Thursday 27 January 1994

Annual report, Provincial Auditor, 1993:

Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services


*Chair / Président: Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

*Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L)

*Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND)

Frankford, Robert (Scarborough East/-Est ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

*Murphy, Tim (St George-St David L)

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Akande, Zanana L. (St Andrew-St Patrick ND) for Mr Bisson

Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND) for Mr Frankford

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Marland

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Owens

Villeneuve, Noble (S-D-G & East Grenville/S-D-G & Grenville-Est PC) for Mr Tilson

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services:

Humphries, Dr Paul, senior medical consultant and manager, clinical services

Jensen, Kurt, manager, analysis and support, correctional services

McKerrell, Neil, assistant deputy minister, correctional services

Noble, Michele, deputy solicitor general and deputy minister

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel: Anderson, Anne, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1403 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr Joseph Cordiano): We will resume this afternoon with the deputy minister, the assistant deputy minister and some staff. We will continue with questions for one hour. We will allot 15 minutes to each caucus, and then I will allow each caucus five minutes at the end for final questions or final thoughts.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): In the last couple of days you've told us about Trilcor laundry service at Maplehurst. Can you tell us how that's working? I've been informed it's not working as well as one would expect. Certain inmates are not receiving a regular clothing change and they're forced to wash their underwear in their cells. Do you know anything about that?

Mr Neil McKerrell: I can try. I hadn't heard that. The Trilcor laundry operation was set up a number of months ago. It went into operation in 1993 after a great deal of extensive planning and so on. The idea is that the individual laundries in a number of the institutions in the Golden Horseshoe have been replaced by this central laundry for cost-efficiency and environmental improvements. The institutions have all kept a small, more domestic type of washer and dryer for emergency things, but it's certainly not intended to deal with the whole inmate population.

If there are stories about inmates not getting clean clothing, I'd be pleased to have that information and follow up on it. The inmates are supposed to have a change of underwear and socks twice a week, so I'd be pleased to hear any information about problems where that's apparently not happening.

Mr Callahan: I obviously won't give you the name of the person, but it was a complaint from the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre. I know this question comes without warning. Perhaps you could at some time later report to us about how successfully Trilcor is working, whether there are any complaints and whether there is any effect in terms of the suggestion that's just been made.

Mr McKerrell: Kurt, you were involved with Trilcor until two or three months ago. Do you want to advise the committee to that point in time?

Mr Kurt Jensen: The central laundry, as Mr McKerrell pointed out, is made to replace all the old antiquated laundries in the greater Golden Horseshoe area. It's a brand-new system for us. Instead of doing that in 13 centres, we're moving it all into one centre. As with any new program, there are some teething problems in setting it up.

Periodically, until all the routines are sorted out, there may be some mixup in clothing and stuff. Also, institutional routines are changing to accommodate this new type of laundry: Before, each institution had laundry officers who did nothing but look after laundry, but now that that function has been transferred to the central laundry, the institutions themselves are working out their routines for how they're going to deal with collecting laundry and getting it to Maplehurst and then getting it back and distributing it to inmates. It may very well be that for the next few months it will experience some teething problems.

Mr Callahan: Perhaps you could also check at the detention centre and report to us about whether it's in-house laundry facility is in operation. I understand it's not. I'll leave that with you.

As we learned at the Toronto Jail on our trip this morning, the librarian was laid off as a result of the cuts. Has that happened in other institutions as well?

Mr McKerrell: Yes. Last year we changed the library services which were in place across the province. The majority of jails did not have any librarians at all. A few of the jails and detention centres did have them -- the Toronto Jail was one that did have a part-time librarian -- all of the correctional centres had librarians, and some of the youth centres had librarians. In other words, there was no consistency across the system.

Last year when we began our program review, during our constraint exercise, we looked at the programs we were currently operating, the funding we had available, and we started backwards: What do we absolutely have to have as a critical core program? Security, obviously, food service, health care, and you come down the list of the various functions, activities and programs that go on in the institution. Then we came to the more social programs.

When we looked at how the library services operated across the province with no consistency, we decided to try to bring a degree of consistency and have a library service that was more evenly distributed yet within the reduced amount of money available. We removed the part-time librarians from the few places where we had them, and where we had full-time librarians we reduced them to part-time. We had all places across the system treated in like circumstances, so all the correctional centres now have the same level of library service and all the jails and detention centres are in the same position.


Mr Callahan: When we visited the Toronto Jail this morning, I was struck by a comment that was made to the effect that although the library continues to exist, because of the nature of having to bring a book to a prisoner or having a prisoner select a book, a library without a librarian makes it very difficult for the institution to effectively use the library. I'll just leave that with you. I hope that's not something that will remain after the financial difficulties are overcome.

Do you have any idea of what the overall saving to date in Correctional Services is as a result of the implementation of the social contract, or is that something you'd have to get for us?

Mr McKerrell: We would have to get that for you.

Mr Callahan: I'm sorry. I think Ms Poole asked for that earlier in the week.

Ms Michele Noble: I apologize. I don't recall there having been a request for the saving to be achieved in the social contract.

Mr Callahan: Perhaps you could provide that to our research officer when you get it.

Ms Noble: Just for clarification, you're talking specifically about the impact of the social contract itself?

Mr Callahan: Yes, the savings that have been effected through the social contract.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): Roughly 5%.

Mr Callahan: I'd like something more specific.

Mr McKerrell: You want it just for Correctional Services, right?

Mr Callahan: As you're a dual ministry, even though you're not here in that capacity, maybe we'll have it for both if we could.

Ms Noble: The reason I was asking for a clarification of the request is that the social contract provides an amount to be achieved through compensation as part of the contract itself, but it also provided for the establishment of committees within each ministry to look at productivity savings that might be used to offset the impact on the staff salaries. I was looking for a clarification about whether it was that latter figure you were looking for -- in other words, the productivity savings coming forward as part of our process -- or whether it was the other figure.

Mr Callahan: Maybe we could have both. That way I don't have to answer the question.

The second part is that correctional officers, much like police officers, firemen and so on, are an essential service. Under the social contract, they cannot be reimbursed for -- I don't like to use the Premier's name in vain, but they're called Rae days; he gets credit for it every time. I gather that the correctional facilities are dealing with this in such a way that officers take a day off and they're replaced by someone else. Is that correct? Or are we going to be faced with a situation similar to firemen and policemen in 1996, where 36 days will have to be provided or filled in for to fulfil the days they're entitled to?

Ms Noble: We are in the process of trying to schedule the days for the staff so that we don't require backup. Our services fall within the definition of essential services; certainly not all staff or positions at the ministry would meet those requirements, but the critical coverage components would. In the meantime, our managers are taking the steps necessary to schedule that in such a way that we're actually achieving savings, not simply having someone off and backfilled with somebody else.

Mr Callahan: Can I assume that you're maintaining a full staff complement at these facilities at all times?

Ms Noble: We're maintaining staff levels to the levels that are essential in the operation of the facilities.

Mr Callahan: I assume that would be below the staff complements that existed prior to the social contract.

Mr McKerrell: No.

Ms Noble: No.

Mr Callahan: No? That's fine.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): You have fewer inmates.

Mr Callahan: No, actually they have more, if you saw the auditor's report.

Mr Jackson: Then I'm confused.

Ms Noble: What we have to understand is that there are different levels of staffing, depending on --

Mr Callahan: The institution.

Ms Noble: Yes, but also the time of day in the institution and the process and procedures within the institution. As a consequence, we do have agreement with the union in terms of minimum staffing requirements, and we do not go below those. Those are the standards we're adhering to as we manage this process.

Mr Callahan: As you know, during the hearings I've concentrated significantly on the question of the 15% of people in correctional facilities who are mentally disabled. We found out today at the Toronto Jail, I think the superintendent told us, that four out of 10, or 40%, were schizophrenic. In fact, one of the guards said they knew them all by first name because they continually come back to see them.

In light of that, I've passed out an article that was in the Globe and Mail this morning. It's something I've been advocating for a considerable period of time, to convince the Minister of Health to include the latest drug, which appears to be quite effective for schizophrenics, namely, risperidone. In that vein, I have placed a motion before committee members. I'm content that it either be dealt with today or, perhaps better, serve as notice of motion to be dealt with at one of our meetings when the Legislature returns. I'd like to read it into the record.

I move that whereas the auditor's report on corrections states that 15% of the total inmate population of Ontario of some 8,000 suffer from mental disorders; and

Whereas at the Toronto Jail, at least 40% of such persons are affected and in the general population of Ontario 50% or more of those with mental disorders suffer from schizophrenia; and

Whereas many of these inmates with schizophrenia continue to return to corrections; and

Whereas a new drug for the treatment of schizophrenia, namely, risperidone, has proven to be a very effective but costly drug, about $2,200 per year for average treatment; and

Whereas many of the inmates in question return to the streets on release and rely on social benefits;

Be it therefore resolved that the public accounts committee of the Ontario Legislature recommend to the Minister of Correctional Services that the drug risperidone be used, where appropriate, in the treatment of schizophrenic inmates and encourage the Minister of Health to include such drug in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary available for use by persons who can prove financial need.

I don't think that motion needs explanation. I recognize that under our present mental health legislation people cannot be required to take the drug. There may be amendments to the act at some future date, but for the present one would hope that if they were encouraged to use it while they were incarcerated, perhaps if the drug was available to them through the formulary when they got out on the street, we might be able to maintain their degree of comfort and not have them back in our jails.

I think that fits well with the auditor's report that we're all concerned about the best spending of our correctional dollars during tough times, but we're also concerned -- I certainly speak for myself and I hope every member of this committee, and also for the good doctor who addressed us and others -- that it's not really appropriate to use the correctional system for people with mental disorders, and if we can at least reduce their numbers through the opportunity to use this drug, we're well ahead of the game.

My ultimate goal and my ultimate wish, if I had three of them, is that there be a separate facility for these people. Unlike the people who perhaps have deliberately broken the law, these people are, unfortunately, afflicted with a disorder that places them in conflict with the law. I can tell you the judiciary would be most happy to have these people out of the system perhaps by a diversion process or something.

I leave that motion, Mr Chair. Perhaps members can consider it. I'm sure there can be suggestions to improve it, but that's the nature of it.


Mr Jackson: Perhaps we could revisit the expenditure control plan and how it has impacted the corrections ministry. I know you're going to get back to the committee with respect to the saving with the social contract, but you're well into the expenditure control plan so you would already be aware of the areas you've had to cut.

Ms Noble: We've taken a number of steps in terms of the expenditure control plan reductions. In terms of some particulars, we mentioned to the committee earlier that we have reduced the number of regional offices within the Correctional Services division from five to four. We have reduced the number of area offices for probation and parole from 50 to 40. I should point out that that was a change in the administrative cost with respect to those offices; we continue to operate the full range of locations for services to the clients, so that's the impact of that second one. We mentioned a little earlier that we have made changes in the area of library services. We have made reductions in the manner in which trades instruction takes place, consolidating it in a number of locations across the province.

Mr Jackson: I didn't catch that.

Ms Noble: We have consolidated the trades instruction that was in a number of facilities; that has now been consolidated into four locations. We have also reduced the use of unclassified staff in the recreational programs as a means of achieving cost savings. Those are some of the significant highlights. In addition, there have been general cutbacks in terms of just general spending, every penny being watched. Those are key elements as they've impacted on the Correctional Services area.

Mr Jackson: This morning we had occasion to visit the Don jail, and the individual managing the food services was very quick and very proud to announce to us that he had achieved a $25,000 saving by switching from whole milk to powdered milk. That's just one institution. Are we not doing menu audits with respect to these kinds of savings? I know there's institutional preparation of food across several ministries, but it's perhaps highest in your ministry in terms of direct payout. What kind of linkages do you have, first, to find additional savings like this one, and second, is there something internally going on to make sure this is occurring in all the institutions?

Ms Noble: First, in terms of the comment made this morning, the suggestion that was made there and was decided to implement is part of the program we have in place within the ministry. I referred a few minutes ago to the issue of productivity savings, and that suggestion is one of a very large number of suggestions that have come forward from staff and are being reviewed and are under consideration as part of that discussion.

It's also worth noting that per diem costs for food and beverages within our institutions have systematically been declining. I have information in front of me indicating that the average cost per diem for food and beverages in 1989-90 was $4.32, and at the moment we're projecting that to be $3.75 based on the first six months' operation this year. Certainly it's an area the ministry does spend time on in terms of making sure those cost savings can be achieved.

Mr McKerrell: We have on staff a dietitian who designs the menus which are used in all of our institutions, and of course they're designed for nutritional content as well as the most reasonable prices. She provides the direction on the cuts of meat and the types of -- well, everything related to the preparation of the food. Through her expertise, we have been trying to find foods that are still very nutritious and meet all the requirements of keeping the inmate population healthy and yet reduce the operating costs. That's been going on for the last two years, and over that time she has made a number of changes to the basic menus which have resulted in our costs coming down. I set a target a couple of years ago of shaving $600,000 to $1 million off our food services because, as someone mentioned, it's a very expensive and very significant portion of our operating costs.

Mr Jackson: Is it a safe assumption that all inmates in Ontario are covered under the ODB, Ontario drug benefit plan?

Mr McKerrell: Any drugs an inmate requires while in the institution are provided by the institution. We get most of them through the central pharmacy, and if it's something that's not covered by the central pharmacy and the physician prescribes it, then we buy it at a local drugstore.

Mr Jackson: When a person on social assistance is on the Ontario drug benefit plan, they get their drugs free. Then they run afoul of the law and move into an institution. While in that institution, instead of the Ontario drug benefit plan paying for it, it's now being charged against your ministry. Is that correct?

Mr McKerrell: Yes.

Mr Jackson: Can you share with us what your ministry would spend on drugs annually? If you've got hard numbers for even two years ago, that would be helpful.

Dr Paul Humphries: As it relates to our drug plan, we buy all of our drugs through the central pharmacy, Ministry of Health, except for those that are required on an emergency basis or are not readily available in that manner. Second, we have a drug formulary within our book which we ask our physicians as best as possible to follow, but we do not limit or influence their practice of medicine because we really can't do that.

A couple of years ago, we did have an overview of what the relative cost per inmate was -- that was a study done by Cathy Sears -- and we could make that information available to you. We would not have at our fingertips right now a relative cost, but remember, we would not be influencing our physicians and say, "You must use the cheap drug." They come into our institutions from the community, and we want them to carry out the same quality of practice within our institution as is present in the community, so we do not direct them what they can and cannot order.

Mr Jackson: I understand that, but I see jurisdictional problems here, quite a few of them, now that this information has come to light. In the cases Mr Callahan was raising, the high incidence of those who are heavily and expensively medicated for mental conditions, is there any effort to link the legal drugs in their possession prior to incarceration -- I mean, do those drugs just stay on the shelf in their home while they're incarcerated? Some of these drugs are $300 or $400 per prescription, which is extremely expensive. Now I find that if it's a citizen's right to access it under the ODB, they're actually in a position to access the drug benefit system twice. If they're not stricken from ODB eligibility simply because they've been incarcerated, I see a whole series of problems here.


Dr Humphries: Our policy on that is when an inmate comes in on medication, the medication is initially used if it's in the middle of the night, but it's removed from him and placed with his personal belongings. Then we take over the provision of the medication, because we can't run the risk of their bringing in contraband. The answer is yes, the drugs come in, they're put in their personal possessions and returned to them at the time of discharge.

Mr Jackson: I certainly would be interested in understanding the policy decision which causes these costs to be handled differently.

Dr Humphries: I'm sorry?

Mr Jackson: You're acquiring drugs as hospital dispensaries do, through that same source. I'm not getting into the question of what happens to a patient who's receiving drugs from a pharmacy and then is hospitalized and receives drugs. We're talking about people who are in one of your facilities for up to two years. I see some cost overlaps here, and I'd be very anxious to see what your drug costs are year-to-year for the last few years.

Ms Noble: I have some numbers here. For 1992-93 the figure I have is $1.4 million. The year prior to that it was $1.2 million. The year prior to that $1.123 million. Those are rounded off.

But you were raising the question about why we would choose to do it this way. There are two comments I would offer and then leave it to either of my colleagues to comment further. One is that we have the issue of security in terms of whatever drugs inmates may have with them as they come into the institution. The real issue is that the drugs coming in have to be controlled, therefore the need for the institution to control the drugs.

Mr Jackson: I understand the control. I don't mean to interrupt you. I'm talking about people --

Ms Noble: The next point I'm about to make, however, if I understand your question correctly, is why wouldn't the institution then continue to achieve and acquire the drugs on the drug benefit plan? The administrative costs of trying to administer the prescription costs of each individual inmate who might require resources from the drug benefit plan for something that would be ordered in the institution would be inordinate in comparison to what we're trying to do, particularly when you're dealing with a remand situation. For cost-effectiveness of administration, given the drugs the inmate has coming into the institution, it makes more sense for us to manage that billing internally.

Mr Jackson: Fair ball. Today's experience was just one remand facility, and as a committee, we're talking here about 20-odd institutions. We're doing it with nursing homes as well. We'll perhaps leave it and discuss it another day, but the drug formulary aspects I'm familiar with, and savings can be achieved configuring it differently in an institutional setting. But I have a couple of other areas, and I only have a few minutes left.

Ms Noble: Just one final comment for your consideration, that the highest volume of our people are in in-and-out situations, and each time they come in and out of an institution. I think that is different from some of the other institutional programs.

Mr Jackson: I was trying to be clearer by suggesting to you that the inordinate mix of persons with mental illnesses causes high medication. I'm not talking about the person who requires an aspirin who's going to be in for three days.

On this basis, I wish to raise my next question. The new Justice minister has indicated that his response to his expenditure control plan, as the new government, will be to cause more of the cohort of violent offenders to be dealt with by, to quote his words exactly, "the Ontario health care system." He has on two occasions made that public statement. This causes me considerable concern because it will manifest itself in increased loading of your institutions and also, as Mr Callahan has raised about how we manage these individuals, from what we saw this morning in just the one institution they have differential staffing requirements: Some have differential facility arrangements because of the potential for violence and ability to inflict self-harm.

To what extent is your ministry aware of and participating in discussions with the federal Justice ministry or federal minister of corrections, whose ambit this falls under as well, to determine the impact of releasing so many individuals out into the community, some of whom will be eligible almost directly, based on the revolving-door statistics we're seeing? Are you tracking any of this information about these violent offenders who are coming out?

Ms Noble: Has the ministry been involved in any discussions with the federal corrections people about, if I understand you correctly, an intention to be releasing more violent offenders --

Mr Jackson: Three policy decisions flow from this. One has to do with the downsizing of the institutions, another has to do with straight cutbacks, and the other has to do with the whole cohort of violent offenders who -- Canada changed its policy 25 years ago to eliminate capital punishment. There's a large group now eligible for parole and release in Canada, an incredible number who are now coming out because they all served their 25 years to life or whatever it is. A disproportionate number will settle in Ontario. We've seen the statistics of people who are discharged from federal penal institutions. This is going to have a huge impact on our corrections facilities because there'll be a second-wave catchment for people who reoffend or whatever. I'm just wondering if you're tracking any of this from a policy perspective, because it's obviously going to have an impact.

Ms Noble: In terms of whether we are doing any detailed tracking of it, we're not in the sense that I believe you're raising this afternoon. However, I need to know and will obviously be following up on the comments you've made here.

One would need to be careful, however, about assuming that simply because a body of offenders had completed their sentences and were returning to the community having completed those sentences, they were highly likely to return to our institutions. That is something one would want to carefully examine, because I think it would very much depend on --

Mr Jackson: Car thieves are not getting 25 years. These are violent offenders with mental health problems. Perhaps I'm not making myself clear today. These are people with mental health problems.

The Vice-Chair (Ms Dianne Poole): Mr Jackson, I'm sorry; it has gone a few minutes over. I turn to the government caucus.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I'd like to start by thanking the ministry for providing the tour of the Toronto Jail this morning. I thought that was very informative, gave us a hands-on feel of some of the things put forward in the auditor's report. I had a chance to chat with one or two of the people personally. They were upbeat, very professional, and I think the whole correctional system is in fine hands.

I want to talk about the standing committee on public accounts. Surely to goodness we're here, in my opinion, to discuss the auditor's report and to discuss what the auditor said in relation to the Ministry of Correctional Services. I personally have struggled through, and I don't see how we got to discuss the great big issue of AIDS and how we got to talk about leprosy. I was lost. I was here to discuss items as contained in the auditor's report, and there were a number of issues. I think all those issues have been looked over and over and now we're into a position where we're getting away from the intent of this standing committee to look into what the auditor said, and that we now seem to be on a fishing expedition with long fishing poles.

I just want to go through what I've learned about the concerns in the auditor's report. One of the concerns the auditor mentioned in his report was the per diem cost to keep people in jail compared with other jurisdictions. It came out in the discussions here that we're comparing our facilities with modern facilities, and that we have eight ancient jails that put the figures out of whack. It came through very clearly to me, as a member of this committee, that if you compare our modern facilities we're ahead of the rest of Canada, but if you throw in the oldtime jails that were brought in in the 1800s, that tended to fix the figures which the auditor had brought to our attention in the report.


Also in the report, he spoke about the high level of sick days. We heard it described very well that this isn't a recent problem. There's been a problem for all three governments. I didn't hear anything that would suggest it has anything to do with the social contract. It has nothing to do with the AIDS scare, stress or anything like that. It is a very stressful job. We recognize that. I compared it to the stress associated with the Ontario Provincial Police. We didn't have a figure to verify that, but I suspect that their figures are very much the same. Nevertheless, I heard you say that zero tolerance on sick days is your goal, and I commend you for that.

We don't live in a perfect world, nor do we have a perfect corrections ministry, but I was encouraged by what I heard from the auditor and by what you said to address those concerns, that you are taking steps to do that. We heard some rhetoric that we need to return to the old boot camp days, where people worked their butts off from dawn to dusk, but we didn't hear anything about the wonderful value we get from our correctional system.

We heard that not only do they operate large farms with herds of cattle, pigs, and a self-sufficiency that I don't think anybody could really grasp unless they'd heard it in this committee, you also have an industrial component like a corporation that plows back into the government $6 million a year. And this is done with a transient staff and with a staff that perhaps is not the best to use in different jobs. I commend you for that $6-million turnover given those conditions.

The auditor asked about community programs. We heard that people work in the community and, given an adjustment with the average minimum wage, contribute $5 million back into the community. We heard that 83% of all the people who go through the system are out there in the community working and contributing to society and their wellbeing.

I don't subscribe to what I've heard in some of the comments here that all is not well with corrections. In fact, the whole presentation you made in response to the auditor's questions gave me the opportunity to really understand what you are doing, and I'm sure it gave the viewers who are watching this the opportunity to understand what you're doing.

Mr Callahan: Do we get equal time?

Mr Mills: I'm just telling it the way it is. You people don't want to hear the truth. You want to put all kinds of spooky things into it.

Mr Callahan: I can hear the sets clicking off around the province.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Callahan, Mr Mills is entitled to use his time however he chooses.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Madam Chair. Whether the sets are clicking off or not, it's the truth, and that's what I'm here for. We are here to address the concerns of the auditor and I think we've done it admirably as a committee. Now we're into a search and seek mode which I don't agree with.

I'm really impressed with corrections. I'm really impressed with the staff. I think they have a pride, a sense of commitment to this province. You threw red herrings about the social contract. I don't believe that at all. These people have a commitment to corrections. They're very proud and they're very pleased to be in the ministry.

Mr Callahan, you threw out some sort of motion. I want to ask the good doctor about that. Dr Humphries, it was my understanding that you said on Tuesday that there's going to be an interministerial inquiry with Health, the Attorney General, Comsoc and Correctional Service Canada to address the essence of Mr Callahan's motion. I believe you gave the honourable member that commitment. I'd just like you to clarify your response to this motion that's before us.

Dr Humphries: I certainly did make a commitment to Mr Callahan to raise that issue next Thursday, and I certainly will. What I wanted to provide some clarification on, and it won't change any intent of anything that's been said -- it's more for the sake of Hansard and the members around the table -- the other day when I asked Mr Callahan, "Was it such-and-such a drug?" you will note we now have two drugs on the table. Mr Callahan and I have clarified that.

There are two brand-new drugs which are considered really marvellous in this area. One is clozapine and the second one is risperidone, as mentioned by Mr Callahan. They're both remarkable drugs. The clozapine requires almost weekly blood tests, so for that reason risperidone seems to be taking the lead in this field. Mr Callahan and I have talked about it, and since Tuesday I've talked with our central pharmacy, Ministry of Health, as Mr Callahan knows. I just want to say that my commitment will be to bring to the committee the drug risperidone. I wanted to clarify that.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Doctor, for those words to reaffirm what I believe I heard on Tuesday.

As I said earlier, I believe the ministry staff who have attended here have been straightforward, honest, open, and promised to make all kinds of documentation available as need be for this committee, and I support that in connection with what our mandate is here, which was to look at the auditor's report. I'm not in agreement with some further discussion by this committee about AIDS and related issues and reports, because I don't believe that's within the mandate of this committee. I don't think we should be doing it. I think it's a health matter and it should be taken up with some other ministry.

Having said that, I want to thank everyone for being here, on behalf of my caucus, who are very appreciative of the openness and the straightforwardness with which this is being presented. In conclusion, I have nothing more to ask of this committee in so far as the auditor's report is concerned. It's been covered, hammered, nailed down and done. With that, I'll let Ms Akande conclude.

Ms Zanana L. Akande (St Andrew-St Patrick): Within the auditor's report and recommendations is the discussion of recidivism, and I would like to turn to that. The correctional institute we visited this morning is of course a relatively short-stay institution, though there are exceptions to that, yet it was clear in the conversation with those who were kind enough to guide us about that there are inmates who do return, and return frequently, and that some of the people who work there know them by their first name and have a knowledge of their background.

The auditor makes the recommendation that perhaps this whole area of recidivism should be looked at again in terms of whether it can be used as a way of evaluating or assessing effectiveness. If not that, what? Especially in view of the fact that there is such repetition in terms of the same people coming in. Would you consider it more appropriate to use recidivism in another kind of institution, or do you think it might be the kind of evaluative tool that might be used for YOA as well as adult correctional institutes? I don't have enough information about what else we could use to be totally comfortable about saying this is a good or bad recommendation.

Ms Noble: I think the point raised in the auditor's report was questioning, in the environment of the Ontario correctional system, given the length of stay, whether recidivism as an indicator of the achievement of the objective of the system was a reasonable indicator, and then it went on to comment about the ministry's capacity to be actually monitoring that, particularly at an individual institution level.


As we look at the Ontario system, the objective, particularly for short-stay, I believe has to contain elements of providing supportive environment opportunities for personal change within the population we're dealing with. We do have some offenders with us for a considerable length of time, particularly those participating in some of the treatment programs, for instance, we have at the Ontario Correctional Institute. When we look at the impact of some of those programs, the issue of what the impact has been in terms of those offenders returning for the particular types of offences they're being treated for is valid.

In terms of the discussion, I think we need to be looking at supplementing. I don't think we should lose sight of looking at this indicator. As you've suggested, it's perhaps a case of focusing a little more on it in some institutions as opposed to others, depending on their nature. But I think we need to supplement; I don't think we should be focusing only on recidivism.

In terms of looking at the success of our own programs, as has been mentioned here before the committee, we do try to make sure that people who start programs get linked to them in the community etc. As we start to look at how we operate and might choose other indicators, I use that as a suggestion. I don't have a composite list here, but it's something the ministry has agreed we need to spend some time talking about. It's a case of coming at it with a number of indicators that would be looking at what we actually are doing.

If we only have people for a short stay, and the opportunity we can really provide is to link them into a community program, what we should be monitoring perhaps is the percentage of times inmates actually choose to take up and follow up on those linkages, given that they have free choice about whether they do or don't continue those programs once they leave us. It may be more along those lines, and perhaps supplement.

But it's an area where the ministry in its response, and certainly in the work we're doing, is cognizant of the need to give it more thought and more in-depth thought.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We're going to move to the five-minute summations or roundup. Mr Murphy, you're first.

Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): I'm just going to take a minute and then pass it over to Mr Callahan. I thought it would be interesting to pass on the comments of Francis Lee, who joined us on the tour. He's a young man who's MPP-for-a-day in my community. I thought it would be interesting because of what he told me about his impressions.

His first impression was that he thought the staff there was competent and professional. His sense was that the management of the place, from his perspective, was well done. I asked him, however, if he thought going into that institution would act as a deterrent, and this really picks up on the comment of Ms Akande. His answer was no, he didn't think going in there would stop you from going in there again. Interestingly enough, he thought the staff there actually did quite a good job catering to the needs of the inmates: the anti-smoking policy or smoking policy and a few other issues like that.

I think he reflects the opinion of many people watching on television or the public at large, that tougher sentencing is what we need. The other issue he thought worth focusing on was the parole issue. He reflects, I think, a general view that the parole issue is one where people get out too soon and too easily.

We were talking earlier, Deputy, you and I, about the need to communicate what the system does. Some of the comments we've had here today talk about the need to communicate what you do, because it was interesting, once Francis Lee was in the jail and saw what happened, the impressions he had versus the impressions that are outside. Finally, the whole question Ms Akande raised and I guess all of us have, is really the question of whether the system works to prevent people from coming back to it again.

I just wanted to pass on those comments. I thank you for the efforts you've made in the past few days and obviously the staff at the Don jail for their hospitality. I'm glad it was the kind that let us back out.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): I found Mr Murphy's comments and the comments of his MPP-for-a-day very interesting. They may be reflective of what a lot of people out there think, but after visiting the Don jail this morning, I can certainly say it would discourage me from ever wanting to do any criminal act and ending up in that place.

The correctional officers were very professional and that the place was well maintained, but the cells are extremely small. In fact, we had a visit to the old part of the Don jail where there was barely enough room for a person to lie down, with no plumbing facilities. I understand from conversations earlier this week that in fact many of our facilities are extremely old and very cramped, with very little in the way of the programming we might like.

I understand that the Don jail, now the Toronto Jail, which we visited this morning, was basically for short-term placements, but it was quite amazing to see that they have no recreation facilities to speak of. They have no gymnasium, no place for inmates to work out their frustrations. I don't think it's called "pampering" inmates when they have so few facilities. There's no longer a librarian there, so reading materials are very difficult for inmates to obtain. We have to find a balance between wanting to have a deterrent against them coming back into the correctional system and also treating them in a humane way.

I thank you for the tour today. From my personal vantage point, it was quite an eye-opener. I didn't see any evidence that the prisoners in our system are being pampered.

Mr Noble Villeneuve (S-D-G & East Grenville): I thank the deputy minister, assistant deputy minister and the staff. It was an eye-opener for me. The only jail I've had the opportunity of visiting and going in with the people who are incarcerated is the Cornwall Jail, and it's a little different from the Cornwall Jail.

When you are responding on the social contract, could you also arrive at a cumulative figure through 1996? I think it's important to know what the impact of that will be, along with what are perceived to be cost savings on an annual basis.

In spite of what my colleague from Durham East said, that all is well, I think the auditor did his job well in indicating the difference between the average cost per incarcerated person across Canada, around $100 per day, and here in Ontario, where it's $140. That has to be addressed. I certainly hope that we, in the report that will be coming forth, will be able to shed some light.

We've had some people, most of them anonymous, who've sent us ideas about why some problems had occurred and some suggestions on how to solve them. It's not easy. We saw this morning in the Don jail here in downtown Toronto the many people who come and go on a daily basis, how closely they're guarded; you couldn't open one door without having the other door close. If anyone anticipated escaping from that place, they would have to really know the inner workings of it. I don't think it's happened in recent times. The security was very impressive to me, in spite of the fact that the section of the jail we visited was built in the mid-fifties.


Those are basically my comments. I commend the auditor, and I hope that the deliberations here are able to assist you in making the public of Ontario realize that yes, maybe operating the penal system in the province of Ontario is more expensive -- there's no doubt about it -- because of the large concentration of population here in Toronto. We're starting to see some of the reasons why, but we also have to bear in mind that it's public funds being spent and it's considerably higher than the average -- although quite close to Newfoundland, and I'm not sure why that is. But the volume of incarcerated persons here in Ontario that doesn't necessarily mean you're able to reduce the cost on a per-prisoner basis because of some of the needs we saw today, needs I had never realized were out there.

I'm pleased we've had the opportunity to look at this. I'm certainly pleased that the auditor brought it to everyone's attention, and we'll work towards fixing what can be fixed.

The Chair: Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: Rather than go back on my word, Mr Chair -- I said I'd said enough and I think we've heard enough -- I'm not going to ask any more questions.

The Chair: Then I have something I would like to deal with in terms of giving some focus to our own report. I'd like to go back to the auditor's report and raise a couple of items with you on which we may get some further clarification from you regarding some of the responses given in the auditor's report. I won't refer specifically; I'll try to shape this in a general sense, because we don't have the time to do that.

To quote your response to one section of the report, "We anticipate that the results of this review will provide a framework for determining future directions with respect to institutional and community programs." It had to do with programs, community programs specifically, in that section. The question is, when will you determine that this can be accomplished? As with all of the other responses, it has to do with timing, at what point this can be achieved.

Also, under "Protection and Security" the auditor goes on to say, "However, we noted that a number of recommendations resulting from operational compliance reviews, which were agreed to by individual institutions four to five years earlier, were still not implemented." Obviously that concerns us, and we would like to get a much more detailed plan about when some of the actions will be taken that you say will be undertaken once reviews have been conducted, and in some instances there are reviews that have been undertaken and are about to conclude. We want from you a more detailed work plan as to when some of these items will be tackled and what you foresee in the future as the action plan for implementation.

One final area had to do with the section "Inmates with Mental Disorders." Again there were a number of recommendations made in that section: "To develop a comprehensive strategy to provide mental health services that include court assessments, divergent community support and services to the increasing number of inmates with psychiatric problems who are in custody in our institutions." Again the question is, when can you deal with this? What timetable for dealing with this can you come back to us with? We want a more specific and more detailed plan as to when some of these areas will be tackled.

To go to one last section of the auditor's report, under "Protection and Security," the response to that section is: "The ministry agrees with the need for continuing vigilance in the area of security. Security has been and will continue to be of ongoing concern to senior management. As noted in the report, the ministry implemented annual security reviews for all institutions in 1992. These reviews will monitor compliance with security procedures and ensure they are strengthened where necessary." When and where will you make that determination, and what's the time factor involved in doing so?

That's a summary of what I think we will deal with in our report. We would appreciate -- I think I speak for all the members -- a report back to us about when we can expect that you would undertake some of these initiatives, at least having in place a work plan to deal with some of these problems; a list of those items you can deal with immediately and others that you'll deal with in the future.

Ms Noble: Certainly we can summarize what I hope we've managed to be discussing with the committee. I recognize that it's not always clear, as we've been moving through the questioning, how some of the responses may have related specifically to the responses we had given in the report.

Picking up on the security one, you've raised two elements, one having to do with the fact that the auditor had observed that certain recommendations may not have been followed up and that some period of time had passed. It's worth noting to the committee that in many of those instances, they may have been recommendations that involve fairly substantial investments in capital improvements, and in fact the ministry, while not actually implementing the recommendation made at the time, would have addressed the problem but through other means. I would not want the committee left with the idea that we leave significant recommendations of security unattended to.

However, in terms of the overall comment, we'd be pleased to come back with the specifics. To do a little cross-referencing at the moment, you raised the question about the work we were doing in terms of the mentally disordered offenders. As we've heard in some of the discussions with Dr Humphries about his interministerial work with the Ministry of Health on these kinds of subjects, we've talked about working groups that are in place with them, so we can do a summary for the committee of some of the things we have been talking about during these last couple of days and certainly put the time frames you're requesting into that.

The Chair: I think that's what the committee would most appreciate, because our report will deal with some of the specifics around the auditor's report and point to recommendations for dealing with those. Obviously we'd want to know what your own initiatives might be in that direction and therefore give you an opportunity at some future date to tell us what you're doing in those areas that you feel you're in agreement with the auditor on.

Ms Noble: This is just to make sure; I have no objection to what's being requested. I hope we've managed in the course of these two days to talk about the things we are doing, so what we will be doing for you is identifying many of the initiatives we've been talking about and summarizing those, cross-referenced to the recommendations and our comments in response to the auditor.

The Chair: Let me thank you for your cooperation, especially for today's tour of the Toronto Jail. I think most members would agree with me that it was rather enlightening and rather interesting. We appreciate your coming before the committee, and we look forward to hearing from you at some point in the near future.

We will be discussing our report, which will be coming before the committee at some point once the House is in session. Included in that will be a number of recommendations, and I'm sure at some point we will want to deal with some of the directions you're taking, and you'll hear back from us at that time. I'd like to take this opportunity to once again thank you.

Members of the committee, we will call the meeting to an end and adjourn at this time. We meet again on the February 7, a week Monday. Thank you very much.

The committee adjourned at 1510.