Ottawa, October 31, 2017 – Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement:
“The Government of Canada welcomes the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s 2016-2017 Annual Report and its valuable recommendations. Addressing the challenges facing the federal correctional system remains a priority for the Government.
I am committed to ensuring that Canada’s correctional system is fair, humane and effective. Concrete actions to further enhance the current correctional system, specifically for women offenders with mental health issues and Indigenous offenders, are being taken.
Last spring, legislation was introduced to restrict the use of administrative segregation and ensure accountability, transparency and oversight of its use. To help address the over-representation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s criminal justice system, and to help those who have been incarcerated heal, rehabilitate and find good jobs, Budget 2017 invested $65.2 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, and $10.9 million per year thereafter. Budget 2017 also provided $57.8 million over five years and $13.6 million per year thereafter to expand mental health care capacity for inmates in federal correctional facilities.
Last summer, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) made important policy changes to inadmissibility criteria to ensure that inmates with serious mental illness, inmates who actively engage in self-injury and are at elevated or imminent risk for suicide are not admissible to administrative segregation.
Helping offenders gain the skills they need to be employable supports their successful reintegration and the safety of our communities. I accept the recommendation that I write to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) to ask that they consider undertaking a special study on inmate work and prison industries, and have done so. A study of this kind would allow for more in-depth consideration of the pertinent operational, policy and financial implications related to this matter.
The Correctional Investigator contributes to public safety by identifying the issues of concern within the federal correctional system. I will continue to work with him and CSC as well as with implicated stakeholders to respond to the recommendations brought forward by the Office of the Correctional Investigator.”
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada