Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections - Chapter One: Aboriginal Healing Lodges

Evaluation Report

File 394-2-49

Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections - Chapter One: Aboriginal Healing Lodges

Evaluation Division
Policy Sector
February 2011

Acknowledgements

The evaluation team members would like to express their appreciation to the many individuals who contributed to this evaluation and provided valuable information on the operations of Aboriginal Healing Lodges and their impacts.

First, we would like to thank Healing Lodge residents, management, staff members, and community representatives for participating in interviews and sharing their views and experiences with the evaluation team. We would like to extend a special thank-you to Debra Matties, Pamela Okemaysim-Gamble, Lynn Manuel and Shane Cook for their support in co-ordinating site visits and arranging interviews, and also to Healing Lodge Executive Directors for providing detailed information about their facilities in the form of Healing Lodge fact sheets.

The evaluation team wishes to thank CSC management and staff members for completing an on-line questionnaire and contributing their perspectives on the effectiveness and operations of Aboriginal interventions and services throughout CSC.

The evaluation team sincerely appreciates the input provided by the members of the Aboriginal Initiative Directorate, particularly Lisa Allgaier, Brigitte Bouchard, Clare McNab and others, in developing the Terms of Reference for the evaluation of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections and sharing knowledge regarding culturally‑appropriate protocols. Separate thanks go to staff members from Regional Headquarters for facilitating access to relevant documents and to staff members from National Headquarters for their collaboration in collecting financial data.

Last but not least, the evaluation team would like to thank Paul Verbrugge for his dedicated work and diligence in extracting offender data from CSC's data warehouse and performing quantitative analyses.

Evaluation Team

Evaluation report prepared by:

Eugenia Didenko
Evaluation Branch
Policy Sector
Correctional Service Canada

Bernard Marquis
Evaluation Branch
Policy Sector
Correctional Service Canada

Evaluation Team Members:

Bernard Marquis, Director
Eugenia Didenko, A/Senior Evaluator
Paul Verbrugge, Evaluation Officer
Bertha May, Evaluation Officer
Cara Dowden, Evaluation Analyst
Brittany MacDonald, Evaluation Analyst

Additional contributions to the evaluation were provided by other members of the Evaluation Branch, including Nicole Allegri, Kossi Aziaba, Elizabeth Loree, Hassimiou Ly, Marcie McKay, Joel Ndayubaha, Lysiane Paquin-Marseille and Christopher Rastin.

Correctional Service of Canada's
Aboriginal Healing Lodges

Signatures

Dr. Pamela M. Yates
Director General
Evaluation Branch

Date

Lisa Hardey
Associate Assistant Commissioner
Policy Sector

Date

Executive Summary

The present evaluation examined the relevance and performance of Correctional Service of Canada's (CSC) Aboriginal Healing Lodges. Findings concerning the performance of Healing Lodges covered such areas as Healing Lodge operations, the delivery of Aboriginal services and interventions, collaboration with Aboriginal communities, correctional results, and cost-effectiveness. In summary, Healing Lodges demonstrated their continued relevance and made progress towards achieving expected outcomes. The extent to which expected outcomes were achieved varied, with results from Healing Lodges being generally comparable to, or slightly better than, those from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women.

The evaluation of Aboriginal Healing Lodges represents the first chapter of the evaluation of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Correction (SPAC). Healing Lodges are part of CSC's Aboriginal Continuum of Care implemented in 2003 to integrate Aboriginal culture and spirituality within correctional operations and address the specific needs of Aboriginal offenders. The development of Aboriginal Healing Lodges emanated from Section 81 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) that provided the legal framework for the transfer of administration of correctional services to Aboriginal communities. In the process of implementing the Section 81 provision of the CCRA, two models of collaborative relationships with Aboriginal communities emerged. First, several Aboriginal communities have signed an agreement for the provision of community-based custody and care with the full transfer of administration of correctional services, thereby establishing four Section 81 Healing Lodges. The other model involved engaging Aboriginal communities in the operation and provision of culturally-appropriate interventions within four federal institutions, managed as CSC-operated Healing Lodge facilities.

CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges provide living environments that use Aboriginal traditional healing approaches as a method of intervention. Both are rooted in the spiritual and cultural activities led by Elders, and supported by dynamic contact with the community through CSC's temporary absence program and pro-social interactions with staff members and management, many of whom are Aboriginal. Reciprocal and mutually-beneficial relationships exist between most Healing Lodges and the surrounding communities.

The evaluation found that CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges differed considerably in terms of their operations and, as a result, faced distinct sets of challenges. For CSC-operated Healing Lodges, the main issues concerned the incompatibility of some internal policies and procedures with the vision and operational needs of the Healing Lodge, as well as varying levels of cultural competency among Healing Lodge staff member groups. For Section 81 Healing Lodges, additional human resources and improvements in community engagement were identified as areas of attention. Both types of Healing Lodges experienced management and staff turnover, which affected the continuity of operations and community relationship building. Further, the evaluation revealed that there were specific challenges that prevented Healing Lodges from operating at maximum capacity. These challenges included a small number of Aboriginal offenders having a minimum security classification, and also limited availability of Healing Lodges across CSC's regions, their geographical isolation and a lack of programming and services to address specific offender needs. A greater demand for Healing Lodge services may be brought about by the projected growth in the Aboriginal incarcerated population resulting from the amendments to the Criminal Code, as well as increases in CSC's Pathways Units capacity with more offenders potentially choosing to follow the entire Aboriginal Continuum of Care.

Overall, the evaluation found that Healing Lodges had a strong spiritual and cultural focus. Other areas, such as educational services, vocational training and physical activities, required strengthening to further the holistic development of offenders and to increase their potential for reintegration. According to interviewees, Aboriginal Healing Lodges had positive transformative effects on offenders. Specifically, Healing Lodge residents, staff members and management interviewed during the evaluation noted improvements in offenders' attitudes and behaviours, as well as their greater understanding of, and connection to, Aboriginal culture. For example, offenders showed improvements in the areas of self-confidence, personal responsibility, motivation and self-discipline. They demonstrated deeper understanding of their lives and criminal behaviours, greater respect and positive attitudes towards others, and recognized the importance of seeking help and establishing support networks. These improvements were supported by lower rates of reported institutional incidents and charges for men and women offenders in CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges compared to men's minimum and women's multi-level security institutions.

These positive changes were also reflected in offender criminogenic need assessment scores, with Aboriginal men offenders released from Healing Lodges demonstrating greater improvements in criminogenic need areas than Aboriginal men offenders in the comparison group. According to Healing Lodge staff members and residents interviewed offender participation in cultural and spiritual activities, and also in programs offered by Healing Lodges and the support of surrounding communities, contributed to these gains. The delivery of correctional programs and other types of intervention, however, differed substantially between Healing Lodges. The rates of assignment, participation and successful completion of CSC national correctional programs by Aboriginal offenders in CSC-operated Healing Lodges were notably higher than those in minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women, suggesting that program delivery in CSC-operated Healing Lodges was more accessible to Aboriginal offenders and might have better reflected their identified needs. Furthermore, several Healing Lodges reported developing local programming to address the needs of offenders and the community.

Improvements observed in offenders' knowledge, attitudes and behaviours while at the Healing Lodge did not, however, materialize in improved community correctional outcomes, since conditional releases for Aboriginal offenders from Healing Lodges were as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases for Aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. Qualitatively, Healing Lodge interviewees identified difficulties establishing and maintaining support networks in the community, which contributed to returns to federal custody. Also, Aboriginal men and women offenders released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges were more likely to be granted discretionary release, compared to Aboriginal offenders in men's minimum and women's multi-level security institutions. Conversely, Aboriginal men from Section 81 Healing Lodges were more likely to be released on statutory release than Aboriginal men from minimum security institutions. Aboriginal offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges had generally lower rates of participation in CSC's escorted temporary absence program, with higher rates of unescorted temporary absences, than Aboriginal offenders in CSC-operated Healing Lodges and minimum security institutions. The latter suggests that resources for offender participation in community-based reintegration activities in Section 81 Healing Lodges may need strengthening.

The evaluation found that CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges also differed substantially in operational costs. In 2009/2010, direct expenditures related to CSC‑operated Healing Lodges were $21,555,037, while payments to Section 81 Healing Lodges totalled $4,819,479. Collectively, these expenditures represented 1.16% of CSC's total expenditures ($2,265M) in 2009/2010. When adjusted to exclude internal services, Healing Lodge expenditures accounted for 1.39% of CSC's direct program spending ($1,896M). Section 81 Healing Lodges were found to be a cost-effective option for offenders seeking culturally-focused reintegration. Opportunities for increasing efficiencies and lowering the cost of maintaining an offender within Healing Lodges should be considered in light of small economy of scale and the number of offenders requesting and eligible for transfer to a Healing Lodge.

Finally, taking into consideration that Healing Lodges are a component of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care and, therefore, are affected by broader issues concerning federal Aboriginal corrections, the evaluation team did not provide recommendations in this evaluation report. All recommendations, including those pertaining to Healing Lodges and areas of CSC operations affecting their implementation and effectiveness, will be formulated in the full evaluation of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections.

Key Findings

Evaluation Objective 1: Relevance

FINDING 1: Aboriginal men and women offenders are over-represented in the correctional system and have unique profiles of need and risk. Aboriginal over-representation is projected to increase in light of the socio-demographic characteristics of Aboriginal peoples and legislative amendments to the Criminal Code.

FINDING 2: Healing Lodges are an integral part of CSC's Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care implemented to address the specific needs of Aboriginal offenders that have led to their over-representation in the correctional system.

FINDING 3: The Healing Lodge approach is consistent with correctional and government-wide priorities and commitments.

FINDING 4: Healing Lodges operating under section 81 of the CCRA respond to CSC's legislative mandate to engage Aboriginal communities in providing custody and care to Aboriginal offenders. CSC-operated Healing Lodges emerged during the process of implementing section 81 of the CCRA, but are supported under a different legislative provision.

FINDING 5: Aboriginal-specific interventions and services provided within Healing Lodges address the criminogenic needs and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal offenders, thereby contributing to public safety.

Evaluation Objective 2: Performance

Theme One: Healing Lodge Operations

FINDING 6: There are specific challenges that prevent Healing Lodges from operating at maximum capacity. These challenges include a small number of Aboriginal offenders classified at the minimum security level, limited availability of Healing Lodges across CSC regions, their geographical isolation, and limited programming to address specific offender needs.

FINDING 7: The transfer of men offenders classified at the medium security level to Healing Lodges was not consistent with the selection criteria outlined in Healing Lodge agreements.

FINDING 8: In general, offenders admitted to Healing Lodges were committed to following a healing path. Accepting offenders who did not identify with Aboriginal traditions was viewed by the interviewees as a divergence from the original vision of the Healing Lodge.

FINDING 9: CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges differ considerably in terms of their operations and, as a result, face different challenges. For CSC-operated Healing Lodges, the main issues concern varying levels of cultural competency among staff and the incompatibility of CSC policies with the Healing Lodge vision and operational needs. For Section 81 Healing Lodges, additional human resources and improvements in community engagement were identified as areas for development.

FINDING 10: Turnover in management and front-line staff positions was reported to affect the continuity of operations in both CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges.

Theme Two: Aboriginal Continuum of Care

FINDING 11: Healing Lodges provide offenders with an environment focused on spirituality and healing, which is supported by Aboriginal-specific services and activities, and positive interactions between staff members and offenders and between offenders.

FINDING 12: Elders play a major role in delivering interventions and services to offenders in Healing Lodges. Providing Elder services to offenders on evenings and weekends and including Elders in case management teams were identified as an area of opportunity.

FINDING 13: Aboriginal Healing Lodges have a strong cultural and spiritual focus; however, educational services, vocational training and physical activities need strengthening to further holistic development of the offender and increase their potential for reintegration.

FINDING 14: The delivery of correctional and other programming differed between Healing Lodges. Some Healing Lodges reported developing local programs to reflect the needs of offenders and the community. In CSC-operated Healing Lodges, the rate of assignment, participation and completion of CSC national correctional programs was higher than in the comparison institutions.

FINDING 15: Offenders and staff members observed positive changes in residents of Healing Lodges, reporting improvements in offenders' knowledge of Aboriginal culture, as well as increases in offenders' self-awareness, self-control, motivation, personal responsibility, and pro-social attitudes. The rate of institutional incidents and charges was lower for Aboriginal offenders in Healing Lodges, compared to Aboriginal offenders in men's minimum and women's multi-level security institutions.

Theme Three: Collaboration with Aboriginal Communities

FINDING 16: Community awareness of Aboriginal Healing Lodges is generally high. Collaborative relationships exist between Healing Lodges and the community, although the amount and nature of collaboration vary. Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees identified a need to strengthen collaboration with Aboriginal communities, including developing partnerships that extend beyond the scope of Healing Lodge agreements.

FINDING 17: Reciprocal relationships between Healing Lodges and the community help offenders gain valuable skills to prepare for community living and provide the community with economic and social benefits. The logistics of these relationships, however, can be challenging, specifically regarding availability and training of community volunteers and opportunities for temporary absences for offenders.

Theme Four: Correctional Results

FINDING 18: Aboriginal offenders released from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges demonstrated greater improvements in criminogenic need indicators than Aboriginal offenders released from comparison institutions. These results were strongest for Aboriginal men released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

FINDING 19: Aboriginal men and women offenders from CSC-operated Healing Lodges were more likely to be granted discretionary release than Aboriginal offenders released from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. Conversely, offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges were more likely to be released on statutory release.

FINDING 20: Conditional releases from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women.

Theme Five: Economy

FINDING 21: Section 81 Healing Lodges are a cost-effective option for offenders seeking culturally-focused reintegration.

List of Acronyms

AID
Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate
CCRA
Corrections and Conditional Release Act
CD
Commissioner's Directive
CJIL
Criminal Justice Information Library
COMO
Cost of Maintaining an Offender
CPPR
Correctional Plan Progress Report
CRS
Corporate Reporting System
CSC
Correctional Service of Canada
DFAI
Dynamic Factors Identification and Analysis
ETA
Escorted Temporary Absences
FY
Fiscal Year
IFMMS
Integrated Financial and Material Management System
NMC
National Management Committee
OCI
Office of the Correctional Investigator
OMS
Offender Management System
RDC
Regional Deputy Commissioner
SDC
Senior Deputy Commissioner
SPAC
Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections
SPSS
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
TBS
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
UTA
Unescorted Temporary Absence
WED
Warrant Expiry Date

Introduction

In accordance with its Five-Year Evaluation Plan, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is conducting an evaluation of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections (SPAC). The objective of the evaluation is to assess the achievement of outcomes and impacts of the Strategic Plan in order to guide future strategic policy and resource decisions in the area of Aboriginal corrections. The evaluation will examine the extent to which CSC has been successful in achieving the three interrelated objectives of SPAC, namely:

  1. the implementation of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care (i.e., culturally-appropriate interventions and services aimed at addressing the specific criminogenic needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders);
  2. enhanced internal and external collaboration; and
  3. identification and removal of systemic barriers to ensure that Aboriginal offenders are successfully reintegrated into the community at the earliest possible time in their sentence conducive to public safety.

The evaluation will further assess CSC's progress in improving correctional outcomes for Aboriginal offenders and will make recommendations on ways to enhance the effectiveness and integration of interventions and services included in SPAC.

As part of the SPAC evaluation, CSC's Evaluation Branch will produce two deliverables. The present evaluation report is the first deliverable. This report examines the relevance and performance of CSC's Healing Lodges, which account for a significant portion of expenditures associated with SPAC and play an important role in improving correctional results for Aboriginal offenders. The Healing Lodges evaluation report addresses all core evaluation issues outlined in the government Policy on Evaluation (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat [TBS], 2009a).

1. Program Profile

1.1. Background

Aboriginal peoples are over-represented in the Canadian correctional system. Factors contributing to the Aboriginal over-population in corrections and the specific needs and profiles of Aboriginal offenders have been well-documented in the literature. Aboriginal communities have raised concerns regarding the efficacy of mainstream correctional services and interventions that do not address the specific needs of Aboriginal offenders. These considerations were highlighted in various government and independent review reports, such as the Task Force on Aboriginal Peoples in Federal Corrections (Solicitor General Canada, 1988), the Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General on Its Review of Sentencing, Conditional Release, and Related Aspects of Corrections (Daubney, 1988), Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women (CSC, 1990) and the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996). In response to, and consistent with, sections 79 to 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA; 1992) that present a legislative framework for CSC's Aboriginal corrections, CSC has moved towards incorporating Aboriginal spirituality in correctional operations and providing Aboriginal-specific interventions to federal offenders. Accordingly, one of CSC's key long-standing strategic priorities is to enhance its capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders.

In 2006, CSC developed a five-year Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections to improve correctional results for Aboriginal offenders. The Strategic Plan was implemented between fiscal years 2006/2007 and 2010/2011. The vision for SPAC was to ensure a federal correctional system that was responsive to the needs of Aboriginal offenders and that contributed to safe and healthy communities. This vision is based on the Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care model that reflects the continuum of correctional interventions and services developed to facilitate Aboriginal offenders' healing process and reintegration. In the process of implementing the Aboriginal Continuum of Care, CSC has made progress in enhancing offender assessment through healing plans and Elder assessments, in the delivery of Aboriginal-specific correctional programming, and in expanding living environments that use Aboriginal traditional healing approaches as a method of intervention for Aboriginal offenders, such as Pathways UnitsFootnote 1or Healing Lodges.

A Healing Lodge concept was initially proposed by the Native Women's Association of Canada (Press Release, 1990, as cited in Morin, 1993) in response to the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women's recommendation to develop an alternative correctional model that would respond to the needs of incarcerated Aboriginal women offenders. Following a series of consultations, CSC implemented this new approach in federal corrections for Aboriginal offenders in the mid-1990s. A description of the Healing Lodge concept and CSC's existing Healing Lodges is presented below.

1.2. Aboriginal Healing Lodges

Aboriginal Healing Lodges provide a structured living environment that incorporates Aboriginal spirituality and traditions in its operations and interventions. In Healing Lodges, the needs of offenders are addressed through Aboriginal teachings, traditions, and ceremonies, and contact with Elders and the community. A holistic philosophy governs the Healing Lodge concept, whereby offender programming is delivered within a context of community interaction, with a focus on healing, spiritual leadership and preparing for release. Healing Lodges are developed and operated in close collaboration with Aboriginal communities. The offenders residing in Healing Lodges are primarily Aboriginal, but non-Aboriginal offenders following a healing path are also accepted.

CSC presently has two types of Aboriginal Healing Lodges (CSC, 2008a):

  1. federal facilities operated by CSC as Healing Lodges (referred to as "CSC-operated Healing Lodges" in this report); and,
  2. facilities operated by Aboriginal communities through an agreement with CSC, under Section 81Footnote 2of the CCRA, for the provision of custody and care to offenders with the full transfer of administration of correctional services (referred to as "Section 81 Healing Lodges" herein).

At the time of this evaluation, there were four CSC-operated Healing Lodges and four Section 81 Healing Lodges providing correctional services in the Prairie, Pacific and Quebec Regions, with a combined capacity of 305 accommodation spaces. CSC-operated Healing Lodges can provide accommodation for up to 194 federal incarcerated offenders, which includes 44 beds for Aboriginal women offenders. Section 81 Healing Lodges can accommodate to up to 111 men federal offenders under Section 81 agreements, and may also provide services to federal offenders on conditional release and to provincial offenders. At the time of the evaluation, all Section 81 facilities were for men offenders only. A summary of Healing Lodges operating at the time of this evaluationFootnote 3is presented in Table 1.

Table 1 : Aboriginal Healing Lodges

  Opening Date Region, Province Aboriginal Nations
in agreement
Rural, Urban or Remote Bed Capacity (federal) Previous use of facility
CSC-operated
Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge 1995 Prairie, Saskatchewan Nekaneet First Nation Remote 44 N/A
Pê Sâkâstêw Centre 1997 Prairie, Alberta Samson First Nation
Ermineskin First Nation
Montana First Nation
Louis Bull First Nation
Rural 60 N/A
Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village 2001 Pacific, British Columbia Chehalis Indian Band Remote 50 Minimum Security Institution
Willow Cree Healing Lodge 2003 Prairie, Saskatchewan Beardy's First Nation
Okemasis First Nation
Rural 40 N/A
Section 81
Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge 1995 Prairie, Saskatchewan 12 First Nations members of the Prince Albert Grand Council Rural 5 N/A
Stan Daniels Healing Centre 1999 Prairie, Alberta Alexander First Nation
Enoch Cree Nation
Samson Cree Nation
Wesley Nakota First Nation
Saddle Lake First Nation
Urban 73 Community Correctional Centre
O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Healing Lodge 1999 Prairie, Manitoba O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation Rural 18 N/A
Waseskun Healing Center 2001 Quebec, Quebec N/A Rural 15 Community Residential Facility

Source: Information provided by Executive Directors of CSC's Healing Lodges (2011).

1.3. Governance Structure

The advancement of Aboriginal corrections and accountability for Aboriginal results within CSC falls under the responsibility of the Senior Deputy Commissioner (SDC). The SDC is responsible for providing leadership in integrating Aboriginal initiatives within the government-wide framework for the management of Aboriginal Affairs. The Director General of the Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate (AID) provides subject matter expertise, in consultation with the National Elders Working Group, on spiritual and cultural activities within CSC, including the development of strategies for interventions and services, as well as providing strategic advice on the development of intergovernmental initiatives. The Regional Deputy Commissioners (RDCs) are responsible for ensuring that interventions and services included in SPAC are implemented in their respective regions. The Assistant Deputy Commissioners of Institutional Operations, who report to the RDCs, provide direct supervision to the institutional heads of federal penitentiaries, including CSC's Healing Lodges.

At the institutional level, Executive Directors of Healing Lodges are responsible for their operation, management, and security. The Executive Director is the institutional head of the Healing Lodge facility, within the meaning of the CCRA, and reports to and is accountable to the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Institutional Operations. The Executive Directors have key leadership responsibilities in the continuity of care and the safe transition of Aboriginal offenders into the community, by ensuring that appropriate intervention strategies are in place within their facility. The Boards of Directors specific to each Healing Lodge include non-governmental Aboriginal members and CSC staff members, and have the responsibility to provide guidance, support and assistance to the Executive Director on the operation of the Healing Lodges as a correctional facility.

In the specific case of Section 81 agreements, the RDC is responsible for assessing proposals submitted by Aboriginal communities for the development of Section 81 Healing Lodges and providing a recommendation to a National Management Committee (NMC). The NMC is chaired by the SDC and includes the RDC (or his/her designate), the Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs, the Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives, representatives from Legal Services and others as deemed necessary. The NMC is responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving proposals under section 81. Final approval is granted when the Minister of Public Safety signs the agreement. The RDC is responsible for ensuring the management of the Section 81 agreement, including monitoring and reporting on operations and expenditures as stipulated in each respective agreement. The operations, staffing, and management of Section 81 Healing Lodges are the responsibility of the Board of Directors, which comprises elected members of the community that enters in a Section 81 agreement. The Board of Directors appoints a Director of Operations (also known as the Healing Lodge Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer) to manage the daily operations of the Healing Lodge. The Director of Operations has authorities similar to that of an institutional head within the meaning of the CCRA.

1.4. Financial Expenditures

Expenditures related to CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were extracted from CSC's financial database. In fiscal year 2009/2010, direct spending on CSC‑operated Healing Lodges totalled $21,555,037. Funding in the amount of $4,819,479 was provided in fiscal year 2009/2010 to Section 81 Healing Lodges according to the provisions of respective contractual agreements. Please refer to for a summary of expenditures associated with CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges for the period from 2007/2008 to 2009/2010.

Table 2. Expenditures Associated with CSC's Aboriginal Healing Lodges.

ExpendituresFootnote a FY 2007/2008 FY 2008/2009 FY 2009/2010
CSC-operated
Okimaw Ohci $5,858,647 $5,995,528 $6,365,378
Willow Cree $4,190,847 $4,270,780 $4,491,524
Pê Sâkâstêw $4,642,280 $5,496,833 $5,378,716
Kwìkwèxwelhp $5,059,948 $5,364,407 $5,319,419
Total CSC-operated $19,751,723 $21,127,548 $21,555,037
Section 81
Waseskun $999,801 $1,142,860 $1,096,359
Prince Albert $191,327 $202,479 $211,770
Stan Daniels $2,514,805 $2,477,660 $2,315,524
O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi $1,092,330 $1,082,183 $1,118,700
Total Section 81Footnote b $4,842,082 $4,926,284 $4,819,479
Total Healing Lodges $24,593,805 $26,053,832 $26,374,516

Notes:

Footnotes

Footnote a

All amounts include both salaries and Operating and Maintenance (O&M) expenditures.

Return to footnote a referrer

Footnote b

The sub-total of reported expenditures for Section 81 Healing Lodges is greater than the sum of individual allocations to four Healing Lodges due to additional expenditures associated with the operations of the Regional Headquarters.

Return to footnote b referrer

Source: Integrated Financial and Material Management System (IFMMS; 2010).

Overall, 2009/2010 expenditures on Aboriginal Healing Lodges represented 1.16% of CSC's total expenditures ($2,265M) in fiscal year 2009/2010. When adjusted to exclude internal services, Healing Lodge expenditures accounted for 1.39% of CSC's direct program spending ($1,896M) in 2009/2010.

1.5. Planned Results

There were a number of results expected for Aboriginal Healing Lodges. Immediate outcomes included the following:

  • Increased availability of, and increased Aboriginal offender participation in, culturally-appropriate interventions and services;
  • Development and completion of Aboriginal healing plans;
  • Increased understanding of, and connection to, Aboriginal culture and spirituality;
  • Improved attitudes and behaviours;
  • Active community participation in Healing Lodge operations and offender reintegration processes; and,
  • Greater awareness and acceptance of Healing Lodges within Aboriginal communities.

Intermediate outcomes included:

  • Decrease in Aboriginal offenders' criminogenic need indicators;
  • Increase in positive parole decisions for Aboriginal offenders; and,
  • Enhanced support structures for Aboriginal offenders in the community.

Ultimately, Healing Lodges are expected to contribute to the safe and successful transition of Aboriginal offenders into the community, as well as the increased capacity of Aboriginal communities to be engaged in providing and administering correctional services to offenders.

These expected results were incorporated into the evaluation matrix developed for the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections (Appendix A).

1.6. Evaluation Context and Purpose of the Evaluation

The evaluation of CSC's Aboriginal Healing Lodge was summative in nature and was conducted by the Evaluation Branch in accordance with TBS Evaluation Policy and Standards (TBS, 2009a; 2009b). Several evaluation and research studies have previously been completed to examine the effectiveness of individual Healing Lodges (Bell, 2008; Delveaux et al., 2007; Nafekh, Allegri & Li, 2006; Trevethan, Crutcher, Moore & Mileto, 2007; Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002; Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review Board, 2010). In 2008, CSC undertook an internal audit of the management of Section 81 agreements (CSC, 2008b). No comprehensive evaluation of two operational models of Healing Lodges, namely CSC-operated and Section 81, has been conducted to date.

The purpose of the present evaluation was, therefore, to examine the relevance and performance of Aboriginal Healing Lodges. Specifically, the present evaluation addressed the following core evaluation issues:

  1. continued relevance of, and need for, Aboriginal Healing Lodges, including their alignment with departmental and government priorities and federal roles and responsibilities;
  2. assessment of progress towards expected outcomes identified for Healing Lodges; and,
  3. demonstration of efficiency and economy of Healing Lodges.

As previously noted, this evaluation report was the first deliverable within the larger evaluation of SPAC. Consistent with the Terms of Reference developed for the overall SPAC evaluation, the evaluation of Healing Lodges used a theme-based approach to examining the activities and results of Healing Lodges and, subsequently, to presenting evaluation results. The SPAC themes were framed as results statements and were modified to reflect the specific objectives of Healing Lodges. These themes, together with corresponding results statements, are presented in the following section.

2. Evaluation Method

2.1 Scope of the Evaluation

The current evaluation focused on the relevance and performance of Aboriginal Healing Lodges. The evaluation used a mixed-method approach, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods and data analysis techniques to strengthen data triangulation and corroborate findings. A comprehensive evaluation matrix that includes evaluation questions, expected outcomes, performance indicators, and sources of data was developed for the larger SPAC evaluation and is provided in Appendix A.

At the outset of the current evaluation, the following expected results were identified under each evaluation objective:

Evaluation Objective #1: Relevance

  • Healing Lodges continue to address a demonstrable need within federal corrections and are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal offenders;
  • The objectives of Healing Lodges are consistent with federal government priorities and departmental strategic outcomes; and,
  • CSC and the government have a legitimate role in the delivery of Healing Lodges.

Evaluation Objective #2: Performance

  • Theme One: Healing Lodge Operations
    • Healing Lodges facilitate culturally-relevant operations within CSC and provide efficient and effectives services that are responsive to Aboriginal cultures and aimed at rehabilitation of Aboriginal offenders.
  • Theme Two: Aboriginal Continuum of Care
    • Healing Lodges provide culturally-appropriate interventions and services to respond to the diverse needs of Aboriginal men and women offenders and Aboriginal communities.
  • Theme Three: Collaboration with Aboriginal Communities
    • CSC enhances horizontal collaboration and coordination with Aboriginal communities, to contribute to Aboriginal community development and to help Aboriginal offenders initiate and sustain their healing journeys.
  • Theme Four: Correctional Results
    • Healing Lodges contribute to improving correctional results for Aboriginal offenders.
  • Theme Five: Economy
    • Healing Lodges are cost-effective and cost-efficient, and demonstrate value for money.

2.2 Evaluation Methodology

The evaluation utilized a mixed-method research design. Several lines of evidence were used to address evaluation issues and questions. Specifically, the following evaluation methods were used:

  • Literature and documentation review;
  • Analyses of automated offender data;
  • Structured interviews with Healing Lodge residents, management, staff members and community representatives; and,
  • Electronic questionnaires completed by CSC management and staff members.

Questionnaires and interview protocols developed for the evaluation were complementary in nature, with the purpose of triangulating information elicited from different respondent groups. The general profiles of survey respondents and interviewees are presented below, while more detailed profile information is provided in Appendix B.

2.3. Sample Composition and Participant Profiles

2.3.1 Study Groups for Quantitative Analyses

The sample for quantitative analyses of community correctional outcomes included Aboriginal offender conditional releases over a ten-year period from 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2010. The comparison groups were defined by the type of institution the offender was released from. Three comparison groups were constructed or Aboriginal men namely conditional releases from minimum security institutions, CSC-operated Healing Lodges and Section 81 Healing Lodges. Two comparison groups were constructed for Aboriginal women (i.e., conditional releases from women's multi-level institutions and the CSC-operated Healing Lodge for women). The following cases were excluded from the analysis: an offender release where the offender had a prior period of incarceration in a healing lodge of a different type (for example, where an offender was released from a CSC-operated Healing Lodge, but had a prior period of incarceration at a Section 81 Healing Lodge). Similarly, where an offender was released from a minimum security institution, but had been incarcerated in a healing lodge in the past, that release was excluded.

Note that a single offender may have contributed more than one release in the sample period. The final sample included 3,921 conditional releases that represented 2,637 Aboriginal offenders. In most cases, analyses were performed on the full sample, on information related to offender conditional releases. The unit of analysis was therefore an offender's conditional release, and not an individual offender. Please note that, for ease of presentation, some results are discussed in terms of "Aboriginal offenders" rather than "Aboriginal offender conditional releases" below.

Aboriginal men releases

The majority (82%; n = 1,909) of Aboriginal men offenders included in the evaluation accounted for one conditional release on the same sentence, with the rest accounting for two observations (15%; n = 350) and three to five observations (3%; n = 61). Two-thirds of Aboriginal men offenders on conditional release (62%; n = 1,739) had been released from minimum security institutions, 31% (n = 853) were from CSC-operated Healing Lodges and 7% (n = 204) had been released from Section 81 Healing Lodges. In general, Aboriginal men offenders on conditional release from the three comparison groups were comparable in terms of offender profiles of sentence type (determinate or indeterminate), sentence length, previous involvement in federal corrections and time spent in their respective comparison institutions. Aboriginal offenders on conditional release were also comparable on levels of overall risk and reintegration potential assessed prior to the transfer to the institution. They differed, however, on the types of offence (Schedule I, Schedule II or sexual offence)Footnote 4and levels of overall need and motivation assessed prior to transfer to a releasing institution. Of note, a smaller proportion of Aboriginal offenders released from minimum security institutions had high need and high motivation, compared to those released from all Healing Lodges. A detailed comparison of Aboriginal offenders on conditional release from CSC-operated Healing Lodges, Section 81 Healing Lodges and minimum security institutions is presented in Appendix B.

Aboriginal women releases

One-half (52%; n = 338) of Aboriginal women offenders accounted for a single conditional release on the same sentence, 29% (n = 189) contributed to two observations, 16% (n = 107) contributed to three observations and a small proportion (3%; n = 21) accounted for four to six observations. The majority of Aboriginal women offenders on conditional release (79%; n = 892) were from women's multi-level security institutions and 21% (n = 233) were from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge for women. Aboriginal women offenders on conditional release from the two comparison groups did not differ on sentence-related characteristics, such as sentence type (determinate or indeterminate), sentence length, offence type (Schedule I or Schedule II) and time spent in the comparison institutions. There were, however, significant differences in terms of levels of motivation and reintegration potential assessed at intake (please refer to the Limitation section). Specifically, a smaller proportion of Aboriginal women offenders released from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge were high need and high risk, compared to women offenders on conditional release from women's multi-level security institutions. Similarly, conditionally released Aboriginal women from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge had greater proportions of high motivation and high reintegration potential and were also less likely to be repeat federal offenders.

Offender population data

To complement qualitative data and quantitative analyses of community correctional outcomes, the evaluation team retrieved a series of year-end snapshots of offender population data from CSC's Offender Management System (OMS), a computerised case file management database used by CSC, the National Parole Board, and other criminal justice partners, to manage information on federal offenders throughout their sentences.

Rate-based data

To calculate the rates of Aboriginal offender participation in CSC's correctional programs, temporary absence program, and involvement in institutional incidents during fiscal years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010, counts of these events were extracted from OMS. The rates were then calculated based on the common denominator to arrive at the comparable rate (i.e., number of events per 100 Aboriginal offenders per year) across all comparison groups. Specifically, for Aboriginal men offenders, the calculated rates were compared between CSC-operated Healing Lodges, Section 81 Healing Lodges and minimum security institutions. For Aboriginal women offenders, the calculated rates were compared between the CSC-operated Healing Lodge and multi-level security institutions.

2.3.2 Healing Lodge Interviews

Healing Lodge staff and management profiles

In total, 36 staff and management representatives from CSC-operated (61%; n = 22) and Section 81 Healing Lodges (39%; n = 14) were interviewed. Interviewees represented the following Healing Lodges: Willow Cree Healing Lodge (n = 12), Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village (n = 10), Waseskun Healing Centre (n = 9), and Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge (n = 5). Correspondingly, nearly one-half (47%; n = 17) were from the Prairie Region, and approximately one-quarter were from the Pacific (28%; n = 10) and Quebec (25%; n = 9) Regions. Healing Lodge staff and management interviewed held various positions, including Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Aboriginal Correctional Program Officer, Institutional Parole Officer, Caseworker/Case Manager, Elder's Helper, Correctional Officer, Managers of Programs and Assessment and Intervention, Correctional Manager, and Healing Lodge Executive Directors.

Healing Lodge resident profiles

A total of 38 men offenders were interviewed. Two-thirds of interviewees (68%; n = 26) were residing in CSC-operated Healing Lodges, more specifically in Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village (37%; n = 14) and Willow Cree Healing Lodge (32%; n = 12). One-third of interviewees (32%; n = 12) were residing in Section 81 Healing Lodges, Waseskun Healing Center (21%; n = 8) and Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge (11%; n = 4). The majority (92%; n = 35) of Healing Lodge residents interviewed self-identified themselves as Aboriginal, predominantly of First Nations descent (89%; n= 31). Please refer to Appendix B for further details.

Community representative profiles

The evaluation team interviewed nine (9) community representatives, the majority of whom were involved in the operations of CSC-operated Healing Lodges and a smaller percentage representing Section 81 Healing Lodges. Community representatives included members of the Healing Lodge Board of Directors, Senate Advisory Committee, or Citizenship Advisory Committee, or served the Healing Lodge in an advisory capacity. Given the small number of interviewees, the distinct characteristics of this group, and in order to safeguard their confidentiality, interview responses were integrated in the report without the count of the responses or the distinction between Healing Lodges.

2.3.3. Electronic Questionnaire

CSC management profiles

CSC's institutional, community and regional management were invited to complete an on-line questionnaire pertaining to Aboriginal corrections. In total, 76 management representatives responded. The respondents included Wardens (20%; n = 15), Managers of Assessment and Intervention (15%; n = 11), Program Managers (15%; n = 11) and smaller numbers of Deputy Wardens, Assistant Wardens, District Directors, Area Directors, and Healing Lodge Executive Directors. One-third (32%; n = 24) of survey respondents were from the Prairie Region, 26% (n = 19) were from the Ontario Region, 18% (n = 13) were from the Pacific Region, 8% (n = 6) were from the Quebec Region, 5% (n = 4) were from the Atlantic Region, and 11% (n = 8) were from Regional or National Headquarters (refer to Appendix B).

CSC staff member profiles

A total of 106 CSC staff members completed an on-line questionnaire pertaining to Aboriginal corrections. Respondents mostly held the positions of Institutional Parole Officer (26%; n = 27), Community Parole Officer (20%; n = 21), and Aboriginal Liaison Officer (20%; n = 21), with smaller numbers of Correctional Program Officers, Aboriginal Correctional Program Officers, Aboriginal Community Development Officers and other positions. The vast majority of respondents (91%; n = 95) indicated they directly worked with or supervised Aboriginal offenders. Close to two-thirds (60%; n = 64) of respondents represented institutional operations, one-third (36%; n = 38) represented community operations and a small number (4%; n = 4) was from National and Regional Headquarters. Among respondents involved in community and institutional operations, approximately one-third were from the regions of Ontario (32%; n = 34) and Prairies (31%; n = 33); the remaining participants represented the Pacific (18%; n = 19), Quebec (12%; n = 13) and Atlantic (7%; n = 8) Regions. One-half (52%; n = 55) of staff respondents indicated that they self-identified as Aboriginal persons, more specifically of First Nations descent (38%; n = 40).

2.3.4. Document Review

To inform the development of the analytical framework for the evaluation and to provide context for the findings, the evaluation team conducted a review of pertinent documentation and academic literature pertaining to Aboriginal corrections. The documents reviewed included:

  • Internal and external evaluation, research, statistical and audit reports on Aboriginal Healing Lodges and broader issues concerning Aboriginal corrections and the needs of Aboriginal offenders;
  • Healing Lodge fact sheets provided by Executive Directors of eight Healing Lodges;
  • CSC strategic documents and operational plans related to the issues of Aboriginal corrections (e.g., Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections, Aboriginal Corrections Accountability Strategy, National Action Plan on Aboriginal Corrections, Reports on Plans and Priorities, Departmental Performance Reports and others);
  • Commissioner's Directives and related policy guidelines;
  • Documents eliciting government-wide priorities and plans; and,
  • Relevant peer-reviewed and greyFootnote 5 literature.

2.4. Measures: Procedures and Analyses

2.4.1. Semi-Structured Interviews

Interviews were conducted during the months of November and December 2010. The evaluation team visited four Healing Lodge sites, where face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with Healing Lodge residents, staff members, management and community representatives in the official language of the interviewee's choice. The evaluation team developed four complementary versions of interview guides.Footnote 6 All versions included questions eliciting perspectives on the accomplishments and challenges of Healing Lodge operations, community engagement, offender progress, and the involvement of Elders. The interviews included primarily open-ended questions in order to provide respondents with greater flexibility and opportunities for story-telling that respect Aboriginal oral traditions and communication styles (Johnston, 2008; Kenny, Faries, Fisk & Voyageur, 2004). A series of closed-ended questions was also introduced for comparative purposes between respondent groups.

To facilitate access to interviewees, the evaluation team contacted senior management at each of the four Healing Lodge sites visited. One Healing Lodge representative from each site assisted with interview arrangements. The list of Healing Lodge residents, staff members, management and community representatives for interviews was finalized in consultation with the Healing Lodge representative, based on their availability and willingness to participate in the evaluation.

In total, 83 individuals were interviewed across four Healing Lodge sites. Data from interview protocols were entered into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Word for analysis. Qualitative data were inductively and independently analyzed across interview questions by two members of the evaluation team to identify relevant themes. The final list of theme codes was constructed by consensus and is reported in the relevant sections of this report.Footnote 7 Qualitative responses were included in the evaluation report, when the number of respondents who identified a particular theme was notably high or when, notwithstanding lower numbers, the theme was raised consistently by all or most interviewee groups, including Healing Lodge staff members and management, residents and also community representatives. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive analysis techniques. Frequencies and percentages were calculated based on the number of valid responses to the question.

2.4.2. Electronic Questionnaires

Electronic questionnaires for CSC management and staff members were created using Snap Survey software. The questionnaires were administered through CSC's Intranet site (InfoNet), where they could be completed on-line in the official language of the respondent's choice during the months of November and December 2010. Alternatively, e-mail versions were also created to accommodate those individuals without Internet access. In an effort to increase the response rate, targeted reminder follow-up emails were sent at least 10 days prior to submission deadline. Questionnaire versions for CSC management and staff members were complementary in nature and included many matching questions. Unlike Healing Lodge interview protocols that focused primarily on the operations and impacts of Healing Lodges, on-line questionnaires aimed to elicit a larger-scale perspective on federal Aboriginal corrections within the context of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections and also included several questions specific to Healing Lodges. Electronic questionnaires were comprised of a combination of closed-ended and open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions consisted of 4 or 5-point Likert-type scales, as well as dichotomous and categorical items.Footnote 8 The questionnaires were piloted within the Evaluation Branch and were approved by the SPAC evaluation consultative group and reviewed by the AID.

A targeted electronic mail invitation, including a link to the questionnaire, was distributed in both official languages directly to prospective respondents' e-mail addresses. The target groups for the management survey included Wardens, Deputy Wardens, Assistant Wardens (Operations and Interventions), Managers of Operations, Managers of Assessment and Interventions, Programs Managers, Executive Directors of Healing Lodges and Aboriginal Community Residential Facilities, District Directors, Area Directors, and Regional Administrators of Aboriginal Initiatives. For CSC staff members, e-mail invitations were sent to Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Aboriginal Correctional Program Officers, Correctional Program Officers, Pathways Unit Coordinators, Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers, Aboriginal Community Development Officers, Institutional Parole Officers, and Community Parole Officers. Prospective respondents were identified using CSC's internal distribution lists, distribution lists provided by AID and the Human Resources Business Processes, Systems and Reporting Directorate, as well as searched by the position title in CSC's internal e-mail address book.

In total, 106 individuals completed the staff questionnaire and 76 individuals completed the management questionnaire. Data were exported into SPSS. Qualitative and quantitative data from both questionnaires were analyzed using comparable analyses techniques as for Healing Lodge interviews described above.

2.4.3. Correctional Outcomes

In order to assess the impact of Healing Lodges on the successful reintegration of Aboriginal offenders into the community, the evaluation examined three types of correctional outcomes: change in criminogenic need indicators, rates of discretionary releases,Footnote 9and the likelihood of failure while on conditional release. Comparison groups were established to examine correctional outcomes. Specifically, for Aboriginal men, correctional outcomes were compared between conditional releases from CSC-operated Healing Lodges, Section 81 Healing Lodges and minimum security institutions. For Aboriginal women, the comparison group included conditional releases from the CSC‑operated Healing Lodge for women and women's multi-level security institutions.

To assess change in offenders' criminogenic need areas, criminogenic need scores were taken from the assessments completed prior to an offender's admission to the releasing institution for Aboriginal men offenders and from intake assessment for Aboriginal women offenders (please refer to the Limitation section), and immediately after their release into the community in order to capture an offender's entire residency in the releasing institution. Statistical analyses were conducted for each of seven criminogenic need areas, based on the proportion of need assessment ratings that improved (i.e., decreased) between the two assessments. The logistic regression procedureFootnote 10was used to examine the likelihood of the decrease in each need area pre-test to post-test.Footnote 11 Assessments based on the more recent Dynamic Factors Identification and Analysis (DFIA)-Revised were not included due to incompatibilities between the pre- and post-test codes as a result of revisions of the assessment tool.Footnote 12

To examine the likelihood of discretionary release grants, the evaluation team used multiple logistic regression models.Footnote 13 This approach was used to examine the effects of the type of the releasing institution (i.e., Healing Lodges versus minimum and multi-level security institutions) on the type of conditional release. Offenders released from Healing Lodges and comparison institutions differed on a number of profile characteristics. Specifically, levels of overall need and motivation assessed prior to the transfer to the correctional facility were included as covariatesFootnote 14 in analyses for Aboriginal men offenders. In addition to these two covariates, analyses concerning Aboriginal women offenders also included levels of overall risk and reintegration potential assessed at intake. Finally, analyses were restricted to an offender's first release from the correctional facility.

For analyses of conditional release failure outcomes, the evaluation team used the sequential Cox proportional hazards regression model.Footnote 15 This approach was used to examine the effects of Healing Lodges and several covariates, known to be associated with re-offending (see, for example, Gendreau et al., 1996; Johnson, 2005). Statistical analyses performed for conditional releases among Aboriginal men and women offenders were fitted so that they only included covariates that were found to be significantly associated with the outcomes (Tabachnik & Fidell, 2001). Initially, the following contributing factors were included in all analyses: age at release; type of conditional release (day parole versus other types of release); levels of overall need, risk, reintegration potential and motivation assessed prior to release; and, previous federal sentences.

2.4.4. Economy

Analyses were conducted to examine the cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of providing correctional services via Aboriginal Healing Lodges. Specifically, conclusions regarding the cost of maintaining an offender (COMO) in CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were made, and opportunities for maximizing the efficiency of Healing Lodge operations were explored. Financial and bed utilization records for fiscal year 2009/2010 were included in the analyses.

2.5. Limitations

The present evaluation focused exclusively on Aboriginal Healing Lodges and did not examine the effectiveness of alternative models of providing structured living environments that use Aboriginal traditional healing approaches as a method of intervention. For example, as part of the Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care, Pathways Transition Units or Transition Houses are offered at five minimum security institutions for men.Footnote 16 These living units have been gradually implemented since 2002 and accommodate between 6 and 28 offenders (Jensen & Nafekh, 2009a). Pathways Transition Units focus on cultural, traditional and ceremonial practices and are guided by Elders.

Although every Healing Lodge is unique given its history of inauguration and development, relationships with surrounding Aboriginal communities and differences in Aboriginal culture, time and resource constraints precluded visits to all eight operating Healing Lodges. Alternatively, the evaluation team focused on four Healing Lodges, two CSC-operated and two Section 81 facilities, which had not been previously evaluated. Recent evaluation and research reports were available to the evaluation team for the remaining Healing Lodges and were perused to draw parallels and conclusions. The evaluation team selected interviewees for the evaluation in consultation with Healing Lodge management, based on their availability and interest in participating in the interview process. Considering cultural protocols, the evaluation team approached the participation of community members through the nominated Healing Lodge representatives. Based on the interviewee availability and consent to participate in the evaluation, only nine interviews were completed.

Several limitations deserve acknowledgement with regards to the examination of the impact of CSC's Healing Lodges on community correctional outcomes. First, only Aboriginal offender releases were included in the evaluation's study groups for quantitative analyses. Non-Aboriginal offenders represent less than one-fifth of Healing Lodge residents; however, the evaluation team deemed this exclusion to be appropriate taking into consideration the larger scope and objectives of the SPAC evaluation. Second, only releases concerning Aboriginal offenders residing in Healing Lodges with incarceration status were examined in outcomes analyses. This limitation pertained primarily to the release group from Section 81 Healing Lodges, since these facilities also provide correctional services to offenders under community supervision. Finally, one offender could have contributed to multiple releases in quantitative analyses (see subsection 2.3.1: Study Groups for Quantitative Analyses). To address this limitation, the evaluation included all offender releases, not limited to the first release.

Further, the evaluation team was not able to examine the impact of offender participation in the entire Aboriginal Continuum of Care that included participation in Pathways Units in addition to participation in Healing Lodges. At the time of the evaluation, automated data on offenders residing in Pathways Units were unavailable; new OMS data fields to record entry and exit dates from a Pathways Unit have been recently implemented in response to the recommendation from the Pathways Units' evaluation (Jensen & Nafekh, 2009a). Once sufficient data become available, future research should examine the cumulative effect of exposure to the entire Aboriginal Continuum of Care on community correctional outcomes.

Lack of available information in OMS posed additional challenges for the evaluation. For example, new data fields were available in OMS to identify offenders following a healing path, and offenders being informed of and expressing interest in pursuing a transfer to a Section 81 Healing Lodge facility. These data fields, however, were incomplete. A number of offender criminogenic need scores assessed through the Correctional Plan Progress Reports (CPPR) were also missing due to the change in CSC's offender assessment processes. Furthermore, analyses of offender profiles and change in criminogenic needs concerning Aboriginal men offenders were based on the DFIA scores assessed prior to transfer to a releasing institution, namely a CSC-operated Healing Lodge, Section 81 Healing Lodge or minimum security institution, and immediately after release on community supervision from the releasing institution. These analyses concerning Aboriginal women offenders, however, were based on the offender assessments completed at intake and immediately after release on community supervision, given that women offenders do not transfer to lower levels of security institutions. This resulted in a longer period of time between pre- and post-assessments.

Finally, information available on the development and operations of Healing Lodges differed substantially. The evaluation team, therefore, approached eight Healing Lodge Executive Directors with a request to provide pertinent information in the form of a standardized Healing Lodge fact sheet. Although fact sheets were prepared by all Healing Lodges, the extent to which the presented information was comprehensive is not known.

3. Key Findings

3.1. Evaluation Objective One: Relevance

The extent to which a program addresses a demonstrable need, is appropriate to the federal government, and is responsive to the needs of Canadians (TBS, 2009a).

In considering the overall relevance of CSC's Healing Lodges, the following areas were examined:

  1. the representation and profiles of Aboriginal offenders in correctional systems;
  2. CSC's approach to Aboriginal corrections and Aboriginal offenders' healing;
  3. consistency of the Healing Lodge model with government-wide and departmental priorities and federal roles and responsibilities; and, finally,
  4. the relevance and responsiveness of Healing Lodges to the needs of Aboriginal offenders and public safety.

Accordingly, the findings were framed to reflect the core issues of relevance as per the TBS Evaluation Policy requirements (TBS, 2009b).

FINDING 1: Aboriginal men and women offenders are over-represented in the correctional system and have unique profiles of need and risk. Aboriginal over-representation is projected to increase in light of the socio-demographic characteristics of Aboriginal peoples and legislative amendments to the Criminal Code.

Aboriginal Offender Representation in Corrections

The over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in Canada's federal correctional system is well-documented, and has been steadily increasing over the past decade (refer to Figure 1). In 2009/2010, Aboriginal offenders represented 17.9% (N = 3,989) of those serving a federal sentence, although Aboriginal peoples comprise less than 4% of the Canadian population (Statistics Canada, 2008a). The over-representation of Aboriginal offenders varied across CSC regions in 2009/2010, ranging from 7.3% in the Quebec Region to 39.2% in the Prairie Region. Appendix C presents the regional representation of Aboriginal offenders, as well as the geographical distribution of Aboriginal populations across Canada. As presented in Appendix C, the percentage of Aboriginal offenders in each CSC region was disproportionately higher than the regional Aboriginal population.

Notably, the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal offenders has been higher among the incarcerated offender population compared to the population of offenders under community supervision. In 2009/2010, of 13,028 incarcerated offenders, one in five (20.2%; n = 2,629) was of Aboriginal ancestry. Among 8,145 of offenders supervised in the community, one in seven (13.7%; n = 1,097) was an Aboriginal offender. The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women offenders was even greater. As seen in Figure 1, incarcerated Aboriginal women represented the highest increase among federal offender subgroups. The number of incarcerated Aboriginal women increased 131% between fiscal years 1998/1999 and 2009/2010, from 71 to 164 women.

Figure 1. Federal Offender Population: Proportion of Aboriginal Offenders.

Figure 1. Federal Offender Population: Proportion of Aboriginal Offenders.

Figure 1 - Source: CSC Corporate Reporting System (2010).

This line graph presents the proportion of Aboriginal offenders serving a federal sentence in custody and under community supervision from 1998/1999 to 2009/2010.

The graph demonstrates that the proportion of Aboriginal male and female offenders has steadily increased over this time period.

The Y axis identifies the proportion of Aboriginal offenders (by percentage), and the X axis contains time points (by fiscal year).

Solid lines with diamonds identify incarcerated Aboriginal male offenders, and solid lines with triangles identify incarcerated Aboriginal females.

Solid lines with squares identify Aboriginal male offenders in the community, and solid lines with circles identify Aboriginal female offenders in the community.

In 1998/1999, Aboriginal male offenders constituted 16.8% of incarcerated male offenders and 10.5% of male offenders supervised in the community, while Aboriginal female offenders represented 20% of incarcerated female offenders and 12.6% female offenders supervised in the community.

These proportions have increased steadily by year and, in 2009/2010, 20.2% of incarcerated federal male offenders were Aboriginal, 13.5% of male offenders supervised in the community were Aboriginal, 32.6% of incarcerated female offenders were Aboriginal, and 17.6% of female offenders supervised in the community were Aboriginal.

Apart from the federal correctional system, Aboriginal offenders are over-represented in remand, provincial and territorial custody and community supervision (Perreault, 2009). Aboriginal youth also have greater involvement with the criminal justice system than their non-Aboriginal peers (Brzozowski, Taylor-Butts & Johnson, 2006; Latimer & Foss, 2004). Moreover, the phenomenon of Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system is not unique to Canada. The Māori peoples of New Zealand (New Zealand Department of Corrections, 2007), Indigenous Australians (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009) and Native Americans in several U.S. States (see, for example, Alaska Department of Corrections, 2009; Hawai'i Department of Public Safety, 2008; Montana Department of Corrections, 2010; South Dakota Department of Corrections, 2009) are all over-represented among the incarcerated population in their respective jurisdictions.

The factors associated with Aboriginal offender over-representation are multi-faceted and complex. Theory and research suggest that greater social, historical and economic difficulties and instability experienced by Aboriginal peoples contributed to their over-population in the correctional system. Such difficulties include lower levels of educational attainment, employment and income, significant health and substance abuse issues, systemic racism and stereotyping, the establishment of the reserve system, governments' assimilation policies that resulted in Aboriginal peoples' alienation from their land and culture, and, multi-generational effects of the residential school and child welfare systems (Barlow, 2009; Blagg, Morgan, Cunneen & Ferrante, 2005; Johnson, 2004; LaPrairie, 1996; Moore, 2003; Perreault, 2009; Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996; Statistics Canada, 2006; Trevethan et al., 2003; Weatherburn, 2008; Weatherburn, Snowball & Hunter, 2006).

These unique backgrounds and circumstances of Aboriginal peoples were acknowledged in the seminal Supreme Court of Canada Gladue case (R. v. Gladue, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 688). In this case, the appellant claimed that the judge, when sentencing her for manslaughter, did not take into consideration her Aboriginal status. As such, the judge did not follow the sentencing principles laid out in s.718.2(e) of the Criminal Code (1985), which called for

"all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders".

The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that, notwithstanding whether or not an Aboriginal person lived on a reserve, all cases must consider unique systemic factors and backgrounds of an Aboriginal person in sentencing and sanctions (R.v.Gladue, 1999). Following the 1999 Supreme Court decision, CSC defined its Gladue principles to ensure that an Aboriginal offender's social history was also considered at all levels of decision-making in the correctional context (CSC, 2008a).

Profiles of Aboriginal Offenders

According to the 2010 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview (Public Safety Canada, 2010), federal Aboriginal offenders differed from their non-Aboriginal counterparts on numerous characteristics. Specifically, Aboriginal offenders were found to be younger than non-Aboriginal offenders, with a median age of 29 and 33, respectively. More Aboriginal offenders (81%) were serving sentences for violent offences compared to non-Aboriginal offenders (66.3%) and, correspondingly, were more likely to be classified at the medium or maximum security levels (85.9%) than non-Aboriginal offenders (78.5%). Once in the federal correctional system, Aboriginal offenders were found to be more likely incarceratedFootnote 17 and have lower parole grant rates for both day and full parole.Footnote 18 Research has further indicated that Aboriginal offenders have greater needs in criminogenic need domains than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, particularly in the areas of employment and education, family relations, substance abuse, personal/emotional orientation and social associations (see, for example, Moore, 2003; Perreault, 2009).

Although comprehensive data on Aboriginal offenders' social history are not available, several CSC and Canada Centre for Justice Statistics studies have underscored the specific circumstances and distinct profiles of Aboriginal offenders. For example, compared to non-Aboriginal offenders, Aboriginal offenders tend to have lower levels of education and employment (Perreault, 2009); greater engagement in the residential and child welfare systems, including adoption, foster and group homes (Trevethan, Moore, Auger, MacDonald & Sinclair, 2002), higher rates of spousal, family and community victimization and particularly violent victimization in adolescence (Brzozowksi, et al., 2006; Perreault, Sauvé & Johnson, 2010), greater involvement in gang membership (CSC, 2010c), and higher suicides rates (CSC, 2010d).

The differences noted above in the profiles of Aboriginal offenders suggest that they are at a higher risk to re-offend (Johnson, 2005). In this respect, higher recidivism rates have been documented in the literature for both Aboriginal men offenders (Bonta, Rugge & Dauvergne, 2003) and Aboriginal women offenders (Gobeil & Robeson-Barrett, 2007) compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Similarly, CSC's Aboriginal Corrections Milestones Reports (CSC, 2006c; 2009b) and the Aboriginal Accountability Year-End Report (CSC, 2010b) found that Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have conditional releases revoked while on community supervision and were more frequently re-admitted to federal custody following their Warrant Expiry Dates (WED) than non-Aboriginal offenders.

Projections of Aboriginal Offender Population Levels

According to projections reported by Statistics Canada, the Aboriginal population is expected to increase annually at an average rate of 1.8%, which corresponds to more than double the 0.7% growth rate of the total population in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2005). Of note, the number of Aboriginal adults in the 20-29 age group – the group with the greatest potential for criminal activity and incarceration (Statistics Canada, 2008b) – is projected to increase by 41.9%, compared to the 8.7% projected growth of the young adult population in Canada. Although the demographic profile only partially explains Aboriginal representation in corrections (Perreault, 2009), Statistics Canada projections suggest that the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples among Canada's offender population is likely to continue to grow, particularly in the west and north where the Aboriginal population is highest (Statistics Canada, 2005).

In addition to the demographic increase in Aboriginal populations, the number of Aboriginal offenders in the federal correctional system will be impacted by the Government of Canada's recent criminal justice initiatives. Specifically, The Tackling Violent Crime Act (2008) and The Truth in Sentencing Act (2009) are expected to result in more offenders receiving a federal sentence and in longer sentences for federal offenders. CSC projects its inmate population levels to increase to 18,684 by the end of fiscal year 2014/2015 (CSC, 2010a). The projected growth includes the usual expected offender population growth of approximately 1% for men offenders and 2.8% for women offenders, plus an additional 3,828 offenders predicted to result from the implementation of The Tackling Violent Crime Act and The Truth in Sentencing Act. Furthermore, the largest increase is expected in the Prairie Region, which houses the majority of CSC's Aboriginal incarcerated offenders. CSC foresees a need of 726 additional accommodation spaces in the Prairie Region (CSC, 2010a). Expansion plans are underway at the Willow Cree Healing Lodge for an additional 40 beds, at Edmonton Institutions for 96 beds, and at Riverbend Institution for 50 beds (CSC, 2011).

FINDING 2: Healing Lodges are an integral part of CSC's Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care implemented to address the specific needs of Aboriginal offenders that have led to their over-representation in the correctional system.

Over the past two decades, CSC's strategic priorities have focused on enhancing its ability to meet the needs of Aboriginal offenders that have led to their continual over-representation in the federal correctional system. CSC has established what is now referred to as the Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate and has launched a number of strategies and initiatives to advance Aboriginal issues.

In 2003, CSC adopted the Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care (CSC, 2006a). The Continuum of Care was developed to ensure continuity of services for offenders from intake to federal custody through to release into the community on conditional release and after sentence expiration. CSC later developed its Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections (2006a) with the goal to implement the Aboriginal Continuum of Care and ensure that the federal correctional system responds to the needs of Aboriginal offenders and communities. Important groundwork has since been laid in accommodating the practice of Aboriginal spirituality and culture within federal corrections. Specifically, offender assessment has been enhanced through healing plans, Aboriginal-specific programming has been delivered in institutional and community settings, Aboriginal‑specific positions (e.g., Elders, Aboriginal Correctional Programs Officers, Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Aboriginal Community Development Officers) have been created to work with Aboriginal offenders, and structured cultural living environments for Aboriginal offenders (i.e., Pathways Units, Aboriginal Healing Lodges) have been expanded.

Aboriginal Healing Lodges constitute a core component of the Aboriginal Corrections Continuum of Care model, linking institutional interventions and community reintegration (see Figure 2). The development of Healing Lodges as a means to promote offenders' healing was first identified by the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women (1990) and was reinforced by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996).

CSC policy states that

"the purpose of a Healing Lodge/Village is to provide a healing community that utilizes a culturally-based holistic healing process which contributes directly to the safe and effective reintegration of Aboriginal offenders"

(CSC, 2008a, s.48). A holistic approach to healing that reflects Aboriginal peoples' spirituality and traditions is incorporated into all operations of the Healing Lodge. Services provided by Healing Lodges include Aboriginal-specific programming and ceremonies (for example, smudges, sweat lodges, healing circles, pipe ceremonies, sun dances), contact with Elders and Aboriginal communities, and interaction with Aboriginal staff members who act as positive role models for offenders. Healing Lodges emphasize individualized interventions for each offender, which are documented in the offender's healing plan, developed by the Healing Lodge case management team and the offender prior to the transfer to the Healing Lodge.

In addition to providing a holistic healing environment for Aboriginal offenders, Healing Lodges serve as a means to integrate Aboriginal communities and Bands into correctional operations and governance. The international community has recognized CSC's Healing Lodges as an innovative healing-based approach to corrections and offender rehabilitation that integrated Aboriginal values, knowledge and practices in correctional operations (Nielsen, 2003). A scan of international correctional practices revealed that other jurisdictions also provided cultural living/therapeutic community intervention models for Aboriginal offenders; however, unlike Healing Lodges, those were fully operated by state correctional systems (University of Saskatchewan, 2011).

Figure 2. Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model.

This figure represents the Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model, which was developed to ensure the continuity of services for offenders from intake to federal custody through to release into the community on conditional release as well as after sentence expiration.

Figure 2 - Source: Service correctionnel du Canada. Plan stratégique relatif aux services correctionnels pour Autochtones : innovation, apprentissage et adaptation : 2006-07 à 2010-11, Ottawa (Ontario), Direction des initiatives pour les Autochtones, auteur, 2006a

Figure 1. Federal Offender Population: Proportion of Aboriginal Offenders.

Figure 2 - Source: CSC Corporate Reporting System (2010).

This figure represents the Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model, which was developed to ensure the continuity of services for offenders from intake to federal custody through to release into the community on conditional release as well as after sentence expiration.

The model shows how activities at the corporate, institutional, and community level contribute to the continuum’s four core principles of care, which are

  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Reintegration
  • Pre-and-Post Incarceration Prevention

The Aboriginal Continuum of Care model is composed of two layers which encircle a quartered circle in the middle, which is referred to as a Medicine Wheel.

The Medicine Wheel will be described in greater detail later in this description.

The outermost layer begins at the center left part of the model and goes in a clockwise direction and finishes at the center bottom with an arrow pointing to the left.

The inside top left of this layer is labelled “corporate” and represents activities that occur at the corporate level, which contribute to the transitional support of offenders and reduction in recidivism. These activities are:

  • Statistical Analysis
  • Monitoring
  • Research
  • Evaluation
  • Program Development
  • Policy

The inside top right of this outermost layer is labelled “institution” and represents activities occurring at the institutional level.

At the institutional level, the actors, activities and services that contribute to the four core principles of care for the Aboriginal Continuum of Care model are:

  • The Incorporation of spirituality and culture
  • Case management
  • Program delivery
  • Pathways
  • Gangs initiative
  • Parole officers
  • Health, safety and security services
  • Healing Lodges

Between the outermost layer and Medicine Wheel that shows the continuum’s four core principles of care is a concentric circle, which is labelled “community”. It highlights the aspect of community engagement, which is necessary in providing transitional support as well as achieving reductions in recidivism.

The actors and activities occurring at the community level and which foster the community engagement aspect of the continuum include:

  • Aboriginal Community Development officers (ACDOs)
  • Urban Reintegration
  • Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections Conditional Release Act (CCRA)
  • Prevention and support
  • Transition to the community

At the centre of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model is the quartered circle briefly discussed earlier in this description, which is referred to as a Medicine Wheel.

The Medicine Wheel at the centre of the continuum model resembles the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel for health that outlines, from an Aboriginal perspective, the four core principles of health, which are:

  • Physical health
  • Intellectual health
  • Spiritual health
  • Emotional health

The Medicine Wheel, found at the centre of the Continuum of Care, reflects research findings that culture, teachings and ceremonies, which are core aspects of Aboriginal identity, appear critical to the healing process.

The Medicine Wheel represents the cycle of life from conception to return to the Spirit World and is a reminder that correctional interventions developed and implemented for Aboriginal offenders must take into consideration the past, the present and the future direction of Aboriginal peoples as a whole and of the Aboriginal person as an individual.

The Medicine Wheel at the center of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care, like the Medicine Wheel for health, takes a holistic approach in outlining the approach of the Aboriginal Continuum of Care Model. It outlines the following four core principles of care of Aboriginal offenders that is to occur from intake through to release into the community. The principles are:

  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Reintegration
  • Pre and Post incarceration prevention of re-offending

These four core principles form a circle and as a whole, through the activities carried out at the corporate and institutional levels as well as those carried out in and by the community, contribute to overall transitional support and reduction in recidivism.

 

FINDING 3: The Healing Lodge approach is consistent with correctional and government-wide priorities and commitments.

Healing Lodges are directly related to two of CSC's long-standing strategic priorities, namely,

"Enhanced capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit offenders"

and

"Safe transition of offenders into the community"

(CSC, 2009c), as well as the most recent priority,

"Productive relationships with increasingly diverse partners, stakeholders, and others involved in public safety"

(CSC, 2010e). Healing Lodges provide a wide spectrum of Aboriginal-specific interventions that aim to improve correctional results for Aboriginal offenders and to facilitate their reintegration. These interventions include spiritual services and counselling, group therapy, correctional programming and reintegration support. As such, Healing Lodges contribute to the attainment of CSC's strategic priorities, as well as help mitigate several of CSC's corporate risks (CSC, 2009c). Specifically, providing culturally-appropriate services within Healing Lodges is a part of CSC's corporate risk mitigation strategy to address the gap in correctional results between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders. Healing Lodges further contribute to CSC's achievement of an effective and representative workforce by employing Aboriginal peoples, including those from reserve communities. Finally, Healing Lodges continue to actively engage Aboriginal communities and partners in the provision of services and resources to Aboriginal offenders.

The government's independent review panel of federal corrections (CSC Review Panel, 2007) conducted an extensive assessment of CSC's priorities and operations and made several recommendations related specifically to providing correctional services to Aboriginal offenders. The review panel recognized the need for broader implementation of Aboriginal-specific interventions and for a longer-term community release strategy for Aboriginal offenders. It suggested that CSC be responsive to the disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders through appropriate, Aboriginal-specific measures. Of note, the review panel made three recommendations specific to Aboriginal Healing LodgesFootnote 19 and concluded that Healing Lodges must continue to be an

"integral part of the Aboriginal community's commitment to safe reintegration"

(p.89).

To address the panel's recommendations, and thereby strengthen Aboriginal corrections, CSC embarked on its Transformation Agenda. Two of CSC's Transformation Agenda Priority Plans - Transformation Priority No. 6:

"Increase capacity to address the needs of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit offenders",

and Priority No.11:

"Enhance relationships with partners"

(CSC, 2009c) – support the Healing Lodge approach and the Government of Canada's commitment to work with Aboriginal communities to advance Aboriginal issues (Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs Canada, 2010). Most recently, as part of its Transformation Agenda, CSC has made investments in the expansion of Pathways Units that will double Pathways capacity (CSC, 2010j). In 2009-2010, there were 715 offenders residing in Pathways Units (CSC, 2010b). A recent evaluation of the Pathways Units initiative (Jensen & Nafekh, 2009a) underscored the importance of an Aboriginal continuum of care and made a specific recommendation for CSC to consider transferring offenders participating in Pathways Units to Healing Lodges or Pathways Transition Units, where they would be able to further their healing journey. As a result, there may be an increase in the demand for transfers to Healing Lodges among offenders residing in Pathways Units who wish to engage in the full Aboriginal Continuum of Care.

FINDING 4: Healing Lodges operating under section 81 of the CCRA respond to CSC's legislative mandate to engage Aboriginal communities in providing custody and care to Aboriginal offenders. CSC-operated Healing Lodges emerged during the process of implementing section 81 of the CCRA, but are supported under a different legislative provision.

The CCRA (1992) governs Canada's federal corrections and sets forth the legislative framework for CSC's operations. Sections 79 to 84 of the CCRA relate directly to Aboriginal corrections and cover such aspects as:

  • Aboriginal-specific programming (section 80);
  • the role of Aboriginal communities in providing correctional services to Aboriginal offenders (section 81);
  • the establishment of Aboriginal advisory committees (section 82);
  • the implementation of Aboriginal culture and spirituality in the correctional environment (section 83); and,
  • the release of offenders to Aboriginal communities (section 84; Appendix D).

Section 81 of the CCRA allows the Minister of Public Safety to enter into an agreement with an Aboriginal community for the provision of correctional services to Aboriginal offendersFootnote 20 and for payment in respect to the provision of those services. Offenders may be transferred to the care and custody of an Aboriginal community, with the consent of the offender and the Aboriginal community. This legislative provision has been seen as a positive step toward improving partnerships with Aboriginal communities (Bennet, 2000; Mann, 2009). The first Healing Lodge for women was established in 1995 (Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge) and for men in 1997 (Pê Sâkâstêw Centre), both in the Prairie Region. Initially, CSC assumed their operation, anticipating the eventual transfer of correctional administration to the Aboriginal community.

Since the late 1990s, CSC has been carrying out section 81 discussions with Aboriginal communities. The 2001 National Action Plan on Aboriginal Corrections (CSC, 2001) placed a priority on the development of Aboriginal community residential capacity through Healing Lodges. The action plan included a status report on section 81 discussions that involved a total of 25 Aboriginal communities and groups. The majority of these discussions were in preliminary stages and did not materialize due to a lack of capacity within Aboriginal communities to engage in the development and implementation of community-based correctional alternatives or a lack of community interest in pursuing section 81 (CSC, 2006a).Footnote 21 In 2005, CSC conducted an assessment of the capacity of the Nenakeet Band of Indians to enter into a Section 81 agreement with CSC to manage the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge and concluded that the Band did not possess the required capacity at the time (CSC, 2005). Two of the existing Section 81 facilities had been temporarily closed to restructure and strengthen their capacities and operational practices.Footnote 22 Conversely, Aboriginal communities may not necessarily express interest in the full transfer of the administration of correctional services under a Section 81 agreement (Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review Board, 2010). As a result, CSC‑operated Healing Lodge facilities have not been transferred under the responsibility of an Aboriginal community and have remained CSC minimum security institutions for men and a multi-level security institution for women. CSC Healing Lodges and Healing Villages were later defined in Commissioner's Directive (CD) 702: Aboriginal Offenders as

"a Healing Lodge operated by CSC in cooperation with an Aboriginal community. These facilities may or may not be located on First Nations' reserve land"

(CSC, 2008a, s.47).

Presently, there are eight Aboriginal Healing Lodges across Canada, one of which provides custody and care to Aboriginal women. Four of these Healing Lodges operate under the section 81 provision of the CCRA, with a total bed capacity of 111 federal men offenders.Footnote 23 Each Section 81 Healing Lodge has an agreement with CSC, signed by the Minister of Public Safety and the Aboriginal organization or community representatives. The other four Healing Lodges are CSC-operated facilities with a capacity of 194 beds, 44 of which are for women offenders. Each of the CSC-operated Healing Lodges has a Memorandum of Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding between the Aboriginal Band representative(s) and the Minister of Public Safety or the Commissioner of Correction, and also by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs for the use of reserve land, if applicable.

Following a recent internal audit of the management of Section 81 agreements (CSC, 2008b), it was determined that CSC should develop specific policies establishing a management framework for Section 81 Healing Lodges.Footnote 24 Furthermore, the performance measurement, monitoring and financial control mechanisms were found to be in need of strengthening. In response, CSC developed two policy guidelines specific to Section 81 facilities to supplement existing Commissioner's Directives – Guideline 541-2:Negotiation, Implementation and Management of CCRA Section 81 Agreements (CSC, 2010f), and Guideline 710-2-1:CCRA Section 81: Admission and Transfer of Offenders (CSC, 2010g). The latest reports of the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) highlighted the need to ensure greater Aboriginal community involvement through section 81 of the CCRA, and recommended that the use of this provision be increased to its fullest and intended effect (Mann, 2009; Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2010).

FINDING 5: Aboriginal-specific interventions and services provided within Healing Lodges address the criminogenic needs and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal offenders, thereby contributing to public safety.

Results of previous research have consistently demonstrated that correctional interventions and services are most effective when they target identified criminogenic needs of offenders ("need" principle), match offenders' level of risk to intensity of service ("risk" principle), and are administered in a manner that is consistent with offenders' specific characteristics, such as learning style and cultural context ("responsivity" principle; Andrews & Bonta, 2006; Andrews, Bonta & Hoge, 1990; Bonta & Andrews, 2007; Dowden & Andrews, 2004). The "responsivity" principle has been highlighted as being of particular importance in the context of Aboriginal corrections (Kunic & Varis, 2009; Mason, 2000; Rugge, 2006; Wormith & Oliver, 2002).

The empirical research base examining the effectiveness of Aboriginal-specific interventions is evolving. Nonetheless, several studies demonstrated that Aboriginal programming was equally or more effective for Aboriginal offenders than mainstream types of correctional interventions that were not Aboriginal-specific (Kunic & Varis, 2009; Nathan, Wilson & Hillman, 2003; Sioui & Thibault, 2001; Stewart, Hamilton, Wilton, Cousineau & Varrette, 2009; Trevethan, Moore & Allegri, 2005; Weekes & Millson, 1994). Further, other studies documented the transformative nature of Aboriginal ceremonies, particularly sweat lodges practices, in corrections (Brault, 2005; Mason, 2000). For example, Brault (2005) noted that offenders reported changes in personal healing, gained positive self-perception and a sense of belonging, as well as self-control and an ability to trust and care for others.

Several analyses have been conducted to specifically examine the impacts of Healing Lodges on Aboriginal offenders, Aboriginal communities and the public. The following relevant conclusions could be drawn from these analyses. First, the studies reported high levels of offender and staff satisfaction with the Healing Lodge and with the reintegration prospects they presented (Bell, 2008; Trevethan et al., 2007; Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002). Second, Healing Lodges furthered offenders' healing journeys and allowed for better self-understanding, anger and emotion management, and improved attitudes and behaviours (Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002). Third, participation in Healing Lodges appeared to have contributed to successful offender transition into the community. Although CSC research studies reported early in the initial operation of Healing Lodges that a larger proportion of Healing Lodge residents were re-admitted to federal custody upon release than the comparison group (Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002), more recent studies found Healing Lodge reintegration levels to be commensurate with those of the comparison group (Delveaux et al., 2007; Nafekh et al., 2006; Trevethan et al., 2007). Finally, Healing Lodges developed important ties to Aboriginal communities that benefited Healing Lodge residents (Delveaux et al., 2007).

Consistent with these findings, Healing Lodge residents interviewed for this evaluation almost unanimously (97%; n = 37) agreed that the time spent in the Healing Lodge met their needs. The majority (74%; n = 17) of Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees supported offender responses, noting that offender needs have been met well by the cultural and spiritual activities offered in the Healing Lodge, community contact, and interaction with staff members who follow Aboriginal traditional teachings. Finally, the majority of CSC managers (89%; n = 57) and staff members (79%; n = 72) who completed electronic questionnaires similarly expressed the view that offender participation in Healing Lodges was making 'substantial' or 'moderate' contributions to successful Aboriginal offender reintegration into the community. Respondents rated Healing Lodges as one of the most important contributions amidst a series of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal interventions and services available to federal offenders.

Collectively, these findings suggest that traditional teachings and Aboriginal culture must be regarded as one of the foundations for interventions and rehabilitation services provided to Aboriginal offenders, particularly within a Healing Lodge environment. The evaluation found that Healing Lodges demonstrated their continued relevance by addressing the criminogenic needs and spiritual well-being of Aboriginal offenders, responding to the needs of Canadians and public safety, and being consistent with correctional and government-wide priorities and commitments.

3.2. Evaluation Objective Two: Performance

The extent to which effectiveness, efficiency and economy are achieved by a program (TBS, 2009a).

The evaluation followed a theme-based approach to assessing the performance of CSC's Healing Lodges. As presented in the Evaluation Methodology section, the following five key themes were addressed in the present evaluation:

  • Theme 1: Healing Lodge Operations
  • Theme 2: Aboriginal Continuum of Care
  • Theme 3: Collaboration with Aboriginal Communities
  • Theme 4: Correctional Results
  • Theme 5: Economy

To draw conclusions about the performance of Aboriginal Healing Lodges, the evaluation examined the extent to which result commitments associated with each of the five themes were achieved. Relevant findings are presented and discussed below. As per the TBS Policy on Evaluation (2009b), these findings cover the areas of progress toward expected immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes and the assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and outcomes.

3.2.1. Theme One: Healing Lodge Operations

Expected Result: Aboriginal Healing Lodges facilitate culturally-relevant operations within CSC and provide efficient and effective services that are responsive to Aboriginal cultures and aimed at rehabilitation of Aboriginal offenders.

FINDING 6: There are specific challenges that prevent Healing Lodges from operating at maximum capacity. These challenges include a small number of Aboriginal offenders classified at the minimum security level, limited availability of Healing Lodges across CSC regions, their geographical isolation, and limited programming to address specific offender needs.

At the time of the evaluation, CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges had the combined capacity to provide custody and care to 305 federal incarcerated offenders, via 111 accommodation spaces available in Section 81 Healing Lodges and 194 accommodation spaces in CSC-operated Healing Lodges. The transfer of offenders to CSC-operated Healing Lodges is defined by CSC policy suites and Healing Lodges' Memoranda of Agreement and Understanding. Admission and transfer to a Section 81 Healing Lodge are specified in Section 81 Healing Lodge agreements and in Guideline 710-2-1:CCRA Section 81: Admission and Transfer of Offenders (CSC, 2010g). In general, transfer criteria to Healing Lodges are consistent with the principle that the transfer is primarily aimed at benefiting the rehabilitation gains of an Aboriginal offender, taking public safety into consideration. Accordingly, offenders must:

  • be classified at the minimum security level or, in rare cases, at the medium security level, as well as require a low degree of supervision and present a low probability of escape and a low risk to public safety in the event of escape; and,
  • be committed to their healing plans and to following a healing journey.

Importantly, offenders must express interest in being transferred to a Healing Lodge and be accepted by the Executive Director.

To examine the extent to which CSC presents with a sufficient number of offenders potentially eligible to transfer to a Healing Lodge, the evaluation examined several areas, including the number of offenders meeting transfer security classification criteria. Although all Healing Lodges may provide correctional services to non-Aboriginal offenders, non-Aboriginal offenders were not included in this analysis.Footnote 25

First, the evaluation team extracted the profiles of Aboriginal offenders to examine their security classification and, more specifically, the number of Aboriginal men classified at the minimum security level.Footnote 26 and Aboriginal women offenders classified at the minimum or medium security level.Footnote 27 A 2009/2010 year-end snapshot of all incarcerated federal Aboriginal men and women offenders was used.
Table 3 presents the number of Aboriginal men offenders classified at the minimum security level and the number of Aboriginal women offenders classified at either the minimum or medium security level according to their most recent classification, by region. The table also includes the number of Healing Lodge beds available across CSC Regions for comparative purposes.

Table 3. Number of Aboriginal Offenders Meeting Healing Lodge Security Classification Requirements, FY 2009/2010.

  Aboriginal Men Aboriginal Women
CSC Region Classified at Minimum Security Level
N
Healing Lodge Beds

N
Classified at Minimum or Medium Security Level

N
Healing Lodge Beds

N
Atlantic 14 - 7 -
Quebec 35 15 10 -
Ontario 27 - 20 -
Prairies 198 196 69 44
Pacific 64 50 9 -
Total 338 261 106 44
Source: OMS (2010).

As seen in Table 3, at current capacity levels, the number of beds available in Healing Lodges could potentially accommodate 77% of 338 incarcerated Aboriginal men offenders classified at the minimum security level and 42% of 106 incarcerated Aboriginal women classified at the minimum or medium security level in 2009/2010. However, the number of beds in the Prairie Region, where the majority of Healing Lodges are concentrated, is almost equal to the number of potentially eligible Aboriginal offenders based on the security classification criterion alone.

Furthermore, offenders interested in transferring to a Healing Lodge must follow a healing path and be committed to their healing plans and to the Healing Lodge's philosophy. Although no comprehensive data were available to the evaluation team to assess offender interest in potential transfer to a Healing Lodge and their involvement in the healing process, some data could be used as a proxy indicator. For example, research studies have previously reported that the majority of, but not all, Aboriginal offenders were engaged in Aboriginal cultural and spiritual activities and followed a healing path. Trevethan and colleagues (2000), for example, reported that 80% of offenders reported being engaged in cultural activities, while Johnson (1997) found a rate of 87%. Recently, CSC has begun identifying offenders who follow a healing path in OMS. According to available data, two-thirds (69%; n = 415) of Aboriginal men offenders and more than one-half (57%; n = 59) of Aboriginal women offenders were identified as following a healing path. In a scenario in which 70% of Aboriginal offenders with appropriate security classification would express interest in a transfer to a Healing Lodge (refer to Table 3), men's Healing Lodges would not have a sufficient number of offenders to operate at maximum capacity. A women's Healing Lodge may have the sufficient number of potentially eligible offenders; however, only one Healing Lodge for women exists across CSC regions and is located in a remote area. Healing Lodge occupancy rates across fiscal years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010 are presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Healing Lodges Occupancy Levels, by Number of Beds Filled Daily.

Healing Lodge Bed Capacity 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010
CSC Operated
Kwìkwèxwelhp 50 32.92 (66%) 32.06 (64%) 33.19 (66%)
Pê Sâkâstêw 60 46.39 (77%) 44.08 (73%) 44.04 (73%)
Willow Cree 40 35.18 (88%) 36.82 (92%) 37.77 (94%)
Okimaw Ochi 44 29.64 (67%) 36.12 (82%) 34.04 (77%)
Section 81
Prince Albert 5 4.92 (98%) 5.42 (108%) 4.18 (84%)
O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi 18 15.55 (86%) 19.34 (107%) 15.57 (87%)
Stan DanielsFootnote a 73 33.97 (47%) 31.96 (44%) 20.71 (28%)
Wakeskun 15 14.02 (93%) 12.76 (85%) 12.51 (83%)

Footnotes

Note: The numbers presented reflect average daily number of beds filled by incarcerated offenders over the course of the year and do not include beds occupied by offenders on parole or provincial offenders. Data are based on total offender time while in the Healing Lodge, not on snapshot data or offender transfers.

Footnote a

Pursuant to the Section 81 agreement, the Stan Daniels Healing Centre provides 73 beds for federal offenders that include beds for federal inmates and also conditionally-released offenders. Based on the information provided by the Executive Director, the bed capacity of the Centre is distributed as follows: 35 beds for Section 81 inmates and 38 beds for offenders under community supervision. The number presented in the table and used for calculations are based on the Section 81 agreement.

Return to footnote a referrer

As presented in Table 4, the evaluation found that, in 2009/2010, the overall Healing Lodge bed occupancy level was 66%, ranging from 66% to 94% in CSC-operated Healing Lodges and from 28% to 87% in Section 81 Healing Lodges, excluding offenders on community supervision.

Previous evaluations (Delveaux et al., 2007; Nafekh et al., 2006) also identified that available bed space in Healing Lodges was not utilized to full capacity. Responses from CSC staff members through an on-line questionnaire provided some indication regarding potential issues affecting the transfer of Aboriginal offenders to Healing Lodges. Specifically, CSC staff members commented on a lack of interest or inquiry from the offenders (39%; n = 21); insufficient numbers of offenders meeting Healing Lodge transfer criteria due to their security classification or difficult behaviour (36%; n = 19); unavailability of Healing Lodge facilities in the region or their remote locations (25%; n = 13); and a lack of specific programming in Healing Lodges that meets the needs of offenders (25%; n = 13). The latter was also noted in the study by Delveaux and colleagues (2007).

Considering issues described above, the majority of staff member respondents (47%; n = 50) indicated they would encourage only some Aboriginal offenders to pursue transfer to a Healing Lodge, while 12% (n = 13) reported they would not encourage this type of transfer and 17% (n = 18) indicated they would encourage all Aboriginal offenders. Low staff and management awareness of Healing Lodges was identified as potentially problematic by a smaller number of CSC staff member respondents (19%; n = 10). Although only several CSC managers commented on the issues concerning Healing Lodges in their questionnaire, they similarly noted issues of limited availability of Healing Lodge facilities, a small number of offenders meeting the minimum security classification requirement, and low awareness of Healing Lodges and their services.

FINDING 7: The transfer of men offenders classified at the medium security level to Healing Lodges was not consistent with the selection criteria outlined in Healing Lodge agreements.

In accordance with offender transfer policies and protocols for CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges discussed above, offenders admitted to a Healing Lodge must present a low risk to public safety in the event of an escape and must require a low degree of supervision of their activities within the Healing Lodge environment. At the same time, Guideline 710-2-1:CCRA Section 81: Admission and Transfer of Offenders (CSC, 2010g) states that, in rare cases, Healing Lodges, namely Section 81 facilities, may accept offenders with a medium security classification. In this evaluation's sample extracted from OMS for quantitative analyses, 16 Aboriginal men offenders classified at the medium security level were transferred to Section 81 Healing Lodges. This constituted 8% of all transfers to Section 81 facilities. Twenty-five Aboriginal men offenders classified at the medium security level, or 3% of transfers, were admitted to men's CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

Previous evaluation studies (Delveaux et al., 2007; Nafekh et al., 2006), however, indicated that the transfer of men offenders assessed at the medium security level to the Healing Lodge was not consistent with the Healing Lodge selection criteria. Specifically, offenders are classified as medium security when they are assessed by CSC as: presenting a low to moderate probability of escape; a moderate risk to the safety of the public in the event of escape; and, requiring a moderate degree of supervision (CCRA, 1992; CSC, 2010h). As previously discussed, the number of Aboriginal offenders classified at the minimum security level is comparatively small.

This issue was noted by one-third (36%; n = 19) of CSC staff members who completed an Aboriginal corrections questionnaire, who commented that transfers to a Healing Lodge were, at times, not feasible due to an offender's security classification or difficult behaviour. In fact, inappropriate security classification and poor behavioural and motivational history were identified as the most commonly cited reasons for not accepting offenders into Healing Lodges (CSC, 2008b). Furthermore, as one respondent suggested,

"Healing lodges are considered minimum security facilities and, as such, transfer policies provide that the offender meets the criteria for [a] minimum security rating. The security classification does not seem to take into account the 'Gladue Decision' and allow for consideration as it relates to public safety".

Questions pertaining to the cultural appropriateness of offender security classification assessment scales and practices and the application of Gladue principles in correctional decisions have previously been raised by the OCI (Mann, 2009). The overall SPAC evaluation will examine the issue of offender security classification, specifically in the context of Aboriginal corrections.

FINDING 8: In general, offenders admitted to Healing Lodges were committed to following a healing path. Accepting offenders who did not identify with Aboriginal traditions was viewed by the interviewees as a divergence from the original vision of the Healing Lodge.

Although nearly all Healing Lodges staff members interviewed (96%; n = 23) identified that offenders transferred to the Healing Lodge were, at least, somewhat committed to following their healing plans, one-third (33%; n = 12) of staff members and management commented on the need to admit appropriate offenders – those who were committed to the Healing Lodge philosophy and to their healing journeys. These staff members noted that some offenders were not engaged in the cultural and spiritual activities provided by the Healing Lodge and were interested in the transfer for other reasons. To address this, staff members reported that they used various techniques to increase offenders' understanding of Aboriginal culture and participation in cultural activities, for example, formal and informal discussions with the offender, using healing circles or ceremonial approaches, and connecting the offender with the Elder or Elder's Helper. Several staff members (29%; n = 7) also commented that offenders from Pathways Units adjusted well to the Healing Lodge environment, given their high levels of interest and participation in cultural interventions and activities. Among Healing Lodge residents interviewed by the evaluation team, one-third (34%; n = 13) indicated they had participated in the Pathways Units initiative. A recent evaluation of Pathways Units (Jensen & Nafekh, 2009a) concluded that offenders who participated in Pathways would benefit from a continuum of care and recommended that CSC considered transferring participants in these units to Healing Lodges or to Pathways Transition Units where they could continue their healing.

Importantly, in the present evaluation, greater communication with institutional case management teams, including communication between Healing Lodge Elders and institutional Elders, was identified as an important opportunity for development by interviewed Healing Lodge staff members (38%; n = 9), as well as being noted in previous evaluations (Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002; Trevethan et al., 2007). Offender selection and communication with institutions were similarly named by some interviewed community representatives who underscored the importance of following a full continuum of Aboriginal teachings. Finally, a small number of Healing Lodge residents also stressed the importance of offender screening, so that only offenders who were committed to and following Aboriginal teachings would be accepted.

Further, the evaluation team examined the proportions of non-Aboriginal offenders residing in Healing Lodges. The proportion of beds occupied by non-Aboriginal offenders with incarceration status fluctuated considerably from fiscal years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010. Specifically, the average proportion of non-Aboriginal offenders was 17% during this time period. However, as much as 47% of non-Aboriginal offenders were residing in a Healing Lodge in a given year (refer to Table 5). On average, the proportion of non-Aboriginal offenders across three fiscal years in CSC-operated Healing Lodges ranged from 14% to 16%, and the proportion at Section 81 Healing Lodges was comparable each year, ranging from 15% to 23%. Previous evaluations (Nafekh et al., 2006; Trethevan et al., 2007) reported similar trends with regards to the proportions of non-Aboriginal offenders residing in Healing Lodges. It was noted that, although Section 81 of the CCRA, Section 81 agreements and CSC policies provide an opportunity for non-Aboriginal offenders to participate in Healing Lodges, transfers to Healing Lodges were primarily

"aimed to benefit the rehabilitation gains of an Aboriginal offender"

(CSC, 2008a) and to provide a holistic healing environment to address their specific needs.

Table 5. Proportions of non-Aboriginal Offenders in Healing Lodges.

Healing Lodge 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010
CSC-operated
Kwìkwèxwelhp 28% 19% 20%
Pê Sâkâstêw 18% 15% 13%
Willow Cree 4% 3% 3%
Okimaw Ochi 15% 20% 25%
Total CSC-Operated 16% 14% 15%
Section 81
Prince Albert 0% 0% 0%
O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi 7% 9% 9%
Stan Daniels 36% 38% 47%
Wakeskun 0% 7% 10%
Total Section 81 15% 21% 23%
Total Healing Lodges 16% 17% 17%

Note: The proportions presented in the table reflect the total number of beds occupied daily by non-Aboriginal offenders. Data are based on total offender time while in the Healing Lodge, not on snapshot data or offender transfers.

FINDING 9: CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges differ considerably in terms of their operations and, as a result, face different challenges. For CSC-operated Healing Lodges, the main issues concern varying levels of cultural competency among staff and the incompatibility of CSC policies with the Healing Lodge vision and operational needs. For Section 81 Healing Lodges, additional human resources and improvements in community engagement were identified as areas for development.

CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges operate under different legislative frameworks and, thus, differ in operational practices. CSC-operated Healing Lodges are CSC institutional facilities for federally incarcerated offenders, of which three are classified as minimum security facilities for men and one as a multi-level (medium and minimum) security facility for women. As such, CSC-operated Healing Lodges follow policies and procedures pertaining to the operation of CSC institutions and offender management. These include security procedures, offender case management and reporting, correctional and other programming, staffing and personnel training, and participation in regional and national groups and committees, among others. CSC-operated Healing Lodges are also guided by agreements signed with Aboriginal communities and may include provisions outside those set forth for other CSC institutions, such as a requirement for the employment of members from the Aboriginal community.

Conversely, the operations of Section 81 Healing Lodges are defined primarily by Section 81 agreements between the Government of Canada and the Aboriginal community that is involved in the provision of correctional services. Following an audit of the management of Section 81 agreements (CSC, 2008b), CSC developed a set of specific policy guidelines for negotiating and managing these agreements (CSC, 2010f), as well as offender transfers to and from Section 81 facilities (CSC, 2010g). In general, Section 81 Healing Lodges provide a more dynamic security environment than CSC‑operated Healing Lodges. Offender case management and interventions are primarily delivered by caseworkers/case managers and Elder's Helpers. Residents in Section 81 Healing Lodges may take on a number of roles to support the operations of the facility apart from cultural and spiritual activities, such as cooking or assisting with maintenance. A notable distinction of Section 81 Healing Lodges is that they also accept offenders on conditional release, including those on release to Aboriginal communities under Section 84 of the CCRA, as well as provincial offenders.

For the purposes of this evaluation, Healing Lodge staff members and management interviewed from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were asked to identify areas of Healing Lodge operations they considered contributed most to offenders' healing and reintegration, as well as areas of operations that required strengthening. The beneficial aspects of the Healing Lodge identified by staff and management interviewees were comparable between the two types of Healing Lodges and included the following: a focus on healing and access to Aboriginal interventions and services in Healing Lodges (50%; n = 16); pro-social interactions between staff members and offenders (50%; n = 16); the presence of a positive environment (47%; n = 15); culturally-sensitive team‑based approaches to case management (34%; n = 11); and, opportunities to engage with the community (28%; n = 9).

Staff and management's perspectives regarding challenges and areas of improvement were, however, more reflective of whether the Healing Lodge was CSC-operated or Section 81. Fifty-two percent (n = 12) of Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees from CSC-operated Healing Lodges noted discrepancies between CSC institutional policies and procedures and the operational needs of a traditional Healing Lodge. Specifically, these interviewees commented that CSC policies did not provide sufficient flexibility for the inclusion of Aboriginal culture, such as the use of tobacco and ceremonial protocols, hospitality expenses, or the work of Elders, into Healing Lodge operations. Some interviewees noted that CSC policies were not followed and applied consistently in the Healing Lodge. Of note, responses shared by community representatives also emphasised the importance of maintaining the cultural integrity of CSC-operated Healing Lodges and the security of the community, while balancing the needs of CSC policy.

The second issue raised by interviewees from CSC-operated Healing Lodges pertained to levels of cultural competency among its staff. Specifically, 39% (n = 9) of staff and management interviewees underscored that not all staff members understood the history and the vision behind Healing Lodges and/or followed Aboriginal traditions. This perspective was shared by Healing Lodge resident interviewees, one-third of whom (34%; n = 9) noted that some staff members were not supportive of the traditional healing methods used in the Healing Lodge due to a limited understanding of, and connection to, Aboriginal culture. As a response, some staff members and managers interviewed suggested an increase in the availability of Aboriginal awareness training for staff to enhance the level of cultural competency among Healing Lodge personnel. The suggestion was also made to develop staffing procedures that assessed cultural awareness and competency. A previous evaluation on CSC-operated Healing Lodges (Trevethan et al., 2007) similarly identified a lack of involvement in cultural and spiritual activities by some Healing Lodge staff members and the need to provide training on Aboriginal culture to all staff.

Section 81 Healing Lodges staff and management interviewees expressed a need for the enhancement of Section 81 human resource capacity, both in terms of the number of staff members required to facilitate offender programming and case management (38%; n = 5), and increased opportunities for training regarding Healing Lodge procedures, CSC policies and culturally-sensitive approaches to dealing with Aboriginal offenders (38%; n = 5). Community involvement in Section 81 Healing Lodge operations was also identified as a potential area for enhancement, as more than half (54%; n = 7) of staff members and management interviewed emphasised the need for Healing Lodges to improve community outreach activities and work towards connecting offenders with community resources. Almost two-thirds of interviewees (62%; n = 8) noted that awareness and acceptance of the Healing Lodge is high in the community; however, nearly half of interviewees (46%; n = 6) observed a need for enhanced community collaborative relationships. These relationships are discussed further in Theme Three: Community Collaboration.

FINDING 10: Turnover in management and front-line staff positions was reported to affect the continuity of operations in both CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges.

Since commencing their operations in mid-1990s and early 2000s, CSC-operated Healing Lodges and Section 81 Healing Lodges have experienced high rates of staff turnover, particularly at the Executive Director level. Several reviews have previously highlighted a need for improved stability in the management of CSC-operated Healing Lodges (Trevethan et al., 2007; Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review Board, 2010). These reviews also identified the impacts of leadership turnover as it affected the continuity of community relationship building, consistency of protocols and procedures, loss of corporate memory, and impacted staff morale.

Similarly, one-fourth (25%; n = 9) of Healing Lodge management and staff members interviewed for this evaluation identified turnover in management and front-line positions as an area for development. A few interviewees expressed the view that stability in leadership could be improved by establishing long-term, permanent staffing practices for senior management positions, thereby creating a foundation of continued leadership in the Healing Lodge. Several staff and management interviewees from CSC-operated Healing Lodges suggested that turnover in Healing Lodge management may be a result of the lower classification of the management positions in the CSC-operated Healing Lodges compared to those in other federal correctional institutions. That is, Wardens in minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women are classified as executive positions, whereas the position of Executive Director of a CSC‑operated Healing Lodge fall under the government's administrative services group. Compensation for Executive Director positions within Section 81 Healing Lodges is defined according to the provisions of Section 81 agreements. The level of compensation is similar to that in the non-profit sector and is considerably lower than in CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

In addition to management turnover, front-line staff turnover was also identified by several interviewees (19%; n = 7) as a source of instability affecting Healing Lodge operations, particularly in Section 81 Healing Lodges. Staff and management interviewees from Section 81 Healing Lodges identified a lack of job security and benefits as contributing factors to staff turnover, which was consistent with previous evaluation findings (Delveaux et al., 2007).

3.2.2. Theme Two: Aboriginal Continuum of Care

Expected Result: Healing Lodges provide culturally-appropriate interventions and services to respond to the diverse needs of Aboriginal men and women offenders and Aboriginal communities.

FINDING 11: Healing Lodges provide offenders with an environment focused on spirituality and healing, which is supported by Aboriginal-specific services and activities, and positive interactions between staff members and offenders and between offenders.

Aboriginal Healing Lodges were intended to address the specific needs and the spiritual well-being of Aboriginal offenders in federal corrections. As such, the environment of the Healing Lodge differs from mainstream correctional institutions in several key aspects, specifically the focus on spirituality and healing, relationships between staff members and offenders and between offenders, and the availability of Aboriginal-specific services and activities.

One of the most prominent differences between Healing Lodges and other federal correctional institutions was related to the interactions between Healing Lodge staff members and offenders. The large majority of offender interviewees reported improved interactions and positive relationships between staff members and offenders (84%; n = 31), as well as among offenders residing in the Healing Lodge (81%; n = 29). These differences were further supported by qualitative responses, in which more than three-quarters (76%; n = 29) of offenders interviewed identified positive relationships between Healing Lodge staff and residents, with

"everyone working toward the same goal and [being] sincere about it".

Offenders stated that they felt particularly supported by staff members and managers who attended ceremonies with the residents and encouraged their healing journeys. Offender interviewees also identified positive relationships between residents, who viewed each other as "brothers" with whom they could openly communicate.

Similarly, one-half (50%; n = 16) of staff and management interviewees named positive and pro-social interactions between Healing Lodge staff members and offenders as an important element of Healing Lodges. They noted that offenders were treated with respect and that staff members and management were sensitive to the needs of offenders and regularly participated in cultural and spiritual activities. All staff member interviewees who had previously worked in another CSC institution (100%; n = 9) identified positive interactions between staff and offenders and an improvement in staff cultural competency at the Healing Lodge, as compared their previous institution, which may explain the increased staff member participation in cultural and spiritual activities noted by offender interviewees. A previous evaluation (Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002) demonstrated the positive impact of pro-social relationships between the staff members and residents of the Healing Lodge, namely an atmosphere of reduced tension and greater trust.

Overall, positive relationships in the Healing Lodge helped create a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, which many interviewees addressed in their comments. In fact, two-thirds (61%; n = 23) of offender interviewees stated that one of the most beneficial aspects of the Healing Lodge was the freedom that the residents were given. Specifically, Healing Lodges provided residents with the ability to move around the institution, while providing access to the natural environment. This was an important factor for offender interviewees, who noted that connection with the land was an important part of their culture, specifically the ability to

"go out into the woods when [they] need to gain inner peace and feel comfortable to reflect."

Many (47%; n = 15) staff and management interviewees also recognized that the peaceful and positive atmosphere of the Healing Lodge with fewer restrictions and physical barriers and access to the natural environment contributed to offenders' healing.

Of all the beneficial aspects of the Healing Lodge that offenders identified in their qualitative responses, the most prominent (87%; n = 33) was the availability of cultural support, particularly through the guidance and teachings of the Elders, as well as through ceremonies and cultural activities. Compared to previous institutions in which they had resided, offenders noted improvements in the focus on offender healing (87%; n = 33), access to healing tools and resources (86%; n = 31), time spent with the Elder in the Healing Lodge (81%; n = 30) and the availability of Aboriginal programs and services (74%; n = 26).

Comparable responses were received from staff members who had previously worked in a CSC institution. Of those who had previously been employed in a mainstream CSC institution, all (100%; n = 9) staff member interviewees noted improvements in the availability of Aboriginal programs, availability of Elders, the emphasis on offender healing, and access to healing resources. Overall, one-half (50%; n = 16) of all staff members and management interviewed specifically commented on the accessibility of cultural interventions at the Healing Lodge, particularly the availability of Elders and Elders' Helpers (25%; n = 9), ceremonies and spiritual activities (22%; n = 8), and Aboriginal-specific programs (25%; n = 9).Footnote 28

One-third (34%; n = 11) of staff and management interviewees also identified a culturally-sensitive collaboration among the case management team as a unique characteristic of Healing Lodges. Specifically, some Healing Lodge case management teams included Elders and correctional officers, and used resolution circles, community and family circles, and mentorship to assist in offender rehabilitation.

The number of Elders working in a Healing Lodges varied, however. According to information provided by the Healing Lodge Executive Directors, the average ratio of Elders to residents was approximately one Elder for every 10 to 15 residents. It was important to note that the availability of Elders varied between Healing Lodges, with some Elders having a fixed (i.e., Monday to Friday) availability, whereas for others, the Elder's schedule was variable.

Overall, nearly all (97%; n = 37) offenders interviewed either "somewhat" or "strongly" agreed that the Healing Lodge met their overall needs. Staff, management, and offender interviewees all identified a number of aspects of the Healing Lodge that assisted offenders in their healing journey. Positive relationships among the staff and residents fostered an environment of support and trust, allowing for a more relaxed and positive atmosphere. Finally, the focus on healing encouraged offenders to explore Aboriginal culture through the availability of programming and cultural interventions, which included access to Elders and Elder's Helpers, ceremonies and other spiritual activities.

FINDING 12: Elders play a major role in delivering interventions and services to offenders in Healing Lodges. Providing Elder services to offenders on evenings and weekends and including Elders in case management teams were identified as an area of opportunity.

Elders play the role of the spiritual head of the Healing Lodge. They share cultural knowledge and teachings and act as keepers of Aboriginal traditions. Elders were identified as the single most important aspect of the Healing Lodge by the majority of interviewed staff members and management (83%; n = 30), offenders (68%; n = 26), as well as the majority of community representatives. Elders were viewed by these interviewees as instrumental to addressing Aboriginal offenders' specific needs through cultural and spiritual interventions, individual counselling and also by facilitating correctional programs with program staff.

Nearly all staff members interviewed (96%; n = 23) identified specific needs of Aboriginal offenders, including access to Aboriginal spirituality and cultural activities (n = 13), counselling for past trauma and abuses (n = 12) and others. More than one‑half (58%; n =17) of staff members further observed that these specific needs were addressed well in the Healing Lodge by the cultural and spiritual interventions provided primarily by the Elders, and also by Elders' Helpers. According to the majority (71%; n =17) of staff interviewees, many Aboriginal offenders trusted and could only relate to Elders, which helped them open up about past traumas and abuses in their lives. This trust and communication created an environment which enabled offenders to improve their attitudes and behaviours. One staff member summarized this relationship, stating that

"[Elders and Elders' Helpers] can relate to [Aboriginal] offenders' culture, share same backgrounds and know how to work with [the offenders]. [It is] important for the Healing Lodge to be run by spirituality".

As previously mentioned in the report, the average ratio of Elders to Healing Lodge residents, one to 10-15 offenders, was a contributing factor in these improvements. Nearly two-thirds (63%; n = 24) of offenders positively commented on Elder availability and services, while over one-quarter (28%; n = 9) indicated they would like to have more contact with the Elder, particularly on evenings, weekends and holidays. As noted in the Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review (2010) report, offenders often required specialized Elder services during evenings and weekends. This report suggested that it would be preferable to expand Elder coverage to provide such opportunity.

The majority (79%; n = 19) of Healing Lodge staff members interviewed stated they had positive relationships with the Elders working in the Healing Lodge. They noted that these relationships were reciprocal and there was respect between both parties. Furthermore, many staff member interviewees (58%; n = 14) reported that they regularly consulted Elders to exchange information about offenders and share expertise about cultural and spiritual practices. Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees highlighted the importance of reciprocal information sharing between staff and Elders, particularly regarding offender behaviour, and almost one-third (31%; n = 11) indicated that improvements could be made with regards to Elder engagement. Also, many staff members interviewed (42%; n = 10) reported that they did not have Elder reviews available to be used in their work, possibly due to Elders not being familiar with computers, report writing practices or because of language barriers.

As an alternative practice for engaging Elders in case management, one-third (34%; n = 11) of Healing Lodge staff members and management interviewed identified best practices in the form of culturally-relevant, team-based approaches to case management. These approaches included involving Elders in scheduled case conferences, or the use of healing and resolution circles with the Healing Lodge resident, Elder and staff members present.

FINDING 13: Aboriginal Healing Lodges have a strong cultural and spiritual focus; however, educational services, vocational training and physical activities need strengthening to further holistic development of the offender and increase their potential for reintegration.

Prior to an offender's transfer to a Healing Lodge, the Healing Lodge case management team works with the offender to develop a healing plan that outlines interventions and activities to be undertaken while at the Healing Lodge to address the offender's spiritual, emotional, physical and mental well-being. Once residing in the Healing Lodge, an offender's healing is facilitated primarily through cultural and spiritual interventions provided by the Elders, Elders' Helpers, Healing Lodge staff and also community members. Aboriginal culture, tradition and spirituality were reported to be central to Healing Lodge operations (Bell, 2008; Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002; Trevethan et al., 2007).

The present evaluation similarly found that Healing Lodge residents, staff members and management, as well as community representatives, considered spirituality and cultural interventions as one of the most beneficial aspects of the Healing Lodge. All three interviewee groups named the cultural environment as one of the top three most important aspects of the Healing Lodge. Furthermore, the majority (82%; n = 31) of offenders and one-half (50%; n = 16) of staff members and management interviewed qualitatively commented on the importance of access to cultural interventions and activities, and placed a priority on offender healing in the Healing Lodge.

Healing Lodge residents indicated that they routinely participated in a variety of traditional activities, such as sweat lodges (92%; n = 33), smudges (89%; n = 32), sharing/talking circles (69%; n = 25), individual counselling with the Elder (61%; n = 22), cultural teachings (58%; n = 21), artisan activities (58%; n = 21), as well as pipe ceremonies (38%; n = 11), sun/horse/round dances (31%; n = 9) and other cultural activities that furthered their healing. The majority of staff member interviewees (74%; n = 17) supported this perspective, noting that offender cultural and spiritual needs were met well through the Elders and Elder's Helpers.

Although interviews confirmed the need for a strong focus on healing and cultural interventions within the Healing Lodge, they also identified areas that could be enhanced to support offender reintegration and healing. For example, approximately one-third (31%; n = 11) of staff members and management interviewed commented on the need to facilitate additional vocational training, employment and employability skill development for offenders, while other interviewees (28%; n = 10) spoke about the need to introduce structural changes to the Healing Lodges to enhance reintegration prospects by adding recreational space or a classroom facility. The majority of community representatives interviewed identified similar areas of opportunity for Healing Lodges, namely with regards to improvements in offender access to vocational and employment training, educational and living skills development, as well as structured leisure activities. As one community representative observed, the

"focus should also be on living, life skills, social skills. [The Healing Lodge] also needs more space, an activity room … [It is] important to keep offenders busy and teach them skills".

Healing Lodge residents shared similar views. For instance, one-fifth (22%; n = 7) of offenders identified a need for more opportunities for vocational, employment skills and living skills development, as well as education and language. Another fifth (22%; n = 7) of offenders emphasised a need for a greater variety of activities.

The interviewee observations were consistent with findings reported in previous evaluations of Healing Lodges. For example, the Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review (2010) identified a lack of structured leisure activities available for Healing Lodge residents, as well as a lack of vocational training and work release opportunities. The review team proposed a number of vocational training opportunities, such as fire fighting, construction, development of greenhouse and cultural teachings (e.g., hide‑tanning, or drying meat and berries). Similarly, another evaluation (Trevethan et al., 2007) suggested that interventions targeting employment and vocational skills would be beneficial for offenders, given that a large proportion of Healing Lodge residents were unemployed at the time of their arrest and had low levels of education.

Finally, the CSC Review Panel (2007) recognized a lack of focus in preparing Aboriginal offenders for employment upon release and specifically recommended the addition of job-readiness responsibilities in Healing Lodges in the context of the panel's recommendations on employability and employment. Complementing cultural interventions with relevant educational, vocational and physical activities could further enhance the holistic healing of the offender and support their eventual reintegration into the community. Of note, several Healing Lodges took initiative in establishing contacts with local community schools and colleges to provide these opportunities to their residents. Previous evaluations found that offenders who participated in CSC employment and employability programs were more likely to obtain employment upon release into the community and less likely to re-offend than offenders who did not participate in these programs (Brews, Luong & Nafekh, 2010; Didenko, Luong & Carré, 2010; Taylor et al., 2008).

FINDING 14: The delivery of correctional and other programming differed between Healing Lodges. Some Healing Lodges reported developing local programs to reflect the needs of offenders and the community. In CSC-operated Healing Lodges, the rate of assignment, participation and completion of CSC national correctional programs was higher than in the comparison institutions.

The majority (74%; n = 17) of Healing Lodge staff members interviewed indicated that the needs of Aboriginal offenders were met well through the spiritual and cultural activities provided in the Healing Lodge and particularly through interaction and counselling with the Elder. Approximately one-half (48%; n = 11) of staff interviewees also reported that Aboriginal offender needs were met well by correctional programs, namely by Aboriginal-specific programs such as Aboriginal Substance Abuse Program, In Search of Your Warrior and others. One-third (35%; n = 8) of staff members further commented on the need to ensure that Aboriginal-specific programming was available to Healing Lodge residents. Correctional programs were named as the third, following the Elders and the cultural environment, important aspects of Healing Lodges by staff and management interviewees (33%; n = 12). Half of interviewed community representatives were similarly in support of the importance of correctional programming for offender healing and reintegration. Of note, the majority (65%; n = 22) of Healing Lodge residents reported that their involvement in programs had somewhat or significantly improved following their transfer to the Healing Lodge.

As part of the evaluation, an assessment of correctional program delivery was performed. This examination was limited to CSC-operated Healing Lodges and comparison institutions (minimum security for men and multi-level security for women).Footnote 29 Combined program data from three fiscal years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010 were used in analyses for Aboriginal men and women offenders to eliminate possible variation in program delivery across years.

Over the course of three years, a greater proportion (81%) of Aboriginal men offenders from CSC-operated Healing Lodges who had been assigned to a national correctional program commenced the program, compared to 65% of Aboriginal men offenders in minimum security institutions. Subsequently, 88% of Aboriginal men from CSC-operated Healing Lodges successfully completed the program versus 81% of Aboriginal men in minimum security institutions. Program participation and completion by Aboriginal women offenders revealed similar patterns. Specifically, 91% of assigned Aboriginal women started a national correctional program in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge, compared to 76% of Aboriginal women in multi-level security institutions. In terms of program completion, 85% of Aboriginal women in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge and 64% of Aboriginal women in multi-level security institutions successfully completed the program.

To compare the rates of assignment, participation and completion of national correctional programs for Aboriginal offenders between CSC-operated Healing Lodges and comparison institutions, a rate-based analysis was performed. The evaluation team calculated the number of Aboriginal offenders who were assigned to, participated in, and successfully completed a national correctional program for every 100 Aboriginal offenders in CSC-operated Healing Lodges, minimum security institutions for men, and multi-level security institutions for women. Analyses both for Aboriginal men and women offenders demonstrated greater rates of program engagement for CSC-operated Healing Lodges over the course of three fiscal years, compared to their counterparts in minimum and multi-level security institutions.

Over the course of three years, from 2007/2008 to 2009/2010, of every 100 Aboriginal men offenders, 82 were assigned to a national correctional program in CSC-operated Healing Lodges and 65 were assigned to a national correctional program in minimum security institutions. Notably, of every 100 Aboriginal men, 60 offenders started and 52 offenders successfully completed the program in CSC-operated Healing Lodges, whereas only 41 offenders started and 33 offenders successfully completed the program in minimum security institutions. That is, the rate of program assignment for Aboriginal men offenders was 1.3 times higher, and the rate of successful program completion 1.6 times higher, in CSC-operated Healing Lodges than in minimum security institutions.

Rate-based program analyses concerning Aboriginal women revealed a similar pattern of results, suggesting that program delivery in CSC-operated Healing Lodges was more accessible to Aboriginal offenders and was likely to match their identified needs. The rate of program assignment for Aboriginal women offenders was 1.2 times greater and the rate of successful program completion by Aboriginal women offenders was twice the rate in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge compared to women's multi-level security institutions. Specifically, of every 100 Aboriginal women offenders, 100 women were assigned to a national correctional program in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge and 82 were assigned to a national correctional program in women's multi-level security institutions. Importantly, of every 100 Aboriginal women, 78 offenders started and 64 offenders successfully completed the program in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge, while only 52 offenders started and 32 offenders successfully completed the program in multi-level security institutions.

The types of national correctional programs varied substantially between CSC-operated Healing Lodges. Most, however, delivered correctional maintenance programs, such as substance abuse maintenance, family violence maintenance, sex offender program maintenance, and violence prevention maintenance, and also Aboriginal-specific correctional interventions that included In Search of Your Warrior, Spirit of A Warrior, Aboriginal Offender Substance Abuse Program, Aboriginal Basic Healing Program, Circles of Change, as well as the Aboriginal women maintenance program and the Integrated Correctional Program Modules (Aboriginal). Some low and moderate intensity national correctional programs were also delivered across fiscal years, as well as were programs developed locally to reflect the specific cultural traditions and teachings of local Aboriginal communities and to address offender needs.

Programming in Section 81 facilities also differed. Some Section 81 Healing Lodges developed local programs, such as orientation to healing and spirituality, parenting or anger management programs, taken by all or most offenders in the facility. Many of these locally-developed programs are Elder-facilitated and support cultural and ceremonial activities provided to offenders while at the Healing Lodge. According to the information provided by Healing Lodge Executive Directors, the latter included a variety of cultural interventions, such as tee-pee teachings, morning purification and prayers, sacred medicines, sweat lodge, feast preparations and feasts, pipe ceremonies, horse program, turtle ceremonies, drum teachings, medicine picking, wilderness teachings, and medicine wheel teachings among others. The description of the positive transformative effects these correctional and cultural interventions have had on Healing Lodge residents is provided below.

FINDING 15: Offenders and staff members observed positive changes in residents of Healing Lodges, reporting improvements in offenders' knowledge of Aboriginal culture, as well as increases in offenders' self-awareness, self-control, motivation, personal responsibility, and pro-social attitudes. The rate of institutional incidents and charges was lower for Aboriginal offenders in Healing Lodges, compared to Aboriginal offenders in men's minimum and women's multi-level security institutions.

Offender interviewees (39%; n = 15) indicated that the primary reason they chose to transfer to the Healing Lodge was to connect with their Aboriginal culture and to be in an environment that was supportive of their healing path. The evaluation, therefore, examined improvements in offender knowledge of Aboriginal culture, as well as the major contributing factors to these improvements.

The evaluation found the most significant increase in familiarity in the area of Aboriginal teachings and traditions. Although one-third (32%; n = 13) of offenders indicated that they were "moderately familiar" or "very familiar" with teachings and traditions prior to their incarceration, this number increased to two-thirds (66%; n = 25) when asked about their current familiarity. Offender interviewees also reported moderate improvements in their familiarity with Aboriginal history ("moderately familiar" to "very familiar" rose from one-quarter [24%; n = 9] to one-half [50%; n = 19]) and Aboriginal language ("moderately familiar" to "very familiar" rose from almost one-quarter [24%; n = 9] to over one-third [34%; n = 13]). The above changes were found to be statistically significant. Offenders specified that these improvements were largely attributed to individuals within the Healing Lodge and also in previous institutions, mostly as a result of conversations with the Elders. Overall, these changes were supported by qualitative responses, in which two-thirds (66%; n = 25) of offenders indicated that they had experienced an increased understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal culture while at the Healing Lodge.

In addition to the knowledge gains described above, the majority of offenders interviewed noted that various aspects of their personal behaviour and attitudes had improved following their arrival to the Healing Lodge. Specifically, offender interviewees noted improvements in their interest in learning and being connected to Aboriginal culture (81%; n = 30), involvement in cultural or spiritual activities (76%; n = 28), comfort level participating in Aboriginal activities (74%; n = 28), and involvement in programs (65%; n = 22). Although there were some interviewees who noted no change in the above areas,Footnote 30 they reported that their involvement and comfort levels in these areas had already been high at their previous institutions.

The above-noted changes in personal behaviours and attitudes were consistent with qualitative responses, in which the majority (82%; n = 31) of offender interviewees identified at least one area of personal growth that they had experienced during their time at the Healing Lodge. One of the most prominent areas included increased understanding of their own lives, offences, or circumstances (55%; n = 21). Interviewees also identified an increased sense of responsibility or accountability (47%; n = 18), increased ability or comfort communicating with others (32%; n = 12), and increased self-control or self-discipline (29%; n = 11), particularly with regards to dealing with emotions or emotional situations, as well as seeking help when it was needed. Comparable improvements in self-control and emotion management were found in previous evaluations of Healing Lodges (Trevethan, Crutcher & Rastin, 2002; Trevethan et al., 2007). Other areas that were identified by a smaller number of offender interviewees were an increase in self-respect, a more positive mindset, and a more positive attitude toward others.

Improvements were also identified in the motivation levels and self-confidence of offenders who were interviewed. Almost all offender interviewees (92%; n = 35) responded that their self-confidence had increased, and the large majority (84%; n = 31) noted that their motivation levels had improved since arriving at the Healing Lodge. Increased self-confidence was an important factor in offender healing and reintegration, as described in a report of the Waseskun Healing Center (Bell, 2008).

These changes were also acknowledged by Healing Lodge staff member interviewees. Specifically, all (100%; n = 24) staff interviewees noted that offenders' motivation had improved since their arrival in the Healing Lodge. In addition, almost all staff member interviewees acknowledged improvement in offenders' participation in programs (96%; n = 22) and participation in cultural and spiritual activities (91%; n = 21). Almost two‑thirds (63%; n = 20) of staff member and management interviewees identified positive changes in the following offender attitudes and behaviours following their arrival at the Healing Lodge:

  • Increased accountability and responsibility for themselves and their actions (42%; n = 15);
  • Increased co-operation and increased respect and positive attitude toward others (28%; n = 10);
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence (25%; n = 9); and,
  • Greater engagement in cultural activities and increased understanding of Aboriginal culture (25%; n = 9).

Overall, results suggested that Healing Lodges had a positive impact on offenders' knowledge of, and connection, to Aboriginal culture, which was identified as an important factor in offenders' initial decisions to transfer to the Healing Lodge. In addition, both staff and offenders similarly reported that participation in Healing Lodges had a positive impact on offenders' behaviours, particularly with regards to their engagement in programs and cultural activities, as well as their attitudes, such as self-confidence, motivation, and responsibility. Identified improvements are also supported by quantitative data, such as positive changes noted in offenders' criminogenic need levels (discussed in Theme Four: Correctional Results) and the rates of reported institutional incidents and charges. Specifically, the rate-based analysis of incidents and person chargesFootnote 31 related to Aboriginal men offenders revealed that, compared with minimum security institutions, the rate of institutional incidents was 2.5 times lower in CSC-operated Healing Lodges and 10.5 times lower in Section 81 Healing Lodges. The rate of person charges for Aboriginal men was 1.3 times lower in CSC-operated Healing Lodges than in minimum security institutions.Footnote 32 With respect to Aboriginal women offenders, the rates of institutional incidents and person charges were also notably lower in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge, compared to women's multi-level security institutions.Footnote 33

3.2.3. Theme Three: Enhanced Collaboration

Expected Result: CSC enhances horizontal collaboration and coordination within Aboriginal communities, to contribute to Aboriginal community development and to help Aboriginal offenders initiate and sustain their healing journeys.Footnote 34

FINDING 16: Community awareness of Aboriginal Healing Lodges is generally high. Collaborative relationships exist between Healing Lodges and the community, although the amount and nature of collaboration vary. Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees identified a need to strengthen collaboration with Aboriginal communities, including developing partnerships that extend beyond the scope of Healing Lodge agreements.

Aboriginal Healing Lodges place a strong emphasis on community involvement to support offender reintegration. The surrounding Aboriginal communities should, therefore, be viewed as an integral part of Healing Lodges. This evaluation examined the extent and the nature of community engagement in Healing Lodge operations, along with the benefits that collaborative relationships bring to offenders and the communities.

Community awareness and acceptance

According to interview responses from key informants, community awareness of Healing Lodges is high and has improved over time. This was reported by the majority (61%; n = 22) of Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees and the majority of community representatives interviewed. Importantly, interviewees noted that improvements in public awareness occurred as a result of continued and increased efforts to educate community members on the role and operations of Healing Lodges, particularly through regular dialogue between Executive Directors and local band members and by providing opportunities for the community to participate in open houses, ceremonies and other activities in the Healing Lodge. High community awareness was similarly reported by interviewees from both Section 81 and CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

Staff and management interviewee responses also suggested that community members valued the opportunity to be informed about, and be engaged in, Healing Lodge activities, which facilitated the acceptance of Healing Lodge residents within the community. Of note, all community representatives and all Healing Lodge management interviewees agreed that acceptance of offenders in the community had somewhat or significantly improved since the establishment of the Healing Lodge. Offenders' active participation in community-based activities was viewed as a contributing factor to this increase. Many interviewees, including most community representatives, one-half (50%; n = 19) of offenders and one-fourth (25%; n = 9) of Healing Lodge staff and management, provided positive examples of offender participation and involvement in the provision of community services.

Community collaboration

Although interviewees suggested that there were high levels of community awareness and acceptance as described above, the amount and nature of collaboration between Healing Lodges and the surrounding communities appeared to vary significantly. Relationships were notably different between surrounding communities and CSC‑operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges visited by the evaluation team for the purpose of this evaluation.Footnote 35

All community representatives and the majority (83%; n = 19) of staff members and management interviewed from CSC-operated Healing Lodges identified positive collaboration with the surrounding communities, describing these relationships as reciprocal and mutually-beneficial. Interviewees particularly emphasised the significance of community involvement in CSC-operated Healing Lodge governance and management, for example, through the Board of Directors, Senate Advisory Committee or Citizenship Advisory Committee. These community governance mechanisms were viewed as central to providing guidance and advice to Healing Lodge management on the vision, operational issues and community interests related to the Healing Lodge.

For Section 81 Healing Lodges, a smaller percentage of staff and management interviewees from Section 81 Healing Lodges reported that positive, reciprocal collaboration existed with the community. On the contrary, close to one-half (46%; n = 6) of staff and management interviewees from Section 81 Healing Lodges reported limited community collaboration and identified a need to enhance opportunities for community engagement to support Healing Lodge operations and offender reintegration. It appears, therefore, that there may be considerable differences in the extent to which each Healing Lodge has established collaborative relationships with its surrounding community.

Despite the differences described above in the levels of collaboration between the communities and Healing Lodges, the need to strengthen community contact and collaboration was consistently expressed by the majority of community representatives and two-thirds (66%; n = 23) of Healing Lodge staff members and management interviewed. Specifically, more than half of interviewees from both Section 81 Healing Lodges (62%; n = 8) and CSC-operated Healing Lodges (57%; n = 13) identified community engagement as an area of opportunity.

One method of strengthening community collaboration, identified by approximately one-third (32%; n = 7) of Healing Lodge staff members interviewed, included establishing diverse partnerships by reaching out to surrounding communities, Aboriginal Bands, and community groups (e.g., Association of Halfway Houses), other than those included in Healing Lodge agreements. This perspective was supported by some Healing Lodge residents (18%; n = 7), who commented on the need to access different Aboriginal communities and Elders to address their specific cultural and ceremonial needs given their distinct Aboriginal backgrounds.

FINDING 17: Reciprocal relationships between Healing Lodges and the community help offenders gain valuable skills to prepare for community living and provide the community with economic and social benefits. The logistics of these relationships, however, can be challenging, specifically regarding availability and training of community volunteers and opportunities for temporary absences for offenders.

Aboriginal Healing Lodges are transitional facilities, designed to assist offenders in their reintegration and to prepare them to return to the community in a manner consistent with public safety. As such, the involvement of, and collaboration with, the surrounding community is a valuable asset to Healing Lodge operations. As described below, both offenders and the community appear to benefit from this collaboration.

Benefits for offenders

Previous reports highlighted the significance of reciprocal relationships to maintaining positive collaboration between Healing Lodges and the community, wherein both the community and the Healing Lodges benefited through an exchange of services (Delveaux et al., 2007; Nafekh et al., 2006; Willow Cree Healing Lodge Joint Review Board, 2010). In the present evaluation, Healing Lodge residents, staff members and management supported the importance of community participation in their interview responses by rating it highly on a scale from 1 to 10. Specifically, average ratings for community involvement, proximity to an Aboriginal community and community volunteers ranged between 7.7 and 8.7 across all Healing Lodge interviewee groups. Community involvement, interest, and proximity to the Healing Lodge were aspects deemed important for the healing process and for offender reintegration.

Similarly, Healing Lodge residents commented the importance of community contact through CSC's temporary absence program. That is, more than one-half (55%; n = 21) of offenders interviewed named the temporary absence program as one of the most important aspects of the Healing Lodge. Of note, the rate-based analysis examining the rates of escorted and unescorted temporary absences (ETAs/UTAs)Footnote 36 for offenders in Healing Lodges and comparison institutions revealed that Aboriginal men and women offenders in CSC-operated Healing Lodges participated in CSC's temporary absence program more often than their counterparts in minimum and multi-level security institutions.Footnote 37 In contrast, Aboriginal men offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges were less likely than offenders in minimum and multi-level security institutions to receive escorted temporary absences; however, were more often provided with opportunities for unescorted temporary absences.

According to the information provided by Healing Lodge Executive Directors, residents, staff members and community representatives, the majority of temporary absences fell into two categories: namely, community service work and cultural activities. Community services not only included maintenance of public areas and participation in community events, but also educational community work, such as speaking engagements in schools, through which offenders shared their life experiences with students. Offenders also had the opportunity to participate in cultural community-based activities, such as picking medicines (e.g., sweet grass, sage, etc.), maintaining ceremonial fires, and participating in pow-wows, round dances, sun dances, and sweat ceremonies, as well as feasts, festivals, and various other community events. To a lesser extent, offenders also participated in educational or personal leave in the community, for example, to attend substance abuse management meetings or to use community recreational facilities. Interviewed offenders specified the benefits that they received from interactions with the community through the temporary absence program, citing connection with community resources and establishing support networks, as well as reducing anxiety associated with accessing the community following release.

In addition to providing access to community-based services to offenders, community members also offered assistance within Healing Lodges. Information provided by Healing Lodge Executive Directors indicated that local communities participated in Healing Lodge operations by providing volunteers for escorts, as well as interacting with offenders on-site, such as through cultural ceremonies and activities. Offenders indicated they valued the assistance provided by community members.

Work releases in all Healing Lodges were lower than in minimum security institutions, with the exception of the Healing Lodge for women. Minimum security facilities had a yearly work release rate that was approximately eight times (8.3) that of CSC‑operated Healing Lodges and almost four times (3.6) that of Section 81 Healing Lodges. The CSC‑operated Healing Lodge for women, however, had a rate of work release that was over two times (2.2) that of minimum security facilities for men. A high rate of work releases in the women's Healing Lodge was due to a work release program in place to encourage employability and skills development.Footnote 38 Women who were classified as minimum security with overall low risk were given an opportunity to work at the local Salvation Army three days a week for 90 days. At any given time, there were three to five women participating in the program.

Benefits for community

In addition to the benefits for Healing Lodge residents, the majority of community representatives interviewed shared some of the ways in which the community benefited from relationships with Healing Lodges. For example, offenders from the Healing Lodges perform maintenance in the community, tending to cemeteries and preparing sites for funerals, as well as helping with ceremonial fires and pow-wows. Interviewees also noted that some offenders provide motivational speaking at local schools and to at-risk youths to share their stories and experiences, which not only benefits the students, but the entire community. Healing Lodges also provide valuable volunteer opportunities for community members interested in criminal justice matters.

Apart from providing volunteer opportunities within Healing Lodges, the majority (83%; n = 10) of Healing Lodge management and also the majority of community representatives interviewed indicated that the Healing Lodge provided important employment opportunities for local community members, employing individuals from the surrounding reserve communities to assist in Healing Lodge operations. The proportion of Healing Lodge staff members reported to be employed from surrounding reserve communities ranged from 5% to 65% in CSC-operated Healing Lodges, and from 35% to 100% in Section 81 Healing Lodges.Footnote 39

Finally, there are also potential benefits for communities in the long-term, as many offenders aspire to eventually return to, and to become contributing members of, their communities. Of the offenders who were interviewed, more than one-third (39%; n = 15) shared aspirations for the future. These aspirations often included sharing the knowledge they gained from their experiences in a Healing Lodge, for example, through passing on Elder teachings or teaching Aboriginal language classes. Also indicated was a desire to help others in their healing. If realised, the potential contributions of successfully reintegrated offenders from Healing Lodges could serve as a long-term benefit for Aboriginal communities.

Areas for Improvement

Some concerns arose from the interviews with regards to the logistics of establishing and sustaining reciprocal relationships between Healing Lodges and the community. For example, nearly one-half (42%; n = 16) of offenders cited a need for a greater utilization of the temporary absence program. Offenders commented that there was instability with temporary absences, as staff or volunteer escorts might not be available for scheduled absences, resulting in cancellations or postponement of scheduled community-based activities. Offenders also noted that the availability of escorts was higher on weekends and lower on weekdays when the absences were more likely to take place. Similarly, transportation for temporary absences was viewed as a challenge, in part due to the remote locations of several Healing Lodges. The ability to provide a stable schedule of reintegration-focused temporary absences appeared to be linked to the resources available to the Healing Lodge to bring in staff and community members to escort offenders. This issue was discussed by over one-half (53%; n = 19) of Healing Lodge staff members and management interviewed, who indicated that additional financial, staff, and volunteer resources were required to facilitate the temporary absence program, and also to ensure offender participation in community-based activities benefiting their healing and reintegration. Previous Healing Lodge evaluation reports similarly highlighted the importance of offender access to community resources, and documented a need for increased community-based reintegration activities for offenders (e.g., Delveaux et al., 2007).

The security protocols for bringing members of the community into Healing Lodges were also identified as a potential area for development by different interviewees groups. This was predominantly associated with the length of time required to complete the security clearance process. Training in escort procedures was also identified by few staff interviews as requiring strengthening.

3.2.4. Theme Four: Correctional Results

Expected Result: Aboriginal Healing Lodges contribute to improving correctional results for Aboriginal offenders.

Aboriginal Healing Lodges provide interventions and services that aim to enhance offenders' potential for reintegration into the community. To ascertain the contributions of Healing Lodges to the successful transition of Aboriginal offenders into the community, the evaluation examined three categories of correctional outcomes, namely change in criminogenic need indicators, rates of discretionary releases, and the likelihood of conditional release failure (i.e., first return to federal custody after release and before sentence expiration). Relevant finding are presented below and detailed statistical analyses and results are provided in Appendix E.

FINDING 18: Aboriginal offenders released from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges demonstrated greater improvements in criminogenic need indicators than Aboriginal offenders released from comparison institutions. These results were strongest for Aboriginal men released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

Previous research indicates that the number of criminogenic need areas with which Aboriginal offenders present was found to be predictive of recidivism (Dowden & Serin, 2000; Johnson, 2005; Sioui & Thibault, 2002).Footnote 40 Specifically, the greater the number of needs assessed as some or considerable need, the more likely the offender is to return to custody. For example, a Statistics Canada study (Johnson, 2005), using data from the Integrated Correctional Services Survey for Saskatchewan, found that 39% of Aboriginal offenders assessed as having either no needs or one need returned to correctional custody within a four-year follow-up period compared to 51% of offenders with two to three needs, 66% of offenders with four needs and 75% of those with five to six needs. The number of needs assessed also emerged as the best predictor of recidivism in Sioui and Thibault's (2002) analysis of CSC's federal offenders, including for Aboriginal offenders. Taken together, such findings suggest that addressing, and thereby reducing, offenders' criminogenic needs can have a positive impact on their reintegration outcomes.

In order to assess the impact of Healing Lodges, the evaluation included an assessment of change in offenders' criminogenic need areas. Criminogenic need scores were taken from assessments completed prior to an offender's admission to the releasing institution for Aboriginal men and from intake assessments for Aboriginal women (refer to the Limitations section), and immediately after their release into the community. Analyses were conducted for each of seven criminogenic need areas, based on change, namely decrease, in each area of need between assessments. Detailed distributions of need scores at pre- and post- assessments for Aboriginal men and women offenders from Healing Lodges and comparison institutions are presented in Appendix E. As discussed in the Methodology section, for statistical analyses examining the pre-post difference on need assessment scores, the sample was limited to the cases that had their needs assessed as "some" or "considerable" at pre-test.

Statistical analyses examining the proportion of need assessment ratings that improved between the two assessments released that Aboriginal offenders released from Healing Lodges generally demonstrated greater improvements in the areas of need than Aboriginal offenders released from men's minimum and women's multi-level security institutions. The greatest improvements were observed among Aboriginal men released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges (refer to Table 6). More specifically, Aboriginal men released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges demonstrated statistically significant improvements in six criminogenic need areas, compared to Aboriginal men released from minimum security institutions. Aboriginal men released from Section 81 Healing Lodges also demonstrated improvements in several need areas compared to offenders released from minimum security institutions; however, these improvements did not achieve statistical significance, possibly due to smaller sample sizes.

Table 6. Improvement in Crimininogenic Needs Areas among Aboriginal Men with Needs Assessed as "Some" or "Considerable" at Pre-test.

Need Areas CSC-operated Healing Lodges Section 81 Healing Lodges Minimum Security Institutions
Employment 23%*** (n = 113) 16% (n = 16) 14% (n = 117)
Marital/Family 22%* (n = 100) 22% (n = 23) 18% (n = 124)
Social interactions 24%*** (n = 118) 22% (n = 24) 15% (n = 123)
Substance abuse 37%*** (n = 223) 31% (n = 45) 25% (n = 280)
Community functioning 20% (n = 57) 22% (n = 11) 15% (n = 59)
Personal/Emotional 26%* (n = 158) 25% (n = 39) 20% (n = 238)
Attitude 34%** (n = 110) 36% (n = 18) 25% (n = 130)

Source: OMS (2010).

Note: *p <.05, **p <.01, ***p <.001.

Similarly, Aboriginal women offenders released from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge demonstrated some improvements in need areas, which reached statistical significance in the personal/emotional need area, compared to Aboriginal women released from multi-level security institutions (Table 7).

Table 7. Improvement in Crimininogenic Needs Areas among Aboriginal Women with Needs Assessed as "Some" or "Considerable" at Pre-test.

Need Areas CSC-operated
Healing Lodge
Multi-level
Security Institutions
Employment 15% (n = 24) 15% (n = 81)
Marital/Family 20% (n = 28) 16% (n = 71)
Social interactions 19% (n = 27) 19% (n = 89)
Substance abuse 28% (n = 49) 23% (n = 126)
Community functioning 12% (n = 6) 10% (n = 27)
Personal/Emotional 29%* (n = 48) 20% (n = 107)
Attitude 35% (n = 18) 25% (n = 55)

Source: OMS (2010).

Note: *p <.05, **p <.01, ***p <.001.

Overall, some level of improvement was found in criminogenic need areas for Aboriginal men and women released from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges, compared to Aboriginal men released from minimum security institutions and Aboriginal women released from multi-level security institutions. Similar improvements were reported in an examination of the CSC-operated Pê Sâkâstêw Centre (Trevethan et al., 2007). This examination found that the residents of the Centre showed significant improvements in several criminogenic areas, namely substance abuse, personal/ emotional, marital/family interaction, and associates/social interactions.

FINDING 19: Aboriginal men and women offenders from CSC-operated Healing Lodges were more likely to be granted discretionary release than Aboriginal offenders released from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. Conversely, offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges were more likely to be released on statutory release.

Previous studies have found that the type of conditional release was in general associated with recidivism risk for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders (Didenko et al., 2010; Sioui & Thibault, 2002). Specifically, offenders who were granted discretionary release (day or full parole) were significantly less likely to return to federal custody compared to offenders released on statutory release. This evaluation examined the number and type of conditional releases granted to residents of Healing Lodges and comparison institutions.Footnote 41 The pattern of results, however, varied between different comparison groups.

Aboriginal Men

The majority of Aboriginal offenders released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges (70%; n = 422) and minimum security institutions (69%; n = 834) were released on day parole (see Table 8). By contrast, nearly one-half (48%; n = 71) of conditional releases from Section 81 Healing Lodges were statutory releases.

Table 8. First Conditional Releases of Aboriginal Men.

  Day Parole Full Parole Statutory Release
N % N % N %
CSC Healing Lodges 422 70% 30 5% 148 25%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 69 46% 9 6% 71 48%
Minimum Security Institutions 834 69% 42 3% 339 28%

Source: OMS (2010).

Statistical analyses revealed that, after accounting for differences in offender profiles of overall need and motivation levels assessed prior to the offender's transfer, Aboriginal offenders from CSC-operated Healing Lodges were 0.7 times less likely to be released on statutory release than Aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions. Furthermore, Aboriginal offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges were 2.2 times more likely to be released on statutory release than Aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions. Although no conclusion could be drawn as to the reasons for a significantly higher proportion of non-discretionary releases from Section 81 facilities, one-half (54%; n = 7) of staff and management interviewees from Section 81 Healing Lodges noted a need to improve communication with institutional and community case management teams. Some Section 81 Healing Lodge residents similarly pointed to the difficulties they had experienced with release planning and irregular contacts with CSC parole officers.

In the specific case of releases to Aboriginal communities under section 84 of the CCRA, a CSC evaluation (Jensen & Nafekh, 2009b) identified that, although Parole Officers were required to undertake activities involved in the development of the section 84 release plan and application, these activities were not performed. Further, the evaluation noted specific barriers to a successful section 84 release planning process, such as completing section 84 release applications and the community not supporting an offender's release. Previous evaluation of Section 81 Healing Lodges, namely Stan Daniels Healing Centre (Nafekh et al., 2006) and O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Healing Lodge (Delveaux et al., 2007), also highlighted the importance of the temporary release program for the release planning process, while one-half (54%; n = 7) of Section 81 staff and management interviewees commented on the difficulties they experienced providing these opportunities and one-half (50%; n = 6) of Section 81 residents interviewed would like to see improvements in this area. Rate-based analyses of CSC's temporary absence program discussed in Theme Three revealed that Aboriginal men offenders from Section 81 Healing Lodges were granted notably fewer escorted temporary absences than Aboriginal offenders in CSC-operated Healing Lodges or minimum security institutions.

Aboriginal Women

The majority (84%; n = 128) of Aboriginal women offenders from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge for women were released on day parole, compared to 65% (n = 288) of Aboriginal women released on day parole from multi-level security institutions (see Table 9).

Table 9. First Conditional Release of Aboriginal Women.

  Day Parole Full Parole Statutory Release
N % N % N %
CSC Healing Lodge 128 84% 10 7% 15 10%
Multi-level Security
Institution
288 65% 20 5% 133 30%

Source: OMS (2010).

Aboriginal women released from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge exhibited higher levels of motivation and reintegration potential as assessed at intake than women from multi-level security institutions. Statistical analyses revealed that, after accounting for these differences, the likelihood of receiving a discretionary release was still greater for women from the Healing Lodge. Specifically, Aboriginal women were over 0.3 times less likely to be released on statutory release than Aboriginal women from multi-level security institutions.

FINDING 20: Conditional releases from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women.

As part of the evaluation, the impact of Healing Lodges on conditional release failure outcomes (i.e., return to federal custody after release prior to sentence expiration) was examined for Aboriginal offenders. The evaluation included two measures of conditional release failure outcomes for Aboriginal men and women offenders - general returns to federal custody and returns to federal custody with a new offence. More specifically, analyses examined the effect of the type of correctional facility, namely Healing Lodges, men's minimum security and women's multi-level security institutions, on conditional release failure after having determined and accounted for the impact of other influential factors known to be associated with offenders returning to custodial supervision (see for example, Gendreau et al., 1996; Johnson, 2005 or refer to the Methodology section).

Aboriginal Men

Statistical analyses confirmed that the type of correctional facility from which offenders were released was not associated with the risk of conditional release failure for Aboriginal men. Conditional releases from CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional release from minimum security institutions (refer to Table 10). Of note, other factors, such as a man's age at release, type of release (discretionary versus non-discretionary), previous involvement with the federal correctional system, and levels of overall need and reintegration potential assessed prior to release, were found to be significantly associated with the likelihood of returning to federal custody. Specifically, conditional releases among Aboriginal offenders who were granted discretionary release and had higher levels of reintegration potential were less likely to fail (i.e., offender returned to federal custody) than conditional releases among Aboriginal offenders on statutory release or those who had lower levels of reintegration potential. Conditional releases among Aboriginal offenders who had previous federal sentences and higher need levels were more likely to fail than conditional releases among Aboriginal offenders without a previous federal sentence and with lower levels of overall need.

Table 10. Cox Regression Analysis Results for Aboriginal Men.

  Any Return New Offence
χ2 Hazard Ratio χ2 Hazard Ratio
Block 1
Age at Release 148.27*** 0.959 86.47*** 0.946
Type of Release 45.13*** 0.650 19.31*** 0.631
Previous Offending 63.82*** 1.253 38.63*** 1.326
Reintegration Potential 48.93*** 0.653 56.58*** 0.514
Need Level 5.40* 1.133 -Footnote a  
Block 2
CSC-operated Healing Lodge 2.75 1.112 0.39 1.068
Section 81 Healing Lodge 3.07 0.813 1.56 0.786

Footnotes

Note: Block 1 and Block 2 models were statistically reliable and predicted risk of general conditional release failure and conditional release failure with a new offence better than the null model (see Appendix E for details). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Footnote a

the variable was removed from the statistical model as it did not contribute significantly to the analysis.

Return to footnote a referrer

*p <.05, ***p <.001.

Aboriginal Women

Conditional releases concerning Aboriginal women were contrasted between releases from CSC's only Healing Lodge for women offenders and women's multi-level security institutions. Similar to the analyses for Aboriginal men, statistical analyses determined that the type of correctional facility from which offenders were released was not associated with the risk of conditional release failure for Aboriginal women (Table 11). Conditional releases from the CSC-operated Healing Lodge for women were as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases from women's multi-level security institutions. As shown in Table 11, factors such as a woman's age at release, type of release, previous involvement with the federal correctional system, and levels of reintegration potential, motivation and overall need assessed prior to release were associated with the likelihood of returning to federal custody. That is, conditional releasesamong Aboriginal women offenders released on day or full parole and with higher levels of motivation and reintegration potential were less likely to fail than conditional releases among Aboriginal women on statutory release and those with lower levels of motivation and reintegration potential. Conversely, conditional releases among Aboriginal women offenders who had previously had a federal sentence and had higher levels of overall need were more likely to fail than conditional releases among Aboriginal women without a previous federal sentence and lower levels of need.

Table 11. Cox Regression Analysis Results for Aboriginal Women.

  Any Return  New Offence
χ2 Hazard Ratio χ2 Hazard Ratio
Block 1
Age at Release 22.54*** 0.971 10.60** 0.958
Type of Release 17.47*** 0.650 -Footnote a  
Previous Offending 6.05* 1.213 -Footnote a  
Reintegration Potential 4.67* 0.823 18.24*** 0.537
Motivation 12.12*** 0.758 -Footnote a  
Need Level 11.64*** 1.423 -Footnote a  
Block 2
CSC Healing Lodge 2.04 0.850 0.00 0.991

Footnotes

Note: Block 1 and Block 2 models were statistically reliable and predicted risk of general conditional release failure and conditional release failure with a new offence better than the null model (see Appendix E for details). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Footnote a

the variable was removed from the statistical model as it did not contribute significantly to the analysis.

Return to footnote a referrer

*p <.05, **p <.01, ***p <.001

Summary

Analyses of correctional outcomes indicated that Aboriginal men and women offenders released from CSC-operated Healing Lodges demonstrated improvements in criminogenic needs areas and were predominantly granted discretionary releases. Aboriginal men offenders released from Section 81 Healing Lodges also demonstrated improvements in some criminogenic need areas; however, were more likely to be release on statutory release than Aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions. Importantly, neither type of Healing Lodge was found to contribute to reducing the likelihood of failure while on conditional release in the community for Aboriginal offenders, when compared to men's minimum security institutions and women's multi-level security institutions. Similar results were previously reported for a CSC-operated Healing Lodge by Trevethan and colleagues (2007) and for Section 81 Healing Lodges by Nafekh and colleagues (2006). This could in part be attributed to the lack of community supports available to released offenders to facilitate their reintegration, particularly within Aboriginal communities. For example, 58% (n = 21) of Healing Lodge staff and management interviewees suggested that community engagement should be enhanced. As previously discussed, a greater focus on life and employment skills, and increased opportunities for employment in the community were necessary to support the successful and safe transition of Aboriginal offenders back into the community.

3.2.5. Theme Five: Economy

Expected Result: Healing Lodges are cost-effective and cost-efficient, and demonstrate value for money.

CSC directly operates four Aboriginal Healing Lodges, including one for women, and provides funding to four Section 81 Healing Lodges managed by Aboriginal communities according to their agreements. Of note, Section 81 Healing Lodges may also house provincial offenders and federal offenders on community supervision, including under section 84 of the CCRA; however, only the costs related to incarcerated federal offenders were included in the cost analyses presented below. Information for fiscal year 2009/2010 was used for cost analyses.

FINDING 21: Section 81 Healing Lodges are a cost-effective option for offenders seeking culturally-focused reintegration.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

To analyze the cost-effectiveness of Healing Lodges, CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges were compared to CSC minimum security facilities for men and to multi-level security facilities for women in terms of COMO. COMO provides the estimated cost of maintaining an offender within the federal correctional system, which was used to calculate program effectiveness.

The average COMO in CSC-operated Healing Lodges in 2009/2010 was $167,800 for men's facilities and $218,545 for the women's Healing Lodge facility. While the cost per bed in CSC-operated Healing Lodges for men was significantly higher than the annual cost of $95,038 per bed for CSC minimum security facilities for men, it was less than the cost of $211,093 per bed for CSC multi-level security facilities for women (Table 12). The higher costs of CSC-operated Healing Lodges may be attributable in part to the considerably smaller bed capacity, compared to CSC minimum security facilities for men. Healing Lodges also offered cultural and spiritual services that required additional resources, thereby increasing the overall cost of operating a Healing Lodge.

Table 12: Synopsis of Cost of Maintaining an Offender, 2009/2010.

  FY 2009/2010
CSC-operated Healing Lodges (men only) $167,800
Minimum security Institution (men only) $95,038
CSC-operated Healing Lodge for Women $218,545
Multi-level Security Institution (women only) $211,093

Source: IFMMS (2010) and Public Safety Canada (2010).

The average annual cost per bed in Section 81 Healing Lodges in 2009/2010 was $99,446. This was calculated using the annual cost per bed based on the average cost per bed stipulated in Section 81 agreements, which was then adjusted to reflect the average bed occupancy level of 48% in Section 81 facilities (Table 13).

Table 13: Section 81 Healing Lodge Cost per Offender with Adjustment, 2009/2010.

  FY 2009/2010
Average Cost for Section 81 Healing Lodges as per Agreement $47,734
Average Bed Occupancy for Section 81 Healing Lodges 48%
Average Cost for Section 81 Healing Lodges (adjusted as a function of occupancy rates) $99,446

Source: Section 81 agreements,OMS (2010) and IFMMS (2010).

As reported in Theme Four, the evaluation found community correctional outcomes for offenders who resided in CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges to be commensurate with outcomes for offenders in minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. Specifically, the evaluation found no difference in the likelihood of returning to federal custody for offenders residing in Healing Lodges, minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. When proceeding to a cost-effectiveness analysis for a program, a ratio is typically created, using costs and effects in producing outcomes in comparison to one or many alternative(s). However, given that in the present case all alternatives had comparable effectiveness, the ratios were not calculated and the comparisons were based on annual costs of maintaining an offender in these facilities.

Overall, based on the occupancy costs adjusted for occupancy levels and the analysis of community correctional outcomes, Section 81 Healing Lodges were found to be a cost-effective alternative for offenders seeking Aboriginal-focused reintegration.

Cost-Efficiency Analysis

According to the TBS Policy on Evaluation (2009), cost-efficiency is the extent to which resources are used such that a greater level of output is produced with the same level of input, or a lower level of input is used to produce the same level of output. For the purpose of this evaluation, efficiency is measured using bed occupancy rates as well as financial information obtained from COMO and the signed agreements.

Section 81 Healing Lodges were found to be comparable to minimum security institutions in terms of cost per offender and a more cost-effective option when compared to CSC-operated Healing Lodges and multi-level security institutions for women. Notably, the actual bed occupancy levels in both Section 81 and CSC-operated Healing Lodges were not at full capacity. Additional calculations were performed to examine opportunities for increasing cost-efficiency of Healing Lodges by increasing the bed occupancy rate and maintaining the same level of operating expenditures.

There is potential to improve the cost-efficiency of CSC-operated and Section 81 Healing Lodges if the bed occupancy levels were increased to maximum capacity; however, opportunities for increasing efficiencies and lowering the cost of maintaining an offender within Healing Lodges should be considered in light of the small economy of scale (i.e., the number of beds available in Healing Lodges) and also the number of Aboriginal offenders requesting and eligible for transfer to a Healing Lodge.

Conclusion

The present evaluation revealed several important considerations regarding the operations and the impact of CSC's Healing Lodges. First, results from Healing Lodges are generally comparable to, or slightly better than, those achieved by minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women. Second, there are several challenges that prevent Healing Lodges from operating at maximum capacity; one of the most prominent such area is the small number of Aboriginal offenders assessed at minimum security level. Finally, Section 81 Healing Lodges were found to be a cost-effective option for offenders seeking culturally-focused reintegration; however, areas of release planning, collaboration with Aboriginal communities and offender participation in community-based activities through CSC's temporary absence program require strengthening. The full evaluation of the Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections will further examine issues that concern, or have an impact on, Aboriginal Healing Lodges. Some of these areas will include Aboriginal offender security classification, the application of Gladue principles in correctional decision-making, the complementarity and interrelatedness of all initiatives and services included in the Aboriginal Continuum of Care, collaboration with multiple partners in the context of Aboriginal corrections, and correctional results pertaining to the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders.

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Appendices

Appendix A: SPAC Evaluation Matrix

Key Results Expected Outcomes Performance Indicators Information Sources
Evaluation Core Issue: Relevance
Issue 1:
Continued need for interventions and services offered as part of SPAC
Interventions and services offered as part of SPAC continue to address a demonstrable need within federal corrections and are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal offenders
  • Representation/profile of Aboriginal offenders under CSC's jurisdiction (#s and proportions, trends over time)
  • % of Aboriginal offenders compared to % of Aboriginal peoples in Canada (over time)
  • Stakeholder perceptions of the need and rationale for SPAC interventions and services
  • Results reflected in the literature with regards to the effectiveness of Aboriginal-specific interventions
  • Offender Management System (OMS)
  • Document and Literature Reviews
  • Key Informant Interviews/Survey
  • CSC projections
  • Environmental scan of Aboriginal corrections services
Issue 2:
Alignment with government priorities
The objectives of SPAC are consistent with federal government priorities and departmental strategic outcomes
  • Congruency between SPAC and federal government priorities
  • Congruency between SPAC and CSC strategic priorities & Transformation Agenda
  • Stakeholder perceptions as to the consistency between government priorities, CSC strategic outcomes & SPAC objectives
  • Review of SPAC documentation
  • Review of CSC strategic outcomes
  • Review of Government of Canada priorities and documents (e.g., budget, Speech from the Throne, Aboriginal Horizontal Framework)
  • Key informant interviews/survey
Issue 3:
Alignment with federal roles and responsibilities
CSC and the government have a legitimate role in the delivery of interventions and services offered as part of SPAC
  • Link between SPAC objectives and CSC mandate/ legislation
  • Link between SPAC and Government of Canada's priorities
  • Stakeholder perceptions regarding the role of federal gov't and CSC in providing services for Aboriginal offenders
  • Environmental scan of existing services available to Aboriginal offenders managed by other organizations/ jurisdictions in Canada and internationally, and potential links to SPAC interventions & services
  • Review of SPAC documentation
  • Review of CSC mandate/legislation
  • Review of Government of Canada documents
  • Environmental Scan of Aboriginal Corrections Services
  • Key informant interviews/survey
Evaluation Core Issue: Performance (Effectiveness, Efficiency and Economy)
Issue 4:
Achievement of expected outcomes
Theme 1: Continuum of Care
Aboriginal offender assessments completed and healing plans developed
  • Aboriginal intake questionnaire, Aboriginal social history and Elder reviews (progress reports) are completed
  • Aboriginal offenders are aware of their rights under CCRA
  • Healing plans are developed and integrated in correctional plans, in accordance with CSC policies
  • Aboriginal offenders are committed to their healing plans and follow their paths to healing
  • # of Elders (Elder/ offender ratio per Region, institution)
  • Change in Elders' and Aboriginal staff' roles & responsibilities
  • Document/file review
  • OMS
  • Review of audit (incl. intake assessment) and evaluation reports
  • Key informant interviews/survey
  • OPI data
Increased availability of Aboriginal-specific interventions and services at CSC (in the institution and the community)
  • # and type of Aboriginal-specific interventions developed and implemented in institution & community
  • # of CSC staff (i.e., ACPOs) trained and delivering Aboriginal-specific interventions
  • # of offenders assigned/waitlisted in Aboriginal-specific interventions
  • # of Aboriginal-specific positions created and filled (e.g., ACDO, ALO); job profiles & funding formulas
  • # of Elders on contract (Elder/offender ratio)
  • Type and scope of services provided by Elders
  • Healing Lodges and Pathways Units occupancy rates
  • OMS
  • HRMS
  • OPI data
  • Key informant interviews/survey
  • Focus group
Aboriginal offenders are appropriately assigned/enrolled in CSC interventions
  • Assessment of the extent to which Aboriginal offenders are appropriately assigned to interventions (e.g., match of correctional interventions with criminogenic needs; assignment to Aboriginal-specific vs mainstream programming)
  • CSC staff, Elder and offender perspectives of the appropriateness of assignments
  • OMS
  • Key informant interviews/survey
  • File Review
  • Review of previous evaluation and research reports
Aboriginal offender criminogenic needs are addressed through appropriate Aboriginal-specific interventions and services
  • # of offenders enrolled/ completing Aboriginal-specific interventions (completion and drop-out rates)
  • Comparison of correctional outcomes for Aboriginal offenders participating in Aboriginal-specific and mainstream interventions and services (e.g., successful parole applications, % of sentence served in the community under supervision, conditional release failure)
  • Offender, Elder and CSC staff perspectives of the extent to which Aboriginal-specific interventions (including correctional programs, cultural living environments, cultural and spiritual interventions) address Aboriginal offender criminogenic needs
  • Offender, Elder and CSC staff perspectives of the extent to Aboriginal offender spiritual well-being are supported through Aboriginal-specific interventions and services
  • OMS
  • Review of CSC documentation, particularly past evaluation and research studies relating to interventions/services subsumed under SPAC
  • Key informant interviews/survey
  • Focus group
Increase in the transfers to lower security levels and healing lodges (CSC-run and s.81 agreements ) for Aboriginal offenders
  • # and % of Aboriginal offenders transferred to lower security levels and healing lodges
  • # of placements and waitlists to s.81 facilities
  • Healing lodge bed utilization rates
  • Comparison of conditional release failure rates among Aboriginal offenders released from Healing Lodges and minimum security institutions
  • Stakeholder perspectives of the effectiveness of s.81 facilities
  • Review of CSC documentation
  • OMS
  • Review of previous evaluation reports
  • Key informant interviews/survey
Increase in conditional release applications presented to NPB (including preparation of s.84 release plans) and in positive parole decisions
  • # of s.84 release plans initiated, completed and presented to NBP
  • # of Aboriginal communities participating in s.84 release planning (e.g., letters of agreements)
  • # and % of positive parole decisions, including those on s.84 release plans (i.e., # of offenders released to Aboriginal communities)
  • Comparison of conditional release failure rates among Aboriginal offenders released to Aboriginal communities (s.84) vs other types of release and successful completion of
  • OMS
  • Review of CSC documentation, including letters of agreement
  • Review of previous evaluation reports
  • OPI records
Community support mechanisms to sustain offender progress (before/after WED) established
  • # of Escorted Temporary Absences for reintegration purposes (e.g., community service, personal development, such as medicine picking, festivals/ceremonies)
  • Type and nature of support mechanisms established in Aboriginal communities to sustain offender progress
  • Stakeholder perceptions of the effectiveness of existing community supports and potential ways to improve them
  • OMS
  • Review of previous evaluation reports
  • Key informant interviews/ survey
Theme 2: Collaboration
A coordinated approach to Aboriginal corrections exists within CSC
  • Inclusion and implementation of Aboriginal-specific strategies and targets in Sector/Branch work/action plans
  • CSC stakeholder perceptions of the degree of coordination / governance regarding the implementation of SPAC within CSC
  • AID inclusion and representation on committees and contributions to the work of CSC sectors
  • Review of National Actions Plans on Aboriginal Corrections (NAPAC), Aboriginal Corrections Accountability Framework Templates (1st round of implementation to be available in the Fall of 2010)
  • Review of SPAC documentation
  • Key informant interviews/ survey
  • OPI data
A coordinated approach to Aboriginal corrections exists government-wide
  • Evidence of links/ cooperation/ joint initiatives/ actions interdepartmentally (e.g., with NPB, Public Safety, Justice, Service Canada, Heads of Corrections, non-government organizations)
  • Stakeholder perceptions on the need for and effectiveness of partnerships
  • AID representation on committees and contributions to the work of CSC partners
  • Document review
  • Key informant interviews/ survey
  • OPI
Aboriginal stakeholders are engaged in Aboriginal corrections (Note: involvement at the system level, not service delivery/community level)
  • # and type of links/ partnerships established between CSC and Aboriginal organizations in the context of Aboriginal corrections (excl. s.81 and 84 of the CCRA)
  • Role of Aboriginal Advisory Committees
  • Stakeholder perceptions of the degree of inclusion / integration of Aboriginal stakeholders in Aboriginal corrections and areas of potential collaboration
  • Stakeholder perceptions of the degree of Aboriginal stakeholders' capacity to be involved in Aboriginal corrections
  • Number and types of contacts initiated and maintained by RAAI with Aboriginal stakeholders
  • Review of CSC documentations (e.g., minutes from RAAC and NAAC meetings, previous evaluations, etc.)
  • OPI data
  • Key informant interviews / survey
  • Focus group
Theme 3: CSC Corporate Services (Systemic Barriers)
CSC's governance structure of Aboriginal corrections enhanced
  • Approval of SPAC and establishment of clear governance structure for Aboriginal corrections
  • Stakeholder perceptions on the effectiveness of established governance structures
  • OMS
  • OPI data
  • OCI reports and recommendations
  • Key informant interviews/survey
Policies to support SPAC established to ensure Aboriginal offenders are released at the earliest possible time in their sentences
  • Policies and procedures are in place and followed by staff members (e.g., case management policies: completion of Social History; offenders informed and interest established in ss.81, 84 - OMS)
  • Regional guides are developed to operationalize policies as per CD requirements, approved by AID DG
  • References are made to needs/ requirements for Aboriginal offender & Gladue principles s in CSC policies/procedures
  • # of Elder- and community-assisted hearings
  • Issues/grievances / complaints raised by Aboriginal offenders (# and nature of grievances)
  • # of parole waivers for Aboriginal offenders
  • # and % of Aboriginal offenders released at Statutory Release
  • Document review (incl. Commissioner's Directives)
  • Review of relevant evaluation and audit reports
  • OMS (incl. NPB data)
  • OPI data
Planning, reporting and accountability mechanisms identified
  • Planning and reporting requirements for SPAC established
  • Performance reporting is ongoing
  • Specific performance requirements and targets are included in EX performance agreements [RDC, SDC, Excom members]
  • Results reported in DPRs
  • Degree to which Aboriginal-specific issues are discussed and considered at executive levels
  • Document review
  • Review of the Aboriginal Corrections Accountability Framework and Template (incl. results reported in the 1st year of implementation)
  • Review of previous evaluation and audit reports
  • EXCOM & CMT minutes
  • Key informant interviews/ survey
Aboriginal human resources increased
  • HR policies/plans are in place
  • CSC employment equity commitments
  • # and % of Aboriginal staff recruited at all levels
  • # of Aboriginal-specific positions created and filled
  • Retention/turnover rates of Aboriginal employees and in Aboriginal-specific positions
  • Work loads (ACDOs, ALOs, etc.)
  • Case management policies (changes in roles and responsibilities, e.g., Elders, ACDOs)
  • HRMS data
  • Document review (incl. Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Human Resource Management, CDs)
  • OPI data
  • Key informant interviews/ survey
  • Analysis of job profiles changes for CSC staff and contracted service providers
Cultural competency throughout CSC increased
  • Expectations for cultural competency outlined in hiring plans/practices
  • # and % of CSC staff participating in cultural sensitivity training/activities (e.g., Aboriginal Perceptions Training; Aboriginal Day activities)
  • Training evaluation forms
  • # and type of CSC communications/ awareness campaigns on Aboriginal culture and issues
  • HRMS data
  • Corporate communications
  • OPI data
  • Review of CDs and CSC documentation
  • Key informant interviews / survey
Theme 4: Gap in Correctional Results
The gaps in correctional results between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders have been decreased and correctional results improved
  • % of Aboriginal offenders under CSC's jurisdiction over time
  • % of Aboriginal offenders incarcerated vs in the community
  • Aboriginal offenders' initial security classification (maximum, medium and minimum)
  • Transfers to lower security levels
  • NPB parole grant rates; types of conditional release
  • Rates of parole waivers
  • Rates of return to custody during periods of conditional release – pre-WED (with/without a new offence)
  • Rates of recidivism post-WED
  • OMS
  • Review of past evaluation and research reports
Evaluation Core Issue: Performance
Issue 5:
Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy
SPAC demonstrates value-for-money
  • Outputs/outcomes effectively achieved within available resources
  • Comparison of benefits/costs of specific initiatives to benefits/costs if they did not exist
  • Stakeholder perceptions of potential changes that might lead to greater efficiencies or potential alternative delivery approaches
  • Review of costing options, if feasible
  • OMS
  • Review of financial data related to SPAC
  • Cost-analyses
  • Review of cost-effectiveness results from previous studies
  • Environmental scan of Aboriginal services
  • Key informant survey/interviews

Appendix B: Detailed Sample Composition and Participant Profile

1. Study Groups for Quantitative Analyses

Table B1. Ratings for First Assessment of Risk, Need, Motivation and Reintegration Potential before Transfer to Facility (for men release group)
  Low Moderate High
n % n % n %
Risk
CSC Healing Lodges 82 10% 387 46% 365 44%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 18 10% 94 48% 84 43%
Minimum Security Institutions 224 14% 739 45% 679 41%
Need
CSC Healing Lodges 62 7% 380 46% 392 47%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 18 9% 99 50% 79 40%
Minimum Security Institutions 149 9% 875 53% 618 37%
Motivation
CSC Healing Lodges 40 5% 377 46% 2411 50%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 6 3% 76 39% 113 58%
Minimum Security Institutions 56 3% 802 50% 752 47%
Reintegration
CSC Healing Lodges 113 14% 478 58% 237 29%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 24 12% 111 57% 60 31%
Minimum Security Institutions 197 12% 859 53% 554 34%

Risk χ2 (4, n = 2796) = 9.40,  ns.
Need χ2 (4, n =2796) = 20.26, p <. 001.
Motivation χ2 (4, n =2796) = 13.25, p <. 01.
Reintegration Potential χ2 (4, n =2796) = 8.75, ns.

Table B2. Ratings for First Assessment of Risk, Need, Motivation and Reintegration Potential at Intake (for women release group)
  Low Moderate High
n % n % n %
Risk
CSC Healing Lodge 54 23% 102 44% 77 33%
Multi-level security institutions 146 17% 422 48% 314 36%
Need
CSC Healing Lodge 12 5% 90 39% 131 56%
Multi-level security institutions 28 3% 337 38% 517 59%
Motivation
CSC Healing Lodge 8 3% 78 33% 147 63%
Multi-level security institutions 75 9% 420 48% 387 44%
Reintegration
CSC Healing Lodge 54 23% 80 34% 99 42%
Multi-level security institutions 271 31% 299 34% 312 35%

Risk χ2 (2, n = 1115) = 5.50, ns.
Need χ2 (2, n =1115) = 2.19, ns.
Motivation χ2 (2, n =1115) = 28.82, p <. 001.
Reintegration Potential χ2 (2, n =1115) = 6.15, p <. 05.

Men Release Group: Characteristics and Proportion of Aboriginal Men Offenders

Table B3. Sentence Type (Determinate or Indeterminate)
  Determinate Indeterminate
n % n %
CSC Healing Lodges 790 93% 63 7%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 193 95% 11 5%
Minimum Security Institutions 1610 93% 129 7%

χ2 (2, n = 2796) = 0.57, ns.

Table B4. Aboriginal Ethnicity
  North American
n %
CSC Healing Lodges 678 79%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 147 72%
Minimum Security Institutions 1139 66%

χ2 (2, n = 2796) = 60.55, p <. 001.

Table B5. Offender Sentence Length (in Days) and Time in Releasing Institution
  n Mean Std Median
Sentence Length
CSC Healing Lodges 790 1457.39 1823.41 1096
Section 81 Healing Lodges 193 1602.23 1312.88 1125
Minimum Security Institutions 1610 1564.63 1293.26 1096
Time in Releasing Institution
CSC Healing Lodges 845 212.14 193.72 173
Section 81 Healing Lodges 196 198.60 244.91 153
Minimum Security Institutions 1715 271.50 284.10 189

Sentence Length ANOVA F(2, 2692) = 1.62, ns.
Time in releasing institution ANOVA F(2, 2753) = 19.03, ns.

Women Release Group: Characteristics and Proportion of Aboriginal Women Offenders

Table B6. Sentence Type (Determinate or Indeterminate)
  Determinate Indeterminate
n % n %
CSC Healing Lodge 227 97% 6 3%
Multi-level Security Institutions 880 99% 12 1%

χ2 (2, n = 1.77) = 1.77, ns.

Table B7. Aboriginal Ethnicity
  North American
n %
CSC Healing Lodge 168 72%
Multi-level security institutions 604 68%

χ2 (2, n = 2796) = 60.55, p <. 001.

Table B8. Offender Sentence Length and Time in Releasing Institution
  n Mean Std Median
Sentence Length
CSC Healing Lodges 227 1187.22 682.66 915
Multi-level security institutions 880 1137.25 721.86 912
Time in Releasing Institution
CSC Healing Lodges 223 254.68 207.12 218
Multi-level security institutions 857 260.90 224.97 186

Sentence Length ANOVA F (1, 1105) =. 88, ns.
Time in releasing institution ANOVA F (1, 1078) =. 14, ns.

2. Healing Lodge Interviews

Healing Lodge Staff and Management Profiles

In total, 36 staff and management representatives from CSC and Section 81 Healing Lodges were interviewed (Willow Cree Healing Lodge, n = 12; Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Lodge, n=10; Waseskun Healing Centre, n = 9; Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge, n = 5). Interviewees were from the Prairie (47%, n = 17), Pacific (28%, n = 10) and Quebec (25%, n = 9) Regions. The majority of staff and management interviewees represented CSC-operated Healing Lodges (61%, n = 22), whereas 39% (n = 14) of respondents were from Section 81 Healing Lodges. On average, staff and management interviewees reported working at the Healing Lodges for approximately six years. Of all management and staff respondents, 25% (n = 9) indicated that they had previously worked in a CSC institution prior to working at a Healing Lodge.

Interviewees from CSC-operated Healing Lodges included Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Aboriginal Correctional Program Officers, Institutional Parole Officers, Caseworkers, Correctional Officers, Managers of Assessment and Intervention, Program Managers, Correctional Managers, Executive Directors and Wardens. Positions reported by Section 81 Healing Lodges included Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Case Managers and Elders' Helpers.

Fifty-eight percent of staff interviewees (n = 14) indicated that they identified as Aboriginal, where 57% (n = 8) represented CSC-operated Healing Lodges and 43% (n = 6) represented Section 81 Healing Lodges. The majority of staff members were of First Nations descent (86%, n = 12).

Healing Lodge Residents Profiles

In total, 38 men offenders were interviewed. The majority (92%, n = 35) self-identified as Aboriginal, and more specifically, as First Nations (89%; n = 31). Participants had resided in either of four Healing Lodges: Kwìkwèxwelhp (37%; n = 14), Willow Cree (32%; n = 12), Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge (11%; n = 4), and Waseskun Healing Centre (21%, n = 8).

The interviewed offenders had served a determinate sentence in 58% (n = 22) of cases, whereas 42% (n = 16) were life sentenced. The average sentence length, when removing indeterminate sentences, was 5 years (1823.73 days; SD = 892.07). The average length of stay in a Healing Lodge was 1.4 years (SD = 1.6) and the average length of time incarcerated before being transferred to a Healing Lodge was 6.9 years (SD = 8.3). Offenders were, on average, 42.2 years of age (SD = 11.76).

The security levels of institutions in which offenders were incarcerated at admission were as follows: maximum (24%; n = 9), medium (47%; n = 18), and minimum or multi-level (29%; n = 11).

Frequencies of assessments for offenders' motivation, need, risk, and reintegration levels completed on a 3 point scale (level 1 [low], level 2 [moderate], and level 3 [high]) showed that at their last assessment, 39% (n = 15) of the interviewed offenders scored moderate levels and 61% (n = 23) high levels on the motivation scale; 11% (n = 4) scored low levels, 58% (n = 22) moderate levels, and 32% (n = 12) high levels on the need scale; 13% (n = 5) scored low levels, 34% (n = 13) moderate levels, and 53% (n = 20) high levels on the risk scale; and 3% (n = 1) scored low levels, 79% (n = 30) moderate levels, and 18% (n = 7) high levels on the reintegration potential scale.

3. Electronic Questionnaires

CSC Management Profiles

In total, 76 management representatives from CSC Aboriginal corrections completed the survey. Of these, 92% (n = 70) were completed in English and 8% (n = 6) in French. Eighteen percent of participants were from the Pacific Region (n = 13), 32% from Prairies (n = 24), 26% from Ontario (n = 19), 8% from Quebec (n = 6), 5% from Atlantic Region (n = 4), and 11% from Regional and National Headquarters (n = 8).

Twenty-one percent (n = 16) of respondents indicated that their institution/district/office provided offenders with the service of a Healing Lodge and 7% (n = 5) indicated that they worked within a Healing Lodge.

A high proportion of respondents consisted of Wardens (20%; n=15), Assessment and Intervention Managers (15%; n = 11), or Program Managers (15%; n = 11). Other various positions included, but were not limited to, Deputy Warden, Assistant Warden (operations or intervention), District Director, Area Director, Regional Administrator of Aboriginal Initiatives, as well as one Healing Lodge Director.

The majority of management members (51%; n = 39) indicated that the supervision area of their institution/district/office was mainly urban, whereas 43% (n = 33) indicated that it was mostly rural and remote. Twenty percent (n = 15) of respondents' institution/district/office was located on a reserve.

CSC Staff Member Profiles

A total of 106 CSC Aboriginal corrections staff members completed the staff survey. Of these, 92% (n = 97) were completed in English and 9% (n = 9) in French. Eighteen percent of participants were from the Pacific Region (n = 19), 31% from Prairies (n = 33), 32% from Ontario (n = 34), 14% from Quebec (n = 15), 8% from Atlantic (n = 8), and 3% from Regional and National Headquarters (n = 3).Footnote 42

The majority of respondents (96%; n = 102) were involved in field operations, either in the institution (n = 64) or in the community (n = 38). Of all the staff members working in institutions, 22% worked at maximum level security, 41% (n = 26) at medium, and 14% (n = 9) at a minimum security facility. Another 22% (n = 14) of staff respondents worked in multi-level facilities either for women, at a reception center, or in a regional psychiatric treatment centre. Only one respondent was from a Healing Lodge.

Approximately 90% (n = 95) of staff respondents indicated that they directly worked or supervised Aboriginal offenders. Respondents mostly held positions as Institutional Parole Officers (26%, n = 27), Aboriginal Liaison Officers (20%; n = 21), or Community Parole Officers (20%; n = 21). Other positions included Correctional Program Officers (12%; n = 13), Aboriginal Correctional Program Officers (9%; n = 9), Aboriginal Community Development Officer (5%; n = 5), or other (10%; n = 11).

Of all staff respondents, 52% (n = 55) indicated that they self-identified as an Aboriginal person. This information was missing for one respondent. The majority of self-declared Aboriginal staff were First Nations (73%, n = 40) and approximately 27% (n = 15) were Métis or Inuit. Staff members of the First Nations were Cree (20%; n = 7), Ojibway (17%; n = 6), or of other various descent such as Mohawk and Mi'kmaq. Some respondents indicated identification to more than one group.

Appendix C: Proportion of Aboriginal federal offenders in comparison to the regional distribution of Aboriginal peoples.

  Provinces included in region Aboriginal Federal Offender Population Regional AboriginalsFootnote aPopulation
% # % #
Atlantic (ATL) New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador 7.9 177 3 67,010
Quebec (QUE) Quebec 7.3 389 1.5 108,425
Ontario (ONT) Ontario (as far west as Thunder Bay) and Nunavut 9.8 605 2.2Footnote b 267,410
Prairie (PRA) Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario (west of Thunder Bay) and the Northwest Territories 39.2 2104 9.8(2) 526,285
Pacific (PAC) British Columbia and Yukon Territory 22.9 714 5 203,655

National

All provinces 17.9 3,989 3.8 1,172,785

Notes:

Footnotes

Footnote a

The total Aboriginal identity population includes the Aboriginal groups (North American Indian, Métis and Inuit), multiple Aboriginal responses and Aboriginal responses not included elsewhere.

Return to footnote a referrer

Footnote b

The regional Aboriginal population percentages were calculated using Aboriginal population data from each of the provinces from the 2006 census. As such, the percentages for the Ontario Region include the province of Ontario as a whole, and percentages for the Prairie Region do not include Western Ontario.

Return to footnote b referrer

Sources: Statistics Canada, census of population, 2006; CSC Corporate Reporting System (retrieved January 17, 2011); Statistics Canada. 2008; Aboriginal identity population by age groups median age and sex 2006 counts for both sexes for Canada provinces and territories - 20% sample data (table).

Appendix D: CCRA Sections 79-84.

Definitions

79. In sections 80 to 84,

"Aboriginal" means Indian, Inuit or Métis;

"Aboriginal Community" means a first nation, tribal council, band, community, organization or other group with a predominantly aboriginal leadership;

"Correctional Services" means services or programs for offenders, including their care and custody.

Programs

80. Without limiting the generality of section 76, the Service shall provide programs designed particularly to address the needs of aboriginal offenders.

Agreements

81.1 The Minister, or a person authorized by the Minister, may enter into an agreement with an aboriginal community for the provision of correctional services to aboriginal offenders and for payment by the Minister, or by a person authorized by the Minister, in respect of the provision of those services.

Scope of agreement

  1. Notwithstanding subsection (1), an agreement entered into under that subsection may provide for the provision of correctional services to a non-aboriginal offender.

Placement of offender

  1. In accordance with any agreement entered into under subsection (1), the Commissioner may transfer an offender to the care and custody of an aboriginal community, with the consent of the offender and of the aboriginal community.
    1992, c. 20, s. 81; 1995, c. 42, s. 21(F).

Advisory committees

82.1 The Service shall establish a National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and may establish regional and local aboriginal advisory committees, which shall provide advice to the Service on the provision of correctional services to aboriginal offenders.

Committees to consult

  1. For the purpose of carrying out their function under subsection (1), all committees shall consult regularly with aboriginal communities and other appropriate persons with knowledge of aboriginal matters.

Spiritual leaders and elders

83.1 For greater certainty, aboriginal spirituality and aboriginal spiritual leaders and elders have the same status as other religions and other religious leaders.

Idem

  1. The Service shall take all reasonable steps to make available to aboriginal inmates the services of an aboriginal spiritual leader or elder after consultation with
  1. the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee mentioned in section 82; and
  2. the appropriate regional and local aboriginal advisory committees, if such committees have been established pursuant to that section.

Parole plans

84. Where an inmate who is applying for parole has expressed an interest in being released to an aboriginal community, the Service shall, if the inmate consents, give the aboriginal community

  1. adequate notice of the inmate's parole application; and
  2. an opportunity to propose a plan for the inmate's release to, and integration into, the aboriginal community.

Plans with respect to long-term supervision

84.1 Where an offender who is required to be supervised by a long-term supervision order has expressed an interest in being supervised in an aboriginal community, the Service shall, if the offender consents, give the aboriginal community

  1. adequate notice of the order; and
  2. an opportunity to propose a plan for the offender's release on supervision, and integration, into the aboriginal community.
    1997, c. 17, s. 15.

Appendix E: Tables for Correctional Outcomes Analyses.

1. Analyses for Time Spent in Releasing Institution

Table E1. Time Spent in Releasing Institution by Aboriginal Men's Sentence Term
  Mean Time
(days)
Standard
deviation
Median
CSC Healing Lodges 212.14 193.72 173
Section 81 Healing Lodges 198.60 244.91 152
Minimum Security Institutions 271.50 284.10 189

ANOVA F(2, 2753) = 19.03, ns.

Table E2. Time Spent in Releasing Institution by Aboriginal Women's Sentence Term
  Mean Time
(days)
Standard
deviation
Median
CSC Healing Lodge 254.68 207.12 218
Multi-level Security Institutions 260.90 224.97 186

ANOVA F (1, 1078) =. 14, ns.

2. Analyses for Time Difference between Criminogenic Need Score Assessments

Table E3. Time Difference between Pre-Post Assessments of Criminogenic Need Scores - Aboriginal Men.
  Mean Time
(days)
Standard
deviation
Median
CSC Healing Lodges 391.04 296.04 318
Section 81 Healing Lodges 345.81 345.81 274
Minimum Security Institutions 469.95 469.95 363

ANOVA F (2, 2258) = 15.49, p <. 001.

Table E4. Time Difference between Pre-Post Assessments of Criminogenic Need Scores - Aboriginal Women.
  Mean Time
(days)
Standard
deviation
Median
CSC Healing Lodge 661.77 609.75 474.5
Multi-level Security Institutions 711.48 619.94 560
ANOVA F (1, 787) = 0.91, ns.

3. Aboriginal Men Offender Needs Assessments.

Table E5. Assessment Ratings At Pre-Test.
  Asset/No Some Considerable
n % n % n %
Attitude
CSC Healing Lodges 357 53% 248 36% 75 11%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 120 71% 48 28% 2 1%
Minimum Security 821 61% 380 28% 145 11%
Community functioning
CSC Healing Lodges 398 59% 236 34% 51 7%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 116 70% 47 28% 4 2%
Minimum Security 909 71% 336 25% 58 4%
Employment
CSC Healing Lodges 192 28% 388 56% 111 16%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 63 38% 82 50% 20 12%
Minimum Security 502 38% 718 53% 124 9%
Marital/Family
CSC Healing Lodges 237 34% 312 46% 135 20%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 61 36% 79 48% 26 16%
Minimum Security 640 48% 530 39% 172 13%
Personal/Emotional
CSC Healing Lodges 74 11% 380 55% 237 34%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 13 8% 94 56% 60 36%
Minimum Security 180 13% 674 50% 494 37%
Social Interactions
CSC Healing Lodges 191 28% 387 56% 112 16%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 60 35% 93 55% 17 10%
Minimum Security 545 40% 622 46% 187 14%
Substance Abuse
CSC Healing Lodges 67 10% 243 36% 364 54%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 17 10% 78 48% 67 41%
Minimum Security 194 15% 554 42% 579 44%
Table E6. Assessment Ratings At Post-Test.
  Asset/No Some Considerable
n % n % n %
Attitude
CSC Healing Lodges 437 64% 210 31% 33 5%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 137 81% 32 19% 1 1%
Minimum Security 909 67% 347 26% 90 7%
Community functioning
CSC Healing Lodges 437 64% 220 32% 28 4%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 125 75% 40 24% 2 1%
Minimum Security 986 73% 319 24% 39 3%
Employment
CSC Healing Lodges 275 40% 344 50% 72 10%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 73 44% 77 47% 15 9%
Minimum Security 581 43% 674 50% 89 7%
Marital/Family
CSC Healing Lodges 298 44% 304 44% 82 12%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 72 43% 79 48% 15 9%
Minimum Security 696 52% 549 41% 97 7%
Personal/Emotional
CSC Healing Lodges 132 19% 439 64% 120 17%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 25 15% 111 66% 31 19%
Minimum Security 228 17% 825 61% 295 22%
Social Interactions
CSC Healing Lodges 271 39% 363 53% 56 8%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 76 46% 88 52% 6 4%
Minimum Security 609 45% 624 46% 121 9%
Substance Abuse
CSC Healing Lodges 137 20% 361 54% 176 26%
Section 81 Healing Lodges 33 20% 98 61% 31 19%
Minimum Security 280 21% 693 52% 354 27%

4. Aboriginal Women Offender Needs Assessments.

Table E7. Assessment Ratings At Pre-Test.
  Asset/No Some Considerable
n % n % n %
Attitude
CSC Healing Lodge 130 71% 41 23% 11 6%
Multi-level security 380 63% 142 24% 77 13%
Community functioning
CSC Healing Lodge 132 73% 46 25% 4 2%
Multi-level security 336 56% 212 35% 51 9%
Employment
CSC Healing Lodge 24 13% 90 49% 70 38%
Multi-level security 69 12% 330 55% 200 33%
Marital/Family
CSC Healing Lodge 45 25% 67 37% 70 38%
Multi-level security 156 26% 248 41% 195 33%
Personal/Emotional
CSC Healing Lodge 19 10% 51 28% 114 62%
Multi-level security 61 10% 193 32% 345 58%
Social Interactions
CSC Healing Lodge 40 22% 90 49% 53 29%
Multi-level security 129 22% 247 41% 223 37%
Substance Abuse
CSC Healing Lodge 9 5% 11 6% 164 89%
Multi-level security 42 7% 52 9% 505 84%
Table E8. Assessment Ratings At Post-Test.
  Asset/No Some Considerable
n % n % n %
Attitude
CSC Healing Lodge 139 76% 34 19% 9 5%
Multi-level security 390 65% 160 27% 49 8%
Community functioning
CSC Healing Lodge 134 74% 44 24% 4 2%
Multi-level security 327 54% 227 38% 45 8%
Employment
CSC Healing Lodge 33 18% 98 53% 53 29%
Multi-level security 99 17% 355 59% 145 24%
Marital/Family
CSC Healing Lodge 49 27% 85 47% 48 26%
Multi-level security 164 27% 281 47% 154 26%
Personal/Emotional
CSC Healing Lodge 19 10% 93 51% 72 39%
Multi-level security 70 12% 266 44% 263 44%
Social Interactions
CSC Healing Lodge 48 26% 100 55% 35 19%
Multi-level security 152 25% 281 47% 166 28%
Substance Abuse
CSC Healing Lodge 15 8% 53 29% 116 63%
Multi-level security 64 11% 139 23% 396 66%

5. Analyses Tables for Conditional Release Failure

Table E9. Cox Regression Results for Aboriginal Men for Any Return to Custody
  ß SE χ2 df Sig. Hazard ratio
Block 1
Age at Release -.042 .003 148.270 1 .000 0.959
Type of Release -.431 .064 45.127 1 .000 0.650
Previous Offending .226 .028 63.822 1 .000 1.253
Reintegration Potential -.426 .061 48.934 1 .000 0.653
Need Level .125 .054 5.403 1 .020 1.133
Block 2
CSC-operated Healing Lodge .106 .064 2.748 1 .097 1.112
Section 81 Healing Lodge -.207 .118 3.072 1 .080 0.813

Note: The first model (variables in Block 1) was statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 16836.318, χ2 (7) = 357.200, p <. 0001) and predicted the risk of conditional release failure better than the null model. Similarly, Model 2 (variables in Block 1 plus the variables in Block 2) was also statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 16831.659; χ2 (7) =361.859, p <. 0001). The difference between the first and the second models was not statistically significant (χ2 (7) =7.33, ns). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Table E10. Cox Regression Results for Aboriginal Men for Return with a New Offence
  ß SE χ2 df Sig. Hazard ratio
Block 1
Age at Release -.055 .006 86.466 1 .000 0.946
Type of Release -.461 .105 19.310 1 .000 0.631
Previous Offending .282 .045 38.632 1 .000 1.326
Reintegration Potential -.666 .089 56.579 1 .000 0.514
Block 2
CSC-operated Healing Lodge .066 .105 .392 1 .532 1.068
Section 81 Healing Lodge -.240 .193 1.558 1 .212 0.786

Note: The first model (variables in Block 1) was statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 6186.710, χ2 (7) = 207.319, p <. 0001) and predicted the risk of conditional release failure better than the null model. Similarly, Model 2 (variables in Block 1 plus the variables in Block 2) was also statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 6190.638; χ2 (6) =203.391, p <. 0001). The difference between the first and the second models was not statistically significant (χ2 (7) =-3.928, ns). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Table E11. Cox Regression Results for Aboriginal Women for Any Return to Custody
  ß SE χ2 df Sig. Hazard ratio
Block 1
Age at Release -.029 .006 22.538 1 .000 0.971
Type of Release -.430 .103 17.471 1 .000 0.650
Previous Offending 0.193 0.078 6.051 1 0.014 1.213
Reintegration Potential -.195 .090 4.666 1 .031 0.823
Motivation -.277 .079 12.117 1 .001 0.758
Need Level .353 .103 11.635 1 .001 1.423
Block 2
CSC-operated Healing Lodge -.163 .114 2.035 1 .154 0.850

Note: The first model (variables in Block 1) was statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 5987.759, χ2 (7) = 174.033, p <. 0001) and predicted the risk of conditional release failure better than the null model. Similarly, Model 2 (variables in Block 1 plus the variable in Block 2) was also statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 5987.764; χ2 (7) =174.028, p <. 0001). The difference between the first and the second models was not statistically significant (χ2 (7) =-.005, ns). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Table E12. Cox Regression Results for Aboriginal Women for Return with a New Offence
  ß SE χ2 df Sig. Hazard ratio
Block 1
Age at Release -.043 .013 10.598 1 .001 0.958
Reintegration Potential -.621 .145 18.241 1 .000 0.537
Block 2
CSC-operated Healing Lodge -.009 .227 .002 1 .968 0.991

Note: The first model (variables in Block 1) was statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 1267.004, χ2 (7) = 37.423, p <. 0001) and predicted the risk of conditional release failure better than the null model. Similarly, Model 2 (variables in Block 1 plus the variable in Block 2) was also statistically reliable (-2 log likelihood: 1271.886; χ2 (3) =32.541, p <. 0001). The difference between the first and the second models was not statistically significant (χ2 (7) =-4.882, ns). Model 2 parameters are presented in the table.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Pathways Units are located in select medium and multi-level security institutions and serve to provide offenders with a structured living environment that fosters Aboriginal spirituality and culture. Pathways Units offer opportunities for offenders to engage in Aboriginal-specific programs, ceremonies and activities in preparation for transition into a lower security institution or a Healing Lodge. Pathways Transition Units or Transition Houses are located in minimum security institutions and focus on providing interventions to offenders who have moved from a Pathways Unit.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

The section 81 provision of theCCRA stipulates that the Minister of Public Safety may enter into an agreement with an Aboriginal community for the provision of correctional services to Aboriginal offenders (CCRA, 1992).

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Footnote 3

At the time of the evaluation, the Section 81 Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge had temporarily stopped providing services to offenders due to the restructuring of the Spiritual Lodge (A/Regional Administrator of Aboriginal Interventions, Prairie Region, Memorandum, February 15, 2011). The Healing Lodge was, nonetheless, included in the evaluation and analyses.

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Footnote 4

Offence schedules are defined in the CCRA (1992). Schedule I offences are those of a violent nature, including crimes against a person. Schedule II offences include drug offences. Full text of the CCRA is available at
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-44.6/FullText.html. Sexual offences are listed under Schedule I offences. For this evaluation, they were identified through the flag system in the Criminal Justice Information Library (CJIL) that indicates whether a specific offender was committed or not.

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Footnote 5

Grey literature is defined as information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print format not controlled by commercial publishing. Examples of grey literature include technical reports produced by government agencies, working papers from task groups, etc.

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Footnote 6

To facilitate data analyses, interview protocols developed for Healing Lodge staff members and management were combined for qualitative data analysis. As a result, most of staff and management interview responses are presented as combined, with an exception of few questions that were only applicable to staff members.

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Footnote 7

Please note that, for qualitative interview data, results are presented as a percentage of coded responses within a particular theme. No inferences could be made with regards to generalizing qualitative statements to remaining interviewees (e.g., that they may have expressed a differing perspective).

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Footnote 8

Please note that quantitative survey data in this report are presented as a percentage of the valid responses to the question, as some questions were not applicable, or respondents were unable to answer them.

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Footnote 9

Discretionary release is the release of an offender under community supervision at the discretion of the Parole Board of Canada that allows an offender to participate in community-based activities, while living in a community-residential facility or halfway house (day parole) or in their own accommodation (full parole). Non-discretionary release or statutory release is granted automatically to most offenders after serving two-thirds of their sentence in an institution.

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Footnote 10

Logistic regression is a statistical analysis used to examine whether or not one or more variables predict an outcome under study (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001).

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Footnote 11

Statistical analyses included cases which had a moderate or high need assessment rating at pre-test and excluded cases which had a low need assessment rating at pre-test, since the latter could not decrease (i.e., improve). Notably, only an insignificant number of cases showed an increase (i.e., a deterioration) in need assessment ratings from pre-test to post-test in the study sample.

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Footnote 12

DFIA is a protocol used by CSC to conduct the dynamic factors assessment. It is comprised of seven dynamic factors: employment; marital/family; attitudes; substance abuse; community functioning; personal and emotional orientation; and, associates and social interactions. Offender assessment processes were revised and modernized in 2009 as part of implementing CSC's Transformation Agenda priorities.

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Footnote 13

Multiple logistic regression is a method of analysis used to determine statistical probability of an occurrence using several predictor variables.

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Footnote 14

A covariate is a variable that is not part of the experimental manipulation (i.e., intervention), but that has an effect on the outcome under study.

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Footnote 15

Cox regression analysis is a statistical analysis used to determine the relationship between the survival rate (the proportion of a sample that has not experienced the studied event over a period of time) and one or more covariates.

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Footnote 16

Minimum security institutions for men that include Pathways Transition Units/Houses are: Westmorland Institution in the Atlantic Region, Pittsburg Institution in the Ontario Region, and Rockwood and Riverbend Institutions in the Prairie Region (CSC, 2010j).

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Footnote 17

Seventy per cent of Aboriginal offenders are incarcerated in federal institutions, compared to 58.8% of non-Aboriginal offenders.

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Footnote 18

Sixty-one percent of Aboriginal offenders are granted day parole, compared to 67.3% of non-Aboriginal offenders. Furthermore, 23.7% of Aboriginal offenders are granted full parole, compared to 43.4% of non-Aboriginal offenders.

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Footnote 19

The Panel recommended that: 1) CSC review the organizational structure and functions of its Healing Lodges in order to ensure that it can attract qualified Aboriginal staff; 2) CSC review its funding structure to ensure it can fully respond to the operational requirements of Healing Lodges; and, 3) CSC add job-readiness responsibilities for Healing Lodges in the context of the recommendations on employability and employment (CSC Review Panel, 2007).

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Footnote 20

Subsection (2) of section 81 also allows for the provision of services to non-Aboriginal offenders.

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Footnote 21

CSC has put in place several initiatives to help increase the capacity of Aboriginal communities to engage in the provision of correctional services to offenders. The National Aboriginal Contribution Program was initiated in 1999 to help develop capacity in the community for the delivery of correctional care and custody for Aboriginal inmates and parolees. In 2000, CSC also established a grant program to support an Aboriginal community capacity assessment that would enable the development of Section 81 proposals. The allowable grant amount totalled $200,000 per year; however, the grant was not used and was cancelled in 2009/2010 (Marquis & May, 2011).

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Footnote 22

Due to restructuring, the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Healing Lodge did not accept offenders during a two-year period from 2002 to 2004 (Delveaux et al., 2007). Recently, all federal and provincial offenders from the Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge were transferred out to initiate improvements in the physical structure and management.

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Footnote 23

At the time of the evaluation, no Section 81 Healing Lodge existed for women offenders. AID and the Women Offender Sectors were in preliminary discussions to advance women's Section 81 facilities. The expert committee formed by CSC's Commissioner on women's corrections issues recommended that CSC developed a women's healing lodge facility on a priority basis for Eastern Canada (Expert Committee Review, nd).

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Footnote 24

The audit did not include CSC-operated Healing Lodges.

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Footnote 25

Only minimum security men offenders were included in the analysis, since, as discussed in Finding 7, medium security offenders require a moderate degree of supervision, present a low to moderate risk of escape and a moderate risk to the public safety in the event of an escape, which was found to be inconsistent with Healing Lodge transfer criteria.

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Footnote 26

The terms of reference for the NAAC lists the items about which advice is to be provided as follows: establishing Aboriginal-research priorities; establishing national policies for Aboriginal corrections; reviewing Aboriginal initiatives and monitoring correctional outcomes; informing the development of Aboriginal interventions; developing human rights standards for the treatment of Aboriginal offenders, and; ensuring and/or facilitating community involvement in Aboriginal corrections.

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Footnote 27

Similar to women's institutions that are operating as multi-level facilities, the Healing Lodge for women accepts both minimum and medium security women offenders.

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Footnote 28

Offender assignment to, and participation in, CSC's national correctional programs will be discussed in the concluding finding to Theme Two.

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Footnote 29

With an exception of one Section 81 Healing Lodge that delivers CSC correctional programs through an adjacent CSC facility, the numbers of Aboriginal offenders assigned to, and participating in, a national correctional program in other Section 81 facilities were very small.

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Footnote 30

Offender interviewees reported no change in involvement in programs (32%; n = 11) and comfort level with participating in Aboriginal activities (26%; n = 10).

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Footnote 31

Person charges are incident charges associated with an individual inmate rather than those involving a group of inmates.

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Footnote 32

No person charges were reported for Section 81 Healing Lodges, possibly due to the differences in procedures and protocols.

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Footnote 33

Compared to women's multi-level security institutions, the rate of reported institutional incidents in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge was 20 times lower and the rate of person charges was 3.8 times lower.

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Footnote 34

Please note that the present evaluation report examines collaboration between Healing Lodges and Aboriginal communities. Intergovernmental partnerships and collaboration with community partners, including those in the context of Healing Lodges, will be covered in the overall SPAC evaluation.

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Footnote 35

Taking into consideration the unique operational environments of each Healing Lodges, conclusions drawn in this section could not be generalized to the four Healing Lodges that were not visited by the evaluation team.

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Footnote 36

The following categories of temporary absences were included in the analyses: regular; community service; family contact; parental; personal development; and, socialization. Medical, compassionate and administrative were excluded from the analyses.

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Footnote 37

For Aboriginal men offenders, the rate of ETAs was 1.3 times greater and the rate of UTAs was 3.7 times greater in CSC-operated Healing Lodges than minimum security institutions. For Aboriginal women offenders, the rate of ETAs was 6.9 times greater and the rate of UTAs was 9.5 lower than in the CSC-operated Healing Lodge than in women's multi-level security institutions, possibly due to the remote location of the Healing Lodge facility. Finally, the rate of ETAs for offenders in Section 81 Healing Lodges was 1.5 times lower, whereas the rate of UTAs was 5.4 greater than in minimum security facilities for men

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Footnote 38

Telephone conversation with Veronica Sinclair, Ochimaw Ochi Healing Lodge, February 18, 2011.

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Footnote 39

At the time of this evaluation, Healing Lodge Executive Directors reported that Healing Lodges employed a total of 102 members of reserve communities. CSC-operated Healing Lodges employed 67 members of surrounding reserves, and Section 81 Healing Lodges employed 35 members.

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Footnote 40

Criminogenic needs are problem factors presented by individuals that are known to be related to criminal behaviour. There are seven dynamic need areas included within the varies assessment tools used by CSC, including employment, marital/family relationship, associated/social interactions, substance abuse, community functioning, personal/emotional orientation, and attitudes.

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Footnote 41

All analyses in this section were restricted to an offender's first release from a Healing Lodge or a comparison institution.

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Footnote 42

The cumulative percentage for the regional distribution exceeds 100% due to multiple responses given by a single respondent, leaving a total of 112 responses for 106 respondents (with 2 missing).

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