NDP calling on Sask. Party to properly rehabilitate inmates

The NDP is calling on the Sask. Party government to act on the 2008 and 2018 recommendations contained in the Provincial Auditor’s recent report regarding the proper rehabilitation of adult inmates.

“We know that the province’s high rate of recidivism in corrections puts a huge strain on resources as well as correctional facilities and staff,” said NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer. “Government has a responsibility to ensure inmates the opportunity to rehabilitate so that we don’t see the same people reoffending again and again. The Provincial Auditor’s report released last week shows yet again that the Sask. Party is quite simply not living up to its responsibilities.”

According to the report, in 25 percent of the files reviewed by the auditor, the Ministry did not provide inmates with rehabilitation before their release into the community.

The report also noted that the Ministry still has not implemented the Auditor’s 2008 recommendations to monitor inmates’ access to rehabilitation programming as well as the relationship between re-offending rates and access to rehabilitation. The Provincial Auditor also recommended that the government ensure the Ministry is complying with its own policies to assess inmates’ needs and determine what types of rehabilitation might be appropriate, but that too, had been ignored for the past decade.

The Provincial Auditor noted that nearly half of those in correctional facilities are on remand — not convicted and still presumed innocent. This number has doubled over the past two decades, with each person incarcerated on remand costing the province about $80,000 per year. Unaddressed capacity issues driven by a high volume of people on remand continues to play a large part in preventing inmates from being properly rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

“If an inmate doesn’t have proper access to mental health counselling or a rehabilitation program, then their chances to find work or effectively re-enter the community decrease,” Sarauer said. “The recommendations have been there from the Provincial Auditor for a decade, but the Sask. Party have sat on them. This inaction is costly. The Sask. Party needs to put a plan in place to deal with this issue, but also ensure that the plan is actually implemented.”