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Compendium of Services and Programs that Enhance Successful Offender Reintegration and Public Safety

Citizens' Advisory Committee on the Community Reintegration of Offenders

The Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs, in conjunction with the National Executive Committee of the Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC), appointed an Advisory Committee of CAC members from each region to provide advice and counsel regarding policy issues related to the community reintegration of offenders in Canada.

One of the Community Reintegration Advisory Committee's objectives was to create a document of Successful Reintegration Initiatives. CAC groups from across the country, both institutional and community, provided their input to a survey that was created by the Advisory Committee to capture services and programs that are provided across Canada that enhance offender reintegration and public safety. CAC groups were also asked to provide information about 'gaps' in service or program delivery. The information contained in this report is a synthesis of information gathered by CAC groups across the country.

It is the hope of the Advisory Committee that by sharing this information with CSC staff and CAC groups across the federal correctional system, it will encourage local development of services and programs that have proven effective elsewhere and encourage creativity in the development of even more initiatives.

The Committee would like to thank all those who participated in this important project.

CAC ADVISORY COMMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY REINTEGRATION OF OFFENDERS

December 31, 2008

CAC ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

NEC REPRESENTATIVE:

Dorthe Flauer , NEC Prairie Region, until September 2007

Gary McDonald, A/NEC representative, Prairie Region as of October 2007

Jim Bradfield, previous Advisory Committee Member for NEC, CAC Ontario Region

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

  • Karl Eberle, Prince George Parole CAC
  • Jo Cassie , Ottawa Parole Office CAC
  • Alain Richer , Montreal CAC
  • Louise Leonardi, Westmorland Institution CAC
  • Deb Schlichter, Grand Valley Institution for Women CAC and Advisory Committee member for women offenders
  • Dorthe Flauer, Grierson Centre representative ( Edmonton )

NHQ REPRESENTATIVES:

Bev Arseneault, Director, Community Reintegration Operations, on behalf of the Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations & Programs

Angela Knoll, Project Manager, Community Reintegration Operations

COMPENDIUM OF SERVICES AND PROGRAMS THAT ENHANCE SUCCESSFUL OFFENDER REINTEGRATION AND PUBLIC SAFETY

PROJECT OF: CITIZENS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE REINTEGRATION OF OFFENDERS

For further information on any of these initiatives, please contact the Warden of the Institution or the Area Director of the Parole Office via the CSC web-site and ask to have contact with a CAC member.

PRE -RELEASE PROGRAMS

ONTARIO

Kingston Penitentiary

Offenders are able to apply for a decompression time in a private family visiting unit three days prior to release. Permission from the Psych. Department is required.

A spreadsheet was developed by CSC with the CAC and members are presently documenting issues of major concern. It is expected that the information will be presented to the Warden by the end of the year. The purpose is to provide the Warden with advice or changes the CAC members see as vital to safe reintegration.

CAC members do not like to see offenders released to the community from a maximum institution and since funding is not available from CSC to give the Community Integration Program to the offenders, we see it as crucial for CAC to look at this area closely.

Pre-Release Program: KP has been providing a pre-release project since 2000 for offenders being released from maximum security on Statutory Release or at Warrant Expiry about 6 months prior to their release. The project has had varying levels of involvement by CAC members over the years. This year, one member is involved in this role about 90% of his time commitment to the CAC and the project is believed to be 'back on track'.

Areas covered in the project:

  • The CAC has gathered many free pamphlets (approx. 30) with information that might assist an offender on release that (e.g., pamphlets obtained from Canadian Legal Education Ontario in Toronto ). These cover many agencies in the community and information on what is available and how to action issues an offender may come across on release. The pamphlets are available in the pre-release office at KP.
  • Current driver's rules/regulations books are available through the library for those who need to obtain a driver's license on release.
  • Information on employment and a review of how to complete a job application is covered with those interested. Sample job applications are available and the CAC member explains what is expected.
  • Members have also researched some skills training and employment opportunities and advise of areas they can access these services. For example, Local 183 in Toronto , Cobourg and Vaughn offers masonry, sewer installations and framing at a cost of $400. They are also advised where to obtain information about transport driving training. Information about College courses and employment retraining is also provided to them.

Information obtained from the interview is shared with the Parole Officer to further help them work with offenders.

CAC will be working towards establishing a similar program at Warkworth Institution. This will involve health care, addiction, pain management, audiology, etc., to meet with inmates before and after their release.

NOTE: As a result of the Lets Talk story on the project an inmate from Joyceville wrote to the Commissioner indicating he needed the assistance of the CAC member running this program at KP. RHQ organized the meeting. Obviously some need help—they don't always want to share things with the case management staff.

MULTI-SERVICE INITIATIVES

Includes services/programs that offer a variety of services/programs including those related to training and employment, emergency funding for prescriptions and housing, housing alternatives, additional supervision services, advocacy services, clothing, companionship and various life skills courses.

PACIFIC

New Westminster Parole

Thirty-six offenders and six Warrant Expiry cases have been referred to Klay-How-Eya for the purpose of accessing services. Referrals are generally for employment, training and housing. See additional information in 'Aboriginal Initiatives' section below.

Prince George Parole

One of the most important initiatives for reintegration was the CAC's involvement with the Labour Market Project. This project was funded by HRDC and had several partners from the Prince George Community including John Howard Society, Prince George Parole and the local halfway houses.

A researcher was hired to explore the barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records. The researcher successfully completed a website ( www.employerstoolkit.ca ) for employers to satisfy any questions they may have about offenders and their employability.

From the findings of this research resulted successful funding for a Job Skills Coach to work in addressing some of the barriers that were identified in the research. Currently addition funds are being sought to finalize the transition of the findings and barriers to address the problems. This resulted in the Northern Community Justice Employability Project. The Service Delivery Model for Employment Sustainability grew out of the NCJEP:

  • First contact
  • Orientation Conversation
  • Identification of Barriers to Employment
  • Casual Labour service
  • Other Employment Programs and Services
  • Permanent Employment
  • Post Employment Follow-up

Examples of barriers to be addressed are: housing, life skill services, mental health, employment and personal counselling, lifestyle/belonging, legal advice, health care, transportation, access to day care, tickets for employment, literacy and upgrading, education and training, and cultural/artistic/ sport/recreation.

Fraser Valley
  • Attendance/participation at community CODA (co-dependent anonymous) Meetings
  • Community Aboriginal NPB Hearings
  • Escorted temporary absences (ETAs) for individual counselling in order to meet unique needs
  • Ministry of Family and Children Services provide contact for women
  • Restorative Justice initiatives have resulted in successful cases at FVI
  • Treatment Facilities both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders

PRAIRIES

Regina Parole & Oskana Centre

CSC has an arrangement with Department of Community Resources to provide offenders who have recently been released to obtain Emergency Measures Coverage, e.g. funds for prescriptions, housing needs, etc.

Working with Social Services in streamlining social assistance processes for offenders being released to the community. This activity was in response to problems experienced some years ago. A CAC member contacted the local Social Services office to inquire as to how offenders arriving to the community could apply for assistance before their release date, knowing that there is at least a two week delay in the process that would leave them without resources for the first two weeks of release. This was also followed up by a CSC staff member and, in collaboration with Social Services, a more effective process was established.

Welfare Rights group: assists people in finding affordable housing and advocates for those who need assistance or a trustee arrangement.

The Food Bank : provides emergency food services, as well as classes in: food management and preparation, life skills, relationships, self-esteem and work preparation.

Marion Centre: provides a daily lunch service and companionship (men only) as well as a clothing bank for those in need.

Willow Cree Healing Lodge

Placement in a more positive area. Smaller town with availability for work.

QUEBEC

Estrie CAC

Qualilogis: housing search and day-to-day support for individuals involved or at risk of becoming involved with the justice system.

ONTARIO

Ottawa Parole Office

The John Howard Society has created two three-quarter homes. These facilities not only serve federal corrections, but have referrals from provincial mental health and probation and parole. The Tom Lamothe facility (TLR) has 13 bachelor apartments with 26 units at the Ste-Anne's facility. The units are self-contained with a full kitchen and bathroom (shower only). Residents are expected to participate in the preparation of a case plan with one of the staff counsellors. Services offered also include: medication distribution, crisis counselling and intervention, curfew monitoring and referrals to other community agencies. Staff are present from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Video monitoring of all common areas (hallways and staircase areas) is used when staff are not present. The tapes are reviewed each morning and reports are provided to CSC when necessary. These facilities have been particularly useful in the Ottawa area for parolees who benefit from additional support in the community and/or who require on-going monitoring. The latter includes cases such as LTSOs. Residents pay a monthly rent and CSC pays a per diem of $50.

ATLANTIC

Prince Edward Island Parole

These facilities are not funded by CSC but provide accommodations for men (Harvest House) and aboriginal females (Grandmother House) in this province which lacks community based residential facilities. With no other facility available to our cases in emergency circumstances, these are the only vehicles to enhance rehabilitation when accommodation becomes an unavailable need.

  • Harvest House Charlottetown
  • Harvest House Summerside (temporarily closed)
  • Grandmother House (services Aboriginal women)
Westmorland Institution

The 'Find My Way Program' is an internet tool that has organized a network of human service agencies, organizations, charities, service providers and volunteers and regrouped the programs and services , allowing individuals to quickly and easily locate the assistance that is available to them by the topic or situation of their need.

The Find My Way Program was created in 2003 to:

support the successful re-integration of individuals who are faced with various personal and social difficulties, including homelessness, addictions, family breakdown, trouble with the law, poor health, unemployment, and more.

  • enhance the communication, co-operation and overall efficiency of the existing human services sector by enabling greater resource and information-sharing among agencies, community organizations, groups and concerned citizens working to support those who seek to help themselves.
  • Identify new or underserved areas of need that require further development or additional resources.
  • Contribute to public safety, awareness and equality by supporting the successful rehabilitation and re-integration of community members at risk.

Community Resource Centres provide Internet access and one-on-one assistance to those who are determined to help themselves and enjoy productive, sustainable lives in the community.

www.findmyway.ca

FAMILY, RELATIONSHIPS, SOCIAL SUPPORT

For information about CoSA, please refer to the CSC web-site www.csc-scc.gc.ca.

PACIFIC

New Westminster Parole

A new committee for Aboriginal Offenders (supervised by Aboriginals) was formed in Surrey , British Columbia . This committee reviews requests, recommends community plans and assist offenders with reintegration support.

PRAIRIES

Regina Parole & Oskana CCC

Circle of Support and Accountability: volunteers provide group support for high risk sex offenders released to the community.

Willow Cree Healing Lodge

Change of Season ceremony is a cultural event that is initiated by the site Elder and celebrated four times per year for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Change of Season ceremony is to celebrate and give thanks for the changing season. It may include a pipe ceremony, sweat lodge ceremony, sunrise ceremony and usually ends with a feast/meal. Change of Season is celebrated by the nîcisân(ak), staff, CAC and an open invitation to the community.

Chris tmas Gatherings & Meal: Sharing of a meal during the Chris tmas season is initiated and hosted by the nîcisân(ak) along with food donations by staff members. This celebration is shared by the nîcisân(ak), invited family members of each nîcisân(ak) to a limit of four as well as Willow Cree Healing Lodge staff, Board of Directors, Citizen Advisory Committee and invited Elders of the community.

QUEBEC

Drummond/Lanaudiere

Starting in 1994, a number of people working together with LifeLine have been organizing in Lanaudière churches.

The group arranges services and activities for offenders, as follows:

  1. accommodation
  2. employment
  3. psychological counselling
  4. Collection of monies at the village's Bishop's diocese
  5. a surety bond

Ongoing visits are organized, as are daily phone calls.

This group provides financial support while in prison. They have gained considerable credibility with the court.

The following describes what our committee has done:

  • Health
  • Official documentation
  • Work and money
  • School
CCC du bureau de Trois-Rivières

In Trois-Rivières, there are two productive activities that come under the heading of interpersonal relations. The setting up of a Circle of Support and Accountability, and a program— L'Aide à la rentrée scolaire —that helps with back-to-school costs, developed in conjunction with the local Rotary Club (see'0ther Initiatives' section below for further information).

Formed in September 2005, the Trois-Rivières CoSA has five members, who began by receiving appropriate training in their duties and responsibilities. The group assumed its coaching role in January 2006, upon the release of a violent predatory pedophile under an LTSO, with a residency requirement. The offender's file listed 15 known victims, with a very high rate of recidivism. The initial prognosis for his ability not to re-offend was highly pessimistic: a few weeks at best.

After 16 months in operation, against all expectations, the Circle is still active. This is undeniably an unexpected success.

The advantage of a CoSA group during the reintegration process is to be found in the contact with community members who are not CSC employees, which enables the offender to develop community ties. This type of co ntact promotes the individual's feeling of community acceptance, and enhances his willingness to make the effort to do what has to be done in order to achieve rehabilitation.

Estrie CAC

Community Chaplaincy: provides support for offender reintegration.

ATLANTIC

Westmorland

'OK Kids/OK Families': t he Salvation Army, Correctional and Justice Services in Moncton runs a support group for children ages 6 to 16 who have a family member incarcerated. Children play and learn about incarceration, coping skills, stigmatization, self-esteem and support one another. There is another support group for families.

Circles Of Support and Accountability Program - Moncton Community Chaplaincy: Circle members assist and support community re-entry by meeting regularly and assisting with various needs.

www.monctonchaplaincy.com

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT

Includes programs or services that address education, skills training, resume preparation, job search, work releases, etc.

PACIFIC

PLEASE ALSO REFER TO THE FIRST SECTION OF THIS DOCUMENT, PRE -RELEASE PROGRAMS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT PRE -RELEASE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM AT KINGSTON PENITENTIARY

Institution and Regional Treatment Centre

Programs include:

  • Horticulture Therapy Program consists of one to two hour sessions designed to enhance patient's cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and physical skills through indoor and outdoor gardening and landscaping tasks within the confines of a natural, non-threatening environment. In addition to numerous benefits, one of the objectives is to develop new, or expand upon existing, employment skills for the purpose of securing and maintaining gainful employment.
  • Care Giver program involves inmates looking after elderly and infirm inmates. Provides skill development and a sense of empathy and compassion.
  • Building Maintenance Program – Since March 2006, a private company was contracted to deliver a Building Service Worker Program at the Regional Treatment Center/Pacific Institution. Of the 12 inmates who started the course, 7 successfully completed and received a certificate from the company which is certified by Langley College for Building Service Worker Level 1 and 2. Of the 5 who did not complete, 4 quit and 1 was asked to leave.

The Program is designed to provide skills and theory to inmates with a view to enhancing their opportunities for employment upon release, including contact with potential employers for full-time employment. Participants learn about the most up to date chemicals and techniques which is are part of the success of this program. The “Green Cleaning” module prepares the graduates for the new federal legislation that requires all persons within the industry to be trained in what it means to “Green” clean. The new technology in Carpet Cleaning is also part of the instruction and will put the graduates in good standing if they choose to enter into the carpet extraction portion of this industry.

Fraser Valley Institution (Women)
  • Culinary Arts Program provides training and work
  • Use of Escorted Temporary Absences (ETAs) is encouraged to develop skills, education and volunteer work
  • Kennel Program: provides training and work
  • Kennel Attendant
  • Kennel Attendant – Advanced
  • Groomers Assistant
  • Animal First Aid
  • Professional Dog Obedience Trainer
  • Animal Welfare Program
  • External Seminars and Workshops
  • General Employment Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Job & Job-Hunting Skills
  • Unescorted Temporary Absences (UTAs) and Work Releases: UTAs are usually for personal development reasons. Personal development for rehabilitative purposes is to allow the offender to participate in specific treatment or activities with the goal of reducing the risk of the offender re-offending and to allow the offender to participate in activities of a rehabilitative nature, including cultural and spiritual ceremonies unique to Aboriginal peoples, with the goal of assisting in reintegration of the offender into the community as law-abiding citizen. (CD710-3 s.27) - This is usually a program completion, e.g., the Tsow Tun Le Lum for Fraser Valley Institution.
  • Work Releases - are specific to gain skill or trade. For example, there was one work release in September 07 in the community which was moderately successful. Due to injury sustained, the offender could not do the work required and was put on lighter duties around the CRF.
  • Social Integration Program – while this is a CSC core program focusing on employment skills and resume writing, volunteers and outside people can be asked to facilitate part of the module that reflects their expertise. T he resume writing is part of the employment module.

ATLANTIC

Westmorland Institution

Fisheries Project : this project partners the Cap Pelé Fisheries with Westmorland Institution to give the inmates training in the workforce prior to release. They travel to various fish plants from the institution each day, integrate with other workers, report on time to their supervisor, are assigned calculated breaks and lunches and are paid the New Brunswick minimum wage rate. The income received is placed in a special account to be cashed upon their release. On the job, similar to their release, they are faced with people who may make improper choices and the inmates decide what they want for themselves and to live with the consequences of their decision. This project gives the inmates an opportunity to prove themselves while acquiring skills necessary to keep a job, and, upon release, they may be asked to stay on at the plant.

The John Howard Society of Greater Moncton: works with offenders re resume preparation and job search. They also have work release contracts for non-profit organizations for demolition and construction services.

www.johnhoward.ca

Moncton Community Chaplaincy : o ffers a number of services to offenders returning to the community. For instance, they provide work boots to those entering the construction industry who cannot afford them and they also have a clothing depot. Referrals are made for emergency food, shelter and furniture. Assistance is provided with resume preparation. A telephone/fax service and personal care kits are available free of charge.

www.monctonchaplaincy.com

Excalibur Learning Resource Centre – Literacy Skills : has teamed up with Westmorland Institution to teach incarcerated adults. This not only involves teaching academic and vocational skills but also trying to influence beliefs and behaviours. The goal is not to simply end up with better educated criminals but to end up with better educated individuals who will return to the community and not re-engage in criminal activities.

www.excalibur.ca

APPLICATIONS AND IDENTIFICATION

Includes services to obtain identification, including Social Insurance Number, health care, driver's license and opening a bank account as well as voting in the institution.

PACIFIC

Mission Institution

The CAC at Mission Institution has assisted inmates to register for federal elections and participate in voting.

PRAIRIES

Regina Parole & Oskana CCC

CSC has an agreement with the Credit Union to assist released offenders with their banking needs, e.g. open and manage a bank account.

CLOTHING & START-UP SERVICES

Includes access to clothing and household start-up items (furniture, household items, etc.)

PRAIRIES

Willow Cree Healing Lodge

Healing Lodge provides work boots and clothing when offenders leave facility for work purposes.

ONTARIO

Ottawa Parole Office

The Coordinator, Community Volunteer Services, who is the person responsible for the placement of students as community volunteers, and the Chairperson of the CAC met with the heads of various community agencies to inform them about the work of the Parole Office, with a view to making use of the services available in the community. The following agreements were reached with:

  • the thrift store in a local church and the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Salvation Army stores, which will provide the Parole Office with vouchers enabling parolees to obtain clothing and household items;
  • the Mattress Mart store to supply mattresses to parolees; and
  • the Canadian Office of Human Rights to make painting and office supplies available to parolees.

In addition, Parole Office staff regularly donates clothing, blankets and other household items, which are made available to parolees in emergencies.

HEALTH/DENTAL ISSUES

Includes assistance with: finding a doctor/dentist, medication, nutrition, hygiene, optometry, special needs, etc.

PACIFIC

New Westminster
  • Community Partnering – building community capacity
  • Volunteer / Work Experience Program – volunteers that work specifically with mental health clients

QUEBEC

Estrie CAC

Mental health: co-operation and co-ordination with medical services (psychiatry) to co-ordinate crisis intervention to enable offenders to remain in the community instead of being re-incarcerated.

SOCIAL SKILLS

Including programs/services to address self-esteem, networking, public speaking, social events, clubs and hobbies, etc. This can also include spiritual/religious programs/services.

PACIFIC

Fraser Valley
  • Toastmasters
  • Pathways Residents provided cultural passes - social events/skills
  • Piano, dance, knitting, quilting and art lessons
  • One-on-one computer skills training
  • Houses of Healing Program
  • Volleyball League at noon with staff and offenders
Mission Institution

Recent recipients of the CSC Taylor Aware for excellence in volunteering, Mr. and Mrs. Robertson coordinate the chapel volunteer group that provides inmates with spiritual guidance and encouragement to help them become law-abiding citizens.  Over the past 28 years volunteering with CSC , Mr. and Mrs. Robertson have recruited many volunteers and have helped bridge the gap between offenders in correctional facilities and the community by establishing effective community partnerships.  By doing so, they have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the health, well-being and safety of our communities.

PRAIRIES

Drumheller Institution

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Cocaine Anonymous groups meet on a regular basis at the institution.

ATLANTIC

Westmorland Institution

The John Howard Society of Greater Moncton : provides an Anger Management program from both the institutions and those in the community.

www.johnhoward.ca

OTHER INITIATIVES

PACIFIC

Mission Institution
  • The CAC at Mission Institution has assisted in publicising the “Bikes for Tykes” program where offenders refurbish and professionally paint used bikes which are then donated to local charity groups for distribution to the community.
  • The CAC also supports the inmate initiative of growing small vegetable gardens outside the living units with the produce being donated to the local women's transition shelter.
  • The CAC supports the initiative of the Lifers Group at Mission Institution in organizing and presenting a Challenge Sports Day for both mentally and physically challenged residents of group homes in the B.C. Fraser Valley area. This sports day is held on the Institution grounds.
  • The CAC assists in publicizing and assisting the public to attend Craft Fairs which present inmate art several times during the year. Because Mission is a Medium Security Institution the public must come into the institution to see the art and many members of the public are unfamiliar with the visiting process.

The CAC at Mission Institution has arranged with the Mission Rotary club to provide children's books for the private family visit units. This is a Rotary initiative to promote literacy by giving inmates an opportunity to read to their children.

Ferndale Institution

Mission Arts Council:

  • A local Art Dealer for Mission 's talented artists also seeks funding, venues and exposure for the artistic talents of many of Ferndale's residents
  • Sales of the many beautiful pieces designed and made by Ferndale inmates include carvings, glasswork, etching, paintings and drawings directly benefits the inmate and provides an introduction to the art world
  • With the artist's permission, CAC / CSC has looked into a policy of recognition which includes a current bio of the Ferndale artist, a recent photo and acknowledgement and credit of their name.

Community Projects offenders have been involved in include but are not limited to:

  • Mission Oyama House Post Project: carving two 20' Traditional Coast Salish House posts. One for Mission City and one for it's Sister City , Oyama , Japan
  • Library Artists in Residence: one inmate artist was commissioned by the Mission Arts Council to complete several murals in public places for the City.
Prince George Parole

CAC members are community representatives on the halfway houses Screening Committee. This gives members the opportunity to have input into the reintegration process.

CAC Members are also invited to be part of the preliminary assessments and post suspension interviews with Parole Officers and offenders.

Offenders are invited as guest speakers at the CAC monthly meetings. This gives them first hand knowledge about barriers and gaps for reintegration and ideas about how CAC members can help overcome these obstacles.

QUEBEC

CCC du bureau de Trois-Rivières

The Rotary's Back-to-school program : the Trois-Rivières CCC , in cooperation with the Cap-de-la-Madeleine Rotary Club, provides the children of parolees with financial assistance for back-to-school expenses. The assistance is specifically designed to provide children with the school supplies and clothing they need to make going back to school as pleasant as it is for any other child. The idea is to show these children in a practical way that they are not being judged by the community for the actions of their parents, and that they can make their own choices, education being the first and best choice if they are to become law-abiding citizens and make a positive contribution to their community. Second, in an indirect way, it encourages a sense of parental responsibility in the parolee, who thus feels accepted and supported by the community. As we have seen, the sense of responsibility can become a powerful factor in a parent's rehabilitation.

Estrie CAC

Tripartite agreement between two CRCs, the municipal housing authority and the health and social services centre to provide individuals involved or at risk of becoming involved with the justice system with access to housing.

Comité juridico-correctionnel is a working group made up of representatives from various organizations in the region focussing on co-ordinated action.

INITIATIVES SPECIFIC TO WOMEN OFFENDERS

New Westminster

Improving Our Capacity To Address the Needs of Women Offenders in The Community:

Women's supervision unit includes a Parole Officer Supervisor and four parole officers that work specifically with women offenders.

Community Programming: focus on working with existing community resources offering assistance to women.

CRF: women-only CRF. Also use numerous forms of alternative accommodations, such as private home placements and hospital accommodation.

Treatment Facilities: New Westminster Parole Office has contracted with a substance abuse treatment facility that works only with women.

We are working towards closing the gap by providing contact between community parole officers and offenders prior to release. We have had several women with mental health issues that required a significant amount of interaction prior to release.

Escorted Temporary Absences are also approved regularly for women to attend the halfway house or destination prior to release. This alleviates the anxiety of the unknown. They become more familiar with the surroundings and meet with some of the staff and residents. This has been successful at our site.

ABORIGINAL SPECIFIC INITIATIVES

PACIFIC

New Westminster

Five parole officers have been identified as part of the Aboriginal Supervision team at New Westminster. This team has begun networking with Aboriginal agencies to develop positive relationships and increase resource availability for offenders.

The Volunteer Coordinator is organizing an Aboriginal Resource Guide and creating a training session for Aboriginal volunteers.

An Elder has been contracted to provide services to New West and Vancouver Areas.

Enhanced Capacity to Provide Effective Intervention for Aboriginal Offenders:

In 2006/2007, the Five Bands House of Justice was formed at Klay-How-Eya to facilitate the Section 84 process and all community justice related issues in the local area and within the areas of the 5 Coast Salish bands.

In 2006/2007 we have completed 191 Section 84 consultations and there are currently 63 active Section 84 cases in various stages of completion.

Klay-How-Eya Aboriginal Society has become an active community partner. Currently they are consulting with our office to determine how changes within their program base would allow for them to provide specific services to men/women on federal parole.

The Surrey Area Aboriginal Groups: Klay-How-Eya and Cwenengitel are active participants with the local Task groups and the Mayor of Surrey and have brought to the table their growing relationship with the Correctional Service of Canada to address justice issues to encourage further community participation.

PACIFIC

Pacific Institution and Regional Treatment Centre
  • Aboriginal Programming – Healing Our Warrior and Family Violence, Powwow
  • Aboriginal Spirituality – Sweatlodges, Circles, Smudge Ceremony

GAPS // IDENTIFIED NEEDS

As part of the survey, members were asked to provide any information about gaps in the reintegration process for offenders being released to the community and any suggestions to bridge these gaps.

Mission Institution: The CAC has discussed the disadvantages inmates face when they leave the institution without adequate identification and is raising the issue on local, regional and national levels. The CAC is very concerned that the possession of adequate identification or documentation is not even considered during the parole hearing process and staff has repeatedly said their only responsibility is to offer to help inmates. The CAC at Mission Institution feels that such identification is essential and a much more pro-active approach must be taken to increase the probability of a successful reintegration.

The CAC at Mission Institution has endorsed a resolution that will be forwarded to the National CAC Executive calling for CSC to ensure that inmates have adequate identification in their possession prior to release, and calling on the CSC to support this initiative both operationally and financially.

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CCC Trois Rivières: There currently seems to be a lack of consistency between the help available within the institution and the help provided in the community during the parole period.

From the outset we believe that offender reintegration would be greatly helped by a process of coaching offered by a group of people who had themselves achieved successful rehabilitation, on the same basis as the service offered within the institutions under the Lifeline program. It seems obvious to us that assistance received by a former offender who has been rehabilitated is definitely highly effective in promoting identification, openness and acceptance of the assistance program.

With regard to programs available in the community, we do not understand why only the Maintenance Program is offered. It means that programs are available only to offenders who started a program in the institution. We believe, first of all, that an offender may think he does not need help from a program while incarcerated, only to come to the opposite realization once confronted with his problems on the outside. In the latter case, he will not be allowed to receive this assistance. Since CSC's Mission is to ensure public safety by promoting the reintegration of offenders, it seems that this situation is at odds with the Mission.

Kingston Penitentiary: CAC does not like to see offenders released to the streets from a Maximum, and since funding is not available to give the Community Integration Program from CSC to the offenders, we see it as crucial for CAC to look at this area closely.

Regina Parole: affordable housing which would include supervision and support services for those who find it difficult to manage on their own.

There is a Committee on Housing established in Regina which is engaging a variety of community stakeholders in working towards an action plan on homelessness. The Committee wants to develop a plan which bridges the gap between crisis services and stable, long-term housing.  This may become a resource in the future. 

There is a lack of general support for violent offenders coming back to the community.

Any training provided to offenders pre-release is considered of benefit. Theatre Arts can be useful as most Aboriginal people are natural story-tellers.

Westmorland:

Work transition: The biggest gap we have is from the institution to the job. We don't have enough services in place (either within the institution or the community) to facilitate skills and education training, budgeting, etc.

Housing: There is a lack of decent housing at an affordable price and lack of money upon release means that offenders end up in crack houses that are disguised as rooming houses. This often leads to re-offending.

Finances: Inmates are often released with little/no money. Welfare is unattainable until you have an address and yet they cannot find enough money to rent in a rooming house/apartment for a month.

Preparation of Applications: Offenders are left to do too much of this work on their own. Community Chaplaincy helps but those who do not know the offer of help is there and lack the information or skills to deal with this paperwork fall through the cracks.

Restorative Justice: There is little opportunity to repair the harm that has been done. We need more victim/offender mediation, community repair, etc.

Medical Attention: There is a lack of service to those who do not have a family physician upon release.

Drug/Alcohol Counselling : Although Moncton has an Addiction Centre, the wait list is three to four months, which is often too late.

Follow-up: A lot of the worthwhile projects offered by support organizations in Moncton are on a contract basis. Once the contract is over, any follow-up ends.