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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Federally Sentenced Women On Conditional Release: A Survey Of Community Supervisors

Programs

Supervisors were surveyed regarding programs that their clients have engaged in while out in the community. Programs were categorized into seven groups:

• Residential Services

• Community Skills Program

• Counselling Programs

• Educational/Vocational

• Financial Assistance

• Substance Abuse

• Violence/Abuse

Supervisors were also questioned regarding the duration of the program, the number and length of sessions, how long the client has been participating and whether it was a required part of her release.

Summary Of Program Participation

Counselling programs were the overwhelming (n=70) popular program. Most programs were a condition of release and indefinite in nature. Programs generally required two sessions per month up to as much as a daily commitment. The duration and length of time the FSW was in the program varied.

Note: The program information has been collected and processed such that one woman could have engaged in 4 community skills programs over the past three years, not necessarily four women in one program each. For instance in agency/residential programs it cannot be stated that 10 different FSW used these services, rather it can be said that these programs have been utilized 10 times. Thus program information accurately portrays the utilization of programs and not how many FSW in the community are using these programs. Utilization of a program is indicated in the column "# of times prog' used". This is a minor point to keep in mind when reviewing the program information.

Program # of FSW # of times prog.

used

Release Condition (yes) Length of Program

(months)

# of sessions in program Duration of Sessions (minutes) Length of time FSW in program

(months)

Agency / Resident 10 10 75% indefinite daily varies complete
Comm. Skills 24 28 20% indefinite 4 / month 91 - 120 3 -4
Counsel 70 81 81% indefinite 2 / month 31 - 60 complete








Education/

Vocation

28 39 5% indefinite 16 -20 / month + 180 complete
Finances 3 3 100% indefinite 2 / month 31 - 60 1 -2
Violence 12 12 42% indefinite 4 / month 31 - 60 1 -2
Substance Abuse 46 75 69% indefinite 4 / month 91 - 120 complete

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

" There are sufficient programs available to meet most needs." (Prairies)

"Dealing with past emotional/physical/sexual abuse issues as well as child care issues (mothers are often in a hurry to regain custody of children before they are emotionally prepared for the role) are of paramount importance." (Prairies)

"All needs are met through adequate services." (Ontario)

"On-going support in the community is needed." (Ontario)

"We need support groups for women offenders." (Ontario)

"There is a great need for volunteers to be available to clients to assist in everyday living, resocialization and act as role models." (Atlantic)

Agency/Residential Programs

Agency and Residential programs were utilized 10 times in the past three years. Eight percent of the sample (n=10) participated in this program type. Responses on survey were not defined, therefore, the data may refer to actual programs delivered by the residential facility, but in some cases the residential facility itself was identified as the "program".

ASSOCIATION # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THESE PROGRAMS
Elizabeth Fry 2
Family Services 2
Immigrant Services 1
CRF/Residential 2
Newberry House 1
Y.W.C.A. 1
Therese Casgrain 1
Total 10

Undisplayed Graphic

Three quarters of those FSW utilizing residential facilities were doing so because it was a condition of their release.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # OF PROGRAMS
< 1 month 2
3-4 months 1
5-6 months 2
indefinite 2

Programs ranged from less than one month (n=2) to an indefinite period (n=2).

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
2 / month 2
4 / month 1
daily / full time 4

Most programs were a daily/full time commitment (n=4). Others required the women to attend fewer times a month, e.g., twice a month (n=2).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
90 min - 120 min 1
full time 1
varies/indefinite 2

The duration of individual sessions varied from 1.5 hours (n=1) to a full time commitment (n=1). Half of those reporting information state that the sessions are varied in length.

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
3 - 4 months 1
5 - 6 months 2
7 - 12 months 1
complete 3

Clients have been in their residential/agency program ranging from 3 to 4 months (n=1) to completion of the program (n=3).

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

"If a CRF was available this would provide another source of support including employment/vocational counselling, socialization, etc." (Ontario)

Community Skills

Community skills programs have been enrolled in 28 times by 24 different women in the past three years. This type of program involved fellowship groups, parenting classes, living skills, community preparation and self-esteem courses.

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THESE PROGRAMS
Living Skills 10
Parenting Courses 4
Women Growing 2
Self Esteem 2
Healing Circle 2
Community Prep. 1
Social Skills 1
Shoplifting Prog. 1
Women's Awareness 1
Fellowship Group 1
Bowling League 1
Church 1
Painting 1
Total 28

Undisplayed Graphic

The majority of women (80%) were not participating in their community skills program because it was a condition of their release. Only 20% participated under release conditions.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # OF PROGRAMS
1 - 2 months 6
3 - 4 months 3
5 -6 months 4
7 - 12 months 2
Indefinite 13

Most programs were indefinite in nature (n=13). The next most popular type of program was 1 to 2 months in length (n=6), while longer programs were not as typical.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS / MONTH # PROGRAMS
< 4 sessions total 1
2 / month 1
4 / month 15
5 - 10 / month 1
16 - 20 / month 7
daily / full time 2

Most community skills programs have weekly sessions (n=15). Other programs have four to five sessions a week (n=7). Still other programs vary from less than four sessions for the total program to a daily/full time commitment.

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
31 - 60 minutes 2
61 - 90 minutes 1
91- 120 minutes 13
121-150 minutes 2
151- 180 minutes 4
+ 180 minutes 3
full time (8 hours) 1

The duration of individual sessions within the program ranged from half hour (n=2) to an eight hour day (n=1). Most sessions were 1.5 to 2 hours in length (n=13).

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
Just started 1
1 - 2 months 3
3 - 4 months 12
5 - 6 months 1
7 -12 months 1
complete 11

The majority of clients have been in engaged in their community skills program 3 to 4 months (n=12). Also, 11 other women have completed this program. Others are dispersed from having just started the program (n=1) to being in one year (n=1).

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

"Programs helping clients to focus on herself before entering a relationship would be good." (Prairies)

"Participation in a group for parents of young offenders would be useful." (Prairies)

"Support group for women offenders is needed." (Ontario)

"Visible minority support group is needed." (Ontario)

"Stress management (through humor and games) would be useful to our FSW." (Atlantic)

"Relationship programs including dealing with jealousy problems is required."(Atlantic)

"Inter-personal skills need to be developed." (Atlantic)

"Program for emotional stability, social skills and intimacy skills are needed." (Atlantic)

Counselling

Eighty-one women in the community have engaged in counselling type programs.

A clear majority (90%) of FSW in the community who are in counselling programs are receiving psychological services. Five women have received psychiatric services. Others have engaged in counselling programs involving grief (n=1), relational (n=1) and sex (n=1) therapy.

TYPE OF COUNSELLING # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THESE PROGRAMS
Psychological 73
Psychiatric 5
Grief 1
Relationships 1
Sexologist 1
Total 81

Undisplayed Graphic

Eighty-one percent of participation in counselling programs is because it was a release condition. Nineteen percent of involvement is independent of release conditions.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # OF PROGRAMS
< 1 / month 4
1 - 2 months 1
3 - 4 months 6
5 - 6 months 8
7 - 12 months 4
13 - 18 months 1
19 - 24 months 5
31 - 36 months 2
+ 36 months 1
to W.E.D. 5
indefinite 39

Program length ranged from less than a month (n=4) to an indefinite time period (n=39). This is most likely due to the nature of counselling services that depend on the progression of the client to determine program length. The majority (51%) of counselling programs were indeterminate in nature.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
< 4 sessions total 2
< 1 / month 1
1 / month 17
2 / month 22
3 / month 7
4 / month 20
5 - 10 / month 4
occasional/varies 4

The majority of programs have two (n=22), four (n=20) or one (n=17) session per month. The number of sessions per month range from less than four sessions for the total program (n=2) to variable and occasional participation (n=4).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
31 - 60 minutes 64
61 - 90 minutes 5
91 - 120 minutes 5
varies/indefinite 2

The duration of individual counselling sessions varied from 30 to 60 minutes

(n=64) to indefinite periods of time (n=2). The majority (84%) of sessions lasted 30 minutes to one hour.

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
Just started 6
1 - 2 months 8
3 - 4 months 5
5 - 6 months 10
7 - 12 months 11
13 - 18 months 4
19 - 24 months 6
25 - 30 months 1
31 - 36 months 2
+ 36 months 2
terminated / withdrew 1
completed 12

Twelve counselling programs have been completed by the women in the community. Most have been in the programs 5 to 6 months (n=10) or 7 to 12 months (n=11). Program participation ranged from just started (n=6) to over 3 years (n=2).

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

• "Need individual, minimum cost counselors for sexual abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse." (Prairies)

"Need one-on-one counselling/support." (Prairies)

Financial Assistance

There was only one type of program to help FSW in the community with managing their finances. All women (100%) who participated in this program did so as conditions of her release.

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS
Financial Management 3
LENGTH OF PROGRAM # OF PROGRAMS
1 - 2 months 1
indefinite 2

Programs were either 1 to 2 months (n=1) or an indefinite time period (n=2).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
31 - 60 minutes 2
90 - 120 minutes 1

Programs ranged from 30 to 60 minutes to 1.5 to 2 hours.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
1 / month 1
2 / month 2

Programs required 1 (n=1) or 2 (n=2) sessions per month.

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
Just started 1
1 - 2 months 2

Clients had either just started the program (n=1) or were in the program 1 to 2 months.

Victims Of Violence Programs

There are various programs offered to victims of violence/abuse. These programs have been utilized eight times by FSW in the community in the past three years.

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THIS PROGRAM
Victims of Sexual Abuse 1
Sexual Abuse Survivors 1
Survivors Counselling 1
Sexual Victimization 1
Support Program 1
Victims of Family Violence 1
Group re: self esteem 1
Discovery House 1
Total 8

Undisplayed Graphic

Forty percent of those engaged in programs dealing with violence/abuse were present due to a condition on their release. Another 60% participated on their own accord.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # PROGRAMS
< 1 month 1
3 - 4 months 1
5 - 6 months 1
indefinite 4

Most programs were an indefinite length (n=4). Other programs lasted less than one month (n=1) or as long as 5 to 6 months (n=1).

# OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
2 / month 1
3 / month 1
4 / month 6

The majority of programs were meeting four times per month, or in other words weekly (n=6). Other programs met less frequently at twice (n=1) or three (n=1) times a month.

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
< 30 minutes 1
31 - 60 minutes 3
61 - 90 minutes 1
91 -120 minutes 1
121 - 151 minutes 1
+ 3 hours 1

Sessions ranged from less than 30 minutes (n=1) to more than three hours (n=1).

Most sessions were from 31 to 60 minutes (n=3).

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
1 - 2 months 3
3 - 4 months 1
5 - 6 months 1
Complete 1
Terminated/withdrew 1

There was an even distribution of amount of time clients had been engaged in their programs. Time ranged from 1 to 2 months (n= 3) to completion of the program (n=1).

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

"Abused women are vulnerable for re-involvement in further dysfunctional relationships." (Prairies)

Perpetrators Of Violence Programs

There are a limited number of FSW enrolled in programs for ‘perpetrators of violence'.

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THIS PROGRAM
Anger Management 2
Sex Offender Program 1
Alternative to Violence 1
Total 4

Undisplayed Graphic

Fifty percent of those engaged in programs dealing with violence and managing their anger were there as a condition of their release.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # PROGRAMS
1 - 2 months 1
Indefinite 2

Most programs were an indefinite length (n=2). The other program lasted 1 to 2 months (n=1).

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
1 / month 1
4 / month 2

The majority of programs were meeting four times per month (n=2), or in other words weekly. The other program met less frequently at once month (n=1).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
61 - 90 minutes 2
121 - 151 minutes 1

Sessions ranged from 1 to 1½ hours (n=2) up to 2 to 2 ½ hours (n=1).

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
5 - 6 months 1
31 - 36 months 1
Complete 1

There was an even distribution of amount of time clients had been engaged in their programs. Time ranged from 5 to 6 months (n= 1) to completion of the program (n=1).

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

"Focus appears to be on women as victims of violence rather then perpetrators." (Prairies)

"Need for a ‘women only' Anger Management program." (Prairies)

"Women as "perpetrators of violence" programs are needed." (Prairies)

Substance Abuse Programs

Multiple programs are offered to FSW in the community for substance abuse. A total of 75 enrollments in the program by 46 FSW in the past three years has occurred. Alcoholics Anonymous (n=20) and "Substance Abuse Programs" (n=29) are both popular programs

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THIS PROGRAM
Substance Abuse Treatment 29
Alcoholics Anonymous 20
Narcotics Anonymous 5
Salvation Army Substance Abuse 4
OSAP/ Choices 4
Addiction Programs 3
Amethyst Women's Addictions 2
Urinalysis 2
STEPS 1
Addington House Substance Abuse 1
Grant House - Substance Abuse 1
House of Sophrosyne 1
AADAC Counselling 1
FAOS - Calgary Hospital 1
Total 75

Undisplayed Graphic

The majority of substance abuse programs (69%) that FSW participated in the community were a condition of release.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # PROGRAMS
< 1 month 8
1 - 2 months 10
3 - 4 months 6
5 - 6 months 3
7 - 12 months 6
13 -18 months 1
25 - 30 months 1
indefinite 36

Most programs were an indefinite length (n=36). Other programs varied in length, ranging from less than one month (n=8) or as long as 25 to 30 months (n=1).

# OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
< four sessions total 1
< I / month 2
1 / month 3
2 / month 6
3 / month 1
4 / month 32
5 - 10 / month 6
11 - 20 / month 5
daily/ full time 12
occasional/varies 1

The clear majority (n=32) of programs were meeting four times per month, or in other words on a weekly basis. Number of sessions ranged from four sessions in total (n=1) to daily commitments (n=12).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
< 30 minutes 6
31 - 60 minutes 12
61 - 90 minutes 7
91 - 120 minutes 22
121 - 150 minutes 3
151 - 180 minutes 4
+ 3 hours 2
Full time 7
Varies/Indefinite 2

Sessions ranged from less than 30 minutes (n=6) to full time hours (n=7).

Most sessions were from 31 to 60 minutes (n=12) and 91 to 120 minutes (n=22).

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
Just started 4
1 - 2 months 9
3 - 4 months 2
5 - 6 months 7
7 - 12 months 6
13 - 18 months 10
19 - 24 months 3
25 - 30 months 1
31 - 36 months 2
+ 36 months 1
Complete 19
Terminated/withdrew 2

COMMENTS FROM SUPERVISORS

"Parolee requires months or a year of being alcohol free before seeking an education or employment." (Prairies)

"We need Alcoholic and Narcotics Anonymous meetings." (Atlantic)

Educational/Vocational

Twenty eight women participated in these types of programs. The education programs women have engaged in have various names, however the content overlaps in many cases. If divided into skills acquisition/counselling/job preparation (50%) and education/upgrading (50%) one sees that the participation is divided evenly.

PROGRAM # OF ENROLLMENTS IN THIS PROGRAM
Upgrading Program 6
Training 4
Job Activity Program 2
Adult Education 2
Eacel Drop-in 2
Business School 2
Individual Tutor 2
SUNTEP Education 1
Corcan 1
Literacy Program 1
CEC Job Search 1
BJRT - Job Prep 1
Industrial trades 1
CITE Employment Prog 1
Pre Employment Prog 1
Volunteer Work 1
Education Enhancement 1
Social Skills/Employ 1
Correspondence 1
Cambrian Upgrading 1
School 1
Independent Learning 1
Futures 1
Employment Center 1
Awasis 1
Orientation Counselling 1
Total 39

Undisplayed Graphic

The majority of educational/vocational programs (95%) were not a release condition participation.

LENGTH OF PROGRAM # OF PROGRAMS
< 1 month 3
1 - 2 months 5
3 - 4 months 7
5 - 6 months 6
7 - 12 months 4
+ 36 months 1
indefinite 7

Programs ranged from less than one month (n=3) to an indefinite time period (n=7).

Most (n=7) programs are 3 to 4 months in length.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/MONTH # PROGRAMS
< 4 sessions total 1
2 / month 2
4 / month 3
5 - 10 / month 3
16 - 20 / month 14
daily / full time 12
occasional/varies 1

The majority of programs were a full time commitment of 4 to 5 days/week (n=14) or daily (n=12). The number of sessions ranged from less than four sessions for the entire program (n=1) to a daily/full time commitment (n=12).

DURATION OF PROGRAM SESSIONS # OF PROGRAMS
< 30 minutes 2
31 - 60 minutes 3
91 - 120 minutes 2
+ 3 hours 18
full time (8 hours) 4

The duration of individual sessions ranged from less than 30 minutes (n=2) to a full time (n=4). Most programs were 3 hours or longer (n=18).

LENGTH OF TIME CLIENT IN PROGRAM # OF WOMEN IN PROGRAM THIS LENGTH OF TIME
Just started 4
1 - 2 months 5
3 - 4 months 2
5 - 6 months 2
7 - 12 months 5
complete 10
terminated/withdrew 6

The majority of education/vocation programs have been completed (n=10). Others range from having just started (n=4) to having been involved for 7 to 12 months (n=5).

Suggested Programs

The following is an encapsulation of the suggestions that were put forth for future programming for each individual FSW. This is not to be confused with suggested programs that should be established in the community, these are simply the programs that the individual supervisors are suggesting for the FSW in their care. The program may or may not be available in the community. There was no significant differences among the five regions regarding suggested programs. Most supervisors would suggest the FSW in their care should engage in an educational (37%), community skills (35%) or a support program for victims of violence (13%). For a more detailed list of programs that supervisors feel their clients should be engaging in refer to Appendix H.

NUMBER/TYPE OF PROGRAMS REQUESTS

PROGRAM TYPE % OF ALL PROGRAMS
Educational/Vocation 37
Community Skills 35
Programs concerning Domestic Violence 13
Substance Abuse 9
Counselling 2
Financial Assistance 2
Residential/Agency <1
Social/Mentor/Friends <1

Below are the reasons why women are not taking part of the suggested programs. Reasons vary from disinterest in the program (n=23) to health problems (n=2). The most often cited reason for their client not being in their suggested program was due to the fact that the program was not offered or available in their community (n=29). Interestingly, the next most popular reason for non-participation was that the client was not interested in participating. Busy schedules (n=17), waiting lists (n=10) and parole issues, e.g., travel restrictions (n=12), were all other major reasons for women not participating in the programs.

REASONS WHY FSW NOT IN PROGRAMS

REASON # OF FSW
Not offered/no funding 29
Client uninterested 23
Schedule conflict/busy 17
Parole issues 12
Waiting list/just applied 10
Child care demands 4
Difficult to access 3
Will do it later 2
Health problems 2
Need more advanced program 1