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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Federally Sentenced Women Maximum Security Interview Project: "Not Letting the Time Do You"

Interview # _______________

Interview Guide: Non-Aboriginal Maximum Security Women Offenders

                    Interview # _______________

Interviewee: ___________________

FPS: ___________________

Interviewer: ___________________

Interview Location: __________________

Date: ___________________

Explain study and purpose.

Questions

1. Name

2. Age

3. Race

4. Education

5. Marital Status

6. Any Children

7. Index Offense

8. Sentence Length

9. Criminal History

10. In your opinion, what are some of the major factors that led to your being in prison?

11. Why do you think you have been classified as Maximum Security?

12. What do you think about the factors used to determine security classification?

13. What does it mean for you to be classified as Maximum Security? How does being classified as Maximum Security, for you, effect how your time is served? Have you ever had a different security level?

14. How do you think CSC can help you with the reasons you are classified Maximum Security?

15. What things can you do to help yourself?

16. Whose responsibility is it to try and reduce the security levels of Maximum Security women: CSC's, the individual women's or both?

17. What is your understanding of how security levels can be reduced?

18. Do you want to reduce your security level?

19. What do you think would be some of the advantages for you of being classified down to Medium or Minimum Security?

20. Have you ever tried or done something to reduce your security level? What was helpful or not helpful when you tried to reduce your security level? What do you feel is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of reducing your security level?

21. In general, what or who do you feel is the biggest support or help in reducing your security level?

22. What criteria do you think should be used to classify women as Maximum Security? Do you have any opinions or suggestions on how you think these criteria should be reviewed or how the review process should be conducted?

Note: Ask the woman about all the need factors in the CNIA. Explain what is meant by a need factor if they do not know.

23. What needs do you presently have that if they were addressed would help reduce your security level from Maximum to Medium?

24. How can CSC help you with the needs that you have right now in order to reduce your security level?

25. How do you think you can help yourself address your need factors? Have you tried?

26. What makes you want to or not want to participate in programming? How important do you see certain programs, or the role of programming for you?

27. What can you tell me about the types of programs that are available to you to help you reduce your security level? Explore options and scheduling.

28. What things such as programs do you think have helped or would help you to reduce your security level? Why?

29. What things does CSC have in place already, that you like, that helps you work toward reducing your security level? Why? What things does CSC already have in place to help reduce your security level, that you do not like? Why?

30. Given the small numbers of Maximum Security women in each region, do you have any suggestions on how programs can be delivered that will help the most in reducing security levels? Explore "closer to home. "

31. What things, or qualities, about staff affect you? Are there things about the staff that you feel help you to reduce/interfere with your reducing your security level?

32. How do you feel about volunteers?

33. How could the set up of the facility be changed to help you reduce your security level? In what type of facility would you like to serve your sentence as a Maximum Security woman?

34. How do you view yourself in comparison to the other Maximum Security women?

35. Do the other women help or support you in your efforts/interfere with your efforts to reduce your security level?

36. When things go on in this unit, such as other women's behavior, does this effect you?

37. Has there been anyone in your life that has been a real positive influence for you or acted as a mentor for you? What were their characteristics and how did they help you?

38. Is there anything that you feel you want to do or have found to do with your time that you think is a real positive influence for you in your life?

39. When you are in the community what things increase your risk level for committing new offenses?

40. Is there anything CSC can do to help you refrain from criminal behaviour or activity?

41. Have you thought about the types of things you will try to do when you are released that will help you to stay in the community?

Interview Guide: Staff Focus Groups
                  Focus Group # _______________

Institution: ___________________

Present: ___________________

___________________

___________________

Date: ___________________

Explain study and purpose.

Questions

1. Gather this information for each of the participants in the focus group:

a. Name

b. Position

c. How long have you been working in this position?

d. How long have you been working in Corrections?

e. How long have you been working with women offenders, in particular?

f. What is your education/training?

2. What is your general understanding of why women are classified as Maximum Security? What do you think about the factors used to determine security classification? What criteria do you think should be used to classify women as Maximum Security?

3. What do you think are the consequences for women to be classified as Maximum Security? In your opinion, how does their being classified as Maximum Security, effect how their time is served?

4. How do you think CSC can help women with the reasons they are classified as Maximum Security?

5. In your opinion, what things can the Maximum Security women do to help themselves?

6. Do you have any opinions or suggestions on how you think these criteria should be reviewed or how the review process should be conducted?

7. Whose responsibility is it to try and reduce the security levels of Maximum Security women: CSC's, the individual women's or both?

8. What is your understanding of how security levels can be reduced?

9. In your experience/opinion, do most women want to reduce their Maximum Security level? How much effort do the Maximum Security women put into doing things to reduce their security level?

10. In general, what do you feel is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of Maximum Security women reducing their security level? What do you feel is the biggest support or help for the Maximum Security women reducing their security level?

11. In your opinion, what are the general needs of Maximum Security women that if they were addressed would help reduce their security level from Maximum to Medium?

12. How can CSC help Maximum Security women with the needs they have in order to reduce their security level?

13. How can the Maximum Security women help themselves address their need factors?

14. What can you tell me about the types of programs that are available to Maximum Security women to help them reduce their security level? Which of these programs in your opinion are most helpful? Which of these programs in your opinion are less helpful?

15. Explore comments/suggestions regarding the type of programming available...additional programs...options, scheduling, etc.

16. Given the small numbers of Maximum Security women in each region, do you have any suggestions on how programs can be delivered that will help the most in reducing security levels? How important do you feel it is that Maximum Security women serve their sentence in a facility that is "closer to home"?

17. Is there anything about working with the Maximum Security women that you find really affects you? What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your job? What would you say is the most difficult aspect of your job?

18. In your opinion, are there things that you are able to do in your job that you feel help/interfere with your helping Maximum Security women reduce their security level?

19. Are there any areas that you feel you would like the opportunity for additional inservice training?

20. How could the set up of the facility be changed to help Maximum Security women reduce their security level? In your opinion what type of facility is necessary for Maximum Security women to serve their sentences?

21. When thinking about the Maximum Security women as a group -- in what ways are they similar and different from each other?

22. In your experience, do the women help or support each other in their efforts to reduce their security level? Do the women interfere with their efforts to reduce their security level?

23. In your experience, when things go on in this unit, such as an inmate's disruptive behavior, does this effect the other Maximum Security women? Does this effect you?

24. In your opinion, what things increase Maximum Security women's risk level for committing new offenses when released?

25. What things can CSC do to prevent Maximum Security women from committing a new offense?

26. In your view, what types of things can Maximum Security women do when they are released to help themselves stay in the community?