location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 4 / Chapter 4 The Task Force on Administrative Segregation 1996-7 / The Preliminary Findings of the Task Force and the Compliance Audit

A comprehensive national legal compliance audit was conducted by the Task Force in early 1997, to ensure that the operation of all segregation units was now in compliance with the basic legal procedural requirements and that deficiencies identified in Phase 1 had been addressed. The audit instrument was circulated to all institutions well in advance of the visits of the audit teams. Pre-audits were performed to assess readiness for the formal compliance audit, and an extension of two months was granted to provide more time for corrective action. As stated later in the Task Force’s report:

It should have been possible, and this was the Task Force’s expectation, that all institutions would have been able to achieve 100 per cent compliance with the basic procedural requirements of the law . . .

. . . The goal of 100 per cent compliance, 100 per cent of the time, as articulated by the current commissioner is the only acceptable goal for an organization which exercises such strong controls over the liberty of individuals. (at 15, 18)

Yet audit results showed that the Service failed to measure up to this expectation. The Task Force provided this assessment:

The results of the audit can be viewed from a number of perspectives. From the perspective of where the CSC was when the Task Force was established in June 1996, there has been significant positive change in the extent of the CSC’s compliance with the law, an achievement in which the Service can take justifiable pride. At the time of the initial assessment, procedural compliance shortcomings were significant and systemic across all regions and in almost every aspect of the administrative segregation process. The compliance audit revealed an overall pattern of compliance. From another perspective, the fact that the compliance audit revealed less than 100 per cent compliance in all institutions is a concern . . .

The fact that non-compliance spanned a number of areas in the administrative segregation review process in several of the institutions is a cause for concern, especially in maximum-security institutions where intrusiveness can be the most severe . . .

On the one hand, the CSC has demonstrated that, given the necessary corporate will, leadership, and resources, it can significantly improve its ability to comply with the basic procedural requirements of the law. On the other hand, considering the scope of the compliance audit, which was directed only to compliance with the basic procedural requirements of the law, and the fact that it was conducted at a time when full attention was being given to the issue of segregation, the CSC's performance falls short of full compliance.

Since the CSC’s focus could easily shift to other areas in the future, the Task Force believes it critical that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that recent progress is sustained. Consequently, the Task Force recommends that a Segregation Advisory Committee be created with membership from inside/outside the CSC to continue to shape an effective and compliant administrative segregation process within a fixed time frame.

This action, coupled with other recommendations related to an enhanced segregation review process and experimentation with independent adjudication, will contribute to public confidence that the CSC is maintaining its corporate commitment to respect the "Rule of Law." (Task Force Report at 17-18)

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