Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) are a legally mandated presence within the Canadian federal corrections structure, set up to ensure representation from the public in the administration of correctional activities. Across federal institutions and parole offices, CACs are there to observe, liaise, and advise on CSC’s day-to-day operations, with members representing a wide cross-section of the public.
From university students to retirees, and representing a wide variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, there are close to 400 citizen members across 80 CACs, all sharing a common belief in public safety and restorative justice.
Every year, CSC celebrates the work done by these crucial volunteers with the Citizen Advisory Committee Awareness Week during the third week of January. This year’s celebration, which took place January 13-19, was themed “CAC: Community Matters: Building Partnerships!”
CACs have certainly had a year worth celebrating. First, this year’s recipient of the James A. Murphy Award of Excellence was Lori Ebbesen, selected for her tireless work with CACs since 2003. There were other distinguished nominees as well: William Dickson and the Newfoundland Citizen Advisory Committee.
This year also saw the launch of the Citizen Advisory Committees Kickstarter, an initiative offered by Citizen Engagement focusing on raising awareness about the many benefits of the human-animal bond within federal corrections. Finally, Chelsea Morrey, who serves as CACs national chairperson, shared her experiences at the annual International Corrections and Prison Associations (ICPA) conference this past October in Montreal, QC.
Follow the links for more on these awards and events!