CAB Report 2015 - Toronto South Detention Centre

Community Advisory Board Annual Report
2015


Toronto South Detention Centre

Toronto, Ontario

March 31, 2016


Preface

Legislative Authority

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

  • Strengthen the links between the institution and the surrounding community.
  • Act as independent observers offering a balanced perspective concerning the care, supervision and programs for offenders.
  • Act in an advisory capacity to the minister and provide advice on all aspects of facility operations including: the operation of the institution and the impact on the community; the state of theinstitution; the administration of the institution; and the treatment of inmates.

Community Advisory Board Members

Chair: Dr. Wesley Crichlow, appointed March 17, 2014, term April 20, 2019

Board Members:

Allison Mentis, appointed April 21, 2014, term April 20, 2019
Douglas Tsoi, appointed March 17, 2014, term March 16, 2016
Levina Kahumba, appointed March 17, 2014, term March 16, 2017
Maureen Helt, appointed March 17, 2014, term March 16, 2019
Nigel Waterman,appointed March 17, 2014, term March 16, 2017


Overview of CAB Activities for 2015

Number of CAB Meetings: 7 (plus 1 annual meeting)

Summary

April 28, 2015

  • CAB provided with Incidents report for March 2015
  • Operations, finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, segregation and various commissions (Medical Unit, Mental Health Assessment Unit (MHAU), and Infirmary) issues/stats reported to CAB
  • CAB discussed with management on the importance of providing various statistics of centre operations.
    • Program Effectiveness, Statistics & Applied Research (PESAR) staff to do so on request from CAB members
  • 2015 CAB report discussion with the Management
  • Discussion on Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS) and inmates with mental health issues.

May 20, 2015

  • Question was raised regarding the chart on reportable incidents and why a death was recorded for an inmate not physically admitted at TSDC. The procedure for reporting death of inmate is governed by the Ministry's policy and procedures manual, specifically an inmate who is never physically in the facility but in the legal custody of the ministry. The provision in the manual is death of inmate in institution custody or death of an inmate on community escort, April 29, 2015 minutes to be amended to indicate "not physically admitted to TSDC”.
  • Statistics with respect to spike in contraband since last month, which reflects canine unit presence, and increased security activity.

Operations

  • Inmate transfers out to other facilities continue
  • One unit, 40-beds closed to support staffing of the Medical and MHAU
  • 24-beds, half of the Special Handling Unit closed to support staffing of the facility and the planned opening of the Infirmary

Finance

Budget for fiscal year 2015/16 expected by the end of May

June 17, 2015

  • CAB provided with Incidents report for May 2015
  • Operations, finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, segregation issues/stats reported to CAB members
  • Medical Unit and MHAU inmates usage stats provided to CAB members
  • CAB informed on Dental unit opening (May 8, 2015) that runs 3 full days a week
  • CAB provided with stats on how many inmates have been referred to FEIS
  • CAB provided with Jail Screening and Assessment Tool (JSAT) stats
  • CAB informed on John Howard Society grand opening of their Reintegration Centre on May 28, 2015
  • Presentation by the Deputy Superintendent Treatment & Programs (Acting) regarding the history, principles and benefits of the direct supervision model

July and August 2015 – Summer Break

CAB members were provided with a copy of incidents report for June – July 2015 period that had the following information:

  • Operations, finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, and segregation report
  • Medical Unit and MHAU inmates usage stats
  • FEIS and JSAT stats

September 23, 2015

  • CAB provided with Incidents report for August 2015
  • Operations, finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, segregation and various commissions (Medical Unit, MHAU, and Infirmary) issues/stats reported to CAB members
  • CAB informed of installation of Body Scanner in the Admissions and Discharge unit to detect contraband within TSDC
  • CAB informed on the Electronic Security System review that Lobo Consulting is conducting
  • CAB informed of Windows Upgrade/Replacement in various towers of TSDC
  • CAB provided with FEIS stats.

October 28, 2015

  • First annual CAB conference in Ottawa
  • All CAB member were in attendance
  • Received presentations on a variety of subjects, including segregation, communicating with the media, mental health initiatives, and expense claim guidelines for CAB members.
  • Speakers included Deputy Minister Rhodes and Assistant Deputy Minister Arthur
  • Opportunity to speak to CAB members from other correctional facilities across Ontario and share observations and best practices.

November 25, 2015

  • Discussion regarding previous month’s CAB annual conference
  • CAB provided with Incidents report for November 2015 (November 1-17, 2015)
  • Operations, finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, segregation issues/stats reported to CAB members
  • Medical Unit and MHAU inmates usage stats provided to CAB members
  • CAB provided with stats on how many inmates have been referred to FEIS
  • Presentation by an Operational Manager from TSDC on their experience transitioning from male to female while employed in Correctional Services as well as on initiatives in place to support trans identified inmates and staff.
  • CAB discussion regarding dates and times of 2016 meetings

(December 2015 – End of Year Break)

January 13, 2016 – Postponed due to potential Correctional Services strike action

February 3, 2016

  • Labour dispute update: Deputy Superintendents, Staff Sergeants, Sergeants and Managers were on site since January 8, 2016 in anticipation of a potential Correctional Bargaining Unit labour disruption. On January 9, 2016, a settlement agreement was reached between the Employer and the Union.
  • On January 11, 2016, a local Normalization of Operations agreement was signed, which included the search of every area that was operated by managers. The searches started on January 11 2016 and ended on January 20, 2016.
  • CAB members were provided with reportable Incidents from (November 18, 2015 — January 25, 2016) (*From manual tracking upon receipt of Incident Report — by two main locations - Toronto Intermittent Centre (TIC) and TSDC Main Building)
  • finance, administration, maintenance, staffing, segregation and various commissions
  • (Medical Unit, MHAU, and Infirmary) issues/stats reported to CAB
  • FEIS stats provided
  • End of term for CAB member Douglas Tsoi

March 23, 2016

  • CAB held their first meeting in conjunction with the TSDC staff morning meeting. The chair called the meeting to order and welcomed all, explained that the morning
  • meeting was a new venture for the CABs, and he was open to suggestions in proceeding with the meeting. It was suggested that the TDSC staff should be allowed to present their report first because they had duties to attend to. The staff proceeded with their briefing.
  • A briefing report was reviewed of the morning activates and the agenda that lay ahead for the day. In one briefing, it was noted that there was an incident the day before where an inmate was preparing to take a shower and he was assaulted by other inmate. Both inmates were charged. The new director questioned why the victim was charged. It was agreed that charging the victim is something that should be looked at.
  • After the briefing, correctional staff returned to their post and the new director was introduced to the CAB along with the other staff.
  • Posting for new CAB member was sent to the metro paper, awaiting feedback on the recruitment process.

Number of Site Visits by CAB: 5

Summary

May 20, 2015

  • Site visit of the medical unit, health care unit and infirmary unit conducted by Maureen and Levina
  • The infirmary unit is very well equipped as is the health care unit.
  • Explanation provided to CAB members with respect to how the units will operate, the criteria to be admitted as well as issues concerning on-going care if necessary, after inmates are released from the units.
  • Explanation provided to CAB members with respect to the type of care provided in the units as well as availability or access to different types of doctors

June 17, 2015

  • Site Visit of Mental Health Unit conducted by Maureen, Doug, Levina and Wesley spoke with nurses who said they were satisfied with how the unit works
  • Common theme of inmates expressing concern regarding lockdowns and failure to be allowed access to showers

August 22, 2015

  • Site Visit of workers unit conducted by Allison and Maureen
  • All inmates in this unit are workers in TSDC
  • Inmates expressed concerns about lack of clean clothing provided to them on a timely basis. This is an ongoing concern. Staff express concerns that inmates are hoarding laundry yet inmates say they do not get regular clean clothes
  • Inmates were concerned about number of lockdowns so that they are denied showers after being on the work shift all day
  • There is still quite a divide between those officers who have a much more punitive approach to inmates and those whose approach is more rehabilitative. TSDC needs to get a common ground and common approach as the inconsistency leads to issues in the institution.
  • The inmates expressed concern about the fact that the so called privileges are really not a privilege. They say their privilege is a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. They want more or feel they deserve more of a privilege.

February 10, 2016

  • Site visit of Kitchen services conducted by Maureen
  • Held discussions with inmates on the worker program who were working in the kitchen – they very much enjoy the program however their issue remains the same as when I met with inmates in the workers’ unit in August 2015 – there are complaints about not having clean laundry. Correctional officers claim that inmates hoard the laundry but it is not appropriate to deny these workers clean laundry or access to shower
  • There are two shifts for the kitchen broken into the morning and afternoon/evening shift.
  • Each shift has twelve inmates working side by side with staff to prepare and deliver the food
  • Overall the kitchen appears to be very clean and very well run.

Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: We were provided with monthly reports during the fiscal year. These reports tracked a variety of inmate activities. These reports were analysed and specific events were intently discussed. The Director and other senior staff often provided some context to the figures and provided answers to the many queries. Please see appendix C for a graph of the data presented.

Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action: 2

Number of Concerns Directed to the Superintendent: 2

Summary

Frequent lock downs
Inappropriate segregation

Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: 0

Summary

n/a


Presentations and Training

Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 3

Summary

June 17, 2015

  • Presentation by the Deputy Superintendent, Treatment & Programs (Acting) regarding the history, principles and benefits of the direct supervision model.

October 28, 2015

  • Presentations on a variety of subjects, including segregation, communicating with the media, mental health initiatives, and expense claim guidelines for CAB members.

November 25, 2015

  • Presentation by an Operational Manager from TSDC on their experience transitioning from male to female while employed in Correctional Services as well as on initiatives in place to support trans identified inmates and staff.

Number of Training Sessions Completed: 0

Summary

None reported in 2015.


Observations

The Operation of the Institution

TSDC is still not yet operating at full capacity. While it is anticipated that the TSDC will be staffed with approximately 200 more (or so) correctional officers in the next year, if the institution was operating at full capacity the number of correctional officers would need to be greatly increased.

With respect to the hiring of nurses, which has been an issue over the past year, our most recent report from the Director indicated that eight mental health nurses were to be interviewed for three positions.

We have been advised that the institution is running under budget, but this is due to the fact that it is not yet fully staffed.

The CAB is not in a position to adjudge the efficiency of TSDC’s operations. However, the CAB has observed during site visits that TSDC appears to be well-run, organized and clean.

There is however always the concern that there are insufficient correctional officers. This is not a problem made within the institution, rather; it is a result of the hiring process. A shortage of correction officers has caused the institution to experience several lockdowns, which is not good for the inmates or the officers.

Institution Impact on the Community

TSDC has been the subject of negative press reports in 2015. These reports were often discussed at our meetings. The TSDC’s Director was of the opinion that the media did not disclose the entire truth in many articles, and that her comments, though requested, were rarely taken into consideration in the final article.

Examples of issues raised in media coverage involving TSDC include:

  • Hunger strikes
  • Insufficient health care for inmates
  • Inappropriate use of segregation
  • Lockdowns due to staff shortages

The CAB was not in a position to confirm or deny the allegations raised in the articles. However, the CAB is concerned about the quantity and depth of the negative allegations contained in media coverage surrounding TSDC and the CAB feels that this may potentially alienate community members and impact their perception of TSDC.

Administration of the Institution

In 2015, the facility was not operating at full capacity. There have been operational problems due to staff shortages, frequent sick calls from staff and numerous lock-downs occurring most week- ends.

They was also tension in the institution between management and staff during the union negotiations. These tensions resulted in a decline of site visits because CAB members were hesitant to be caught between the two parties.

The facility's mental assessment unit did not become operational until February 2015. There was a death of inmate in February 2015. The inmate committed suicide.

From a CAB observation, it would appear that current staff is operating under strenuous circumstances.

The CAB has observed that TSDC staff has been very helpful in providing information and responding to queries.

The Treatment of Inmates

The CAB observed that a number of lockdowns in 2015 were initiated due to a lack of staff on hand. The CAB learned each day that a considerable percentage of the correctional officers were absent for various reasons, including vacation, leaves of absence and illness.

The CAB is concerned that insufficient staff levels have resulted in numerous lockdowns which results in inmates privileges and rights to showers, phone calls etc. being negatively impacted. CAB has had discussions with the Director regarding these staffing issues.

Lock downs are a major issue with inmates at TDSC. In these situations, they are locked in their cells for hours with food just sliding through slots, no showers and no opportunity to change clothing or make phone calls.

With these frequent lock downs; the inmates become increasingly annoyed and retaliate by assaulting officers.

Also, delayed transportation of inmates from the facility to court are delaying court proceedings. This affects inmates adversely, causing adjournments and re-appearances.


Summary of Concerns and Recommendations

In 2015, the CAB identified the following concerns:

  • Far too many lockdowns
  • Need for more correctional officers
  • Inordinately long period of time to clear new hires for nursing positions

In light of the above, the CAB makes the following recommendations to the minister:

  • It is understood that the minister has authorized the hiring of new correctional officers – to continue to do so
  • For the ministry and the TSD to continue to examine ways to avoid the frequency of lock downs

These recommendations were communicated to the TSDC Director at the CAB meeting on March 23, 2016.


Submitted March 31 2016

_____________________________________
Wesley Crichlow, PhD, Chair


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May 31, 2016

Mr. Wesley Crichlow
Community Advisory Board Chair
Toronto South Detention Centre

Dear Mr. Crichlow:

Thank you for your submission of the 2015 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC).

We appreciate the time the CAB has taken to put together such a comprehensive list of recommendations for the ministry based on your observations at the institution over the last year.

I have reviewed your report and appreciate the thoughtful comments you have made about TSDC. Associate Deputy Minister Marg Welch will be responding in detail to all of the five meaningful recommendations you have made.  

We are grateful to have such a dedicated group of volunteers that work diligently to help us improve operations and transparency in our institutions. The ministry values your input and will be working on addressing the recommendations from the Annual Report. I look forward to working with the CABs in the coming year, moving this innovative program forward and continuing to engage local communities to a greater degree. Please accept my sincere thanks for your work in this critical role and producing a valuable annual report.

Sincerely,
Yasir Naqvi
Minister

c: Ms. Marg Welch
Associate Deputy Minister of Correctional Services


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August 25, 2016

Mr. Wesley Crichlow
Community Advisory Board Chair
Toronto South Detention Centre

Dear Mr. Crichlow:

Thank you for your submission of the 2015 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by ministry staff and we are already working on the recommendations outlined in your report.

As the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, noted in his acknowledgement letter to you, the ministry is committed to implementing your recommendations and to the ongoing development of this innovative CAB program.

The transformation of Ontario’s correctional system is a top priority. Work is underway to further address capacity pressures, develop additional supports for inmates with mental illness, reform the bail and remand system and review our segregation policies. We will continue to work with all our correctional partners as we move forward with our mandate to transform our correctional system to develop effective and lasting improvements.

I am pleased to provide the following responses and next steps for the recommendations put forward in the TSDC CAB Annual Report.

Recommendation #1: Reduce lockdowns

The ministry recognizes that many institutions across the province require additional staff and we have been working to recruit new correctional officers and provide them with training. Lockdowns occur for a variety of reasons, including staffing shortages which can result from a combination of leaves (vacation, sick or other) as well as having a reduced number of available staff.

An initiative to minimize the number of lockdowns at TSDC is now part of the senior management performance plan. Locally, TSDC has had some difficulty with managing employee attendance which has had an impact on the number and frequency of lockdowns. A Deputy of Staff Services was hired to complete a review of the attendance support management and accommodation program at TSDC. Upon completion of the review, TSDC will work to address the issues identified.

TSDC will also continue to work with recruitment to determine the need for additional Correctional Officers in order to address ongoing attrition as well as to ensure adequate resources on site to maintain staff training requirements.

Recommendation #2: Hiring of new correctional officers

Since 2013, 1001 new correctional officers have been deployed to facilities across the province. Hiring remains a priority, which is why over three years, we are hiring 2,000 new correctional officers.

On May 16, 2016, 21 new correctional officers began working at TSDC. In an effort to reduce lockdowns, 25 fixed-term correctional officers became full-time in June 2016. An additional eight correctional officers commenced employment on July 25, 2016 at TSDC.

Recommendation #3: Long clearance times for nursing positions

The ministry is required to conduct employee security screening checks in compliance with the OPS Employment Screening Checks Policy.

Public servants appointed to work in ministries with the responsibility for handling and processing highly sensitive documents/information/assets, activities involving contact with or responsibility for vulnerable individuals and providing law enforcement services are required to undergo enhanced security screening before beginning their job duties. Ministry employees, including nurses, fall within this description and are required to undergo screening.

A Vendor of Record for security screening checks has been established and may be used by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Alternatively, other options including Ontario Provincial Police and local police services remain available; however, enhanced security screening checks may take between six and 10 weeks to be complete.

TSDC has completed the recruitment process for nurses and is awaiting security screening results.                                                           

Conclusion

I appreciate the CAB indicating in its Annual Report the many TSDC success stories such as the well-equipped infirmary and health care units and the success of the kitchen work program, where inmates express their satisfaction with the program.

Thank you for all of the hard work that went into the development of your recommendations for the ministry. As volunteer members of the Community Advisory Board, you have gone above and beyond to provide meaningful feedback on the operations at TSDC. Please be assured that the ministry values your input and recommendations. The ministry will be working throughout the rest of the year to address as many of your recommendations as possible. I look forward to your ongoing support as we move forward with this very important work.

Sincerely,
Marg Welch
Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services