Ombudsman welcomes new legislation to reform correctional services, segregation

Ombudsman welcomes new legislation to reform correctional services, segregation

February 21, 2018

21 February, 2018

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today welcomed new legislation that promises to incorporate many of his recommendations to reform correctional services in the province, particularly the placement and monitoring of inmates in solitary confinement -- officially known as segregation.

Paul Dubé urges acceptance of long-awaited improvements


(TORONTO, February 21, 2018) Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today welcomed new legislation that promises to incorporate many of his recommendations to reform correctional services in the province, particularly the placement and monitoring of inmates in solitary confinement -- officially known as segregation.
 
“I am pleased to see Ontario moving to address the unacceptable practices and conditions in the correctional system that my office and others have identified in recent years,” said Mr. Dubé, whose office handles some 4,000 complaints from inmates in correctional facilities every year. “This legislation is responsive and ambitious. It has the potential to create a more humane, accountable and transparent correctional system.”
 
Bill 195, the Correctional Services Transformation Act, 2018, proposes that segregation be strictly limited to no more than 15 days, and defined as any type of custody where an inmate is isolated for more than 22 hours a day. Both were key recommendations in Mr. Dubé’s April 2017 report on his investigation of systemic problems in tracking segregation placements, Out of Oversight, Out of Mind.
 
The bill also proposes independent review panels that would review segregation placements, as Mr. Dubé recommended, and would create an independent Inspector General to review and report on conditions in correctional facilities and treatment of inmates.
 
Other proposals in the bill promise to address several issues that the Ombudsman’s office has flagged repeatedly to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in recent years. Among other things, it proposes to codify the health care services to which inmates are entitled, and require correctional employees to comply with a code of conduct.
 
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry and the government to ensure these reforms are implemented,” said Mr. Dubé. “Transformation on this scale will take time, but placing it on a strong legislative footing is an excellent first step.”
 
 
For more information, contact:
Linda Williamson, Director of Communications
416-586-3429, lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca
 
Read more about the Ombudsman’s work on correctional services: