After months of continued pressure from USJE and frontline staff at Joyceville Institution, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) signalled in October that their Evaluation Division is conducting a special study of the operational model at the Joyceville Assessment Unit (JAU) to better understand how the model functions and its results.
This is in response to USJE’s urgent call in April 2022 for a wholesale review of Joyceville’s Intake Unit in order to address serious staffing and resources challenges, particularly when it comes to the crucial rehabilitation work undertaken with federal offenders and ensuring public safety.
Consequently, a small number of USJE’s members will have been or may be provided with an opportunity to participate this fall in select interviews regarding “the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the model and implications for management”.
The study, as proposed by CSC, “will examine the current operating environment at JAU and provide decision-makers with strategic considerations. As part of this evaluation, interviews will be conducted with staff at JAU… including approximately 15 Parole Officers, Correctional Program Officers, and Indigenous Correctional Program Officers.”
Results of the review are expected early in the New Year. USJE plans to consult Joyceville’s frontline staff before responding to any recommendations from CSC’s management team regarding a more tenable and constructive way forward.
For years, USJE has been hearing from frontline staff about unrelenting caseload pressures and expedited timelines at Joyceville. These working conditions have created unique challenges for the rehabilitation of federal offenders, particularly for the Institutional Parole officers, and case management teams that oversee risk management, as well as programs and release planning.
In particular, the high volume of cases funnelled through the Joyceville Assessment Unit, which evaluates offenders’ needs and their risk factors as they enter the facility, coupled with persistently high case management realities, reporting requirements and statutory release dates, has created sometimes untenable working conditions for parole officers, and concerns about public safety.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 compounded the reality when, more frequently than not, a higher number of offenders are being admitted to Joyceville than expected or realistic.
As part of USJE’s ongoing advocacy, National President David Neufeld met on site in Joyceville in April 2022 with USJE local leaders, frontline staff, members of the management team and Commissioner Anne Kelly to hear directly from staff on their concerns and insist on more resources and/or a different model.
Additionally, In June, two Parole officers from Joyceville were among just 16 USJE representatives for USJE’s 2022 Federal Parole Officer Roundtable with Minister of Public Safety, the Hon. Marco Mendicino and Parliamentary Secretary Pam Damoff.