New Bill: An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act
On October 16, 2018, the Government of Canada introduced a new bill, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act. The proposed reforms would implement a new correctional interventions model to eliminate segregation; strengthen health care governance; better support victims in the criminal justice system; and consider the specific needs of Indigenous offenders.
Structured Intervention Units (SIUs) would be established to provide the necessary resources and expertise to address the safety and security risks of inmates who cannot be managed safely within the mainstream inmate population. Inmates in a SIU would:
- receive structured interventions and programming tailored to their specific situation;
- have an opportunity for a minimum of four hours a day outside of their cell;
- have an opportunity for two hours a day of meaningful human contact; and
- receive continued programming to help them progress toward their correctional plan objectives.
Considering Factors Unique to Indigenous Offenders – The needs and interests of Indigenous persons would be better supported by the legal requirement for the Correctional Service of Canada to ensure that systemic and background factors unique to Indigenous offenders are considered in all correctional decision-making.
Supporting Victims in the Criminal Justice Process – Better support victims in the criminal justice system by allowing victims who attend a Parole Board of Canada hearing to access audio recordings of the hearing.
Strengthening Health Care Governance – The proposed reforms would affirm the Correctional Service of Canada`s obligation to support health care professionals in maintaining their professional autonomy and clinical independence. The Correctional Service of Canada would also have the obligation to provide patient advocacy services to inmates to help them better understand their health care rights and responsibilities, as recommend by the Coroner's Inquest Touching the Death of Ashley Smith.
Further Improving Mental Health Supports for Inmates – To ensure that offenders with mental health needs receive proper care, Budget 2017 invested $57.8 million over five years (starting in 2017-18) and $13.6 million per year thereafter to expand mental health care capacity for all inmates in federal correctional facilities. Budget 2018 built on these investments, proposing $20.4 million over five years, beginning in 2018–19, and $5.6 million per year ongoing, for the Correctional Service of Canada to further support the mental health needs of federal inmates, particularly women.
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