ontario’s adult correctional institutions.
  • The following work has been done to explore alternative housing options:
    • Tasks and deliverables have been identified;
    • Identification of health and housing service providers in the OCDC geographic area who need to be invited to participate on a working group to develop alternative housing strategies; and
    • Identification of health service providers to participate in a working group to improve communication, collaboration and service coordination when a correction’s client needs to receive treatment under a “Form 1.”
  • Possible outcomes resulting from implementation of alternative housing options are:
    • Screening and comprehensive assessment is provided to all clients in order to identify mental health problems, supervision needs and appropriate placement.
    • Clients at risk for suicide or self-injurious behaviours are housed in safe environments that maximize interaction with staff and others, and minimize experiences of isolation.
    • Clients with acute or chronic mental illnesses are placed in an appropriate environment with adequate support.
  • Further updates will be provided in the next public progress report.

Mental Health Training – Short Term

Recommendation 26:

MCSCS should periodically review correctional officer curriculum to determine if any further training is required and ensure all inmates have access to the Segregation Guide as committed to under the Jahn settlement.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • The Corrections Mental Health Strategic Framework, also referenced above in Recommendation 25, emphasizes the importance of providing Correctional Services staff with the necessary education to improve access, support, care and treatment for clients with mental health issues. This will involve the ongoing review of courses and programming by the Ontario Correctional Services College to ensure that training is relevant and targets areas of need.
  • OCDC has ensured that all inmates have access to the Segregation Guide, as committed to under the Jahn Settlement.
  • Mandatory Mental Health Training is being delivered at the institution, with a current completion rate of 86%.

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 to date:

  • As part of the Correctional Services Transformation, the ministry is engaging the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) about health care service delivery.

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 to date:

  • An OCDC brochure was developed and distributed to inmates in July 2016.
  • The brochure is a condensed version of the Inmate Information Guide, and contains information that is specific to OCDC. Information contained in the brochure includes:
    • Visits, phone calls and mail
    • Inmate clothing (within institution and personal clothing change), canteen allowance, haircuts, etc.
    • Inmate request and complaint processes
    • Programs and services available
    • Contact information for the Ombudsman’s office and MCSCS Client Conflict Resolution Unit
    • Contact information for Legal Aid, Lawyer referrals, OCDC Community Advisory Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Human Rights Legal Support Centre, John Howard Society Ottawa, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Addiction and Referral Services, Ottawa Mission, Canadian Families and Corrections Network and the Canadian Red Cross (Refugee Services)
  • Updates to the brochure will be made on an on-going basis including information about the new body scanner installed at OCDC.

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 to date:

  • An enhanced cleaning plan has been established, which includes bi-weekly briefings at the Deputy Superintendent/Superintendent levels to ensure adherence to the plan, as well as adherence to the standing orders of the institution.
  • Painting was completed in the Admitting and Discharge area in June 2016, and continues in the main hallways/corridors.
  • The enhanced cleaning plan also includes a detailed schedule for cleaning and painting inmate living areas (Pod Area, Dormitories, Female Area, and Maximum Security Area). The plan includes how the inmate population will be managed during cleaning and painting periods to ensure that bed allocations and inmate counts are managed appropriately.
  • Inmate living areas are cleaned daily with cleaning supplies provided to all living units by inmate workers
  • Shower sandals were issued to all inmates on July 5, 2016.

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 to date:

  • The ministry is currently researching and evaluating food delivery system options at OCDC as a part of a broader provincial food services review.  
  • Through discussions with stakeholders, the current service provider and other institutions with similar food deliver systems; the ministry is working to complete an analysis on the current state of the food delivery system at OCDC in order to improve food services at the institution.
  • Regular meetings have been established for food services managers and appropriate staff to review provincial food service complaints and action any required changes.
  • As this is a medium term recommendation, implementation is anticipated to take 6-12 months.

Recreation – Long Term

Recommendation 31:

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

Status: In Progress

Action to date:

  • OCDC is currently in the early stages of exploring the expansion of recreation programming. This requires resource allocation, changes to staffing schedules, and modifying programming, etc. 
  • As it is a long term recommendation, the timeline for full implementation will be one year or longer.

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 to date:

  • Programming has expanded at OCDC:
    • A new Muslim Program started on June 11, 2016 and is now delivered by a community volunteer group. The program can accommodate up to 20 inmates per session and includes prayer, as well as help with reintegration in the community upon release.
    • A Sweat Lodge Program for Indigenous offenders was fully operational on September 15, 2016. The program will run every Thursday and currently has a maximum capacity of four inmates.
  • Inmates also have access to a Native Inmate Liaison Officer and a Multi-Cultural Inmate Liaison Officer. The Liaison Officers provide culturally specific programming to inmates and act as a resource for inmates who may have questions or are seeking support (e.g. during a parole hearing).
  • The ministry and OCDC continue to explore opportunities to expand spiritual/cultural programming.

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 to date:

  • Between June and September 2016, the ministry discussed options for improving the inmate telephone system and current functions with the telephone service provider and OCDC.
  • The ministry will also leverage work being done for Recommendation 5 – Phone Calls to Family Members, through the current CBSA pilot at CECC , to support this recommendation. This is a long-term recommendation and the time frame for implementation will be one year or longer.

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 to date:

  • On October 17, 2016 MCSCS announced that it will appoint an independent external reviewer to further examine the use of segregation in Ontario’s adult correctional facilities. The reviewer will submit a final report to the government, which will be made publicly available and will inform a provincial implementation plan to be released in Spring 2017.
  • MCSCS also announced seven immediate actions items to be implemented across provincial institutions, including OCDC. The goal of these action items is to reduce the number of inmates placed in segregation and improve conditions for those who, for their own safety and the security of others, must currently be segregated from the general inmate population. These action items include, but are not limited to:
    • The "loss of all privileges" in disciplinary segregation will be eliminated, and will move towards alternative sanctions and increased incentives for inmates to maintain good behavior
    • Work will begin with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to explore ways to enhance the appropriate supports for inmates with mental health issues and other vulnerable inmates
    • A review of current data collection practices will be undertaken to ensure the ministry is collecting the right type of data and is collecting that data efficiently, effectively and consistently across the system

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 to date:

  • OCDC is included in a broader provincial review and evaluation of resources and infrastructure changes that would be required for transitioning to a Direct Supervision Model, this also includes a review of the new direct supervision facilities to validate the current model of delivery. Further updates will be provided in future public progress reports.

Community Advisory Boards – Short Term

Recommendation 36:

MCSCS should ensure that information about the OCDC CAB is available to all inmates across the institution including how an inmate or staff member can contact members of the CAB.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • A poster and pamphlet, which includes how an inmate can contact a CAB member, have been developed.
  • A memo was distributed on October 7th, 2016 to Directors, Deputy Directors and Superintendents in all four regions and all provincial institutions, including OCDC that provides information on where to post the posters and pamphlets and how to order additional copies.
  • OCDC has set up a drop box so inmates can submit written requests to speak with a CAB representative, which is then forwarded by staff to the CAB for their information and action. 

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 to date:

  • Additional spiritual and cultural counselling and programming delivered by volunteers and community groups have been implemented in recent months at OCDC, as outlined in Recommendation 32.
  • Community outreach continues, and the Deputy Superintendent, Programs continues to meet with community groups or volunteers to explore potential opportunities. For example, a meeting was held on October 27, 2016 to discuss Prison Education programming.
  • Work will continue as new opportunities for community engagement and volunteer-led programming arise.

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 to date:

  • Ontario is installing advanced technology full-body scanners in all 26 adult provincial correctional facilities over two years as part of its corrections transformation to further improve staff and inmate safety, reduce contraband and enhance security. OCDC was one of the priority institutions to receive the body scanners and was fully operational in June 2016.
  • 65 meal hatches will be replaced in the maximum security wing by the end of this fiscal year (March 2017).
  • Flooring in an inmate shower area located in segregation and in the dishwashing area of the kitchen has been replaced.
  • Painting of the male admitting and discharge area, hallways and corridors has been completed.
  • Action planning for other opportunities for improvement continues which includes space to accommodate expanded inmate programing.

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: In Progress

Action to date:

  • The physical inspection was conducted September 20-22, 2016. The confidential Leasehold Asset Management Plan report is currently being drafted.
  • The ministry will use the information in the confidential report to inform the capital strategy and plan for any necessary repairs and maintenance that were highlighted.
  • This assessment will inform a plan to address any immediate maintenance requirements as well as inform the long term lifecycle for the physical infrastructure.
  • Action items and results will be communicated in future public reports.

Reintegration into the Community

Intermittent Community Work Program (ICWP) – Short Term

Recommendation 40:

MCSCS should evaluate the utilization of the ICWP to ensure its use is being maximized and take appropriate measures for the program to be expanded. This should include measures to ensure better access for female offenders at OCDC that have been convicted for impaired driving charges.

Status: Complete

Action to date:

  • The ICWP Substance Use Program, delivered by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Halton, was expanded to include female inmates at OCDC on June 14, 2016.
  • The first female participant began the program on August 6, 2016 and completed the program successfully on September 4, 2016, the program continues to be available to those who may qualify in the future.

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 to date:

  • Initial discussions with the Ontario Parole Board (OPB) were held in May 2016 during OCDC Task Force stakeholder consultations.  OPB has agreed to the recommendation and committed to working with MCSCS on implementation.  
  • The ministry is currently developing a tool to assist in identifying inmates who may be strong candidates for Temporary Absences Permits. 
  • As this is a long term recommendation, the timeframe for implementation will be one year or longer.

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 to date:

  • The ministry is currently having internal discussions on proposed approaches to improve discharge planning supports. As discussions continue, MCSCS will reach out to the Ontario Parole Board to begin reviewing the role of community agencies in facilitating an inmate’s preparation for parole.
  • This is a long-term recommendation, and the timeframe for implementation is anticipated to be a year or longer. Further updates will be provided in the next Progress Report.