5 Things to know about Security Threat Groups
- Kate Mitchell
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- What are they? Correctional Service Canada gives the STG label to inmates who are believed to be part of an offender group, gang, association, or organization with 3+ members. This includes street gangs, prison gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, traditional organized crime, Aboriginal gangs, white supremacy groups, subversive groups, terrorist organizations, and hate groups.
- How does an inmate get labelled with an STG affiliation? A CSC Security Intelligence Officer (“SIO”) will assess offenders after admission, prior to a transfer, prior to release, or when new information becomes available. They’ll look at information in the inmate’s correctional file (including staff observation reports, information provided by informants), court records, police reports, etc. and make a recommendation to the Warden or District Director, who will make the final decision.
- Are inmates involved in the process? The SIO is supposed to meet with each inmate recommended for an STG affiliation, termination of an STG affiliation, or change of the offender’s role or status in the STG. While some information may be withheld from inmates, the SIO is supposed to explain the recommendation. Inmates are also to be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to the Warden or District Director making a final decision. The offender is to have 5 days to prepare a rebuttal. In practice, inmates may be given very little explanation for why they are being recommended for an STG affiliation, which can make it difficult to meaningfully rebut the allegations.
- How do STG affiliations impact inmates? STG affiliations are entered into the Offender Management System and put in inmates’ Preventative Security files. Since they are part of inmates’ correctional files, STG affiliations can impact an inmate’s security classification, penitentiary placements, PFVs, employment, and other institutional privileges. When it comes time for parole, STG affiliations can make it more difficult to get support from halfway houses, parole officers, and others.
- Can STG affiliations be removed? Offenders can provide a notification to the SIO indicating they intend to terminate their affiliation with an STG, which triggers the SIO to review the file within 45 days of the notification. If the Warden/District Director accepts the offender’s intention to terminate the affiliation, then it will be removed. The difficulty is for inmates who are wrongfully labelled with an STG affiliation. In those cases, inmates may have to make a file correction request under section 24(2)(a) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and/or file a grievance. If CSC won’t remove it, then it may be necessary to seek judicial review in the Federal Court.