CBC’s The Current recently reported that after 11 years of service as Canada’s Correctional Investigator, Howard Sapers has been told that he will not be reappointed for the role. The CBC made note that this decision comes in advance of a Federal election later this year. Prior Correctional Investigators have held the position for up to 25 years.
The role of the Correctional Investigator is to hold the Correctional Service of Canada accountable in accordance with its legal and policy frameworks. Sapers estimates that during his tenure, his staff have responded to about 200,000 calls for complaints, grievances and services with many of these calls being resolved.
Sapers has been a vocal critic of the Correctional Service of Canada, outlining many issues within Canada’s prison system, including:
- Increasing rate of individuals with mental health and addictions issues entering the prison system, being diagnosed for the first time in prison or developing a mental health issue while in prison. Prolonged self-injury and self-harm are also on the rise.
- Increasing and disproportionate representation of Aboriginal Canadians in prison – although Aboriginal Canadians make up 3% of the population, they make up 25% of the prison population with women making up 35% of the female prison population.
- Increasing use of administrative segregation or solitary confinement, which is up 15% from last fiscal year. Sapers has voiced concerns that administrative segregation is being used inappropriate and contrary to what is laid out in legislation.
To view the past work of Howard Sapers and his team, visit the Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada website.