This focus on due process is necessary and appropriate,
underscoring the nature of Administrative Segregation as an extraordinary
interim measure, to be used only when there is no reasonable alternative.
It helps shape and emphasize the prime responsibility of all those involved
in decision-making related to Administrative Segregation: to release inmates
from Administrative Segregation as soon as that can be done practicably
and safely. (Administrative Segregation Handbook (Draft) December, 1997,
p. 24, pp. 14-15, p. 33)
The Handbook is supplemented by what are described as "Tools and Aids."
These include a chronological statement of detailed timelines and procedures
which, step by step, set out the mandated procedures that must be followed
for each prisoner in administrative segregation. This sets out exactly
what has to be done and what information has to be provided to the prisoner,
immediately upon placement, on working day one, working day five, etc.
through the cycle. A second tool named the "Over-all Responsibility Checklist,"
as its name implies, provides detailed lists of responsibilities of the
institutional head, the officer in charge of the segregation unit, the
case management team, the Segregation Review Board, health care practitioners
and regional headquarters.
By the time the Grenier murder charges were stayed in the spring of
1998, the CSC could present a report card showing that, a year after the
completion of the report of the Task Force on Segregation, it had taken
specific, focussed measures to enhance the segregation review process.
It had conducted training workshops in all regions, developed the Draft
Administrative Segregation Handbook, re-engineered an electronic recording
system built around the pivotal legal points of reference, and provided
a set of tools to take staff through the process review by review, literally
day by day. The whole package was further reinforced by a series of regular
All of this was impressive. But to use the question that Dan Kane, Chair
of the Task Force on Segregation, regularly asked in staff briefings,
"What does it look like where the rubber meets the road?" In other words,
were segregation decisions and segregation reviews conducted differently
at Kent a year after the Task Force report? The audit in January 1998
had found that Kent was not providing sufficient information to prisoners
and that segregation review records were not adequately justifying the
rationale for segregation, or demonstrating no reasonable alternatives,
or documenting a reintegration plan (deficiencies I had also observed
in the segregation reviews conducted in the aftermath of "Deadly July").
Following the audit, there was an exchange of correspondence among National
Headquarters, the deputy commissioner for the Pacific Region, and the
warden of Kent, setting out an action plan to address the deficiencies.
That plan included intensive training on the revised OMS segregation module,
the assignment of a full-time CO-II dedicated to ensuring that information
was documented and shared with prisoners, and the assignment of a full-time
case management officer whose only responsibility would be for segregated
prisoners. In addition, it was agreed that the warden or the deputy warden
of Kent would monitor case development for administratively segregated
prisoners on a daily basis and that Regional Headquarters would review
cases weekly to ensure that compliance measures were in effect. The final
element of the plan was that a national audit team would revisit Kent
in March 1998 to conduct a follow-up audit. Using the vernacular of parole,
it would be fair to say that the Kent administration was placed under
intensive supervision in relation to segregation practices.
In May and June 1998, I attended a number of segregation reviews. In
the wake of the January audit, the scheduling of thirty-day reviews was
now done on an individual basis. Instead of holding a once-monthly review
board at which as many as thirty cases might be reviewed, the Board now
met throughout the month, reviewing smaller clusters of cases each time.
The other major change was in the sixty-day reviews. Formerly, these had
involved a larger cast of characters than the thirty-day reviews, including
a representative from Regional Headquarters. The regional aspect of the
sixty-day review was now performed electronically at Regional Headquarters.
The Segregation Review Board was now chaired by Kevin Morgan, who had
taken over as the unit manager for degregation at Kent in December 1997.
Kent was Mr. Morganís first assignment as a unit manager, and he was therefore
on a very steep learning curve. He had participated in the segregation
training workshop in January 1998 and had assumed primary responsibilities
for implementing the action plan established following the January audit.
From 1994 to 1996, the thirty- and sixty-day reviews had usually been
held in the boardroom adjacent to the segregation unit, which doubled
as the hearing room for disciplinary court and National Parole Board hearings.
As their frequency increased, the thirty- and sixty-day reviews were shifted
to the small interview room in J unit. The move lessened the demands on
staff providing escorts. But while it was administratively more convenient
to hold the hearings in J unit, there were considerable costs. The interview
room was approximately 13 feet x 10 feet; it contained only a small desk
and two chairs, one of which (the one used by prisoners) was bolted to
the floor. In 1997, the roomís already meagre dimensions contracted by
a third, when it was divided by a metal partition which better controlled
prisoner movement from the exercise yard. As a result, the weight of institutional
authority in a typical segregation review hearing was pervasive, and the
limited space allowed little opportunity for a formal hearing process.
The Board typically consisted of Mr. Morgan, Mr. Yarwood, the case management
officer responsible for the management of segregated prisoners ("Institutional
Parole Officer" after January 1998) and the segregation clerk. Mr. Morganís
hearing style was unstructured, with some hearings directed by him, others
by Mr. Yarwood.
The Draft Administrative Segregation Handbook, a copy of which was given
to all staff attending the training workshops, sets out guidelines for
Segregation Review Board hearings. These include the following:
The hearing should be recorded on audio tape, to
ensure an accurate record is available . . . A statement explaining the
purpose of the Segregation Review Board should be read out loud to all
participants at the beginning of the hearing. The procedural safeguards
checklist should be reviewed (out loud) to ensure that appropriate requirements
have been fulfilled. The chairperson should describe circumstances giving
rise to the inmateís placement in Administrative Segregation, and indicate
that the SRB would decide whether there are adequate grounds to justify
keeping him or her there, based on those grounds. (Draft Administrative
Segregation Handbook, Annex A, December 1997)
In the segregation review hearings I observed in May 1998, none of these
guidelines was followed.
According to the Draft Administrative Segregation Handbook, the purpose
for regional participation at the sixty-day review is to act "as a court
of sober second sight, ensuring that Administrative Segregation is being
used as a last resort and is based only on one of the valid grounds set
out in the CCRA. " In May 1998 in the Pacific
Region, this "court of sober second sight" took the form of a project
officer reviewing the OMS record on his computer at Regional Headquarters.
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