The Preliminary Findings of the Task Force and the Compliance
The initial audits and visits to the institutions yielded significant
findings for the Task Force on Segregation.
The findings of the preliminary assessment (Phase
I) confirmed Madam Justice Arbourís findings that the CSC did not fully
appreciate the obligation to rigorously comply with legislative and policy
provisions in its management of administrative segregation. Overall, CSC
staff members and managers demonstrated a casual attitude towards the
rigorous requirements of the law, both in terms of their understanding
of the law and their sense of being bound by it.
The compliance shortcomings that were observed were both systemic and
significant. The Task Force recorded the following:
- Formal documentation indicated that the CSC had segregated inmates
for reasons that did not meet legislative criteria . . .
- Time frames governing the one hour of daily exercise, the three-day
written disclosure notice, and the five- and thirty-day hearings, were
more likely to be seen as "guidelines" than mandatory regulatory provisions
requiring compliance. Inmates were not well informed of their legal
rights and privileges with respect to administrative segregation procedures
and conditions of confinement.
- the CSC was not sufficiently aware of Aboriginal rights under the
law, such as access to Spiritual Leaders and Elders, Native Liaison
Workers, sacred and cultural items, and spiritual ceremonies (e.g.,
- the CSC provided insufficient access to programs and recreational
activities, and its policy regarding access to personal effects was
inconsistently applied across regions.
- the CSC often failed to keep accurate records of all the events concerning
the administrative segregation of inmates, and, as a result, often failed
to demonstrate legal compliance. This problem was compounded by information
collection and management deficiencies relating to OMS [the electronic
In the opinion of the Task Force, the above compliance issues provided
sufficient evidence of a casual attitude towards the demands of the law
by CSC staff members and managers to justify Madam Justice Arbourís assertion
that the CSC has a culture that does not respect the "Rule of Law." That
is not to say that CSC staff members and managers went out of their way
to act in violation of the law; but it is to say that they did not go
sufficiently out of their way to ensure full understanding of and compliance
with it. The Task Force concluded that review mechanisms required to ensure
legal compliance and to support effective decision making were not in
place. ( Task Force on Administrative Segregation:
Commitment to Legal Compliance, Fair Decisions and Effective Results
[Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada, March 1997], pp. 12-13. Online
[last modified: October 22, 1997])
Based on the findings of Phase 1, the Task Force launched several initiatives
to address the areas of non-compliance. All wardens were required to submit
detailed action plans outlining the steps they intended to take to deal
with the deficiencies identified at their institution. Changes were made
to the electronic filing system (OMS) to enable staff to document decisions
taken at key stages in the administrative segregation review process.
The Task Force also issued an administrative segregation process checklist
to staff and management and a handbook to be given to all segregated prisoners.
Finally, in order to answer all questions raised by the institutions,
the Task Force and the CSCís Legal Services department issued a consolidated
document entitled "Administrative Segregation: Answers to Most Frequently
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