Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
The final report of an independent inspection of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) is yielded 40 recommendations on how to improve the degree of programs and services and better serve inmates with mental wellness needs.
In a statement issued on August 15, 2018 the Yukon government says it has undertaken preliminary work to implement the recommendations. An implementation working group is being formed with representation from First Nations governments and justice-system partners to provide the insight required to ensure the recommendations are acted on.
“We are committed to improving the Whitehorse Correctional Centre with a focus on mental health and addiction treatment services,” Says Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee, called for an inspection of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre in September 2017 to identify areas where the government can improve policies and practices that have an impact on inmates’ mental health, including those related to placement, treatment and available programs.
The inspector, David Loukidelis, presented his final report to the Deputy Minister of Justice on May 15, 2018 after examining the facility and conducting interviews with First Nations and community members. The final inspection report provided a slew of recommendations in four areas: mental-health services, segregation and separate confinement practices; First Nations programming and services; governance; and administration.
I am not aware of the OH&S laws for the Yukon territory but in Ontario we have the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and it states that all employers need to do everything reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker. Now, I understand that the inmates are NOT workers, and the Yukon correctional services are not employers BUT the correctional centre must have their people better trained and managed to deal with potential mental-health concerns. It also seems that the First Nation issues were not even considered to be of any consequence and that was recognized as one or more of the 40 recommendations in the independent report. Go figure! With such a large population of indigenous peoples in 2011, which make up 23% of the population, plans should have been put into place to deal with that number.
It would be interesting to see how this all works out.
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