Mixed progress by Adult Custody Division in implementing Auditor General’s recommendations

Auditor General Carol Bellringer

A new progress audit on the Adult Custody Division’s correctional facilities and programs made by the Office of the Auditor General of BC that looked at changes the government has made since the office’s 2015 report has found mixed results.

In 2015, British Columbia’s correctional facilities were over capacity and the division could not demonstrate whether operating at that level provided safe custody. The original audit also found that inmates were not getting timely access to the programs and services they needed to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. In its 2015 report, the office made eight recommendations.

“The division plays an important role in working with inmates to change their behaviour so they are less likely to re-offend upon release,” said Carol Bellringer, Auditor General.

The audit found mixed progress. The division has fully implemented three recommendations, with a main focus on using evidence and data to drive decisions on the programs and facilities it provides. The division has made considerable progress toward ensuring that its decisions on facilities and programs are informed by an understanding of its inmate population, as well as what has been successful in the past. For example, it has developed and implemented a new rehabilitation program for female offenders after it evaluated its previous program and found it was not working.

The division is still working on implementing two recommendations that focus on developing and implementing a performance-management framework and assessing safety and security trends to reduce the risk of recurrence.

The division has not acted on the final three recommendations.

“Although the division has yet to take action on three of our recommendations, it recognizes their importance and has work planned to address two of them,” said Bellringer.

This includes planning on several projects that may enhance quality assurance over inmate classification and case management.

The office did not find any planned work to address one of the original recommendations – to examine the impact of housing sentenced and non-sentenced inmates together. However, the division has said that it intends to carry out a study in this area sometime in the future.

The full progress audit report and the original 2015 report are both available on the Office of the Auditor General website: www.bcauditor.com