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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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FEDERALLY SENTENCED ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN MAXIMUM SECURITY: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PROMISES OF "CREATING CHOICES"?

NOTA BENE

During the period when Ms. Morin conducted her interviews (December 1997 through February 1998) the population of women classified as maximum security fluctuated between about 40 and 50 of whom about 40-47% were of Aboriginal descent. Within one year, by January 1999, this number dropped below 30 and has remained so since that time. In the summer of 1999, the number of women classified as maximum security dropped to 25 of whom 6 (24%) were Aboriginal.

Of the 17 women interviewed by Ms. Morin, only eight (8) women are currently incarcerated: two (2) are classified as maximum security and six (6) are classified as medium security.

It should also be noted that prior to the time of these interviews, the Correctional Service was experiencing difficulty obtaining the services of Elders available to work on a consistent basis with this population. This has since been rectified.

The companion study by Donna McDonagh, Ph.D.of non-Aboriginal women classified as maximum security (Not Letting the Time do You) indicates that program/treatment motivation and participation is a serious issue. Programs and services are available on a continuous basis to maximum security women, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal; however, actual participation fluctuates widely. Nevertheless, the Service remains concerned about the issues raised by Ms. Morin and will address them during the implementation phase of the Intensive Intervention Strategy.

Women Offender Sector
Correctional Service of Canada
September 1999