Commissioner of Correctional Service Canada on Structured Intervention Units
July 7, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario - Today, Anne Kelly, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), issued the following statement:
“I wanted to respond to an open letter and news release on Structured Intervention Units (SIUs), following a recent consultation that we hosted in the spirit of openness, collaboration and transparency.
CSC implemented the SIU model in November 2019, which saw the abolition of administrative segregation. I want to be clear that SIUs are not about punishment or causing harm. They provide targeted interventions to support an inmate’s safe return to a mainstream inmate population as soon as possible. The system was purpose-built to monitor and minimize situations where inmates are spending too much time in their cell, as well as provide safeguards such as external oversight. We make it a priority to offer daily opportunities for time out of cell and interaction with others, and work to further engage inmates who refuse those opportunities.
This was a historic transformation that was implemented on a large scale. We knew that it would require time and adjustments to get everything right, especially while managing through the pandemic. I am strongly committed to the successful implementation of this new model and welcome the ongoing feedback from partners and oversight bodies – this helps us make ongoing improvements.
On June 17 and 18, 2021, we held a virtual consultation on SIUs with over 30 organizations and individuals representing a broad range of perspectives. We received useful input that is being built into our plans moving forward, including feedback from the eight attendees who signed the open letter.
At the sessions, I provided an overview of the SIUs and invited stakeholders to provide input both on specific topics and others outside of the scope of the consultation. The topics were deliberately chosen based on issues raised in past months, including:
- Opportunities for time out of cell;
- Meaningful human contact;
- Managing inmates with mental health issues; and
- Inmates refusing to leave an SIU.
This was an important opportunity for CSC to listen to the suggestions of stakeholders, including academics, non-government organizations, Indigenous peoples, legal and mental health experts, and citizen advisory members to gather their input on practical solutions related to these topics. As a next step, we are finalizing a summary of what we heard.
I am open to conducting further consultation sessions with our stakeholders to discuss additional topics. I also invited our participants, many of which have never had the opportunity to visit an SIU because of COVID, to come to our institutions and speak directly with our staff and inmates.
I recognize that corrections is a topic that can generate diverse views. Our common goal, which is shared by many of our stakeholders, is a commitment to safely and successfully reintegrate offenders into our communities as law abiding citizens. We will continue to build on this common ground as we work collaboratively on the ongoing operation of SIUs.”
Correctional Service Canada
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