Evidence of meeting #33 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was complaint.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jay Pyke  Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

4:05 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

It's because, quite frankly, from the warden's perspective, I'm the first-level grievance. So for my office, it does save considerable time, because I'm not reviewing the first-level grievance procedures from there on out.

The plan would be a key part of it in terms of how we would limit the moving on of this process, or what the inmate may have to demonstrate in terms of there being warrant and merit to what they're bringing forward.

I guess, for me, it would definitely assist in terms of the first-level grievance, which is my level, in that it wouldn't move on. Quite frankly, there are genuine first-level grievances submitted at the site level that become untimely owing to some of the more frivolous complaints submitted that move on to the grievance.

So I do feel that at the grievance level, from the first level—which is mine—on, it would be of benefit. I can't speak to, until we roll it out, if it rolls out, what the plan we're referring to would look like in terms of what the actual realized benefit would be. Again, I don't have enough information.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Right. You don't know yet.

You have the power now to designate someone a multiple complainant. What powers do you have under that designation?

The way I understand it is that if somebody's designated a multiple complainant, you can't ignore the complaint but you can sort of put it aside if you feel you don't have the resources to deal with it in a timely manner. Is that true? Is that how it works?

4:05 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

Yes, it's—

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Have you used that process?

4:05 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

I have not used that process. I've been part of a management team that has used that process in terms of multiple-griever status.

For me, it relates to, yes, we can limit them to, I think, two a month. It's a quantitative measure. It's statistical in nature. It actually doesn't speak to the nature of the grievance or the complaint; it just speaks to the number of grievances and complaints that are being put forward.

You know, I don't think we're solving anything with the current policy. What it's doing is...I'm basically saying to the inmate, “You can continue to submit ten grievances a month. I will in essence answer two a month. But I have a responsibility to answer all of the grievances submitted in time; I'm just setting a timeframe whereby you will only get two responses back”—

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

It's the edict of the workload there, yes.

4:05 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Scarpaleggia. Your time is well over here.

Ms. Morin, you have five minutes.

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:10 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

First, I would like to thank our witnesses for being here this afternoon.

My first question is about the complainants in the prisons. Could you confirm that some of them have mental health issues?

4:10 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

Yes. Again, I can speak to my institution, but I have a population where 50%-plus routinely use mental health services and have some kind of diagnosis related to mental health concerns.

Truly, of my complaints and grievances, there is a group generated by persons who suffer from mental illness.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Could you also confirm that the vexatious complainants may be people who might have a mental health issue, basically, people who would need help? Could that also be the case?

4:10 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

It could if we saw the nature of the complaint and reviewed it. It doesn't apply, I can say, to KP's current three that we're referring to. You know, it certainly could be a heads-up if we were to receive a complaint or a grievance that seemed out of the usual or....

I can tell you, as the warden, that oftentimes I'll get inmate requests that certainly flag for me that there's some concern here with this individual. It will be referred to psychology.

But in my experience at Kingston Pen, which has been about 13 years, I can say that I certainly haven't seen it used as a mechanism. It's not something we would turn a blind eye to, obviously, if there was a concern suggested in the grievance or the complaint, but it's certainly not something we've come across on a routine basis, in my experience.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Madame Morin.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

In this bill, we are indeed talking about a plan to correct the situation of offenders who are vexatious complainants.

As the warden of an institution, could you potentially design that kind of a program for your penitentiary? Have you thought about that?

4:10 p.m.

Warden, Kingston Penitentiary, Correctional Service of Canada

Jay Pyke

Thank you.

Again, while I am not responsible for developing national policy, I certainly have given it some thought. I know I keep referencing, and I have referenced, the idea of the motivation-based intervention strategies as well as correctional programs in terms of cognitive thinking skills and problem solving. So their actual correctional plan might involve participation or active participation to address the dynamic needs. The hope would be that it would remedy and also be part of the plan, so that if they followed it, then at the six-month review we'd look at that as a positive to say, “Okay, you've held up your end of this plan, so I'm absolutely willing in good faith to re-review.”

Again, I certainly don't speak on behalf of the commissioner or the policy personnel at NHQ, but I have given it some thought. I do think there are certain mechanisms we could absolutely use that would be very positive in that regard.