Ontario Appoints Independent Advisor on Corrections
Advisor to Review Use of Segregation in Province’s Corrections System
Ontario has appointed an independent advisor on corrections reform to provide advice to the government on the use of segregation and ways to improve the province's adult corrections system.
Howard Sapers, who has most recently served as the Correctional Investigator of Canada and Ombudsman for offenders sentenced in federal correctional institutions, will review the use of all forms of segregation in Ontario's corrections facilities, and will identify opportunities for longer-term corrections transformation.
Mr. Sapers will advise the government on ways to:
- Reduce the number of people held in segregation and the length of time individuals spend in segregation
- Build a system in which appropriate alternatives to segregation are made available for people with acute mental health issues and other vulnerable inmates
- Ensure that segregation is used only in rare circumstances
- Improve the conditions for those who, for their own safety or the safety of others, must be segregated from the general population
- Enhance oversight of inmates and correctional institutions, which may include the creation of a permanent external oversight body
- Improve training and recruitment processes for staff to align with a modernized approach to segregation
- Update legislation, regulations, policies and procedures to support these objectives.
His appointment begins on January 1, 2017 and Mr. Sapers will provide an interim report on the use of segregation in Ontario's adult correctional facilities within 60 days. The interim report will give recommendations on ways to address current issues and challenges related to segregation. This could include additional improvements to build on the government's recent changes, as well as shorter-term opportunities to reduce the use of segregation.
The final report, expected in spring 2017, will help inform the government's approach to long-term reform in the corrections system. This work may include exploring options for enhancing programming and formalizing internal and external oversight functions.
- Before his appointment as independent advisor, Howard Sapers served as Canada’s Correctional Investigator since Feb. 24, 2004. In that role, he provided independent oversight of the Correctional Service of Canada and served as an Ombudsman for federally-sentenced offenders.
- There are 26 adult correctional facilities in Ontario.
“Mr. Sapers brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will help us as we work to overhaul the use of segregation in the province of Ontario. I know that this review will give us guidance and insight to take our work on segregation even further, and help us as we continue our transformation of Ontario’s correctional services.”
“I am pleased to be taking on this important role and to be working with Ontario to address issues related to the use of segregation. I share the government’s goal to reduce the use of segregation and to improve the care and custody of those who must be housed separately from others in Ontario’s correctional facilities. This is a timely and pressing issue and I look forward to starting this essential work and to contributing to broader improvements in Ontario’s correctional services.”
Mr. Howard Sapers