Structured Intervention Units
Date: October 27,2020
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: CSC
- On November 30, 2019, legislation eliminating the use of administrative segregation in federal correctional institutions came into effect.
- The Correctional Service of Canada established a new correctional model, which relies on Structured Intervention Units to address the needs of certain inmates under its care, when necessary.
- This is a significant transformational, even historic, new approach to address the specific needs of offenders so that they can be successfully rehabilitated and returned safely to the community.
- Since their implementation, Structured Intervention Units have been closely monitored by independent bodies to ensure transparency and accountability.
- The Correctional Service of Canada is carefully reviewing the preliminary findings issued by Dr. Doob and Dr. Sprott and thank them for their work.
- This, along with work by Independent External Decision Makers, will help inform the Service’s evaluation of Structured Intervention Units and guide any improvements needed.
- The Service is committed to ongoing work to monitor the operation of Structured Intervention Units, recognize trends and make adjustments to policy, procedures, and practices to help support the safe and successful reintegration of offenders into society.
- As with any new system, it takes time to get everything right. The Correctional Service of Canada is committed to making improvements by building on lessons learned over the past year.
If pressed on whether legislative obligations are being met
- The Correctional Service of Canada takes their legislative obligations very seriously.
- Before we draw conclusions, more work is needed, including an in-depth evaluation of Structured Intervention Units. It needs to also take into account work being done by Independent External Decisions Makers across the country.
- Data from these decision makers is showing that in a large majority of cases, the Service is meeting its obligations related to Structured Intervention Units.
- Dr. Doob and Dr. Sprott’s report is a valuable source of information. It contains preliminary data on parts of Structured Intervention Unit operations, which will help identify improvements that may be needed as the Service continues to shape Structured Intervention Units.
- The Correctional Service of Canada is committed to ongoing work with the Implementation Advisory Panel to provide additional information, which will enable a more comprehensive analysis of this new correctional model.
Structured Intervention Units (SIUs) allow inmates to be separated from the mainstream inmate population—providing the opportunity to maintain their access to rehabilitative programming, interventions, and mental health care. Inmates in an SIU:
- Receive interventions and programming specific to their situation;
- have an opportunity to be outside of their cell for at least four hours a day, with additional time for a shower;
- have an opportunity to interact with others for at least two hours a day; and
- receive daily visits from healthcare professionals who may recommend for health reasons that the inmate’s conditions of confinement be altered or that they not remain in the unit.
SIUs are used for inmates who cannot be managed safely within a mainstream inmate population. An inmate could be transferred to an SIU if they are a threat to any person or the security of the institution, their safety is in jeopardy or their placement in the mainstream population would interfere with an investigation, and there is no reasonable alternative.
Structured interventions and programming are available to inmates to address their specific risks and needs, with the goal of facilitating their reintegration into a mainstream inmate population as soon as possible. It is expected that SIUs will enhance correctional outcomes, as well as assist in reducing the rate of institutional violent incidents, resulting in a safer environment for staff, offenders and visitors.
For the men’s sites, the opening of the SIUs will be gradual, with the initial phase including 10 institutions. All five women’s institutions will have an SIU.
Implementation Advisory Panel (IAP)
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness established the SIU Implementation Advisory Committee in 2019 as part of the Government’s efforts to provide accountability and transparency of the operationalization of SIUs. The eight-person panel was intended to help monitor and assess the implementation of SIUs established by Bill C-83, which was adopted by Parliament in June 2019. On November 30, 2019, provisions of Bill C-83 came into force, which eliminated the use of administrative and disciplinary segregation in all federal correctional institutions and established SIUs. The new SIU model establishes minimum requirements for time out of cell and meaningful human interaction for inmates. The new model is subject to independent external oversight.
The Advisory Panel is intended to provide non-binding recommendations and advice to the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), and reports to the Minister on its views as to whether the SIUs are being implemented as intended by the legislation.
Preliminary Findings of the IAP
The preliminary findings of the IAP provide valuable insight to support CSC’s ongoing work to monitor the operation of SIUs, recognize trends and make adjustments to policy, procedures, and practices. The findings will complement the continuous feedback received from the IEDM case-specific reviews and determinations.
CSC has put a project team in place to focus on three interlinked themes moving forward: fostering an operational culture of data stewardship, through engagement with frontline staff; optimizing outcomes by reviewing SIU business requirements and aligning technology solutions; and, strengthening corporate resources to support performance and compliance reporting.
Independent External Decision Makers
Independent External Decision Makers (IEDM) provide oversight related to an inmate ’s conditions and duration of confinement in an SIU and review cases. As of August 4, 2020, there have been over 1100 independent decisions and reviews completed by IEDMs.
- Of the IEDM decisions, approximately 75% have determined that the inmate should remain in an SIU.
- Of the IEDM reviews related to conditions of confinement, slightly less than 25% have resulted in recommendations to CSC to take additional steps. Slightly less than 2.5% of the reviews related to conditions of confinement have resulted in an order to remove an inmate from the SIU.
This external oversight contributes to the continued enhancement and shaping of SIUs.
Structured Interventions Units – Technological Services
CSC uses a technological application to enable the collection of SIU data to facilitate reporting on performance to institutional and senior management.
The “Long-Term Evolution (LTE)-SIU project” creates a modern application for the management of offenders in SIUs. This application collects critical information in the daily interactions between staff members and offenders, allowing near real-time status updates on the inmates’ opportunities for interaction with others; net and total time spent in the SIU; time outside of cell; delivery of programs and interventions; leisure time; visits by correctional/intervention staff; health care review; and executive overview, among other things.
Visitor, referral, and decision information is also captured to ensure compliance with associated policies and legislation.
Prepared by: Stephan Dietz, Officer, Parliamentary Relation, 613-355-1125
Approved by: Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Engagement, 613-995-6867
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