FINAL REPORT – Correctional Worker Experiences and Ideas

Corrections Report – Executive Summary

In April 2019, representatives of our union as well as several Correctional Officer members attended the announcement of a new correctional facility. We welcomed that long overdue announcement. At that event, a commitment was made by Ministers Parsons and Crocker to ensure that Correctional Officer’s voices were heard in the design, planning, and construction of the new facility.

Here we are, four years later and the planning and design process is underway, but the engagement of Correctional Officers has been limited.

Her Majesty’s Penitentiary desperately needs to be replaced – Correctional Officers, people who are incarcerated, reports, inquiries, panels, and other stakeholders have been saying this for decades. We – all of us collectively – have one opportunity to get it right. Our members’ work environment is an inmate’s living environment and vice versa. No one knows the operations, issues, and opportunities for improvement, better than the workers on the front lines of our corrections systems. Our members are well positioned to provide input into the design and planning of the new facility. As a result, it is integral that their voices are heard, and their input carefully considered and incorporated.

To that end, we engaged Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli and her research team to develop a research-based report outlining Correctional Officer’s experiences and ideas for a new facility.

The report outlines recommendations for how to improve the correctional system for all involved; not only in terms of the bricks and mortar, but in terms of the overall experience as it relates to training, programming, mental health, staffing, etc… While focused on the new correctional facility, the findings and recommendations outlined in this report can be applied to the entire correctional system to improve experiences and outcomes—waiting for a new facility too late, the reality is that change is necessary now.

We commissioned this report to inform the design and planning process. However, this is only one step in that process. Meaningful consultation requires Correctional Officer’s (selected by their peers/union) be included and actively engaged in the process/discussions going forward.