Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the complaint procedures of Corrections Inmate Employment

Prisoners / Corrections
Ombudsman:
Dame Beverley Wakem
Issue date:
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Language:
English

Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) is a branch of the Department of Corrections’ (the Department) Rehabilitation and Re-integration Services group. It operates various industries at the prisons, which afford prisoners employment while they are in prison.

Following the receipt of complaints from prisoners employed by CIE, concern was expressed about how CIE was handling prisoners’ complaints. I was uncertain whether this concern was justified.

I decided it was appropriate on my own motion to undertake an investigation into the efficiency and effectiveness of the complaint procedures by which prisoners employed by CIE may complain to the Department about CIE and its staff.

From my investigation, the principal opinions that I have formed are:

Complaint procedures in Prison Services Operations Manual

 CIE staff’s roles and responsibilities in the complaints system are unclear in that:

  •  The Prison Services Operations Manual states that the “CIE site manager” is the person to whom Prison Services’ prison staff will refer prisoners’ formal complaints about CIE. However, there is no designation of “CIE site manager” in the CIE personnel structure.
  • There is no stated CIE designate to whom informal complaints about CIE can be referred by Prison Services’ prison staff.
  • There is no clear statement that the Prison Services Operations Manual applies to CIE staff.

Raising awareness of the Complaints System

  •  CIE provides little information to prisoners that it employs on how it deals with complaints.
  •  Not all CIE instructors have an accurate knowledge of complaints system procedures. 

Procedures for dismissal from CIE employment programme

 CIE provides CIE employed prisoners with incomplete information on the procedures that will be followed when a prisoner is dismissed from employment, and how to make a complaint in that respect.

As a result of forming these opinions, I recommend that the Department:

Complaint procedures in Prison Services Operations Manual

  •  States in the Prison Services Operations Manual the correct CIE designate to whom formal complaints about CIE should be referred. 
  • Includes in the Prison Services Operations Manual a procedure for informal complaints about CIE. 

  • States clearly in the Prison Services Operations Manual or in a CIE specific manual or instruction that CIE staff are responsible for ensuring that prisoners’ complaints about CIE are addressed.

Raising awareness of the complaints system

  •  Includes information on how CIE will deal with a prisoner’s complaint in all CIE worksite handbooks. 
  • Displays posters outlining how CIE will deal with a prisoner’s complaint on all CIE worksite notice boards. 

  • Provides all CIE instructors with training on the complaints process.

Procedures for dismissal from CIE employment programme

  •  Provides in all CIE worksite handbooks, in addition to the information on the types of misconducts and sanctions, information on:
    • the process that will occur when the merits of an alleged misconduct is yet to be determined,
    • the designate who will determine whether a prisoner is dismissed from CIE employment,
    • how the decision will be communicated to the prisoner and what information will be provided to the prisoner regarding the decision.
    • the complaints process.
  • Utilises in all CIE worksite handbooks the information on the types of misconducts and sanctions set out in the CIE worksite handbook in Annex 3.
  •  Clarifies or deletes from the handbook in Annex 3 the statement on the serious misconduct when a prisoner is absent from work due to “locked report, hearing of misconducts and cell confinement”. 
  • Utilises the warning system set out in Annex 4 at all CIE worksites. 

  • Includes in all CIE worksite handbooks the prisoner’s entitlements set out in section 81 of the Corrections Act 2004.

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