Ontario Making Progress on Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Report Recommendations
Province Enhancing Staff and Inmate Health and Safety
Today, Ontario released its first status report on the actions taken to date to address recommendations from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) Task Force Action Plan.
The province has already implemented a number of the Task Force's recommendations and is actively working to address recommendations requiring longer term solutions.
Completed tasks include the OCDC health care review, improvements in monitoring facility conditions and a full facility inspection. The province is also looking at the findings of the report to see how they can be applied across all of Ontario's adult correctional institutions.
Ontario is also continuing work on implementing the step-down and mental health units recommended by the Task Force. These units will better support inmates with mental health needs by providing them with improved access to screening and assessment services, treatment and community outreach, clinical and psychotherapeutic support, and programs and supports that will help prepare them for transition back into the community. Details on the implementation plan and an operational timeline for the units will be provided in the next progress report.
In addition to this work, Ontario's pre-trial custody project in Ottawa has resulted in faster bail decisions. Reducing the time it takes for cases to be resolved or go to trial is helping to alleviate remand pressures at OCDC. As well, the Ministry of the Attorney General is moving to incorporate Gladue principles into the bail process, including through the development of a dedicated Indigenous Bail and Remand Pilot Program.
The province continues to make progress on the implementation of all remaining recommendations and will release the next status report by Jan. 31, 2017.
- The 13-member Task Force was comprised of ministry staff, local and provincial union leadership, legal experts and representatives from local community-based organizations.
- The Task Force held six meetings between April 12 and May 26, 2016 and consulted with local, provincial and national policing and corrections partners, and received advice and feedback from the public, community organizations and 130 inmates at OCDC to help inform recommendations.
- The Task Force looked at ways the health and safety of all staff and inmates could be improved at the institution and made a total of 42 recommendations which included ways to improve conditions and address capacity issues at the OCDC.
- Gladue principles seek to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system by requiring that systemic and background circumstances along with all available sanctions other than imprisonment be considered.
“The recommendations put forward by members of the Task Force included important changes that will improve conditions at OCDC for both staff and inmates. I am pleased to report on our progress to date, including the completion of 11 of the recommendations provided. Our government is committed to continuing to work towards the implementation of all 42 recommendations, as well as to transforming Ontario's correctional system in order to deliver the programs and supports necessary to successfully integrate offenders back into the community.”
“Our government is making progress on the OCDC Task Force’s recommendations, and we are determined to improve our bail system. Ontario is actively working on a province-wide bail action plan that will be ready by the end of the year. Both here in Ottawa and across the province, we're moving forward on initiatives that will help balance the need for timely and appropriate bail decisions with protecting public safety.”