The Nunavut corrections report: the recommendations
IQALUIT — Here are the 28 recommendations in the Nunavut Corrections Planning Committee’s report, released last week by Nunavut’s Department of Justice.
That Nunavut Corrections adopt the following mission statement. The mission of Nunavut Corrections, in carrying out the sentence of the court, is to provide a correctional system that promotes healing, and provides appropriate security and management through:
helping those persons sentenced to its care to respect themselves, others, and the law;
providing assistance and management in ways that respect the culture and language of Nunavut and all of its residents;
working with offenders, the communities and victims to facilitate safe community and family reintegration;
respecting staff, providing them with training, support, and a safe work environment.
2(a) That an offender risk assessment and management system be used in all cases.
2(b) That the use and effectiveness of the offender risk assessment and management system be assessed through research over the next three years.
2(c) That modifications be made to the system as required to ensure it is relevant to Inuit offenders and to match the programs to be developed and delivered by Nunavut Corrections.
That the Government of Nunavut provide adequate financial resources to develop and deliver relevant core programs that are designed for Inuit offenders and delivered in culturally appropriate ways by trained Inuit, and that Nunavut Corrections make every effort to hire and train Inuit to work in corrections. Hiring policies and practices need to be reviewed with this goal in mind. This should happen over a period of three to five years.
That the on-the-land program be expanded in the following ways:
to include counselling and programming aimed at healing and improving self-worth;
to include elders in the counselling and programming;
to ensure that the participants learn the skills necessary to living on the land.
That people running the on-the-land program and healing camps receive training, as required, as well as continuing support. This will include regular opportunities for these people to meet and discuss issues.
That core programs be developed within Nunavut or, if taken from elsewhere, adapted to ensure they are culturally appropriate in design and delivery. Nonetheless, Corrections should establish closer ties with treatment programs in other jurisdictions, particularly those in the Correctional Service of Canada.
That the core program include one or more components focussed on violent behaviour. This should include a program component on family dynamics and parenting skills.
That the core program include one or more components focussed on sexual offending, and that these components be designed and delivered so that they are culturally relevant. This should include relapse prevention measures that can be developed and supported (on an ongoing basis) in the communities.
That the core program include one or more components focussed on alcohol, drug and substance abuse, and that these components be designed and delivered so that they are culturally relevant.
That offenders are assisted in the development of skills to increase their employability once they leave the facility. Nunavut Corrections should develop partnerships with business, industry, education and the communities to provide useful work skills and improve the prospects for the successful transition of inmates back into the community.
That funds be provided to hire adequate numbers of staff and to train staff in order to treat mentally disordered offenders in the institutions.
That funds be set aside by the Government of Nunavut for placements in southern psychiatric facilities when necessary.
That the Department of Justice work with the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education and the medical community to develop a strategy for dealing with mental illness, the intellectually challenged, and FAS/FAE.
That the Government of Nunavut provide adequate funding to develop and deliver training packages to train and support Inuit staff and others who work in corrections (both in institutions and the community, including those who contract with Nunavut Corrections); and that there be cross-cultural training for non-Inuit corrections staff.
That halfway houses be established in each region with the appropriate staffing, training and support that such facilities require. Healers from the communities should be involved and supported in working in halfway houses as they are established.
That the Government of Nunavut begin negotiations with the federal government to create a joint facility in Nunavut for all Nunavut offenders, whether they have received a territorial sentence or a federal sentence.
That Nunavut and the Federal Government design and build a new institution with spaces for 230 adult males by 2006.
That the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada undertake to design a new facility that is consistent with the philosophy of healing and reintegration.
That the new facility be built in a location to be determined by the availability of essential services (especially police and hospitals), the availability of human resources, the availability of other infrastructure (e.g., housing), and in consultation with Nunavut communities.
That responsibility for community corrections be transferred to the Department of Justice and that 18 to 23 positions be created and funded to provide this service.
That the Government of Nunavut negotiate an arrangement with the federal government so that Nunavut offenders who are released on conditions from federal institutions can be supervised by Nunavut Corrections Community Corrections Officers.
That a facility for women be constructed in Nunavut for 6 to 8 women and that it be modelled after the Fort Smith Centre and the federal healing lodge for women
That Nunavut youth sentenced to custody be housed in Nunavut.
That a house for female young offenders be developed.
That separate open custody facilities for female youth and for male youth be developed in the regions, and that families who are able and willing to look after female and male young offenders be recruited, trained and supported in all regions.
That youth in custody be segregated as much as possible on the basis of age.
That Inuit staff be hired and trained to work in young offender facilities.
That social workers and community corrections officers work together and with community justice committees to facilitate reconciliation and healing with both the victim and the offender, if the victim agrees to such a process, and that the successful victim program at Baker Lake be considered as a recommended model.
Source: Planning for Nunavut Corrections, submitted by the Nunavut Corrections Planning Committee to Nunavut Justice Minister Jack Anawak on Oct. 29, 1999.