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Results: 1 - 15 of 83
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, 80% of offenders in our federal prisons have addictions. We know that mental illness is a significant and growing problem in our prisons. The Conservative government has said that there are people in prisons who shouldn't be there because they actually have health issues. Yet this budget doesn't say a word about increasing funding for mental health treatment or addictions treatment.
Given that these are some of the prime causes of crime, and dealing with these issues is an absolutely identified way to reduce recidivism and make our communities safer, can you please explain why?
Irvin Waller
View Irvin Waller Profile
Irvin Waller
2011-03-03 9:10
Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.
I've made available to the committee some materials in both English and French, first of all a book called Less Law, More Order: The Truth About Reducing Crime. This book is totally consistent with what Senator Hutchinson told you, but it adds to it information from studies in England and in the United States on what is in fact effective and cost-effective in reducing crime, and it actually talks about a strategy to move from overreliance on reactive criminal justice to a balance between smart criminal justice and effective prevention.
I've also made available to the committee a document in both official languages, called in English Making Cities Safer: Action Briefs for Municipal Stakeholders. This was funded by some of the money from the National Crime Prevention Centre and has been very widely used. We actually ran out of copies fairly soon after we produced them by cities from coast to coast. Probably the most interesting city to use this is the city of Edmonton, but it also talks about Montreal, Waterloo, and other cities.
I have been on the public record on a number of the issues here today, and I'd just like to remind you a little bit about how I got to where I am now.
I did the first and only independent evaluation of the prison and parole system in Canada in the seventies. I was a director general in the Ministry of Public Safety in the seventies. I won prizes for my work in getting the UN to adopt the declaration on rights for crime victims, colloquially known as the Magna Carta for crime victims, and I was the founding executive director of the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime affiliated with the UN and based in Montreal.
But more recently I've turned to writing two books for legislators and voters and taxpayers, and a lot of what is in these books is consistent with the right on crime website, but it has perhaps two major emphases that were not mentioned by Senator Hutchinson. One, I'm a crime victim advocate; nothing else. I've been head of the World Society of Victimology. I'm personally a victim of crime, and I currently head the International Organization for Victim Assistance. The main contribution that I make in the victim area is that I'm also a professional social scientist who looks at data and looks at standards and looks at what is in the best interests of victims, and I try to share my assessment with them.
This book does that, and I have a book that actually is already released in the United States and ran out in the first three weeks of its publication, called Rights for Victims of Crime.
Now, what I think is missing from what you shared with us today is a focus on.... If you go on the Right on Crime website, you will see they talk about protecting victims, and I think our public policy in Canada, both federally and provincially, should be totally focused on reducing harm to victims of crime. That means reducing the number of people who are victims of crime, and focusing on what can be done about that harm.
Justice Canada released about a week ago an updated study on the cost of crime to victims in Canada, talking about $85 billion as being the cost of pain and suffering to victims. They also, by the way, estimated the cost of criminal justice at $15 billion, and I guess it's because they're in Justice Canada that they're not following what is going on in the policing area in Canada. It's not just prison costs that Justin Piché talked about. It's also policing costs, and policing costs affect our taxes at the municipal level in this country. So I think we have to see this issue of prison construction in the context of rapidly expanding policing expenditures as well as these rapidly expanding correctional expenditures at the provincial level.
In my view, these expenditures are largely out of control, and there is a need for leadership. And the good news is that there is leadership in this country. The Province of Alberta in 2007 set up a task force to look at the best data from all over the world on what actually works to reduce harm to victims. That task force included the chief of police of Edmonton, an associate dean of law, a native, and so on and so forth.
There were 31 recommendations from the task force, and I'm going to divide them into four parts. First, part of them were about building remand cells because nobody has really come to grips with limiting the reaction to crime. They included some additional police officers. Alberta has fewer police officers per capita than Ontario and Quebec do. Second, it included stuff to deal with mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction. Third, it put into practice the sort of stuff that is in this book, and a number of other agencies. By the way, a lot of this research comes from the United States on what actually works to reduce crime. Fourth, and this is the most important thing for this committee, they established a long-term strategy, not reacting by saying we have to build now because there's going to be double-bunking and so on, but a strategy that says yes, we've got to deal with making sure we've got enough reactive capacity, but we've got to get to grips with the sorts of things that lead to this flood of people into our prison system, and we've got to prevent.
I know my time is limited, but I prepared a longer brief and I will be happy to share it with people in due course. What I've decided to do in the very limited time is to focus on a very brief history. I'm not going to go back 30 or 40 years, which I could do, to tell you about the history.
I just want to translate one thing that Senator Hutchinson told you. He said prisons are expensive. What that means is a taxpayer in the United States pays twice what a taxpayer in Canada does for the privilege of having that number of police, that number of lawyers, and an incredible number of people incarcerated. He said 2.3 million, but in my view it's very close to the population of Toronto that's incarcerated. He told you it was 23% of the recorded prison population in the world. You have to think about that.
While you're thinking about that, and it's a rate of 750 per 100,000, the aboriginal rate of incarceration in Canada is higher than that. If you go ahead with expanding penitentiaries, just think who is going to be incarcerated: aboriginal people, disproportionately; women, very disproportionately; men, disproportionately.
I have the privilege of having a PhD student working on how you solve that problem, and the answer is, you prevent. You focus on why there is so much violence, particularly among urban aboriginal people, and we know exactly what to do. By the way, we largely knew in 1993 when the Horner committee looked at these issues. We largely knew when the O'Shaughnessy committee looked at these issues in 1995. Since then, the World Health Organization in 2002 produced a report, with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. This report basically tells you in its foreword, and I'll quote from Mandela, that violence is preventable.
You will not find any recommendation in that report that would give you any basis for expanding our prison population. It didn't talk about abolishing prisons. Clearly, we need prisons for the dangerous offenders. Part of what I did as a federal public servant was introduce the first dangerous offender legislation. I don't want Olson calling me up, and I don't want Bernardo being released, and I could mention several other cases. If you look at what Right On Crime says, basically it says to set priorities. You have a certain prison capacity, so use it for those people who are dangerous--I think that was your term, but I may be misquoting you.
The World Health Organization produced their report, and they also produced a major report on return on investment. For me, that's an Alberta term. I was doing a presentation to an American criminal justice group in Toronto yesterday, with the Alberta government, and what they talked about was social return on investment.
These guys in Alberta are smart. They're not just sitting there allowing this flood wave of policing increases and prison construction. They're saying they're going to protect victims; they're going to use taxpayers' money responsibly, which is a very similar line to the website, Right on Crime. The WHO brought that together.
In 2007 the current federal Conservative government doubled the budget for prevention, from $25 million or $30 million to $60 million. When they're spending $4 billion, it's not worth worrying about. Stockwell Day, who is very familiar with the victimization statistics, implied this was going to solve the crime problem. That sort of money for an experimental program will not solve the crime problem.
They've now cut back on that. They couldn't spend the money. There are people out there who could use that money, but they couldn't spend it.
For me, this is an incredible shame. Not only was it too little—limited to experimental—but they didn't spend the money. There are 14 cities in this country looking for $300,000 a year to multiply what works, and they were told there was no longer any money available. This is while we are talking in the press about $400 million.
I've mentioned the Alberta task force. I'm going to go to some bottom lines, and I—
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I also want to express my condolences to the victims for the suffering they've experienced.
I'm going to take a risk and say something that I think is on everybody's mind here. The prospect of seeing Earl Jones and Mr. Lacroix walk out of jail after serving one-sixth of their time--after two years of a 13-year sentence--is jarring to Canadians. But also at issue here is the wisdom or not of making a policy that applies to 1,000 people a year to target two people. So I'm going to direct my questions to that.
This committee did a mammoth study on the prevalence of mental illness and addictions in the federal prison system. We found that 80% of the people in federal institutions suffer from addictions or alcoholism, and a very high percentage--I don't even think we can settle on a number--suffer from mental illness. I know that getting access to timely and effective treatment for addictions or mental illness is woeful in our federal institutions right now.
Transferring those people who are eligible--first-time, non-violent offenders--into halfway houses in the community, where they have access to far broader community services like addictions treatment, mental health resources, reintegration, connections with their families, and work, is helpful to their reintegration and rehabilitation.
Does anybody disagree with me on that?
I also want to ask about cost. It's my understanding that it costs about $140,000 a year to keep a male prisoner in a federal institution. We heard Ms. Pate say it costs $185,000 for a female--
Kathy Langlois
View Kathy Langlois Profile
Kathy Langlois
2010-12-14 8:56
Thank you, Madam Chair, for the invitation to appear before the committee.
I am pleased to be here, to have the opportunity to present to you, and to respond to any questions the committee may have.
In follow-up to my colleague's presentation, I will describe Health Canada's Indian residential schools resolution health support program and the steps we have taken to support former Indian residential school students and their families, including actions taken to reach out to clients of Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects.
Through the Indian residential schools settlement agreement, the Government of Canada is responsible for providing mental health and emotional supports to former students of the schools and their family members as they participate in the common experience payments, the independent assessment process, Truth and Reconciliation Commission events, and commemoration activities. Health Canada provides these supports through the resolution health support program, which includes a range of culturally safe services for eligible former students and their families to address issues related to Indian residential schools, including the disclosure of abuse, throughout the settlement agreement process.
The resolution health support program is comprised of four elements: cultural support, emotional support, individual and family counselling, and transportation assistance.
Cultural support services are provided by local aboriginal organizations. Through them, elders or traditional healers are available to assist former students and their families. Specific services are determined by the needs of the individual and include dialogue, ceremonies, prayers, or traditional healing.
Emotional support services are also provided by local aboriginal organizations. Through them, an aboriginal community-based worker who has training and experience working with former students of Indian residential schools will listen, talk with, and support former students and their family members throughout the processes of the settlement agreement. These community-based workers are of aboriginal descent and many speak aboriginal languages.
Access to professional counsellors is also available. Professional counsellors are psychologists and other mental health professionals such as social workers who are registered with Health Canada and have experience working with aboriginal people. A professional counsellor will also listen, talk with, and assist former students to find ways of healing from residential school experiences.
In addition to these services, assistance is provided with the cost of transportation to access professional counsellors or traditional healers and elders, if they are not available in the individual's home community. Through this program, Health Canada provides access to over 1,700 service providers, including professional counsellors, community-based aboriginal workers, elders, and traditional healers located in every province and territory throughout Canada.
As a result of a greater number of common experience payment applications and increased rates of independent assessment process hearings, demand for this program has increased significantly in recent years. Program expenditures have steadily increased as we provide service to more people--from $5.1 million in 2006-07 to approximately $37 million in 2009-10.
Budget 2010 announced an additional $65.9 million over two years for the resolution health support program. The new money, plus the existing program budget that was there before, will result in a total budget of $47.6 million in 2010-11 and $46.8 million in 2011-12, allowing us to meet the demand for services under the settlement agreement, including the new demands that have resulted from the start of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission events.
The resolution health support program is one of several mental health and addictions programs funded by the federal government that provide important community-based services to first nations and Inuit families. Health Canada funds over $200 million in mental health and addictions services annually to first nations and Inuit communities through a variety of programs, which include the national native alcohol and drug abuse program and the national youth solvent abuse program, which provide both residential treatment services in 58 facilities, as well as community-based prevention programming in over 550 communities. There are also the Brighter Futures initiative and Building Healthy Communities program, which address mental wellness issues and crisis intervention programming, with funding provided directly to communities to support action on their own mental health priorities in over 600 communities. The national aboriginal youth suicide prevention strategy provides support for approximately 200 communities for youth mental health and suicide prevention strategies. And the non-insured health benefits program supports a short-term mental health crisis counselling benefit for first nations and Inuit across Canada.
Health Canada also recognizes the important work of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation over the last 12 years. Since the closure of 134 Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects, Health Canada has focused on ensuring that all eligible former students and their families who have received services from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation are aware of and may access health support services provided by Health Canada.
Health Canada is proactively responding to the needs of these former students and their families by increasing awareness of the resolution health support program and by ensuring access to this program. For example, prior to the end of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects on March 31, 2010, Health Canada's regional directors wrote to and made direct contact with the managers of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects to make them aware of the process to refer their clients to the services offered by the resolution health support program.
This effort to raise awareness is in addition to other activities that have been ongoing. Since 2007, over 420,000 brochures describing the program have been sent directly to former students, band offices, community health centres, friendship centres, nursing stations, treatment centres, and many other meeting places across the country.
Health Canada is also working to increase access to communities that were previously served by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects. We're doing this by identifying communities with high numbers of eligible former students but low rates of resolution health support program demand, and then following up by negotiating new service agreements to provide health supports consistent with the program criteria. In some cases, we've been able to work with an organization that delivered former Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects in order to build upon the staff and community expertise the organization has developed.
In Nunavut, for example, Health Canada officials met with organizations formerly funded by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre and the Kivalliq outreach program in Rankin Inlet, where we discussed the continued need for health support services. As a result, $1 million in new funding was provided to deliver the program services in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut.
In Ontario, five new service provider arrangements have been entered into and two existing agreements have been amended to meet the increased demand for health support services. This resulted in the addition of 30 new community-based health support workers delivering mental health and emotional support services.
Those are some of the examples of how Health Canada is responding to the closure of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects. In total, Health Canada's regional offices have created, or amended upward, 55 contribution agreements with local aboriginal organizations across the country to ensure continued access to the program services.
These steps demonstrate that the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring former students are aware of and have access to mental health and emotional support services. The government remains dedicated to supporting former students and their families as they participate in settlement agreement processes.
Thank you for the opportunity to present today.
Thank you for giving me your attention.
Kathy Langlois
View Kathy Langlois Profile
Kathy Langlois
2010-12-14 9:46
Thank you very much for the question.
As I mentioned, we spend $200 million per year on our other mental health and addiction programs. These programs will continue to be available in the future.
Don Head
View Don Head Profile
Don Head
2010-10-19 9:02
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for allowing me to appear at a later date than you originally requested. My schedule was quite full, but I'm glad to be here today.
Good morning, and thank you, Mr. Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to discuss how the freeze on departmental budget envelopes and government operations will affect the daily operations of the Correctional Service of Canada.
I'd also like to address the impact on CSC operations that can be expected from the legislation connected with the government's criminal justice initiatives, in particular the Truth in Sentencing Act and the Tackling Violent Crime Act.
The freeze on the Correctional Service of Canada's departmental budget envelope and operations applies to operating budgets only, as you know. Operating budgets will be frozen at the current levels, and the freeze will also apply to 2011-12 fiscal year and 2012-13 fiscal year reference levels.
There is no freeze on wages. CSC employees will receive the salary increase for this year resulting from collective agreements and set at 1.5% by the Expenditure Restraint Act. As with other departments, the Correctional Service of Canada will absorb this increase as well as any increases to salaries and wages in 2011-12 and 2012-13 that result from future collective agreements.
Work is well under way at CSC to improve efficiencies within our operations to pay for these increases. For instance, we have introduced new staff deployment standards at our penitentiaries for our correctional officers. We are also now using computerized rostering systems to ensure that we are efficiently staffing our facilities on a 24/7 basis. This is improving our effectiveness by ensuring that our people know when and where they will be working their shift rotations well in advance. It will also help to reduce our overtime expenditures by more efficiently replacing correctional officers who are absent on training or leave.
We've also improved our integrated human resources and business planning methods to more accurately forecast our staffing and recruitment needs going forward. Because our penitentiaries must be properly staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we make every effort to maintain our staff complement at appropriate levels. This is an important part of minimizing the overtime that would otherwise be incurred to fill vacant posts in our facilities.
Personnel costs represent our largest expenditure. For fiscal year 2010-11, Correctional Service of Canada's main estimates are approximately $2.5 billion, and personnel expenditures, including salaries and benefits, represent approximately 61% of the budget, or $1.5 billion. The rest is dedicated to operating costs, which represent approximately 25%, $625 million, and capital investments at approximately 14%, $329 million.
It's important to note that 90% of CSC's budget is non-discretionary and quasi-statutory. CSC has fixed costs that it must fund on a continuous basis. These include the provision of food to offenders, the utility costs related to the maintenance of our accommodations, clothing for offenders, and uniforms for our staff. The remaining 10% provides us with some opportunity and flexibility to seek out ways for us to meet the freeze on operating costs. I am confident that we will continue to find improvements in our program delivery that will help us to absorb these costs.
The government's criminal justice initiatives will present some opportunities for CSC as well as some challenges. The primary impact of the legislation will be a significant and sustained increase to the federal offender population over time. This will be particularly evident in the short to mid term.
As the members will know, the Truth in Sentencing Act replaces the two for one credit for time in custody before sentencing to a maximum of one day of credit for each day served in provincial detention. Only under exceptional circumstances may a judge provide a 1.5-day credit. Consequently, many offenders who would have previously received a provincial sentence will now serve a federal sentence of two years or more, and those who would have received a federal sentence will now receive a longer federal sentence.
Normally we would have expected an incarcerated population of about 14,856 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. This figure is a result of our projections for regular growth, which is set at about 1% for male offenders and about 2.8% for women offenders. However, we are expecting an additional 383 offenders by the end of the 2014 fiscal year as a result of Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act. And with the implementation of Bill C-25, the Truth in Sentencing Act, our analysis is forecasting an increase of 3,445 more offenders, including 182 women, by 2013.
Mr. Chair, this is a considerable increase over such a short period of time. The additional 3,828 offenders resulting from Bill C-2 and Bill C-25, together with our normal projections, represents a total growth of 4,478 inmates in the 2014 fiscal year and an anticipated total penitentiary population of 18,684 offenders by March 31, 2014. This growth, Mr. Chair, well exceeds our existing capacity today.
We are moving quickly to identify the measures required to address these population increases, and we are taking a multi-faceted approach. Several measures are now being developed, including temporary accommodation measures such as double-bunking. We are also now in the process of tendering for the construction of new accommodation units, program space, and support services within existing Correctional Service Canada institutions.
Regarding the expanded use of shared accommodation, I should note that it will be aligned with greater offender accountability. We expect offenders to be out of their cells engaging in programs and making positive efforts to become law-abiding citizens who can contribute to safe communities for all Canadians when they are released. These temporary measures will be implemented in a way that will minimize any adverse impact on front-line service delivery at our institutions. I assure you that with the proper support, any steps we take around budget implications and capacity issues will not jeopardize public safety or the safety of staff or inmates.
With respect to the new units, we can expedite the design and construction process by using proven and refined designs. Furthermore, we are strategically planning expansions at institutions located where we expect the greatest increases. Beyond expanding our facilities, CSC will be improving our program delivery capacity to meet the needs of an increasingly complex and diverse offender population. This includes programming for offenders who require treatment for mental health disorders and addictions, or those who are trying to break from their affiliations with gangs, particularly among our aboriginal offender population.
I should note that we are expecting the largest increase in our prairie region, where we will need 726 more accommodation spaces. As this region is where a majority of our aboriginal offenders are housed, we are currently reviewing our aboriginal corrections strategy to improve our delivery of education and employment training. This will assist in the safe reintegration of our aboriginal offenders back to their home communities.
Of course, there is a cost to all of this. Our current estimates are approximately $2 billion over five years in order to provide sufficient resources to address the additional double-bunking that will occur and to get the new units up and running. This also includes funds to ensure that we continue to provide offenders under our supervision with access to programs.
The assessment of this legislation's impact on CSC will be a long and complex process. As we continually monitor this impact, we will continuously fine-tune our approach to accommodate population increases and adjust our service delivery. We will also seek to connect this short- and medium-term impact with future requirements associated with the aging and inadequate infrastructure at some of our older institutions.
A long-term accommodation plan that will provide a forecast to the year 2018 is expected to be presented for consideration by this spring. As we move forward, we will be consulting with our partners and the communities in which we are located across Canada to ensure that we proceed in a transparent and collaborative fashion.
Of course, with the short- and long-term accommodation measures I've mentioned above comes a necessary increase in our staff complement. As indicated in the most recent report on plans and priorities, CSC is planning to staff an additional 4,119 positions across Canada over the next three years. This increase will enhance our capacity to carry out our mandate, help in our work with offenders, and improve our public safety results. I am very sensitive to the possible effects of an offender population increase on the work and safety of my staff in our penitentiaries and parole offices, whether they are existing staff or new hires. But I'm also very aware of, and extremely confident in, the commitment and ability of my employees to deliver high-quality correctional services that produce good public safety results for Canadians. I am speaking about our correctional and parole officers, our vocational and program staff, our health care professionals, and our support staff and management teams across the country. These are dedicated people, and the additional staff who will be added over the coming years will significantly help those who are on the ground today working with offenders.
We have been modernizing the way we select and train our correctional officers and other staff, and we work together with our union partners to make sure we are hiring the best-suited people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and the safety of their communities.
While it's clear that the criminal justice legislation and the spending freeze will pose some challenges, I am confident that the Correctional Service of Canada will successfully adapt and continue to provide good public safety results for all Canadians.
Mr. Chair, in closing, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to speak to the committee, and I welcome any questions you may have today.
Kate Jackson
View Kate Jackson Profile
Kate Jackson
2010-04-01 15:35
Ms. Thompson and I are pleased to appear here before you to discuss issues related to the opiate substitution program for the offender population within the Correctional Service of Canada. The commissioner, Mr. Don Head, and the assistant commissioner of health services, Ms. Leslie MacLean, appeared before you in June 2009 and provided with you with information about the mental health strategies and initiatives within CSC. Today we will brief you on the CSC's opiate substitution program.
Injection drug use, primarily the practice of sharing injection equipment, is a major risk in the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. Substance abuse is also a factor contributing to the commission of many crimes. Providing an opiate substitution treatment program to federal offenders helps to reduce the demand for drugs, thus improving our ability to contribute to public safety.
Research has shown that active participation in opiate substitution therapy is associated with positive release outcomes for offenders. Johnson et al. (2001) found that offenders who had participated in a methadone maintenance treatment program while incarcerated were 28% less likely to be returned to custody after release to the community than offenders who had not.
l'II provide you with the background on the program. Originally called the national methadone maintenance treatment program, it was implemented in two phases. In 1997, phase one allowed opiate-addicted offenders who were in a community methadone program prior to being sentenced to be considered for continuation of methadone treatment. Phase two, announced in May 2002, increased CSC's capacity to initiate treatment of opiate-addicted offenders requesting methadone if such treatment was deemed medically appropriate.
In December 2008 the methadone program was renamed the national opiate substitution treatment program because of the addition of an alternative opiate substitute medication called Suboxone.
When used in conjunction with cognitive programming, intensive monitoring, and support, opiate substitution has been found to be extremely helpful for opiate-dependent persons. These medications can help free the opiate-dependent person from the continuous cycle of withdrawal and opiate use. Stabilization on opiate substitutes allows offenders to concentrate in school and participate in programming and work, thus increasing their ability to actively engage in their correctional plan.
Prior to initiation of treatment, a detailed health and mental health assessment is conducted with each offender to determine whether the offender meets the necessary criteria, such as whether the offender has received from a physician a diagnosis of dependency to opiates. Congruent with community practice, the assessment process includes a review of the rules of the program outlined in a treatment agreement between the offender and care providers, outlining what each commits to, including the requirement for ongoing monitoring.
In 2009-10 the cost of CSC's opiate substitution program was over $12 million. As of January 2010, there were 701 offenders on opiate substitution therapy across the country, of whom 55 were women offenders. Due to offender flow-through, over 1,000 offenders are managed on the program by CSC every year. CSC's opiate substitution program is managed in a multi-disciplinary team approach, with involvement from case management, programs, and health services, and in accordance with national guidelines.
In 2009, of the 512 offenders who were admitted to the CSC opiate substitution program from the community, most were received from provincial correctional facilities. The majority of these facilities provide treatment to offenders who are already on methadone in the community. For those offenders entering CSC already on methadone, CSC maintains their treatment while they undergo assessment to ensure they meet the program criteria.
To ensure safety and security, offenders are observed for 20 minutes after taking their methadone, which reduces the risk that offenders will divert the medications. A nurse provides each dose directly to the offender and watches the offender swallow the medication. The offenders are observed for 20 minutes to ensure that most of the medication is absorbed.
All offenders in treatment are expected to participate in regular substance abuse programs, which are specifically geared to opiate dependence and delivered by trained program delivery officers. An offender's progress is monitored and reviewed on a regular basis through meetings with their individualized intervention team.
The opiate substitution program is subject to regular medical and institutional reviews to provide early identification of areas of concern, tailor educational training sessions for staff, and modify procedural policies.
Extensive preparation is done for any offender being released to the community on opiate substitution to ensure the transition is smooth and continuity of care is maintained. This process starts at the onset of initiation into the program. The availability of a community provider is reviewed and confirmed six months prior to release.
Thank you.
View Luc Desnoyers Profile
BQ (QC)
As far as you know, has introducing methadone treatment helped to reduce the spread of infectious diseases in correctional facilities?
Kate Jackson
View Kate Jackson Profile
Kate Jackson
2010-04-01 15:53
Certainly the evidence in research conducted in various jurisdictions has shown that people on methadone are less likely to.... The whole purpose of having people placed on methadone is to reduce their need for drugs, which results in risk behaviours related to infectious diseases. So yes, we do believe that.
View Luc Desnoyers Profile
BQ (QC)
Is it difficult to stop taking methadone once you start that program?
Kate Jackson
View Kate Jackson Profile
Kate Jackson
2010-04-01 15:54
Generally speaking, methadone is prescribed for people with a diagnosis of opiate dependence. This goes above and beyond just abusing opiates: you are dependent on opiates. It's a long-term treatment. Generally speaking, it's not something that you go on and then go off. It's a substitute for an opiate. The effect does not provide the euphoric high that you would get using an opiate. It stops the craving and it also stops the withdrawal. It allows a person to stabilize so that they no longer go through the cycle of craving a drug and withdrawing from the drug.
There are instances, though, where people either voluntarily or involuntarily stop the program. In those instances, working very closely with the physicians, the drug is tapered very, very slowly to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, but people still experience withdrawal.
View Luc Desnoyers Profile
BQ (QC)
In the correctional investigator's last report, methadone treatment was one of the inmates' main reasons for complaints. Why are they complaining about this treatment?
Kate Jackson
View Kate Jackson Profile
Kate Jackson
2010-04-01 15:56
I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the specific complaints they were commenting on. I'd have to know some more specific complaints.
The complaints we hear from offenders, generally speaking, have to do with wait times. Sometimes they may not be happy if they aren't admitted to the program, or things like that. Without knowing the specifics, it's hard to comment.
View Luc Desnoyers Profile
BQ (QC)
Do we see the same types of problems with men and women, whether in terms of drugs being brought into prisons or the access to various treatments for drug use? Are there any statistics about that?
Kate Jackson
View Kate Jackson Profile
Kate Jackson
2010-04-01 15:57
As a sample of how many women on methadone, on average we have about 700 offenders on methadone; in January there were 719 or so, and 55 are women.
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