Correctional Service Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Women Offender Programs and Issues

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Regional Women's Facilities: Operational Plan

Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Women
National Headquarters
Correctional Service of Canada
2002

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Background

2. Legislation Policy and Mandate

3. Profile: Who are the Women Housed at the Regional Facilities

4. Human Resources Strategy

5. Operation of the Facilities

6. Reintegration

7. Other Relations

8. Conclusion

Annex A - Profile of Women Offenders Incarcerated and Community Population

Annex B - Profile of Incarcerated Women Offenders 1997 to 2001

Annex C - Cross Gender Update Form

Annex D - Women's Mental Health Continuum of Care

 

1. Background

1.1 Development of the Regional Facilities

The history of federal women's corrections began in 1835 with the incarceration of the first women inside an all-male institution, Kingston Penitentiary. This remarkable event was to be a temporary measure until a separate location could be found. Four years later a separate wing was designated for women, and in 1913 a separate unit was constructed. In 1934 the Prison for Women was opened, and for 60 years was the only federal prison for women in Canada .

From the beginning, Prison for Women was beset by many problems as evidenced by the 15 reports that identified either implicitly or explicitly, the numerous shortfalls of the prison and women's corrections in general. The most urgent issues were identified as follows:

  • Geographic dislocation of women due to having a centralized correctional facility and the negative impact with respect to separation of women from their families and supportive communities;
  • The overly secure environment for the relatively low security risk presented by most women offenders;
  • The lack of sufficient programs and services to respond to the unique needs of women;
  • The need for culturally sensitive programs and services;
  • The high requirement for educational and vocational training geared to the development of marketable skills;
  • The lack of community-based services;
  • Extensive histories of physical and/or sexual abuse with higher incidents noted in the Aboriginal population;
  • High incidence of the self-injurious behavior among women at the Prison for Women, and its relationship to past histories of abuse;
  • The relatively high number of incidents of substance abuse as part of the offence, or offence history of the women.

 

While several of these reports recommended changes or closure, the first report to produce substantial change in women corrections was the 1990 report Creating Choices.

In 1989 Ole Ingstrup the then Commissioner of Corrections, formed a Task Force to review the overall situation with women offenders and to provide direction for a more appropriate and effective correctional strategy for women. The Task Force stressed that fundamental changes were needed in the management of women offenders in order to assist them to rebuild their lives and reintegrate safely into the community. Specifically these elements included the need for physical environments that were conducive to reintegration, highly interactive with the community, and reflective of the generally low risk presented by women offenders.

In September 1990, the federal government accepted Creating Choices, the report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women and its four main recommendations 1:

  • Close the Prison for Women
  • Create four regional facilities for federally incarcerated women
  • Create a Healing Lodge in the Prairie region
  • Develop a community release strategy

Through the implementation of the Task Force recommendations, CSC achieved a major objective in establishing a more equitable and appropriate correctional regime for women in Canada . The regional facilities opened between 1995 and 1997 in Truro , Nova Scotia ; Joliette , Quebec ; Kitchener , Ontario ; and Edmonton , Alberta . The Oki Maw Ohci Healing Lodge is located on the Nekaneet reserve outside of Maple Creek Saskatchewan2. The development and implementation of a comprehensive community strategy began in 1996.

Creating Choices represented a new definition of effective corrections for women offenders, reached through consensus by a broad range of correctional practitioners and government/non-government agencies.

1.2 Regional Facilities Update

The Operational Plan provides the philosophical overview as well as general guidelines of the daily operations of the facilities. The original Operational Plan developed within the framework of Creating Choices was completed in July1992 and has been a main source of guidance for the facilities since their opening.

Over the past decade, the Service has evolved considerably in the management of women offenders. The correctional environment and physical structure has changed as have both the needs and size of the population of incarcerated women. This has resulted in a requirement to update the Operational Plan to reflect the current operational realities of the women's facilities. This updated Operational Plan focuses on the operations of the four regional women's facilities that comprise the minimum and medium security women accommodated in a main population environment3.

Four significant factors have influenced the changes in the regional facilities over the past five years. The first resulted from several serious incidents following the opening of Edmonton and Truro regional facilities between 1995 and 1996. These incidents included escapes, self-injurious incidents and a murder and resulted in significant changes to the perimeter security at each regional facility. Secondly, the development of the Intensive Intervention Strategy for high risk, high need women has had a significant impact on the overall physical structure and management of the women s facilities. During the construction of the new regional facilities, events at Prison for Women, which took place in April 1994, resulted in the establishment of the Arbour Commission, which was tasked with providing an in-depth examination of what took place, and making recommendations to the Government. In April, 1996 Madame Justice Louise Arbour released her report Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women.

Finally, there has been a change in the trend/profile of women being sentenced to federal custody. A brief overview of these issues are provided below.

1 The Task Force acknowledged the agreement with the Province of British Columbia , which provides accommodation for women offenders in the Pacific region at the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW).

2 The Prison for Women officially closed on July 6, 2000 , realizing the major recommendation of the Task Force report Creating Choices.

3 There is a separate Operational Plan for the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

Perimeter Detection System

The initial perimeter design of the regional facilities did not include a formal static security barrier. The original concept included the provision of a 5-foot boundary fence with no electronic detection capability. Following the incidents at the Edmonton facility, a decision was made to enhance static security measures at all regional women's facilities. These enhancements included the provision of a formal perimeter detection system that saw the facilities surrounded by an eight-foot fence and associated security devices.

This change in the physical design had a significant impact on the operations and philosophy of the women's facilities. It necessitated numerous changes in operational procedures, including such issues as movement and escorts and undeniably shifted the focus from the completely open concept envisioned in Creating Choices to an environment with an increase in structure and control as it relates to movement.

The Changing Profile of Incarcerated Women Offenders

The crime rate among women (and men) has decreased since 1991. Fewer women are being charged and charges for most major crimes (homicide, attempted murder, robbery, and major assaults) have decreased. Consequently, fewer women are being processed through the court system, and the number of women convicted and sentenced to prison has decreased as well.

Yet, in the last 5 years, the number of women sentenced to a federal term has increased significantly. Research has demonstrated that this trend is the result of an increase in the proportion of women sentenced to federal time - particularly since the regional facilities have opened.

In 1994/95, the number of women admitted to federal custody was 151, in 2000/01; this figure had increased to 231. Given the decreasing crime rate, it appears to be the result of a change in sentencing patterns; the data suggests that judges may be sentencing adult women to longer sentences since the new regional facilities opened. The increase in admissions has been experienced across the country, but is especially relevant in the Atlantic and Prairie regions. Interestingly, these are two regions where there was formerly no federal penitentiary presence or formal Exchange of Services Agreement (ESA).

INCARCERATED POPULATION TRENDS

 

Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies Pacific Total

Sept 96

26

54

134

82

33

329

Sept 97

35

66

99

81

33

314

Sept 98

32

63

119

83

32

329

Sept 99

35

64

103

120

32

354

Sept 00

51

60

94

120

33

358

Sept 01

42

63

93

138

34

370

Source: Corporate Reporting System

Intensive Intervention Strategy

Following the opening of Edmonton and the subsequent security incidents that took place, a decision was made to remove all of the women classified as maximum security and those with high mental health needs from the regional facilities. It had become apparent that the new regional facilities did not meet the needs of a small group of women identified as maximum-security or having significant mental health difficulties.

Consequently, separate maximum-security units were constructed in three men's institutions: Saskatchewan Penitentiary, Springhill Institution and the Regional Reception Center in Quebec . Additionally, an Intensive Treatment Program was established at the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC) in the Prairie region and at the Prison for Women in Ontario .

In 1999, after two years of research and deliberations, the Solicitor General announced the Intensive Intervention Strategy. This strategy consists of the renovation of the Enhanced Units and the creation of Secure Units for maximum security women at the regional facilities and the construction of a Structured Living Environment house at each of the regional facilities, for minimum and medium security offenders who require 24-hour staff support and supervision due to cognitive or living skill deficits, or emotional dysregulation.

Structured Living Environment houses are located at the regional facilities, (with the exception of the Healing Lodge) and new Secure Units for maximum-security women are being constructed by renovating the existing Enhanced Units ( with the exception of the Healing Lodge). This renovation is required to provide the support and structure necessary for the accommodation of maximum-security women. The implementation of the Strategy will result in the closure of the women's co-located units in men's institutions. 4

The new Strategy will provide safe and secure accommodation for these women while emphasizing intensive staff intervention, programming and treatment. The safety of the public, staff and other inmates will be managed through the containment capability of the Secure Unit and an enhanced level of staffing which will provide 24-hour supervision and intervention. Two companion operational plans for the Intensive Intervention Strategy, Intensive Intervention in a Secure Environment (Secure Unit) and Structured Living Environment (SLE) have been developed to address the specific operations of those units and are discussed further in Chapter 7.

4 There is an intensive mental health healing program operating at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in the Prairie Region.

The Arbour Report

Madame Justice Arbour's investigation of specific incidents that took place in 1994 at the Prison for Women, explored many correctional issues. The findings of the Arbour Commission placed a new emphasis for CSC on managing with integrity and faithful adherence to the law. In the end, Madame Arbour made 14 primary recommendations covering the following subjects: women's corrections; cross-gender staffing; use of force; Aboriginal women; segregation; accountability; grievances; external agencies and interaction with other elements of the criminal justice system.

One of the major recommendations was that CSC appoint a Deputy Commissioner for Women (DCW). This was accepted and a DCW was in place within that same year with a mandate to address the full range of research, policy and program development for women offenders. Since 1996, the Deputy Commissioner for Women has overseen the opening of the new facilities for women with dedicated resourcing standards; the development and implementation of the Intensive Intervention Strategy; the development of a women offender research unit; the revision of the women-centred staff selection and training; and many other initiatives.

Following the publication of Madame Justice Arbour's report, CSC launched two major reviews, one of segregation and the other of policy. Both Task Forces have reported and as a result considerable changes have been made within the Correctional Service of Canada related to adherence to the law and to the development of policy itself and ultimately, the operation of the women's facilities.

2. Legislation, Policy, and Mandate

The management and operations of the regional facilities are based on the Corrections and Conditional Release Act ( CCRA), the Mission of the Correctional Service, the principles of Creating Choices, the Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders , and the Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women .

2.1 Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA)

The foundation for the regional facilities is found in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).

In particular section 3:

The purpose of the federal correctional system is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by:

  1. carrying out sentences imposed by the courts through the safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders; and
  2. assisting the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens through the provision of programs in penitentiaries and in the community.

4. The principles that shall guide the Service in achieving the purpose referred to in section 3 are:

(a) that the protection of society be the paramount consideration in the corrections process;

(d) that the Service use the least restrictive measures consistent with the protection of the public, staff members and offenders;

(e) that offenders retain the rights and privileges of all members of society, except those rights and privileges that are necessarily removed or restricted as a consequence of the sentence;

(h) that correctional policies, programs and practices respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences and be responsive to the special needs of women and aboriginal peoples, as well as to the needs of other groups of offenders with special requirements;

(i)  that offenders are expected to obey penitentiary rules and conditions governing temporary absence, work release, parole and statutory release, and to actively participate in programs designed to promote their rehabilitation and reintegration;

(j)  that staff members be properly selected and trained, and be given

  1. appropriate career development opportunities,
  2. good working conditions, including a workplace environment that is free of practices that undermine a person's sense of personal dignity, and
  3. opportunities to participate in the development of correctional policies and programs

 

Additionally, Section 30 sets out the requirement for the classification of offenders:

30. (1) The Service shall assign a security classification of maximum, medium or minimum to each inmate in accordance with the regulations made under paragraph 96 (6).

With respect to living conditions, the CCRA states in section 70:

70. The Service shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that penitentiaries, the penitentiary environment, the living and working conditions of inmates and the working conditions of staff members are safe, healthful and free of practices that undermine a persons sense of personal dignity.

As identified by the Task Force, appropriate programs to meet the unique needs of women are essential components of the regional facilities. Sections 76 and 77 state:

76.  The Service shall provide a range of programs designed to address the needs of offenders and contribute to their successful reintegration into the community

77. As is outlined in section 77, the CSC is to provide programming to meet the needs of women offenders:

Without limiting the generality of section 76, the Service shall:

(a) provide programs designed particularly to address the needs of female offenders; and

(b) consult regularly about programs for female offenders with:

  1. appropriate women's groups, and
  2. other appropriate persons and groups with expertise on, and experience in working with, female offenders

In addition, the need to provide specialized programs to address the needs of Aboriginal offenders is outlined in section 80:

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

 

2.2  Mission of Correctional Service of Canada

The regional facilities reflect the Mission document of the CSC:

Mission Statement

The Correctional Service of Canada, as part of the criminal justice system and respecting the rule of law, contributes to the protection of society by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control .

And in particular,

Core Value 1: We respect the dignity of individuals, the rights of all members of society, and the potential for human growth and development.

Strategic Objective 1.7: To respect the social, cultural and religious differences of individual offenders

Core Value 2: We recognize that the offender has the potential to live as a law-abiding citizen.

Strategic Objective 2.2: To ensure that the special needs of female and native offenders are addressed properly.

Core Value 3: We believe that our strength and our major resource in achieving our objectives is our staff and that human relationships are the cornerstone of our endeavors.

Strategic Objective 3.4: To ensure that staff spend as much time as possible in direct contact with offenders.

2.3 Creating Choices

The development of the regional facilities is guided by the goals and vision of Creating Choices: The Report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, which emphasized a holistic vision with respect to the treatment of women offenders. This approach is guided by the five principles of Creating Choices :

Empowerment: Empowerment is the process through which women gain insight into their situation, identify their strengths, and are supported and challenged to take positive action to gain control of their lives.

Meaningful and Responsible Choices: Women need options that allow them to make responsible choices. Dependence on alcohol and/or drugs, men, and government financial assistance has denied women the opportunity and ability to make choices.

Respect and Dignity: Correctional Service of Canada had often been criticized for its tendency to encourage, and therefore perpetuate, dependent and child-like behavior among women offenders. Mutual respect is needed among offenders, among staff and between the two.

Supportive Environment: The quality of the environment (both physical and emotional) can promote physical and psychological health and personal development.

Shared Responsibility: There is a role to play for all levels of government, corrections, volunteer organizations, businesses, private sector services, and the community in developing support systems and continuity of service for women offenders.

2.4 Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders

The Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders (Laishes, 1997) provides the framework for the development of all mental health services for women. It recognizes the relationship between some of the mental health problems experienced by women and their early and/or continued experiences of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. An essential component of mental health services in the regional facilities is the comprehensive continuum of care identified in the Strategy that reflects the holistic nature of services provided to women offenders. It demonstrates the services that are essential within the facility and more broadly in the community.

The goal of mental health services for women identified in the Mental Health Strategy is:

To develop and ensure a coordinated continuum of care, structured support and remediation programs which permit women offenders to maximize mental well being and to minimize criminal recidivism through social, emotional, and cognitive skills development.

The regional facilities mental health services are guided by the five key principles outlined in the Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders :

1. Wellness

The principle of wellness refers to promoting wellness rather than "treating pathology." It also implies holistic thinking and programming, avoiding labels, reinforcing personal development and independent living skills, and involving family, Elders, and others in addition to mental health professionals. It recognizes the importance of all aspects of women's health and experience (body, mind, spirit and emotions) and their relationships within the facility and community.

2. Access

Access refers to providing women with reasonable access to appropriate essential and non-essential mental health services in keeping with community standards. This includes early assessments of needs and timely intervention to minimize symptom escalation and prevent acute crisis situations.

3. Women- Centered

Programs and services must be designed to meet the specific needs of women and be delivered by personnel sensitive to women and women's issues.

4. Client Participation (a principle of fundamental justice)

Women must play as active a role as possible in their treatment including their initial assessment, treatment planning and decision-making.

5. Least Restrictive Intervention

Treatment must be based on the least restrictive/intensive form of intervention possible with the lowest level of security required to ensure public safety.

2.5 Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women

The Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women (1994) provides the consistency for ensuring appropriate programming for women at the most appropriate time in their sentence.

The Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women also identifies the common principles and elements for the development and implementation of all programs, regardless of their orientation. The elements include women-centered principles, principles of adult education, diversity, analytical principles, and program structure.

This Program Strategy identifies the four major and often inter-related areas that are characteristics of most women:

1. Abuse/Trauma Issues

The high prevalence of violence in the lives of incarcerated women has only very recently been acknowledged. Surveys of women in Canada indicate that the majority of offenders are survivors of abuse and trauma in their families of origin or with their intimate partners. Abuse was found to be more widespread in the lives of Aboriginal women and two-thirds of women offenders surveyed indicated that they wanted some type of program or counseling to work through abuse issues.

2. Education and Employment Skills

Women's offences are also linked to women's generally inferior socio-economic circumstances, which often include poverty, racism, and violence. There is considerable agreement on these common characteristics of women offenders: most are poor and lacking in marketable skills; they often demonstrate dependence on social assistance, substances, and men; and, are often single parents, solely responsible for childcare.

3.  Parenting

Many women offenders have tremendous concern over lost custody of one or more of their children and indicated that contact with their children regardless of their age is essential to personal well being. Programs addressing issues surrounding coping with parenting in prison and parenting from a distance are required, as well as early childhood development for those women who participate in the mother child program for women and children that are part of facilities.

4. Substance Abuse

Research indicates that women are likely to have a different range and type of problems related to their use of substances than do male offenders. There is accumulating evidence that eating disorders, major affective mood disorders (depression) and a history of abuse, possibly related to post-traumatic stress disorder, are highly prevalent in women with substance abuse disorders. It should be noted that the impact of substance abuse is often worse for women than for men; that the serious physiological ailments caused, for example, by alcohol abuse, may occur with a lower level of consumption or after a shorter abuse history for women than for men.

Further discussion of the programs offered at the regional facilities are provided in Chapter 6.

 

3. Profile: Who are the Women Housed at the Regional Facilities?

3.1 Profile

Relative to men, there are very few women offenders under federal sentence in Canada . In November 2001, there were 870, or about 3.8% of the total federal offender population. Of these women, 370 (43%) were incarcerated and 500 (57%) were on conditional release in the community.

The majority of incarcerated women are young, single and Caucasian. Over half of the incarcerated population fell into the younger age category (18-34). Aboriginal women are over-represented at 22.5%, while visible minorities represent 8% of the population.

Almost two-thirds of the incarcerated population have committed Schedule 1 (violent) offences (e.g,. armed robbery, aggravated assault, manslaughter), while roughly a quarter are serving sentences for Schedule 2 (narcotics) offences such as trafficking and import / export. A minority of women are serving sentences for property crimes (e.g. forgery and fraud). Approximately a fifth of the population are serving a mandatory life sentence for first or second-degree murder. However the majority of the population are serving relatively short sentences – over a third are serving a sentence of between 2-3 years and over a quarter are serving a sentence of between 3-6 years. The result is that almost two-thirds of all women offenders are serving a sentence of less than 6 years.

3.2 Trend Profile

The characteristics of women offenders have not changed significantly over the past 5 years. Since 1997, the population appears to be getting somewhat younger and the proportion of single women has decreased slightly. With respect to race, over the past 5 years, the proportion of Aboriginal women offenders has fluctuated between 20-25%. The same holds true for the proportion of Caucasian offenders; this figure has ranged between 56-61%.

There has been little change in the proportion of women serving sentences for murder, approximately 4% for first degree and 15% for second degree. Further, the proportion of offenders serving a sentence for Schedule 1 offences has remained stable at approximately 43%, as has the proportion of offenders serving a sentence for a Schedule 2 offence at 24%.

However, along with the increase in the number of women admitted to federal custody is an increase in the number of women who are serving short sentences. For example, in 1997, 25% of the population was serving a sentence of between 2 and 3 years, and in 2001, that figure had increased to 35%. This increase has impacted the regional facilities in terms of case management, program delivery and stability of the environment due to an increased turnover in the population. These impacts affect the overall operation of the facilities on a daily basis and must be considered in the context of the ongoing management of the facility.

3.3 Risk/Need

Blanchette's review in June 1997 of the minimum, medium, and maximum-security female offender need level ratings5 showed consistent, reliable between-group differences in six of seven need domains assessed at Intake: employment, marital/family, associates, substance abuse, community functioning, and attitude. No significant differences were found in the personal/emotional domain, though data showed trends in the same direction. Maximum-security women were found to have more difficulties than medium-security women, who, in turn, exhibited more needs than minimum-security women do.

On a global risk/need rating assessed at admission to federal custody, none of the maximum-security women offenders were designated "low" on overall need. The vast majority was assessed as "high" need and a minority was assessed, as "medium" need.

Risk levels were also elevated for the maximum-security group: the majority was "high" risk, and the remainder was "medium" risk.6 Statistical analyses confirmed that between-group differences in risk/need levels were reliable.

Results from Blanchette's study demonstrate clear and reliable differences between minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security women offenders. Multiple risk and need variables discriminate between groups, in each case demonstrating more needs and higher risk as security level increases. These findings suggest a heterogeneity of female offender populations by security designation and imply that the assignment of security/custody levels is commensurate with risk and need.

5Risk and Need Among Federally Sentenced Female Offenders: A Comparison of Minimum, Medium and Maximum Security Inmates , Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada , Ottawa 1997.

6 Of the medium security women, 17% were assessed as "low" risk, 56% were assessed as "medium" risk, and the remainder, 27% were assessed as "high" risk). As with the medium- and maximum-security female offenders, global need levels for those in minimum-security were commensurate with security designation, where the majority (75%) were assessed as "low" risk. A further 18% were assessed as "medium" risk, and only 7% were assessed as "high" risk.

Needs

Needs are dynamic in nature and measure a variety of interpersonal areas in an offender's life. Such an assessment provides insight into life history and target program requirements. The risk rating is an assessment of future probability of re-offending if identified needs are not met and it is primarily determined by current offence and criminal history. Risk and need measurements are used to facilitate program referral and guide the case management process.

Research (Dell and Boe, 2000) has shown that non-Aboriginal women demonstrate fewer needs than Aboriginal women in the seven domains. There was also a substantial difference in their individual risk ratings. Therefore, individual life history may be influencing risk and need level ratings.

A snapshot of the incarcerated population was taken from the Offender Management System on November 4, 2001 and a breakdown of this population by their risk and need levels was compiled.

Incarcerated Population: Breakdown of Risk and Need

Risk / Need Total

High Risk/High Need

18%

High Risk / Medium Need

5%

High Risk/Low Need

1%

 

Medium Risk / High Need

16%

Medium Risk / Medium Need

23%

Medium Risk / Low Need

4%

 

Low Risk / High Need

2%

Low Risk / Medium Need

8%

Low Risk / Low Need

7%

 

Data not available

16%

 

Grand Total

100%

Source: OMS November 2001

Women who are incarcerated tend to have more mental health needs than those women in the general population.

Mental Health Problems of Incarcerated Women Compared to those of Women in General Population

 

Women in General Population Women Inmates

Schizophrenia

1.1% lifetime prevalence

7% lifetime prevalence

Major Depression

8.10%

19%

Substance Use Disorder - Alcohol

4.30%

36%

Substance Use Disorder - Drugs

3.80%

26%

Psychosocial Dysfunction

 

70%

Antisocial Personality Disorder

1.20%

29%

Childhood Sexual Abuse

20 - 54%

47 - 90%

Physical Abuse in Adult Intimate Relationships

27%

69%

3.4 Security Classification

According to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Regulations , offenders are assigned the least restrictive security classification based on an assessment of factors related to public safety, escape risk and institutional adjustment. The most appropriate security level is one that assesses each woman's risk within the least restrictive environment possible while addressing public safety concerns. The security classification process is a crucial one for many reasons, including potentially impacting on physical environment, privileges, and reintegration potential. Relatively few federal women offenders (9%) are classified as maximum security. The majority are classified as either minimum security (44%) or medium security (40%).

Security Classification % of Offenders

Maximum security

9%

Medium security

40%

Minimum security

44%

New admissions (not yet classified)

7%

Source: OMS

3.5 Releases

There are more women offenders serving the remainder of their sentence in the community than in prison. There are several types of community releases including Day Parole, Full Parole, Statutory Release, Escorted Temporary Absences, Unescorted Temporary Absences and Work Releases. The following tables illustrate the breakdown of the conditional release population by type of release.

January 21, 2001 - Type of Release

 

Number of women offenders under supervision %

Day Parole

93

18%

Full Parole

371

71%

Statutory Release

59

11%

 

 

 

National

523

100%

Source: OMS

The majority of women on conditional release are on full parole followed by day parole and statutory release. One reason why women are often successful on conditional release is their relatively high levels of motivation and reintegration potential. The majority of women offenders successfully complete their supervision in the community in part due to their high motivation. The majority of the women offender population in the community (77%) were assessed as having a high level of motivation and 75% were assessed as having a high reintegration potential.

January 21, 2001 - Motivation Level

 

Number of women offenders under supervision %

Motivation high

371

71%

Motivation medium

96

18%

Motivation low

17

3%

Not specified

39

8%

 

 

 

National

523

100%

Source: OMS

January 21, 2001 - Reintegration Potential

 

Number of women offenders under supervision %

High Potential

361

69%

Medium Potential

106

20%

Low Potential

16

3%

Not specified

40

8%

Total

523

100%

Source: OMS

Another type of conditional release is Escorted and Unescorted Temporary Absences and Work releases. A breakdown of the number of warrants issued by Institution is provided below 7. The large majority are successfully completed.

Escorted Temporary Absences

 

Successful ETAs

 

Admin Medical Program Total

Nova

 

316

130

446

Joliette

2

189

106

297

EIFW

 

215

323

538

OOHL

1

419

330

750

GVI

7

366

500

873

Source: OMS April 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001

Unescorted Temporary Absences

 

Successful UTAs

 

Admin. Medical Program Total

Nova

8

1

84

93

Joliette

0

7

67

74

EIFW

0

0

85

85

OOHL

0

0

34

34

GVI

9

0

85

94

Source OMS April 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001

Work Releases
  Successful Work Releases

Nova

0

Joliette

54

EIFW

13

OOHL

28

GVI

0

Total

95

Source: OMS April 1, 2000 - March 31, 2001

7 Isabel McNeil House is not a regional facility but rather a minimum security satellite facility of Grand Valley Institution and as such is not included in these tables. It has received funding to continue operating for 2002/03. The Ontario region's RCAOP will contain a plan regarding its future.

3.6 Conditional Release Outcomes

The majority of supervision periods are completed successfully. The following three tables demonstrate the outcomes of supervision periods by type of release. Proportionally, the most successful completions in 99/00 were those on Day Parole followed by Full Parole and Statutory Release.

Outcome Rates For Federal Day Parole
Outcome 1998/99 1999/00 2 year average

Successful completions

162

82.2%

201

87.0%

84.6%

Revocations for breach of conditions

23

11.7%

17

7.4%

9.5%

Recidivism (Revocations with Offence)

Non-violent

11

5.6%

8

3.5%

4.5%

Violent

1

0.5%

5

2.2%

1.3%

Total Recidivism

12

6.1%

13

5.6%

5.8%

Total Completions

197

100%

231

100%

428

The successful completion rate increased by 4.8% in 99/00. The two year average demonstrates that just under 85% of day parole supervision periods were completed successfully with 9.5% resulting in a breach of condition and 5.8% in a new offence.

Outcome Rates For Federal Full Parole
Outcome 1998/99 1999/00 2 year average

Successful completions

99

79.2%

118

84.9%

82.0%

Revocations for breach of conditions

14

11.2%

14

10.1%

10.6%

Recidivism (Revocations with Offence)

Non-violent

12

9.6%

5

3.6%

6.6%

Violent

0

0.0

2

1.4%

0.7%

Total Recidivism

12

9.6%

7

5.0%

7.3%

Total Completions

125

100%

139

100%

264

There were 264 full parole supervision periods completed from 1998-00. The two year average demonstrates that 82.0% of these supervision periods were completed successfully with 10.6% resulting in a revocation for breach of condition and 7.3% in a new offence.

Outcome Rates For Statutory Release
Outcome 1998/99 1999/00 2 year average

Successful completions

55

64.7%

82

66.1%

65.4%

Revocations for breach of conditions

20

23.5%

29

23.4%

23.4%

Recidivism (Revocations with Offence)

Non-violent

8

9.4%

10

8.1%

8.7%

Violent

2

2.4%

3

2.4%

2.4%

Total Recidivism

10

11.8%

13

10.5%

11.1%

Total Completions

85

100%

124

100%

209

There were 209 statutory release periods completed from 1998-00. The two year average demonstrates that 65.4% of these supervision periods were completed successfully with 23.4% resulting in a revocation for breach of conditions and 11.1% in a new offence.

3.7 Revocations

Nationally, the majority of admissions (57%) are based on warrant of committals while 35% are based on revocations. The majority of these revocations involve no new offence (25%) while 10% do involve a new offence. The remaining 7% of admissions are based on other types of admissions such as international transfers. While the number of revocations without offence represents an area where there is room for improvement, it is also important to keep in mind that this "35%" of admissions based on revocations represents 10 admissions per month across the country - 7 with no new offence and 3 with a new offence, as is demonstrated in the following table8.

Average Number of Admissions by Type (April 2000 to January 2001 - 10 months)

 

Average for women offenders(over 10 months) %

Revocation with new offence

3

10%

Revocation without new offence

7

25%

Warrant of committal

16

57%

Other admission

2

7%

Total

28

100%

Source: OMS

8 For further detail, see the National Parole Board's study Performance Monitoring Report 1999-2000

4. Human Resources Strategy

First and foremost, the regional facilities must be a safe, secure and humane environment for both the staff and offenders. The management model of the women's facilities is based on a progressive and humanistic correctional model. This innovative model was developed from the recommendations and guiding principles enunciated in Creating Choices. The facilities are relatively small operational units and many responsibilities have been integrated within the same position.

4.1 Staffing Plan

Each facility is managed by a Warden who reports to the Regional Deputy Commissioner, and is a member of the Regional Management Committee and the National Women's Facility Warden's Committee. Wardens have a functional reporting relationship to the Deputy Commissioner for Women at National Headquarters. The Warden has the primary responsibility for the facility on a day-to-day basis and under emergency conditions. Similarly, each facility is autonomous and operates independently from other facilities. Both formal and informal mechanisms exist to ensure a high level of participation and consistency by staff and the women in decision-making processes.

Although there are regional variations due to institutional size for specific responsibilities and staffing models, there are two organizational components: Operations and Management Services. Operations are responsible for ensuring that the needs of the women are met. Included under this category are case management; sentence management; security; health care; programs; recreation; visiting; assessment and treatment, education, employment, spirituality, and other related areas.

Management Services is regarded as the services/support component which is responsible for maintaining the operation of the facility and providing administrative services. Included under this category are: administration, clerical support, informatics, personnel, technical services, financial management, maintenance, purchasing and inventory control, food services, contract administration and other related services.

The organizational structure, as previously mentioned, is based on a minimal hierarchical structure and many of the functions of a traditional larger facility housing male offenders are integrated into the duties of the Team Leaders, the Assistant Team Leaders and the Primary Workers.

An essential position at the facilities is the Primary Worker. The Primary Worker is the frontline officer with an integrated role that encompasses both dynamic and static security, as well as playing a key role in the reintegration process through a broad range of case management responsibilities. The Primary Worker, after extensive case analysis, formulates release recommendations and present cases to the Warden and National Parole Board (NPB). Additionally, some Primary Workers assume the responsibility for program delivery in some of the regional sites.

In order to ensure the most appropriate staff are selected for the Primary Worker positions, a comprehensive recruitment/selection process has been developed9. The Primary Worker Selection Process uses a variety of tools enabling the selection Board to assess the candidate's ability to work in a women-centred environment. This process is consistent across regions and reflects the human resource strategy recommended in Creating Choices.

Assistant Team Leaders provide strong leadership and add strong support to dynamic security. Their varied responsibilities include supervising Primary Workers and providing advice and guidance to ensure consistent application of operational security practices and case management. Outside of regular operating hours, the Assistant Team Leader becomes the first decision making authority and assumes the powers and responsibilities conferred on the institutional head under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act .

The Team Leader has an important cross-functional role in the women's institutions by maintaining an overall coordination role for security, case management and programs. Team Leaders also fill the role of duty officer and represent the institution on various regional and national committees. Each Team Leader is also assigned overall responsibility for a caseload of women. They often chair institutional boards as well as acting for the Deputy Warden and Warden when the latter are absent from the institution. It is an extremely challenging job, requiring decisiveness, creativity, flexibility, adaptation skills and good judgement.

9NHQ has developed a consistent recruitment strategy process to assist the regional facilities in hiring Primary Workers. This process is available at each regional staffing division as well as the women's facilities.

4.2 Cross Gender Staffing

The issue of cross gender staffing was examined as a result of the Arbour Report in which the use of male frontline staff with women offenders was criticized.

In response to these concerns, the Service developed a National Cross Gender Protocol for Front Line Staffing to address the many issues surrounding the responsibilities of all staff and particularly male front line Primary Workers.

In accordance with Justice Arbour's recommendations and respecting the front line protocol, facilities are required to implement operational practices with respect to cross gender procedures for areas such as, cell extractions, intrusive (frisk and strip) searches and camera monitoring as part of their operational routines. Consistent with general staffing practices, all employees are expected to perform all the duties in their work descriptions regardless of gender, with the exception of specific procedures as set out in the protocol and intrusive searches as stated in policy. While the protocol provides guidance and requires strict adherence to policy, not all potential cross gender issues are covered. Each facility is expected to ensure that cross gender issues are addressed on an ongoing basis through discussion and review of the issues as they occur. The number and percentage of male staff working in women's facilities is monitored on a quarterly basis.

4.3 Staff Training Plan

In staffing positions within the women's facilities, CSC recruits individuals who have experience working with women and/or individuals who are sensitive towards women's issues and have knowledge of the philosophy outlined in Creating Choices . The chart below identifies the training requirements for staff working in the women's facilities.

Staff Training Requirements

1. For newly hired staff

Course Comments # Days PW # Days Non-PW

CTP/Orientation

13 days to 11 weeks depending on classification

13 weeks

3 weeks

Parole officer training

Full course for PW or others doing case management work

2 weeks

2weeks

OMS training

All staff

½ day

½ day

Women-Centred Training (WCT)

All staff

10 days

To be determined

Non-Violent Crisis Intervention

Curriculum as per regional training plan.

2 -5 days

2 -5 days

Suicide Prevention

Course used by each region

1-2 days

1-2 days

Mental health awareness and issues

All staff working in the SLE houses and IERT members. Is a pre-requisite for the DBT and PSR training.

2 days

2 days

PSR training

All staff working in the SLE and Secure Units.

5 days

5 days

DBT training

As above.

5 days

5 days

Motivational Interviewing

Secure Unit staff.

2 days est.

2 days est.

TOTAL

 

Up to 21 weeks

Up to 11 weeks

 

2. For current CSC staff from outside the women's facilities

Course Comments # Days CX # Days CX

WCT

All staff coming from men's institutions or parole offices who have not had WCT

10 days

To be determined

Non-violent crisis intervention

All staff (see above comments)

2-5 days (est. 3)

2-5 days (est. 3)

Suicide Prevention

Refresher if needed.

2 days

2 days

Mental health awareness and issues

All staff working in the SLE and Secure Units and IERT members. Is a pre-requisite for the DBT and PSR training.

2 days

2 days

 

5. Operation of the Facilities

5.1 Introduction

The regional women's facilities are designed to accommodate the unique needs of women offenders. Further, the design encourages the maintenance and utilization of skills and abilities necessary for effective reintegration into the community.

The design compliments the regional geographic community in which the facilities are located, as well as minimizes stigmatization associated with correctional facilities. CSC has successfully designed an environment that respects the rights and dignity of offenders, while ensuring accountability. The model reflects a holistic approach to custody and caring that incorporates the reality of self-sufficient living. With the implementation of the Intensive Intervention Strategy, the regional facilities take on additional roles of operating a truly multi level facility that provides the services for minimum, medium and maximum security women and those with mental health concerns. This role has a significant impact on the daily operations of the facilities.

5.2 Management Of A Multi-Level Facility

The regional facilities face a unique challenge in managing a multi-level population of offenders in a holistic environment while ensuring the least restrictive measures are respected in accordance with the CCRA.

As safety, security and reintegration are the central focus of the women's facilities, the management of the various levels of security must be consistent in these areas while respecting policy and ensuring the ongoing daily operation of the facilities.

Central to this are the issues of static security, dynamic security and communication. Daily operational routines must integrate these issues in order to meet the needs of all levels of security and be linked in such a manner that attention to one level does not outweigh the others. This is essential for security, case management, programs, community participation and staff inmate interaction.

The regional facilities continue to be creative and innovative in meeting the needs of minimum-security women within their complex environments in order to ensure the least restrictive environment is maintained10. However, the effect of residing in a multi-level facility with a formal static security perimeter has had an impact on the environment for these women. Numerous initiatives have been developed to encourage women to work towards and maintain their minimum-security status. These include identifying specific houses at each site as minimum security. This reinforces and supports the minimum security concept and encourages a supportive environment in the house. Additionally this allows further privileges for the women living in a house identified as minimum security11. These include such elements as changes in curfew, allowing glass items in the house, allowing visitation within and outside the house from other areas, special events for personal and social development, access to phone and location of the house. Increased interaction with the community in terms of fence clearance, 24 hour patio access, Escorted Temporary Absences, Unescorted Temporary Absences and Work Release are also encouraged for women identified as minimum security.

While initiatives have been and will continue to be developed for minimum security women, medium security women have well established routines within a secure perimeter environment. Issues surrounding movement, privileges, programming, reintegration, and community involvement are reflective of their security level.

Additionally, within the regional facilities is the implementation of the Structured Living Environment Houses with 24 hour supervision using an interdisciplinary team approach providing services for women with significant mental health concerns.

The repatriation of maximum security women to the Secure Units in the facilities will result in more challenges. The maximum-security units are separate and distinct facilities within the existing women's facilities. While they are not stand alone, they are structured and designed in such a way that allows for separation as necessary and integration as much as possible. The use of escorts and movement routines throughout the facility for maximum security women must be well organized and controlled, however they must also be done in a manner that does not over-emphasize their presence in the facility.

The management of a multi level population in a holistic environment must ensure that daily operations meet the needs of each individual.

10 Isabel McNeil House in Kingston Ontario remains open as the only minimum security house outside of the four regional facilities and does not have a fence surrounding its perimeter.

11 These privileges may differ slightly between institutions.

5.3 Capacity

The facilities vary in size. The following chart illustrates the breakdown of rated capacity by site and according to the purpose built units;

Facility General Population Capacity Structured Living Environment Secure* Unit Total Bed Capacity

Nova Institution

52

8

10

70

Joliette Institution

95

8

10

113

Grand Valley Institution

88

8

15

103

Edmonton Institution

90

8

15

102

Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

28

0

0

28

Total

334

32

50

416

*Currently under construction

5.4 External Environment

The grounds at the regional women's facilities reflect a community neighborhood environment. Green space and gardens are dispersed throughout the sites and include interconnected walkways that line each building or house. The exterior of the housing units varies by site and includes duplex style, connected row housing or a combination of the two. An Administration Building on the grounds of each site houses a Health Care, Gym, Visiting and Correspondence, Spirituality Center , Programs Area, Library and staff office space. Also located in the Administration Building is maintenance, storage and the Secure Communications Center (SCC). This serves as the central control center for communications and static security.

5.5 Interior Environment

This correctional model is supported by an architectural design that creates a framework for daily living which mirrors as closely as possible daily living in the broader community. Within this environment, the women are expected to assume responsibility for many different aspects of their lives. They are responsible for the daily maintenance of their living units, the preparation of their meals, their laundry and in some cases the care of their children within the parameters of the Mother-Child Program.

The residential interior design of the houses promotes the development and maintenance of community-based living skills. Each woman has an individual bedroom (some women may share a room as necessary) with a locking door and her own key. These rooms are a private space and may be personalized in accordance with institutional policy. Bedrooms are regarded as a quiet area, which fosters autonomy and enables women to complete such activities as reading, studying, and writing correspondence. There are common living areas and a communal kitchen that incorporates the small meal preparation program. Each house purchases a weekly allotment of food from the main administration building, based on a standard per diem. The types of foods provided are nutritionally balanced and based on established menus in consultation with the women. The women may choose to prepare alternative meals based on these same basic ingredients. The kitchen accommodates more than one individual at a time, which allows experiential training or shared responsibility. Meals are taken in the house with the occasional exception of the mid-day meal which may be prepared in the house but eaten elsewhere (e.g., work location, community). The cooking and daily house keeping chores are shared among the women and may be done individually or as a group. The laundry and bathroom facilities are shared and the women are responsible for doing their own laundry. Wheelchair accessibility is available and women have a direct telephone line to the main administration building. Additionally, a phone system is available in each house to provide personal phone service for the women.

5.6 Daily Operational Routine

The chart below reflects the concept of a daily routine within the regional sites (please note the institutional counts are conducted in accordance with National policy and operational procedures of the institution). This chart reflects generalities and may vary from site to site.

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION/COMMENTS

Shift change /staff briefing

morning daily routine for the women

Program/employment /leisure

Institutional access as required and appropriate to level of security classification.

Programming block > based on individual needs/treatment goals outlined in the treatment plan

This blocks includes work, programs, counseling sessions, tutoring, meet with/work with case management, meet with/ work with Elders and Chaplains etc.

Lunch

 

Programming block

As above

Shift change/staff briefing

Personal time for the women

Dinner

 

Programming /leisure

Leisure, recreation, meeting with volunteers, personal time, hobby craft etc.

Curfew

All women must be in the house per institutional policy.

Shift change/staff briefing

 

•  Four counts are conducted at least every 24-hours in compliance with National Directives.

5.7 Routine Operational Practices

Communication

Communication plays an essential role in the overall operations of the regional facilities. Each facility must ensure both formal and informal communication systems are well established. Types of communication forums such as shift briefings, staff meetings, case conferences, informal discussion, utilization of electronic mail, inservice opportunities and situational risk assessments are some of the tools which must be integrated into the overall operations of the facility. Good communication is an essential component of dynamic security and, therefore, is a cornerstone in the overall operations of the facility.

Dynamic Security

Women inmates require different levels of management and intervention as their risks and needs are different from each other and men inmates. Front line staff in women's institutions have an integrated role of both security and case management which supports the dynamic security approach. Dynamic security is an essential element in the overarching philosophy of the holistic approach adopted in the operations of the regional facilities. It also plays an essential role in providing a safe and secure environment in the overall management of the facility. Staff hired in the women's facilities are hired with an emphasis on interpersonal skills which contributes to a high level of dynamic security.

Dynamic security refers to any activity that promotes or contributes to a safe and secure correctional environment by encouraging constructive relationships and by increasing awareness of factors that contribute to or detract from a safe and secure environment. Dynamic security speaks specifically to the relationship that exists between all staff members and the women with whom they work. It is the interaction between these two groups of people that has a cumulative effect on the overall culture of the regional facilities. Every interaction has the potential to enhance a positive institutional culture and create positive staff/offender interactions essential to teamwork. For example staff can intervene and prevent a conflict from developing that would necessitate the use of force. Conversely, staff and women working together can accelerate the reintegration process and facilitate the return of women to the community at the earliest possible time in their sentence.

The majority of operational and security measures and routines are addressed in Commissioner Directives (CD's) 566 Preventive Security and 567 Management of Security Incidents. These CD's and others, provide the framework and guidance to operate the general dynamic and static security measures of the facility. These include but are not limited to such issues as counts, movement, and control of entry and exit to the institution, searching and escorts. Each region must also consider the impact of Standard Operating Practices (SOP's) and incorporate them accordingly into their operational routines.

Static Security

Static security measures are incorporated as necessary to complement dynamic security and ensure a balance between risk and need within the facility. In order for static security to be effective, it must work in an integrated manner with dynamic security and supervision. Static security measures within the women's facilities include locked doors, alarmed doors and windows, restraint equipment, fencing, detection systems and camera observation.

A full security review of the regional facilities was completed in 1996 and a number of security enhancements were made12. The institutional perimeter currently consists of the following:

  • The perimeter fence is eight feet topped by rolled razor-ribbon wire;
  • A fence detection system signals alarms in the event of intrusions or escape attempts;
  • The installation of infra red lights around the perimeter for night-time camera observation; separate systems for alarm monitoring (rather than integrating them with the door controls to avoid delays);
  • The installation of alarms on housing unit doors and windows;
  • A roof-top detection system (for the institutions whose main building is part of the perimeter);
  • An elevated general observation camera (360 degrees), called an eye-in-the-sky (for various reasons, some institutions do not have this camera);
  • A network of closed-circuit television cameras and an infrared light-illumination allows for assessment and visual verification of alarms;
  • The main security control system monitors the perimeter security fence, the closed-circuit television monitors as well as all alarms.
  • Segregation unit

While static security measures are a necessary part of the operations of the facility it is essential that they be considered as one tool among many in the overall management of the facility.

12 At the time of this report, a second review of static security in women's institutions is being planned because it has been 5 years since the first review and as a result of an escape investigation during the Summer of 2001.

The basic operational objectives to manage the facility include communication, dynamic security and static security and can be illustrated as follows:

Objective How we do it

Prevention

Dynamic supervision and security; communication systems, information sharing

Observation

Dynamic supervision and security; information sharing, communication systems, cameras, lights

Detection

Dynamic supervision and security; information sharing, cameras, detection systems (e.g. scanners, dogs), alarms (e.g. doors, windows, fences, PPA system)

Confirmation

Staff observation, communication systems, cameras, information sharing

Containment

Staff intervention, secure security systems (e.g., doors, windows), situation management techniques

Response

Staff intervention (conflict resolution, negotiation, use of force, emergency response team), use of static measures and situation management intervention techniques (dynamic and defensive)

Crisis Management

Crisis management is an accepted and necessary component of the management of any facility. Emergency planning activities are an essential element of crisis management and each facility is expected to have current contingency plans to deal with all types of internal and external emergencies. The contingency plans of the women's facilities must specify the roles, responsibilities and protocols to be followed by male Institutional Emergency Response Team members and male police and RCMP officers (if required in some circumstances) during interventions with the women. However, unique to the women's regional facilities is the utilization of an all-female Institutional Emergency Response Team (IERT). This team is utilized to deal with emergency situations following the use of all other least restrictive measures. Critical incident stress debriefing is an important element of the emergency planning process and is essential in assisting the facility in returning to normal. The management team participates in Crisis Management Training as part of their role and responsibilities in the overall management of the institution.

6. REINTEGRATION

6.1 Case Management

Upon placement to one of the regional facilities each woman is given an orientation to the facility. The orientation process familiarizes the women with the rules and regulations of the facility as well as her responsibilities and rights during her incarceration. Each woman is assigned a case management team (CMT) which includes as a minimum, the woman, a Primary Worker, a Parole Officer (in some facilities) an Assistant Team Leader, Team Leaders and other ad hoc members as identified. The purpose of this team is to facilitate and implement the case management process that assists the woman's safe and timely reintegration into society as a law abiding citizen.

The case management process has three components beginning with Intake Assessment and Correctional Planning. Following admission to the regional facility the Case Management Team collects information to obtain complete, accurate and quality information to assist in every activity related to the woman's admission and assessment in the correctional process. The Intake Assessment involves the timely and systematic analysis of significant information and the identification of the critical static and dynamic risk factors that affect the safe, and timely reintegration of the woman. The Intake results are the basis for developing Correctional Plans for each woman. The Correctional Plan is the principal document for providing an overall picture of the woman and is the base document for all decision making with respect to the woman.

The next phase the woman enters into is the Intervention Phase. Interventions are aimed at assisting the woman in changing the behaviours that contributed to her criminality and are outlined in the Correctional Plan. While both static and dynamic risk factors are associated with recidivism, it is the dynamic factors that are amenable to treatment. Thus, the primary purpose of assessing dynamic factors is for treatment planning. Dynamic risk factors can be equated with criminogenic needs. They are a subset of a woman's risk level; they are dynamic characteristics of the woman that, when changed, are associated with changes in the probability of recidivism. However, while static factors such as age, race, and criminal history have shown to be strong predictors of recidivism, dynamic factors such as antisocial attitudes, criminal associates, and substance abuse show even stronger predictive accuracy.

Static risk factors, such as age of onset of criminal behaviour, number of previous offences, a history of violent offending are good predictors of future criminal behaviour. However, although they predict criminal behaviour, they are unalterable, and therefore insensitive to change over time.

Dynamic and static risk factors, however, are useful in contributing to institutional placement and supervision decisions and in providing information regarding level of programming intensity that will best meet an offender's needs. Specifically, intervention is most effective when intensive services are directed toward individuals who present a high risk for recidivism. Accordingly, low risk individuals benefit from lower levels of treatment.

The final phase is the Decision-Making Phase. At some point in her sentence, a woman will have a decision made with respect to her case. Effective case preparation hinges on the competent assessment of the risk posed by the woman relative to the decision being made. These decisions include, but are not limited to, participation in the Private Family Visiting Program, Temporary Absence (either escorted or unescorted), Work Release, Day or Full Parole, and Statutory Release.

The case management process encourages women to take responsibility for their lives. It also encourages them to become part of the decision-making process to which they have made a commitment in their Correctional Plan and to assume the consequences of their informed choices. Ultimately case management supports the principles of Creating Choices and the Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women.

As part of the Case Management process, each facility has developed an Assessment and Program Assignment Committee and OMRB (Offender Management Review Board). As well, some facilities have a Program Board. These committees review decisions with respect to such issues as Escorted Temporary Absences, Private Family Visits and Work Release as well as decisions with respect to program related assignments such as work placements, program and work assignments and payments. This board provides a comprehensive review of each case that normally includes the Case Management Team and senior managers.

6.2 Programs

The Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women (1994) was developed in order to provide program consistency in the regional facilities. It is based on and respects CSC's Correctional Strategy, yet is flexible enough to recognize and incorporate the needs of women offenders. This document is a guide for the development of programs in the regional facilities and describes the overall correctional program strategy for women.

In determining the most effective programs for women, a number of variables have been taken into consideration. Firstly there are two themes running through the literature on women offenders. There is an overwhelming consensus that in most instances women's criminal behaviour is largely associated with their backgrounds and life circumstances. Secondly, a holistic approach to correctional programming for women has been adopted. Additionally other factors impacting program development include research, program availability, and theoretical ideology of programming for women, and the relatively small number of incarcerated women.

Though research is limited in terms of evaluating program effectiveness for women, CSC has nationally adopted the cognitive and social learning approach to programming, which has proven to be an effective strategy for the carceral population. To that end, correctional programs are based on the social learning theory. This approach has proven to be particularly effective in targeting change of behaviour in offenders. Social learning theory is based on the concept that behaviour is learned through modeling, observation, repeated exposure and reinforcement of the behaviour. Social learning theory supports the principle that cognitive processes mediate environmental and experiential events; that social learning experiences influence how offenders think about themselves and their world and that their thinking in turn, influences how they perceive and react to their environment (Ross & Fabiano, 1985).

With respect to cognitive-behavioural theory, the methods are used and designed in assisting women to recognize that their beliefs have been shaped by their socialization, socio-economic status, and race. In short, the goal of the cognitive-behavioural therapy is to assist women in identifying, challenging, and replacing their maladaptive thinking patterns with more adaptive patterns of thinking.

In recent years, there has been extensive conceptual work on women's development. Relational theory is a way of looking at gender differences in the experience and construction of self. For women, the primary experience of self is relational; that is, the self is organized and developed in the context of relationships. This is very different to traditional male models of development which focus on autonomy, separation and independence. For women, building and maintaining "connection" is a source of strength. Relational theory, experts suggest, must be evident in every aspect of programming.

As indicated earlier, program effectiveness requires the six essential elements that are included in any type of program for women offenders. These include women-centered principles, principles of adult education, diversity, analytical principles, program structure and program process.

CSC has developed what are termed "core programs" to specifically address the criminogenic need areas so that the offender's likelihood of re-offending is reduced. CSC has also adopted the cognitive, social learning approach to personal development training.

The Correctional Program Strategy for Federally Sentenced Women sets out the core programs for women offenders. They are similar to those for men, with one exception: the Survivors of abuse and Trauma Programs. There is no demonstrated link between surviving violence/abuse/trauma and criminal behaviour; however, the impact of this type of victimization is severe enough to affect women's adjustment and ability to engage/benefit from other programs while incarcerated. The core programs for women include Living Skills Programs (Cognitive Skills and Anger Management); Substance Abuse Programs; Literacy and Continuous Learning Programs; and Survivors of Abuse and Trauma Programs. Core programs, since they are specifically targeted toward addressing identified need areas, are compulsory insofar as they do comprise part of a woman's correctional plan.

Effective program development and delivery assists women to address their identified criminogenic needs at the most appropriate time in their sentence, while reducing the risk to public safety. Programs available in the facility are identified in a timeline over an 18 month period. This allows staff to complete program planning in order to facilitate program, planning in a timely manner.

As set out in the Correctional Program Strategy for Women Offenders , vocational programs for women offenders must provide an adequate amount, intensity and quality of training in work that is relevant to the job market and should focus on jobs which have the potential to earn the woman a salary that will lead to economic independence.

Job inventories in the institutions include such services as vehicle maintenance, cleaning, assistant to teacher/chaplain/librarian, and food distribution. The Advisory Committees at each facility are actively involved in identifying potential opportunities.

Two regional facilities have Corcan shops providing employment. Corcan's mandate is to ensure that inmates who participate in Corcan activities are fully, regularly and suitably employed in a work environment that strives to achieve private sector standards of productivity and quality. It is also mandated to provide programs and services that facilitate inmates' reentry into the work force following their release.

Programs such as vocational/ work/ leisure are a regional responsibility since local community resource availability would shape the type of activities offered. With respect to vocational/industrial programs, the immediate focus has been on short-term activities and the creation of job inventories at each site so that there will be no gap in inmate pay for women offenders.

6.3 Mother Child Program

One of the major concerns identified in Creating Choices was the separation of women from their children. This was particularly critical given the number of incarcerated women who have children. The Task Force recommendation that women would be allowed to have their children with them in the institution, subject to certain conditions and criteria, was accepted by the government. The Task Force recommended that the program include a range from full-time residency and part-time residency, to regular or enhanced visiting. CSC has subsequently developed policy (CD 768 Institutional Mother Child Program) in this area after extensive research and consultations.

The goal of the mother-child program in the regional facilities is to foster positive relationships between mothers and their children; however, the overriding focus and basis for decision-making is the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child include ensuring the safety and security as well as the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the child.

The regional women's facilities and the OOHL have the physical capacity to accommodate mothers and children living together. Some of the housing units in all the regional facilities are designed with bedrooms for children. The Healing Lodge has an on-site daycare since it is located on the Nekaneet Reserve, 30 kilometers from the nearest town with daycare/playschool facilities.

The Mother-Child program consists of two main elements: full-time and part-time residency. However, other visiting program options are available based on the needs of both the mother and the child. Examples include visiting through open visits and private family visiting programs and visiting on and off site between the mother and child, while the child resides in a local foster care or alternative placement13.

The age limit for full-time residency is four (4) years of age, and for part-time residency, twelve (12) years of age. Eligibility and assessment criteria for both the inmate and the child and assessment criteria are set out in policy (CD 768). Parenting skills programs are mandatory for mothers participating in the program. Coordination with and consent from the respective provincial authorities are required, as child welfare legislation is a provincial matter. Health care for the children is also under the auspices of each province.

In July 1996, part-time residency was initiated at the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge. In the summer of 1997, the Healing Lodge began to implement full-time residency.

In late 1997, Nova Institution for Women, Grand Valley Institution for Women and Établissement Joliette implemented the program with mothers who had given birth since their incarceration.

In January 2001, Commissioner's Directive 768 Institutional Mother-Child Program was promulgated and the full program may now be implemented in all regional facilities. Work is continuing with respect to extending the program into the community phase of the mother's sentence.

13 Inmate accommodation (single occupancy) has priority over the Mother-Child Program in both the long and short term.

6.4 Peer Support

The Peer Support Program was first established at the Prison for Women (P4W) in 1990. A psychologist noted that offenders spontaneously created a network of support for each other during times of crisis and need for comfort. To maintain and enhance the benefits of these peer-support interactions, she recommended that the existing support network among the women be recognized and legitimized. When the regional facilities opened, this program was implemented at each institution. The Peer Support Program is based on a novel paradigm that was designed for federal female offenders. It emphasizes treatment that is “holistic, woman-centred, culturally sensitive and support[s] the development of …autonomy and self-esteem” (Correctional Service of Canada, 1992).

The Peer Support Program consists of intensive training for inmates to provide emotional support to their peers which consists of 18 three-hour sessions (Revised Peer Support Program Manual, 2002). Volunteers are recruited from the community to be session speakers within their respective areas of expertise. The Peer Support Program has its place on the Women's Mental Health Continuum of Care (Laishes, 1997). Key principles in this strategy that are particularly relevant to the Peer Support Program are: access, women-centredness, and client participation. The program's uniqueness is based on its application of offenders' shared experiences in the provision of support for each other. The Peer Support Program is viewed as an essential program for all women's facilities and ongoing support and guidance is provided through the program department.

The original program was revised in 2002. In March 2002, a new team of Peer Support Program Coordinators received training and the program continues to be available in all regional facilities for women.

6.5 Health Services

Health Services is operated using the Clinic Model which focuses on health promotion, illness reduction and promotes individual wellness utilizing a holistic women centred approach. CD 800 guides the direction of health service provisions and reflects general community standards. The Health Care Centre is responsible for providing education and information on general health and wellbeing by educating, encouraging and supporting the development of healthier values, attitudes, and behaviours. This enables the women to assume the primary responsibility for their own health and make informed choices regarding their wellbeing. This approach captures the spirit of the principles of shared responsibility, meaningful and responsible choices in a supportive environment.

Additionally, the Health Services Branch at National Headquarters in conjunction with Regional Headquarters have developed a comprehensive education effort directed at line staff and inmates on the prevention and management of certain infection diseases. Specific components include: education materials on how AIDS, HIV and hepatitis is transmitted; infection control measures and precautions to minimize the risk of transmission of HIV, AIDS and hepatitis: and, opportunities for periodic information updates to ensure staff and inmates are kept informed on developments relating to infectious diseases.

6.6 Psychological Services

The institutional psychologists provide psychological services with an expertise in understanding human behaviour, the treatment of emotional problems and distress, in conjunction with a special knowledge of the psychology of women and women's issues.

The psychology department is broadly based with a cognitive behavioural focus for treatment and programming services. The psychology staff focus their interventions, reviews and assessments on criminogenic factors as well as underlying factors in the women's lives that contribute to their overall successful reintegration and general wellbeing. Both individual and group treatment is available for all women including women identified as high risk/high need. The psychology department is also responsible for the completion of National Parole Board risk assessment reports and provides crisis intervention to women as needed.

6.7 Personal Development

Each regional woman's facility has a broad range of personal development programs. These include leisure activities, recreation, hobby craft and ethnocultural programs.

The personal development area focuses on issues of personal growth, learning and sharing, exchanging of ideas and personal autonomy for the women and assists in the overall reintegration of the women both in the facility and into the community.

6.8 Spirituality

The regional women's facilities have a holistic approach to spirituality. This includes traditional spiritual services with a non-denominational approach. Services include individual and group prayer sessions, counseling, program delivery, and community escorts. Further they are active ad hoc members of the case management team.

As well, traditional Aboriginal spirituality is provided at the regional facilities. Elders play a key role in the development of the spirituality of the women and provide spiritual support, counseling and a connection back to an Aboriginal identity for Aboriginal women. Additionally, Native Liaison Officers have been providing a bridge for better understanding of the culture for both staff and the women. The Elder and the Native Liaison Officer are also ad hoc members of the case management team and in many women's facilities the Elders play a role in Elder Assisted National Parole Board hearings.

6.9 Inmate Handbook

The Inmate Handbook provides direction and is a source of reference for the women living at the regional facilities. It includes detailed information on topics ranging from personal items, general house and institutional rules, daily routines, maintaining community supports and ties, programs, employment, health care and decision makers and other related area's. The women's rights and responsibilities are also included in the handbook. As part of the initial orientation process, it is provided to all women placed at the regional facilities.

7. Other Relations

7.1 Intensive Intervention Strategy

The Correctional Service of Canada has achieved a major objective in establishing a more equitable and appropriate correctional regime for women in Canada with the opening of regional women's facilities between 1995 to 1997. However, while the new model is appropriate for most women, it became clear that it did not meet the needs of the small group of higher-need, higher-risk women or those with severe mental health problems. Over a two-year period, CSC has developed a long-term accommodation and management strategy which is aimed at better addressing the needs and risks of the maximum security and mental health women population. This new strategy will provide safe and secure accommodation for these women while emphasizing intensive staff intervention, programming and treatment. The strategy is divided into two separate components, identified as the Structured Living Environment and Secure Environment and received Treasury Board approval in April 1999.

Structured Living Environment

The Structured Living Environment (SLE) provides a treatment option for minimum and medium security women with significant cognitive limitations or mental health concerns so that their needs can be met at the regional facilities (with the exception of the Healing Lodge).

Implementing the SLE strategy required the construction of a purpose-built duplex at each of the four regional women's facilities that includes living space, program space, therapeutic quiet, and staff offices. An inter-disciplinary team of staff have been hired and trained to provide intensive support and specialized correctional, rehabilitation, and mental health programming on a twenty-four hour basis within the house. Whenever possible, the SLE works toward reintegrating women into the general population or other identified settings that most appropriately meet their needs.

The SLE duplexes are staffed 24-hours a day and have their own program areas (unlike the other housing units). Women are voluntary placed in the SLE and will have medium or minimum security classifications, and have access to the rest of the facility, activities and programs. Where appropriate, women with special needs who are living in the general populations may benefit from the specialized programming provided through the SLE. Support and administrative services will also be shared with the rest of the facility.

Subsequent to Creating Choices there have been three reports commissioned by CSC to address the concerns of women whose special needs could not at that time, be met by the new regional facilities. These reports included Mental Health Profile and Intervention Strategy for Atlantic Region Federally Sentenced Women (1995) completed by G.C. Whitehall; Giving Us a Chance by Margo Rivera and Implementing Choices at Regional Facilities: Program proposals for Women Offenders with Special Needs by Alan Warner. Alan Warner's report was used as the guiding document for the development of the SLE concept and program model. Additionally, CSC completed an in depth needs analysis that informed the program, staffing and training model necessary for the SLE.

Secure Unit

The Service believes there is a need for a separate model for women who are classified as maximum security. These women also require intensive intervention, however they require it within a secure environment. Intensive Intervention in a Secure Environment is made up of two elements - static security (increased compared to the level of security for the minimum and medium security women) and increased dynamic security (increased staff-inmate interaction).

In order to implement this new Strategy, the existing Enhanced Units at each of the four regional facilities are being renovated to create Secure Units (additional cell accommodation as well as program and staff space and a secure exercise yard).

Each unit has an interdisciplinary team of staff who have been provided specialized training in order to interact effectively with the women accommodated in the unit. The Secure Unit is staffed 24 hours a day and women will participate in the majority of their daily routine on the unit. Shared space with the main facility is a requirement for areas such as Visits and Correspondence, Private Family Visits, and the Gymnasium. However, women are escorted by staff when leaving the Secure Unit.

Numerous research studies have been completed on this issue and include Risk and Need Among Federally-Sentenced Female Offenders: A Comparison of minimum- medium- and maximum-security inmates by Kelley Blanchette, Research Division CSC in June 1997; Maximum-Security Female and Male Offenders: A comparison , Kelley Blanchette and Laurence L. Motiuk, Research Branch, CSC in March 1997 and the Federally Sentenced Women, Maximum Security Interview Project: Not Letting Time Do You by Donna McDonagh, CSC in 1998 and Federally Sentenced Aboriginal Women in Maximum Security: What Ever Happened to the Promises of Creating Choices? By SkyBlue Morin in 1999. While this is not an exhaustive list of research completed on this issue, the reports reflect the attention and detail provided in developing a comprehensive strategy for maximum-security women that will allow them to reside in the regional facilities as was originally intended.

7.2 Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

A companion operational plan for the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge was developed in 1993 to address the operations specific to an Aboriginal healing environment. However, a brief overview of the Healing Lodge is provided below, as it is an integral part of the services provided to Aboriginal women.

The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is the first institution of its kind. It was developed with and for the First Nations community. It is a 28-bed facility, located on 160 acres on the Nekaneet Reserve in southern Saskatchewan . It differs in some respects from the regional women's facilities.

The operational philosophy is based on Aboriginal teachings and traditions. Elders are involved on a full-time basis in all aspects of the Healing Lodge's holistic programs. There is an Elders Lodge for out of town contract Elders. Women must apply to go to the Healing Lodge, which accommodates minimum and medium security women offenders. The applicants must demonstrate their commitment to Aboriginal philosophy. Non-Aboriginal women wishing to practice a traditional Aboriginal holistic way of life are eligible for admission to the Healing Lodge.

The Lodge was built specifically to meet the diverse and unique needs of Aboriginal women. The Healing Lodge concept was proposed by the Native Women's Association of Canada and by former Aboriginal federal offenders who were on the Task Force Creating Choices .

Forty-four per cent of the staff, including the Kikawinaw (the Warden of the institution - "our mother" in the Cree language) is of Aboriginal descent. Staff are selected specifically to provide a safe and supportive environment, guidance through teaching and role modeling Aboriginal specific intervention strategies and on maintaining a holistic way of life.

7.3 Role of Volunteers

Volunteers support and help improve the CSC's programs and services, act as constructive role models for women, and share their informed views with their community. Volunteers help to increase the general public's awareness and recognition of the issues and policies facing corrections.

These volunteers, who donate their time, talent and energy to help women or to assist in the development of policies and programs of the Correctional Service of Canada, are all active participants in the correctional system. Either individually, or as a group, they bring the community and its values into the facilities, thus reducing the isolation of the women, who with few exceptions, will return to the community. They also contribute to the public's understanding and acceptance of the correctional process.

Volunteers are also important participants in the regional facilities as they are part of the shared responsibility concept envisioned by the Task Force of Federally Sentenced Women that was outlined in Creating Choices. The responsibility for women offenders must be community-wide and not only viewed narrowly as a corrections issue. In order to develop the support systems and continuity of service which will enable women to take responsibility for their lives, women offenders must be able to integrate within their communities. Volunteers provide a vital link for women between correctional systems and communities.

7.4 Citizen's Advisory Committees

One such group is the Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) which are autonomous committees that reflect the interest of citizens in contributing to the quality of Canada 's federal correctional services and programs. Currently, all federal facilities and District Parole Offices have a CAC.

It is extremely important for the regional women's facilities to continually develop and maintain positive relationships with their surrounding communities. Community involvement at many levels forms an integral part of the operational model and the successful functioning of the facilities. The mandate of the facilities encourages partnerships with the community in areas of program and service delivery, recreational and volunteer activities. These partnerships include the involvement of the Citizen's Advisory Committees, who actively participate in representing the interests of women and of the facility in the broader community context, as well as varying agencies located in the local communities with either regional or national affiliations.

CAC members also act as impartial observers in the day-to-day operations of CSC. They help CSC evaluate and monitor the provision of adequate care, supervision and programs for women, and provide advice into the operations of the facilities on a daily basis.

Their involvement within the women's facilities is one of independent observer, while offering support and feedback. Consultation with CAC members takes place on a regular basis with respect to policy, development and implementation as well as future planning and new initiatives in the women's facilities.

7.5 Community Strategy

In 1999/00, approximately 59% of women offenders under federal jurisdiction were on conditional release in the community.

Balance Between Incarcerated and Community Population 99/00

 

1 st Quarter

2 nd Quarter

3 rd Quarter

4 th Quarter

Incarcerated

43.5%

41.1%

39.5%

40.1%

Community

56.5%

58.9%

60.5%

59.9%

Source: OMS

While the figure varies from region to region, overall, women offenders have a high reintegration potential; a high level of motivation to take charge of their lives; they are active participants in the supervision process; and, are receptive to the forms of assistance they are being offered. These factors assist them to successfully reintegrate into the community. However, because there are so few women offenders in the community and they are geographically dispersed, programs and services to provide reintegration support are often less extensive than those available to men offenders on release.

While each region has their own Community Strategy for women offenders, a National Strategy is continuing to be enhanced. Steps were taken to develop a national community strategy as early as 1996. This included a survey of parole officers regarding the needs of women offenders in the community and a national workshop on the same topic, that brought together participants from each region as well as community partners.

These consultations laid the groundwork for the February 1998 discussion paper on a Community Strategy for Women on Conditional Release. Based on this national document, each region then developed its own strategy. This exercise allowed for a full review on the programs and services provided to women offenders in each region and to realign resources accordingly.

Even though the numbers of women are small, Parole Officers and community partners continue to be creative in finding the means to meet women's needs and make connections in the community. Supervision of women offenders in the community is based on the same philosophy of accountability and empowerment and is linked with community based services providing expertise advice and guidance in dealing with women's issues.

This Strategy establishes that supervision must acknowledge the particular needs of women offenders in the community. Research on women over the past ten years, including a survey of women offenders in the community, workshops with partners and more recently comments from community workers, including parole officers, all point to the same conclusion: women offenders are a distinct group within the offender population both incarcerated and on community release and must be recognized as such.

7.6 National Parole Board

The National Parole Board, (NPB) as part of the criminal justice system, makes independent, quality conditional release and pardon decisions and clemency recommendations with respect to both men and women offenders. The NPB and CSC strive to ensure that all relevant information is available to allow Board members to assess the risk and the potential of a woman to reintegrate as a law-abiding citizen. This includes information about the nature of the offence, the criminal history of the woman, and other factors such as a history of violence or anti-social behaviour and attitudes.

The Board examines the key factors, which likely contributed to the criminal behaviour and assesses whether those behavioural factors with potential for change have been addressed by the woman through individual initiative and participation in programs. This is considered in the context of the success the woman has had with respect to programming and this is considered with respect to potential risk on conditional release.

The women's facilities provide separate hearing rooms for the NPB. These boardrooms are large enough to accommodate Board members, CSC staff, Elders, victims and observers as necessary. NPB hearings are normally held once per month and fall under the responsibility of Case Management within the facility.

7.7 Regional Psychiatric Center (Prairies)

The Intensive Treatment Program operating at the RPC in the Prairie Region will remain open as a national mental health resource in order to provide programming for women with significant mental health issues who may require the services of an accredited mental health hospital. Given the difficulty in establishing links with the provincial mental health institutions, the RPC will be utilized at a national level to provide services to women. Additionally, Pinel Psychiatric Hospital in Montreal continues to provide some psychiatric hospital relief to Joliette Institution and Edmonton receives support from Alberta Hospital .

7.8 Burnaby Correctional Center for Women

In 1991, the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW) opened with both a Secure Custody Unit and an Open Living Unit. A joint federal/provincial project, the centre was designed to house all women remanded to custody or sentenced in British Columbia . BCCW was already under construction in April 1990, when Creating Choices , was released, so it was decided not to build a regional facility in the Pacific Region. Instead, the Correctional Service of Canada developed an Exchange of Services (ESA) agreement with the province of British Columbia to provide accommodation and services for 50 federal women offenders who are primarily from the Pacific region. The ESA was renegotiated and signed in June 2000.

The BC Government announced in January 2002 that they are beginning a three-year restructuring process which includes the planned closure of eight correctional facilities including BCCW. The province noted that the process to close BCCW may take up to two years resulting in a 2004 closure. CSC is now developing options for the accommodation of the federal women offenders from this region. CSC remains committed to the principles, philosophy and recommendations of the Task Force Report, Creating Choices and any accommodation in the Pacific region will reflect this.

In the interim, the ESA will continue to guide operations and ensure that women who are incarcerated in BCCW receive the same level of programming accessible to women incarcerated in the facilities under the Correctional Service of Canada's jurisdiction. In this vein, the District Director for BCCW participates either directly or through representation in all national meetings, training programs, research and evaluation activities where there is also representation from the regional women's facilities.

7.9 Agencies

The Correctional Service of Canada nationally, and more importantly at the regional and local levels, has long and important relationships with not-for-profit community agencies. The benefits to the women provided by the agencies cannot be over-emphasized. Some agencies participate in the reintegration efforts of the women while they are incarcerated and/or provide support, direction and programming in such area's as addictions, anger management, employment and personal growth. Further, they simply assist women with various interests they may have and provide a source of support, as many women do not have strong connections to their community.

There are several agencies that are active and work closely in support of reintegration into the community. The Canadian Association of the Elizabeth Fry Societies, the Native Women's Association of Canada, and the M é tis Women's Association all have a particular focus on women's issues and fulfill a recognized and valuable advocacy role.

Additionally, the DCW chairs the Sub-committee on Women Offender with provincial and territorial Heads of Corrections.

7.10 Research

The National Headquarters Research Branch includes a specialized division devoted to Women Offender Research. The Deputy Commissioner for Women and Women Offender Sector actively contribute to the division's annual research plan. Moreover, there is ongoing collaboration between the Research Branch, Women Offender Sector, regional facilities, and other government departments with respect to the division's research plan and priorities. New projects are initiated as appropriate and a multi-method approach is applied whenever possible.

The Director, Women Offender Research works to ensure that research on women's issues supports the Service's Mission and Corporate Objectives. The Director also works closely with researchers from the regions, academic institutions, and other government and non-government agencies to ensure that all research pertaining to women is topical and methodologically sound. Accessibility to research is transparent and open as with all other documents supporting women offenders.

7.11 Office of Correctional Investigator

As with all correctional facilities, women incarcerated in the regional facilities have access through phone, correspondence and interviews, with the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI). The OCI was established in the CCRA and functions as an Ombudsman for federal offenders. Their role is independent of the Correctional Service of Canada and they provide advice, guidance and investigate complaints by or on behalf of the women. The Correctional Investigator visits each regional women's facility, meets with women who have requested an interview and provides feedback to staff and the management team. This is an important relationship and the sharing of concerns and issues with respect to individual women's needs, and institutional related issues assists in the overall management and stability of the facility.


8. Conclusion

The Operational Plan is a document that should be read in conjunction with other supporting documents which are available on the CSC Website. ( www .csc-scc.gc.ca)

 

Annex A

Profile of Women Offenders

Incarcerated14 and Community15 Population: NOVEMBER 2001

  • there is a total of 870 women offenders in Canada serving a federal sentence: 370 (42.5%) are incarcerated while 500 (57.5%) are serving the remainder of their sentence in the community;
  • just over half, 51.6%, of the incarcerated population falls into the younger age category (18-34); as compared to 40.0% in the community;
  • there is little difference with respect to marital status as 60.5% of the incarcerated and 63.4% of the community populations are single;
  • there is little difference in the proportion of Caucasian offenders incarcerated and in the community (60.8% to 57.8%);
  • proportionally, there are more incarcerated Aboriginal women (25.1%) than in the community (15.2%);
  • just over four per cent (4.3%) of the incarcerated population have committed first degree murder, while less than 1% of the community population were serving a sentence for this offence;
  • almost fifteen per cent (14.3%) of the incarcerated population are serving sentences for second degree murder, slightly higher than the 11.8% of the community population who continue to serve a sentence for this offence;
  • within the incarcerated population, 49.7% are serving sentences for Schedule 1 offences compared to 28.8% in the community;
  • within the incarcerated population, 21.4% are serving sentences for Schedule 2 offences compared to 45.6% in the community;
  • there is little difference in the two groups with respect to short sentences: within the incarcerated population, 36.2% are serving a sentence of between 2-3 years compared with 32.8% in the community;
  • within the incarcerated population, 27.0% are serving a sentence of between 3-6 years; this figure is 34.8% in the community;
  • almost one-fifth (19.2%) of the incarcerated population are serving life sentences compared to 13.4% in the community;
  • over 80% (81.9%) of the incarcerated population have not previously served a federal sentence; this is the case for 89.6% of the community population.

2. Maximum Security Women Offender Profile

This profile demonstrates that the current maximum-security women offender population differs from the general women offender population as follows:

  • they are younger: over three quarters (82.9%) are between the age of 18-34, compared with just over half (51.6%) of the general population;
  • Aboriginal women are more acutely over-represented (48.8%) as compared to the general population (25.1%);
  • there is no one serving a sentence for first degree murder; 4.3% are serving sentences for this offence in the general population;
  • a greater proportion are serving a sentence for a Schedule I offence (80.5%) compared with 49.7% in the general population;
  • very few women classified as maximum security are serving a sentence for a Schedule II offence (4.9%) as compared to 21.4% in the general population;
  • a smaller proportion are serving a sentence of between 2-3 years (26.9%) compared to (36.2%) in the general population, 31.7% are serving a sentence of between 3-6 years compared to 27.0% in the general population;
  • a slightly lower proportion are lifers (17.0%) compared to (19.1%) in the general population .

PROFILE OF WOMEN OFFENDERS: INCARCERATED16 / COMMUNITY17 NOVEMBER 2001

Profile # of offenders incarcerated % of offenders incarcerated # of offenders community % of offenders community
Age

18-19 yrs

7

1.9%

1

0.2%

20-34 yrs

184

49.7%

199

39.8%

35-45 yrs

129

34.8%

176

35.2%

46-55 yrs

35

9.6%

91

18.2%

56-65 yrs

11

3.0%

21

4.2%

Over 65 yrs

4

1.0%

12

2.4%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

Marital Status

Single (includes separated, divorced, widowed, not stated)

224

60.5%

317

63.4%

Common-law

95

25.7%

115

23%

Married

51

13.8%

68

13.6%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

Race

Caucasian

225

60.8%

289

57.8%

Aboriginal

93

25.1%

76

15.2%

Black

22

6.0%

74

14.8%

Asiatic

4

1.1%

15

3.0%

Other / Not Stated

26

7.0%

46

9.2%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

14 Incarcerated includes: federal offenders incarcerated in federal or provincial facilities and those on temporary absence.

15 Community includes: federal offenders, on day parole, on full parole, on statutory release, those deported and those temporarily detained. Excluded are provincial offenders, federal offenders on bail, and those unlawfully at large.

16 Incarcerated includes: federal offenders incarcerated in federal facilities, federal offenders incarcerated in provincial facilities and those on temporary absence. There were 370 incarcerated women offenders on November 4, 2001 .

17 Community includes: federal offenders on day parole, full parole, statutory release, suspended temporarily detained and deported. There were 500 women in the community on November 4, 2001 (437 supervised, 28 deported, 35 suspended temporarily detained).

 

Profile # of Offenders Incarcerated % of offenders incarcerated # of offenders community % of offenders community
Serving a Sentence For

First degree murder

16

4.3%

4

0.8%

Second degree murder

53

14.3%

59

11.8%

Schedule I offence

184

49.7%

144

28.8%

Schedule II offence

79

21.4%

228

45.6%

Non-Schedule offence

38

10.3%

65

13.0%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

Length of Sentence

Under 3 years

134

36.2%

164

32.8%

3-6 years

100

27.0%

174

34.8%

6-10 years

48

13.0%

56

11.2%

10 years +

17

4.6%

39

7.8%

Life/Indeterminate

71

19.2%

67

13.4%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

Previous Terms of Incarceration

No previous term of federal incarceration

303

81.9%

448

89.6%

One previous term of incarceration

45

12.2%

42

8.4%

Two previous terms of incarceration

16

4.3%

7

1.4%

Three or more previous terms of incarceration

6

1.6%

3

0.6%

Total

370

100%

500

100%

 

Annex B

PROFILE OF INCARCERATED WOMEN OFFENDERS 1997 to 2001

Profile % of Offenders 1997 18 % of Offenders 1998 19 % of Offenders 1999 20 % of Offenders 2000 21 % of Offenders 2001 22
Age

Age 20-34 years

48

51

53

42

50

Marital Status

Single (incl. separated, divorced, widowed, unk.)

67

68

66

63

60

Common-law

23

22

25

25

26

Married

10

10

10

11

14

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Race

Caucasian

57

56

58

56

61

Aboriginal

22

20

21

25

25

Black

9

8

7

9

6

Asiatic

2

2

3

2

1

Other / Not Stated

11

14

12

8

7

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Serving a sentence for

First degree murder

5

4

4

4

4

Second degree murder

16

14

14

14

14

Schedule I offence

53

49

43

42

51

Schedule II offence

20

20

24

25

21

Non-Schedule offence

11

13

15

15

10

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

18EIS - Execu-view Report - May 27, 1997 & Offender Management System, CSC, May 27, 1997 .

19This profile is based on an incarcerated population of 354 as of February 8, 1998 (includes 21 suspended temporarily detained).

20This profile is based on an incarcerated women's population of 354 the third week of September 1999.

21These figures are based on an incarcerated population of 358 on September 24, 2000 - all figures in this table have been rounded.

22This profile is based on an incarcerated population of 370 on November 4, 2001 - all figures have been rounded.

 

Profile % of Offenders 1997 % of Offenders 1998 % of Offenders 1999 % of Offenders 2000 % of Offenders 2001
Sentence length

Under 3 years

25

30

37

35

36

3-6 years

34

33

29

29

27

6-10 years

16

11

10

13

13

10 years +

5

7

5

5

5

Life/ Indeterminate

21

19

18

18

19

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Previous Federal Carceral Sentences

None

81

81

86

89

82

One

14

14

10

9

12

Two

4

4

3

1

4

Three or more

1

1

1

1

2

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

 

Annex C - CROSS GENDER UPDATE FORM

Cross Gender Update Form

 

Annex D - Women's Mental Health Continuum of Care

Women's Mental Health Continuum of Care