Comprehensive Review of Segregation
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the use of segregation in the province’s adult correctional facilities.
This review supports the ongoing work to transform Ontario's correctional system to improve staff and inmate safety, enhance effective rehabilitation and reintegration programs, and strengthen inmate mental health supports.
This review will ensure that the ministry’s segregation policies and practices are applied in a manner that is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code and other universal standards.
In 2015, the ministry revised its policies and procedures with a focus on mental health considerations:
- by ensuring that all inmates are screened for mental health issues upon admission to a correctional facility;
- by ensuring adequate access and referrals to mental health providers for the completion of treatment and care plans;
- by taking mental health considerations into account as a mitigating factor in cases of disciplinary misconduct.
This comprehensive review builds on the work that was completed in 2015. The ministry continues to explore improvement opportunities for housing those identified as mentally ill, as well as all inmates in segregation.
On any given day in Ontario, there are approximately 8,000 adult men and women in provincial custody. On average, approximately six per cent of these inmates are held in segregation for a variety of reasons, including at their own request, personal protection, inmate misconduct, to ensure the safety of staff or other inmates, or on advice of a medical expert.
While inmates in segregation represent a small percentage of the total adult inmate population, they often have complex and overlapping needs, which frequently include mental health issues.
The ministry recognizes the negative impacts segregation can have, especially for vulnerable populations. That is why this review is currently working with civil liberty, human rights, correctional staff and community safety partners to hear lived experience, evaluate existing segregation policies, procedures and practices, identify areas for change, and examine best practices in other jurisdictions.
Inmates being held in segregation have the same right to receive humane treatment as all other inmates in the institution, but are housed separately from other inmates, can be confined to their cells, may have limited interaction with visitors or other inmates and may have supervised/restricted access to privileges and programs.
It is important that all inmates understand this process and their rights. That is why we developed a handout outlining these rights and procedures that is now posted on our website and given to each inmate.
Types of segregation
In Ontario, there are two types of segregation in provincial correctional institutions:
- Administrative Segregation (non-disciplinary)
- Close Confinement (disciplinary)
- Currently has no time limit.
- Separates the inmate from the general population. For inmates who are:
- In need of protection (e.g. witnesses in the prosecution of other inmates).
- Segregated to protect the security of the institution or the safety of other inmates (e.g. inmates presenting as high risk to harm themselves or others).
- Accused (not yet proven or found guilty) to have committed a serious misconduct.
- Requesting to be placed in segregation (e.g. inmate prefers to be alone).
- Status is reviewed during the initial placement, 24 hours later and then every five days afterwards, to decide whether the inmate should continue to stay in segregation.
- Is limited to a maximum of 30 days for each act of serious misconduct
- Separates the inmate from the general population as a result of a guilty finding where the inmate has committed a misconduct of a serious nature.
- May include limited privileges.
As part of this review, we have sought the expertise and advice of groups like the Ontario Human Rights Commission, John Howard Society and our correctional staff, whose recommendations are actively being considered as part of our segregation review.
The ministry is asking members of the public, as well as those with lived experience in Ontario correctional facilities to provide feedback to help inform the review. The feedback you provide will be anonymous and kept confidential; results will be aggregated and summarized. No personal information or individual responses will be disclosed, except as required by law, and will not appear in any documents or recommendations produced by the ministry.
If your browser does not support forms, please send your e-mail to: MCSCS@ontario.ca
If you wish to submit a document or you require any Human Rights-related accommodation, please e-mail directly to MCSCS@ontario.ca.
Consultations on the Strategy for a Safer Ontario
We are holding consultations on the development of the Strategy for a Safer Ontario, a new blueprint for effective, sustainable community-based policing.
Public meetings will take place from February - March, 2016, in the following communities:
Sault Ste. Marie
You can also express your thoughts through an online survey, or by reading and responding to a more detailed discussion paper.
You can register to attend a meeting or provide your feedback online at Ontario.ca/safercommunities.