More than 600 federal Parole Officers have written to the Commissioner of Correctional Service Canada Anne Kelly asking her to investigate their unsustainable workloads. Frontline staff have for too long been faced with increasing surges in case management activities without any corresponding increase in human resources.
The online petition took place over a two-week period in January and was followed up with a formal letter to Commissioner Kelly from USJE President David Neufeld on our members’ behalf.
“USJE is adamant that Parole Officers need more time and capacity to undertake their roles and responsibilities in the reintegration and rehabilitation of offenders to the best of their abilities,” Neufeld wrote.
Several factors have contributed to the unmanageability of caseloads, stemming back to the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) which was instituted in 2012. This streamlining process cut staff, programs, and services to unsustainable levels in many areas of the public service.
Other factors include:
- pandemic protocols which have added significant stress to the system;
- an increasingly complex offender population (intensive substance abuse, gang violence, mental illness, etc.) resulting in more resources being needed, not less; and
- a culture of fear within CSC due to prevalent harassment and lack of response from management.
“CSC’s correctional landscape has become increasingly complex given many new policy directions, Commissioner’s Directives, rulings from the Parole Board of Canada and the poor health status of many offenders who are deeply affected by trauma, or serious mental health concerns,” Neufeld said. “In addition, many worksites have been chronically under-resourced for years owing to a large number of vacant and unfilled positions”.
“These situations create the conditions for burnout and a lack of sustained attention to certain complex offender files”.
USJE is insisting on a reduction in the ratios used to resource Parole Officer positions at all security levels so that our members can do their jobs without risking their mental health and/or public safety.