Structure Intervention Units…

May 11, 2021

 Fourth report on Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC) “Structured Intervention Units”  (SIUs)  Jane B. Sprott – Ryerson University; Anthony J. Doob, University of Toronto; Adelina Iftene, Dalhousie University

Do Independent External Decision Makers Ensure that “An Inmate’s Confinement in a Structured Intervention Unit Is to End as Soon as Possible”?

Attached is our fourth report on Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC) “Structured Intervention Units”  (SIUs) based once again on data we received in January 2021 from CSC. It deals with the “Independent External Decision Makers” (IEDM) – people whom CSC seems to rely on for providing independent oversight.  This report should be read in conjunction with the findings from our February 2021 report: In applying the Mandela Rules to CSC’s data, we estimated that 28.4% of the SIU stays qualified as “solitary confinement”,  and an additional 9.9% of stays fall under the definition of “torture or other other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

  • In March 2021, CSC listed the IEDMs as one of two external bodies providing oversight of the SIUs. The second body that they mentioned at that time — the Implementation Advisory Panel –had not existed for about 8 months at the time that they posted this information.
  • The findings in this report question how effective the IEDM process is in helping to reduce the time spent in the SIU.

* We find that some people do not seem to get IEDM reviews in a timely fashion and some, whom the IEDM orders be removed from the SIU, stay in the SIU for quite some time, sometimes longer than those who were ordered to stay in the SIU. Even more concerning is the fact that some people with long SIU stays do not appear to get IEDM reviews at all.

  • * Individual IEDMs vary significantly in the decisions they make. No data exist on why this might be the case.
  • * Black prisoners stay in SIUs longer than other groups of prisoners. This difference is not eliminated by the system of having IEDM reviews.
  • * Notwithstanding the findings in this report, little is known about the manner in which IEDM decisions are made.

We hope that you find the report to be interesting.  As with previous reports, we have tried to write an executive summary that can be read and understood as a “stand alone” document.  The body of the report contains the details of our data which form the basis of our conclusions.

We have given the report to CSC and to Public Safety Canada.  As far as we are concerned, this report is now a public document.  Feel free to share it with anyone you wish and/or to post it.  We would request, however, that if you post it, you should post it in its entirety.

Full Report:  (A 24 page downloadable pdf)

Previous Reports:

Related article: Canadian Press – Review of federal prison isolation units ‘not adequate,’ new study says

Globe and Mail – Paola Loriggio
Ontario Human Rights Commission says crowding in jails close to pre-pandemic levels

In spite of the acknowledged third wave of the Covid-19 virus, provincial jails in Ontario are over-crowded, warns the Ontario Human Rights Committee, such that the populations are back to before the pandemic levels.  Says the commission:  “The evidence is clear that the high risk of COVID-19 spread within crowded institutions and throughout the community vastly outweighs the risk of diversion and release from custody,”  So far, since December 2020, there have been 16 outbreaks of the virus.

Ottawa Citizen – David Pugliese
Canadian military intelligence monitored Black Lives Matter movement, claiming pandemic justified such actions – A co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada says there is no reason for such scrutiny of the organization’s peaceful efforts to raise awareness about racial injustice.

The use of the Canadian Military Intelligence in surveillance of domestic social groups hardly seems appropriate, even more so when the military claims it was part of the response to Covid-19 and especially its claim:  “The report on BLM was included among the information collected as the military worked in long-term care homes in Ontario during the pandemic.”  The report identified Black Lives Matters (BLM) as a ‘hostile foreign actor.’  “Sandy Hudson, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter organization in Canada, said she found the military’s activities very concerning. “I’m not surprised, but I’m deeply disappointed that the Canadian military is spying on people who are simply engaging in the civic process,” she said. “I don’t buy that this has anything to do with COVID.”   Related Twitter Thread: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Calling to the United Nations to investigate the killing of Black people

N.Y. Times – Video by Jonah M. Kessel, Suleika Jaouad and Lindsay Crouse
Quintin Jones Is Not Innocent. But He Doesn’t Deserve to Die.

The link offers a video of just over 4 minutes in which Quinton Jones asks Governor Abbott of Texas for clemency before his scheduled execution on May 19, 2921.  In a most unusual piece of reporting, the authors with the N.Y. Times, present a video of the condemned man’s appeal.

Youtube (Canada) –
Jordan’s Principle Youth PSA – Extended

“Jordan’s Principle is a legal rule named in memory of a very special little boy named Jordan River Anderson. Jordan’s Principle makes sure that when a First Nations child needs services they get them right away. This applies to all services: including heath care, education, and child welfare, and to all First Nations children, on or off reserve.” (A 2 ½ minute video on First Nations Children)   Relater Twitter: Spirit Bear – Bear Witness Day   “It is Bear Witness Day! Here is how you can participate and honour Jordan River Anderson – founder of Jordan’s Principle!”