Minister Mendicino welcomes the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s Annual Report

Statement

Ottawa – February 10, 2022

The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, today issued the following statement:

“I thank the Correctional Investigator for the work that went into the 2020-2021 Annual Report. As the Ombudsman for federal offenders, the Correctional Investigator plays an important role in our correctional system by identifying issues of concern and recommending solutions. The recommendations raised in the report help Canada’s federal correctional system remain safe, humane and effective.

The Government of Canada has responded to these recommendations. We will work with the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) and others to improve Canada’s federal correctional system and enhance the rehabilitation of offenders to ensure safe and successful reintegration back into the community.  Indeed, we are already hard at work addressing many of the issues raised in the report. Most notably, my mandate letter from the Prime Minister specifically asks that I “consider how to ensure that federal correctional institutions are safe and humane environments, free from violence and sexual harassment, and promote rehabilitation and public safety.”

Combatting systemic racism across government is one of our top priorities, including in the federal correctional system. My mandate letter includes clear instructions to “address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Black and racialized Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in the justice system.” One important way we’re already doing this is through significant reform of our record suspension system to help more Canadians get a pardon and move on with their lives. Furthermore, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will continue to consult stakeholders, including the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee, the National Indigenous Advisory Committee, the National Association Active in Criminal Justice, Citizen Advisory Committee Members and the OCI, to analyze  data on use-of-force incidents and examine whether strategies to manage incidents were used without bias.

The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on federal corrections. I join the Correctional Investigator in commending CSC staff for their hard work in ensuring everyone’s health and safety. Public Safety Canada, in consultation with CSC, commits to liaising with the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct a review of the Service’s response to the pandemic.

Indigenous women are overrepresented in federal corrections. CSC is in the process of conducting a comprehensive analysis of the current population to inform discussions, support planning for future capacity and appropriate infrastructure and process requirements for women’s institutions.

Finally, CSC continues to make progress on the implementation of Structured Intervention Units (SIUs). These units provide inmates with targeted interventions and programs to support their safe return to the mainstream population. SIUs are closely monitored by independent external oversight bodies, including the OCI, which provide added transparency and accountability.

All offenders must be able to serve their sentences with dignity and without fear. I look forward to working closely with CSC to ensure progress is made on the issues identified in this report to further improve our federal correctional system.”

Associated links:

Contacts

Alexander Cohen
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Alexander.Cohen@ps-sp.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
psmediarelations@ps-sp.gc.ca

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