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Advisory panel named to monitor new correctional facilities

Friday, September 06, 2019 @ 1:44 PM | By John Chunn


The federal government announced on Sept. 6 an advisory panel to oversee the implementation of “structured intervention units” (SIU) in Canadian correctional facilities. The SIUs will replace solitary confinement, which has been found to breach the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to Public Safety Canada’s press release, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale announced the establishment of an SIU advisory panel to be chaired by Dr. Anthony Doob, professor emeritus of criminology at the University of Toronto. Other members have expertise in fields such as forensic psychiatry, human rights, criminal law, correctional operations and the rehabilitation of Indigenous offenders.
 
Ralph Goodale

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale

The eight-person panel will help monitor and assess the implementation of SIUs established by Bill C-83, which was adopted by Parliament in June. On Nov. 30, 2019, provisions of Bill C-83 will eliminate the use of administrative and disciplinary segregation in all federal correctional institutions and establish SIUs. In SIUs, offenders who need to be separated from the mainstream inmate population for safety reasons will have enhanced access to rehabilitative interventions and mental health care and meaningful interactions with other people. The new system will be subject to independent external oversight.
 
The advisory panel will provide ongoing feedback to the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, and it will alert the minister directly about any problems or concerns related to the implementation of the new system.
 
“We are committed to implementing Bill C-83 in a spirit of transparency and accountability. This advisory panel, with its diversity of perspectives and expertise, will play an essential role in ensuring that the new SIU system achieves our goal of humane and effective corrections in a safe and secure environment,” said Goodale.
 
“We know from recent debates there are few simple solutions to the complex, multidimensional problems of accommodating offenders who need to be separated from the general population,” said Doob. “I am pleased to chair this panel that will have a role in advising how structured intervention units might be implemented in a thoughtful, humane fashion.”