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Another systemic problem identified was that of double-bunking. During 1999-2000, the percentage of federal prisoners double-bunked increased from 21.2 per cent to 23.1 per cent. This increase was even more significant in segregation.

Although the Service advised that "systemic double-bunking in segregation has been eliminated in three regions," I note that the percentage of segregated inmates double-bunked over the course of this year increased from 12.9 per cent to 15.7 per cent. I note as well that the number of inmates admitted to segregation has measurably increased and that a significant number of inmates in segregation have been double-bunked for well in excess of thirty days. ( Annual Report 1999-2000 at 16)

The 1999-2000 annual report also addressed two issues that figure in this book's earlier chapters. One of these is the accuracy of preventive security information. In previous reports, the CI had identified "the absence of any clear national direction concerning the co-ordination, verification, communication and correction of this information or who is responsible and accountable for the accuracy of this information" ( Annual Report 1999-2000, p. 19). In 1996, the CI recommended that preventive security standards and guidelines be developed to bring some clarity to this matter. The CSC undertook to produce these by the fall of 1997. Yet in his millennium report, the CI writes:

On March 8, 2000, representatives from this office met with the Service's Security Division to review draft policy. I am now advised that "it is anticipated that these SOP's will be presented for approval to the Services Executive Committee by the Fall of 2000". It has now been four years since the Service's initial commitment to produce guidelines and standards in this area. ( Annual Report 1999-2000 at 19)

The use of force also features in the millennium report, both as a systemic issue and in the form of a specific investigation carried out by the CI, arising from the use of force against Jason Gallant and Darryl Bates. Addressing the issue first as a matter of policy, the CI writes:

The Service's 1997 Interim Policy on Videotapes, in response to Madam Justice Arbour's recommendation, requires that all videotapes of use of force incidents and supporting documentation be forwarded to this Office and the Service's National Headquarters within fifteen days of the incident. During the course of the year, we review in excess of three hundred incidents involving the use of force.

This Office's review of these incidents has noted a disturbingly high rate of non-compliance with the Service's policy related to the use of force. Our findings have been shared with the Service and, in large part, are not inconsistent with the results of its own review. A recent CSC internal memorandum, in commenting on a specific incident, noted:

The staff in the Security Division who review incidents involving use of force have indicated repeatedly the areas of non-compliance. While there have been some improvements in dealing with incidents of use of force, it seems this incident underscores the fact that there are serious problems with respecting basic rights of inmates.

While it is encouraging that the Service acknowledges that there are serious problems, it is obvious that its current review process is neither ensuring compliance with policy nor reducing the number of incidents resulting in the use of force. The process is not working, in part, because senior line managers do not see themselves as either responsible or accountable for ensuring compliance with law and policy. When the review policy leaves the institution, the identified areas of non-compliance become discussion points between regional and national functional staff, rather than action points resulting in specific direction from senior line authority at the regional and national level. ( Annual Report 1999-2000 at 20-21)

After reviewing the videotape of the enforced rectal inspections of Jason Gallant and Darryl Bates, the CI concluded in May 1999 that "the authorised use of force to facilitate a visual inspection of the rectum in these cases was excessive, contrary to policy and unreasonable." The CI recommended that:

  • an apology be offered to the inmates; and
  • the Service immediately review its policies and procedures related to the use of force and strip-searching and issue clear direction to the field with respect to:
    • the considerations to be given prior to authorising the use of force to facilitate a strip search, inclusive of options;
    • the utility of a visual inspection of the rectum in finding contraband;
    • the requirement for specific written authorisation, with reasons, from the warden; and
    • the provision of these reasons to the inmate prior to using force, and the role of medical staff in both the authorisation process and the use of force itself. ( Annual Report 1999-2000 at 36)

As documented in the CI's 1999-2000 report, the CSC rejected the need for specific risk assessment or authorisation at the time of the use of force, since the searches were "routine" and required no "individualized suspicion of contraband." However, "without admitting that the force used was unreasonable or excessive," the Service did "recognize that the matter should have been handled differently." This meant there should have been "better communication" at the time of the incident, with the prisoners receiving a warning that force would be used if they did not comply with the order to submit to a complete strip search. To bring closure to the issue and clarify the relevant law and policy, the CI suggested in his millennium report that the matter be referred to non-binding dispute resolution, as permitted by the Memorandum of Understanding. Thus far, the CSC has not responded to this suggestion.

At the conclusion of his 1999-2000 annual report, Correctional Investigator Stewart appealed to the public interest that underlies his Office's functions.

It is important for all parties to appreciate that the Correctional Investigator is neither an agent of the Correctional Service of Canada, nor the advocate of every complainant or interest group that lodges a complaint. The Office's mandate is to investigate complaints from an independent and neutral position, to consider thoroughly the Service's action and the reasons behind it, and to either endorse or explain that action to the complainant, or, if there is evidence of unfairness, to make appropriate recommendations concerning corrective action. The interest of the Correctional Investigator lies in ensuring that offender concerns are objectively and fairly addressed in a timely fashion. This interest cannot be met without a consistent level of responsiveness on the part of the Correctional Service to these concerns that is and is seen to be fair, open and accountable. The Service's responses to offender concerns, raised by this Office, continue to be excessively delayed, overly-defensive and absent of commitment to specific corrective action. ( Annual Report 1999-2000 at 59)

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