location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 1 / Chapter 2 "Good Corrections": Organizational Renewal and the Mission Statement

The importance of the "mission" to CSC's organizational renewal is articulated in these inspirational and aspirational terms:

The purpose of a mission is to lead. We wanted a declaration that would not simply describe what federal corrections is but rather what it should strive to become in the future. Such a declaration had to define the very reasons for our organization's existence and, most importantly, our ambitions -- our ultimate organizational objectives. Furthermore, we wanted to clearly articulate the most important overall strategies required to achieve our ultimate objectives. At the same time we had to "bite the bullet" on the realities of the social institution that we manage. To us, then, a mission statement was to be a vision for the future, a blueprint for development, change and improvement . . .

The Mission Statement is about people -- their potential and our role in tapping that potential. It moves from the individual to the organizational to the wider collectives of Canadian society, the justice system, and national and international corrections. It recognizes the past, but moves towards the future. It grounds the Service in its wider world. ( Our Story at 46, 50)

The Mission Document was reviewed by CSC's senior managers at a conference in Banff in November 1988, and in February 1989 it was signed by then Solicitor General Pierre Blais. The Mission Document has four components: Mission Statement, Core Values, Guiding Principles, and Strategic Objectives. The first element, the Mission Statement, sets out the ultimate objective of the organization. According to that Mission Statement,

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), as part of the criminal justice system and respecting the rule of law, contributes to the protection of society by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control.

The italicized words "and respecting the rule of law" did not appear in the original 1989 version of the Mission Statement, but were added when the Statement was revised in 1996.

The Core Values are intended to outline the basic and enduring ideals of the CSC and to serve as guides in the fulfillment of the Mission. There are five Core Values:

Core Value 1
We respect the dignity of individuals, the rights of all members of society, and the potential for human growth and development.

Core Value 2
We recognize that the offender has the potential to live as a law-abiding citizen.

Core Value 3
We believe that our strength and our major resource in achieving our objectives is our staff and that human relationships are the cornerstone of our endeavour.

Core Value 4
We believe that the sharing of ideas, knowledge, values and experience, nationally and internationally, is essential to the achievement of our Mission.

Core Value 5
We believe in managing the Service with openness and integrity and we are accountable to the Solicitor General.

The third element of the Mission Document, Guiding Principles, states the key assumptions that direct the CSC in its daily actions. The Strategic Objectives, the fourth element, "translate the values and principles into action-oriented objectives -- which operationalize the philosophy" ( Our Story at 47). For each of the five Core Values there is a separate set of Guiding Principles and Strategic Objectives. For example, in relation to Core Value 1, there are nine Guiding Principles and ten Strategic Objectives. The first three Guiding Principles are:

1. As we respect the rule of law, we will respect the rights of all individuals -- offenders, staff, and all those involved in the correctional process.

2. All of our dealings with individuals will be open, fair and humane.

3. We believe that respecting the right of all concerned individuals to be informed participants in the correctional process contributes to the quality of the progress and to the decisions made.

The first three Strategic Objectives with respect to the same Core Value are:

1.1 To ensure that offenders are informed participants in the correctional process, we will establish and maintain mechanisms for discussion and co-operation.

1.2 To ensure that policies and procedures affecting offenders are communicated in such a way that they can be understood by offenders and are readily accessible to them.

1 .3 When making significant decisions affecting individual offenders, we will ensure that the offender, unless security considerations clearly make it impossible, is provided with all the relevant information in a timely and meaningful manner and is given an opportunity to be heard.

The adoption of the Mission Document in 1989 coincided with the implementation of a new model of correctional management. Although the decision to implement "Unit Management" preceded the development of the document, the model was endorsed as being consistent with Core Value 3, which "emphasizes the importance of human relationships in our endeavours and the need for all our staff to be correctional staff -- active and visible participants in the correctional process" ( Our Story at 91). The historical evolution of the concept of unit management, and in particular the transition from "guards" to "correctional officers," is tracked in Our Story.

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