CAB Report 2016 - Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre
Community Advisory Board Annual Report
Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre
March 30, 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
The Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre (HWDC) Community Advisory Board (CAB) was newly formed effective October 2015. As a new entity to the institution, 2016 was a learning and orientation period for the CAB. The primary objectives for the year were to understand our role, learn about the institution and its operations and build relationships with the institution’s leadership and staff.
Community Advisory Board Members
Chair: Stephen Bottaro (resigned), Oct. 6, 2015 - Oct. 5, 2017
St. John O’Neill, Oct. 6, 2015 - Oct. 5, 2017
Karen Kawakami, Oct. 6, 2015 - Oct. 5, 2018
Shari-Lee Srigley (resigned), Oct. 6, 2015 - Oct. 5, 2018
Overview of CAB Activities for 2016
Number of CAB Meetings: 6
The HWDC began as a four member board, with two vacancies from the outset. After a training and orientation session in October 2015, the CAB held its first meeting in February 2016. The meeting format consisted of:
- educational session / staff presentation
- operational update from the Superintendent, including report on any major incidents, staff hiring forecast, facility repairs and/or renovations
- discussion of CAB business (e.g. quarterly CAB Chair conference calls)
- report on site visits.
Effective March 2016, one CAB member resigned. As a result, all subsequent meetings required the remaining three members to be present in order to meet quorum. Recruitment for replacement members was conducted in the spring and recommendations were forwarded to the minister in May 2016. Since that time, the CAB has been waiting for appointment confirmations to be made.
Number of Site Visits: 16 visits were completed from December 2015 to December 2016.
All inmate ranges on each of the five floors of the institution were visited at least once, as well as observation of:
- the forensics and case management specialty unit located on the third floor
- kitchen and food production area
- admitting and discharge
- construction of body scanner area
- inmate visitation area
- outside grounds and institution perimeter.
Board members were escorted by correctional officers and interacted with both staff and inmates during each visit.
Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: 6
Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action: 1
Number of Concerns Directed to the Superintendent: 1
Staff shortages have had a negative impact on inmates. Throughout February and March 2016, all programming was cancelled, including the fresh air program (i.e. outdoor time), which meant that inmates remained exclusively indoors for a two-month-period. The program cancellations were the result of staffing shortages, restricting the ability to move inmates safely while maintaining sufficient supervision on the ranges.
Since that time, the institution has hired a number of new staff, returning staffing levels back to full complement. With proper staffing levels, all programs have resumed.
Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: None
Presentations and Training
Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 2
In addition to the regular updates provided by the Superintendent at each meeting, presentations were made to the CAB on:
- use of force policy and procedures
- overview of institutional programs.
Number of Training Sessions Completed: 2
New CAB member training was held in December 2015. The orientation session consisted of:
- a history of the institution
- safety and security protocols when conducting a site visit
- mandate of CAB
- discussion on the value the CAB provides to the minister, the institution and within the community.
Two of the CAB members attended the CAB conference held in November 2016 and viewed it as a valuable learning experience. The agenda items were informative and provided greater insight into the work, planning and support done at the corporate level. Recommendations for future conferences are:
- incorporate more intentional networking opportunities into the agenda
- offer a tour of the institution in the host city
The Operation of the Institution
In the past year, HWDC has seen a number of improvements, most notably the installation of the body scanner. Renovations were made in the admitting and discharge area in the summer to accommodate the new equipment. All management and over 50 per cent of staff received training on the operation of the scanner. The body scanner went live in September 2016 and in the first three months of operation, 1,700 scans were performed, resulting in six criminal charges for contraband.
In the institution’s segregation units, many inmates suffer present with mental health issues, versus use for administrative (discipline) reasons. Plans are underway for a segregation “step-down” unit. The step-down unit is designed to transition inmates from segregation to general population units. It will introduce inmates to an increasing level of integration through day room, programming, telephone and television time. The minister’s announcement for additional mental health care workers and other programming resources will provide much needed supports to inmates while incarcerated and for re-integration into the community.
Inmate work programs are available in the kitchen, laundry and for general cleaning. These programs have a high level of participation and the inmates report that they enjoy being part of it.
Institution Impact on the Community
The institution maintains strong connections within the community. The institution has service contracts with the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre and the Bridges Program. Numerous other agencies and organizations provide programs and services within the institution, such as John Howard Society, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These volunteer-run programs constitute a large portion of the programming available to inmates. The institution held an appreciation dinner in October to recognize the contributions of its 120 volunteers, many of whom have been serving for 25-plus years.
Administration of the Institution
The superintendent is an experienced administrator who is respected by staff at all levels. Staff were observed to be professional and respectful towards inmates. Staffing shortages for a two to three month period at beginning of the year resulted in the cancellation of many programs. Since that time, a number of new correctional officers have been hired, the institution now has a full staffing complement and a full programming schedule has resumed.
Awareness of the CAB
The CAB is not well known to inmates and amongst some staff. On a few observation visits, staff did not know about the CAB, despite multiple communications from the superintendent. On these occasions, there was often a sense of distrust about our role. But overall, staff were willing to speak with CAB members and share their ideas on what would improve conditions for staff and inmates.
Posters were put in the ranges to inform inmates about the CAB and request forms are available if inmates would like to speak with a CAB member. Posters are also in the visitor waiting area. To date, the CAB has not yet received any requests.
The Treatment of Inmates
During all observations, the interaction of staff with inmates was professional and respectful. It was evident that staff have established rapports with inmates and engage with them regularly. Inmates were observed responding positively to directions received from correctional officers.
HWDC has a forensics unit for inmates with mental health issues. The unit employs a case management approach and case conferences are held to develop a plan of care. This approach has been successful to modify behaviours and to integrate inmates into general population. Correctional officers speak positively about case management but some have stated they require more training on mental health issues. HWDC works closely with St. Joseph’s Hospital forensics. Staff have expressed frustration accessing mental health services for inmates, often being advised that problematic.
The case management approach is also used in the female unit. Female inmates are connected to necessary community resources during discharge planning with the anticipation that proper community based supports will prevent recidivism. This technique is showing signs of success and is recommended for expansion to all areas of the institution.
Opioid Take Home Naloxone Program
HWDC was one of two institutions to begin the province-wide roll-out of the Opioid Take Home Naloxone Program which offers discharging inmates a nasal naloxone kit. Corporate ministry staff are assessing program outcomes and conducting follow-up on inmates who accept the kit. This program has now been normalized as part of the discharge process.
Summary of Recommendations to the Ministry
2016 was the inaugural year for the HWDC CAB. The Board members and the Superintendent have been committed to getting this Board up and running and we considered the past year to be a learning and development year.
The greatest challenge has been the high number of Board vacancies. As previously mentioned, recommendations for replacement members were forwarded to the minister in May 2016 but no updates have been received regarding timelines for appointments. When these positions are eventually filled, the Board will essentially need to repeat the building process. Operating the entire year with the minimum number for quorum made it difficult for the CAB to meet its mandated responsibilities. Fewer members meant that fewer observation visits were conducted, resulting in fewer occasions to identify opportunities for improvement. It also hindered creating awareness of the CAB and our role amongst staff and inmates.
Effective January 2017, another CAB member resigned. With this recent resignation, only two members remain which means that the board cannot meet quorum for meetings (i.e. 3 members). The remaining two members are committed to our role and have agreed with the superintendent to continue meeting on an informal basis until new members are appointed.
At the first CAB conference held in 2015, Deputy Minister Rhodes conveyed on the minister’s behalf, the value placed on CABs and our role. The HWDC CAB eagerly awaits the minister’s support to fill the vacant positions.
In summary, the HWDC CAB makes the following recommendations:
- The ministry improve the speed of appointments to avoid having excessive vacancies.
- HWDC implement a step-down unit to support the transition of inmates with mental health issues into general population.
- HWDC enhance communication and outreach to staff to increase awareness of the CAB and understanding of our role.
- The Ministry provide in-depth mental health training to staff to better support inmates with mental health issues.
- HWDC extends the case management model from the female unit into all parts of the institution.
List of Attachments
Submitted March 30, 2017
May 9, 2017
Ms. Karen Kawakami
Acting Chair, Community Advisory Board
Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre
Dear Ms. Kawakami:
Thank you for sending the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. This letter confirms our receipt of the Annual Report for 2016.
As you commence your first reporting year, we extend our appreciation for all of the time you and your fellow CAB members give 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, despite having operated without quorum for part of last year.
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 next step will be to meet with the Superintendent and Regional Director 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. Karen Kawakami
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre
Dear Ms. Kawakami:
Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre (HWDC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by ministry staff 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 transformation 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 with respect to reformation. 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 Ontario’s correctional service.
I am pleased to provide the following responses.
Recommendation #1: The ministry to improve the speed of appointments to avoid having excessive vacancies.
It is my understanding that the CAB at HWDC had a difficult time making quorum in 2016 due to multiple vacancies on the board. Despite this challenge, we appreciate that your CAB managed to visit the institution 16 times, hold 6 meetings and complete your first Annual Report by the March 31 deadline. I applaud you for the incredible work you did last year, considering these trying circumstances.
In 2016, the ministry developed new, more streamlined appointment and re-appointment processes, which provide consistency across the board to complete more timely appointments. The processes have been distributed internally to ensure that the appointment information moves smoothly through approvals. All potential CAB candidates must undergo an enhanced security screening following the interview process. Enhanced screening normally takes up to eight weeks. However, there have been a few instances where screening has taken longer than expected. This is due to competing screening priorities. This is not considered the norm.
We are working internally to reduce delays in the appointment process and will notify the CAB and their potential candidates when delays are anticipated in order to better inform the process and manage expectations. I understand that three new members were appointed to your board in February 2017, and that we are currently going through the recruitment process to fill the last vacancy.
Recommendation #2: HWDC to implement a step-down unit to support transition of inmates with mental health issues into general population.
As part of our segregation reform, step-down units and other alternatives to segregation are being created (where feasible) in institutions across the province.
Step-down units are progressive in nature and are designed for clients who require more support and supervision than what is offered in the regular living units. Step-down units provide clients with more access to dayroom time, programming and yard and are a more therapeutic alternative to placing clients in segregation. The intention is to prepare clients for reintegration into the regular units.
As you know, a new step-down unit at HWDC opened on April 1, 2017, which accommodates and helps integrate clients who require additional care into general population units.
Your report noted that HWDC also has a forensic unit for clients with mental illness. It is divided into two parts. One part of the unit provides intensive support for clients who are acutely ill and do not function well in a group environment. Here, clients can be stabilized under supervision of the multi-disciplinary forensic team. The second part of the unit is designed for clients who are stabilized and have shown they can function in a group environment, but still provides a high level of support from the forensic team. The forensic unit as a whole operates under a case-management model with dedicated staff assigned to the unit. We value our long-term relationship with St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Recommendation #3: HWDC to enhance communication and outreach to staff to increase awareness of the CAB and understanding of our role.
The ministry is committed to improving the profile of CABs in our institutions as well as in the community. As you noted, 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 for staff and visitors.
Each facility was also tasked with creating standing orders for the CAB within six months of implementing a board at their respective institution. HWDC 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 will be sent to HWDC staff outlining information on the role and purpose of the CAB.
Recommendation #4: The ministry to provide in-depth mental health training to staff to better support inmates with mental health issues.
In 2016, the ministry delivered mental health training entitled “Understanding and Responding to Inmates with Mental Health Challenges,” which provided all institutional staff with a foundation for working with clients with mental health issues. As of October 8, 2016, the final training numbers show that 93 per cent of staff at HWDC (232 staff and managers in total) completed the training. Currently, the Ontario Correctional Services College (OCSC) in consultation with the Institutional Training Manager group is compiling a list of correctional staff that still requires this training. Courses for this group of staff will be scheduled between May 23, 2017 and June 30, 2017.
Additionally, as a part of the Correctional Officer Assessment and Training (COTA) program, new graduates will complete a rigorous assessment and eight-week training program, which includes mental health training and inmate management techniques, prior to commencing service in our facilities. Recommendation #5: HWDC to extend the case management model from the female unit into all parts of the institution.
The ministry’s long-term plan is to implement an Integrated Case Management (ICM) model as another component of reforming correctional services. Case management is a collaborative process. It involves the assessment of risks, needs and responsivity factors in order to provide the coordinated planning, facilitation, care, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet a client’s needs.
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.
Out of the 239 positions in the province dedicated to segregation, HWDC has received the following positions (each at various points in the recruitment process):
- three additional correctional officers
- one sergeant
- one staff sergeant
- one deputy superintendent of compliance
- two records clerks
- three nurses
- three mental health nurses
- one psychologist
- two social workers
- one manager of social work
- one chaplain
These positions will help HWDC move toward a case management model for segregation which is to be implemented by the end of 2017.
HWDC has also implemented a case management model in its forensic unit for their clients with mental health issues and continues to provide case management in their female unit.
On a broader scale, the ministry will be considering recommendations from the Ombudsman and Mr. Howard Sapers’ reviews on segregation in Ontario, which includes enhanced segregation supports, placement review processes and interdisciplinary Segregation Review Committees.
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 reduction in contraband with the installation of the body scanner in September 2016, client participation and satisfaction from the work programs offered at HWDC and the respectful treatment of clients by staff observed by the CAB. Our superintendent, Mr. Bruce Laughlin, is one of the most experienced superintendents in the province and committed to delivering effective correctional supervision and programming.
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 HWDC 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 its full potential.
Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services