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An Evaluation of the Spirit of a Warrior Program for Women Offenders

2006 No R-180

Amey Bell
Jillian Flight

Correctional Service of Canada

May 2006

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank the following individuals who have supported the evaluation of the Spirit of a Warrior program: Doris Fortin (Programs Branch, CSC), Patti Tait (Aboriginal Initiatives, CSC), Randy Mason (Aboriginal Initiatives, CSC), Kathy Dafoe (Women Offender Sector, CSC), and Joan Dunajski (RHQ Prairies, CSC).

Thank you to Native Counselling Services of Alberta, specifically Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Randy Sloan, for their support of this evaluation.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the individuals at the women’s institution who helped to facilitate the organization and success of each site visit: Clare McNab (Kikawinaw, OOHL), Kim Ross (Kikawisinaw Programs, OOHL), Janet Sue-Hamilton (Warden, EIFW), Lil Kordic (Program Co-ordinator, EIFW), Orysia Boychuk (A/Program Co-ordinator, EIFW), Kelly Parnett (Program Facilitator, FVI), Dianne Brown (Warden, FVI), and Jane Whiting (Program Facilitator, FVI).

A special note of appreciation goes to the women participants of Spirit of a Warrior who participated in personal interviews and completed surveys. Their feedback remains an invaluable source of information to women offender research. Our much appreciated thanks is also extended to the program facilitators of the Spirit of a Warrior program: Jane Whiting, Giselle Wong, Vicki Whalen, Kelly Parnett, Holly Fossenauve, Sheree Thomson, Darlene Rude, Lisa Rainville and Nicki Franks. Their dedication and support of the program is profound and the cornerstone of its success.

Finally, thanks to the following individuals of the Research Branch of CSC for their contribution to data collection and data analysis: Kelley Blanchette, Kelly Taylor, Nicole Crutcher, Shannon Gottschall, Krista Richard, John Moore, and Ben Vuong.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Spirit of a Warrior Program is a violence prevention program for Aboriginal women offenders. The program is based on cognitive-behavioural theory that targets attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours related to violence and anger. The healing component of the program helps women explore their acts of violence, and understand intergenerational issues of violence. Through the use of culturally sensitive intervention strategies, it aims to help women develop appropriate and healthy alternatives to violence.

The evaluation of the Spirit of a Warrior program used a multi-method approach, consisting of an offender file review, pre and post program participant surveys, pre and post facilitator assessments, facilitator and participant interviews, and staff surveys. Evaluation questions focused on program rationale, resources, implementation, effectiveness, and unintended effects. Data were collected from October 2003 to March 2005.

Based on participant and facilitator interviews, it was evident that there is a clear and unique purpose for the Spirit of a Warrior program. The program was described as different from other available programs because of its holistic approach of spirituality and healing, its strategy of group sharing, and its intense and deep exploration of real life experiences. Both facilitators and participants claimed that the Spirit of a Warrior program produced results above and beyond those offered by other programs.

Program facilitators highly rated the facilitator training provided by the Native Counseling Services of Alberta. The majority of program participants conceded that the facilitators had sufficient training to deliver the program. Both facilitators and participants agreed that the strengths of facilitators were knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture, effective program facilitation skills, similar life experiences to program participants, and personality characteristics such as honesty and respect.

The Spirit of a Warrior program received moderate support by institutional staff. According to program facilitators, Wardens and Elders provided the highest degree of program support. There was some level of resistance to the program as reported by program facilitators and institutional staff. Conversely, there was a strong presence of internal program support among facilitators and participants. Ratings of support, cooperation, and trust between facilitators and participants were considerably high. Participants described their relationship with the facilitators as positive, including the availability of facilitators to meet with the program participants when required.

Not surprisingly, the effectiveness of the eight program components was rated higher from the perspectives of program participants and facilitators than uninvolved institutional staff. The most effective components, according to facilitators and participants, were self-awareness, anger awareness, and cultural awareness.

Based on the results of the facilitator assessment tool, participants demonstrated significant improvements in the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual elements of healing. The greatest change occurred in the emotional domain. The results of the participant interviews reiterated these positive changes with the emotional domain once again showing the most change.

Participants were administered three standardized tests, pre and post program, to determine changes in the areas of self-esteem, anger and provocation, and personal efficacy and interpersonal control. As measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the participants’ level of self-esteem increased from pre to post testing. Results from the Novaco Anger Scale demonstrated that the type and level of anger experienced by participants decreased following the completion of the program. The Spheres of Control Battery detected a significant increase in the participants’ internal locus of control upon program completion.

The unintended effects of the program were largely positive. Many participants reported the unanticipated but positive effects of increased closeness and openness, greater understanding of relationships and behaviours, and increased positive feelings and emotions. The negative unintended effects of the program as reported by three participants were described as unexpected conflict and incidents among the group.

There were four general areas of potential improvement to the program as suggested by facilitators and participants. Recommended program improvements included extending the program length, adding sessions to the program content, improving the privacy of the program environment, and ensuring the appropriate selection of facilitators and Elders.

Based on the results of the evaluation, some specific recommendations were put forth in order to improve upon the current success of the program. These recommendations focus upon the program screening criteria, facilitator training, facilitator selection, program support and communication, program targets, and the role of Elders.

The preliminary evaluation results of the Spirit of the Warrior Program are extremely positive and encouraging. The holistic healing and incorporation of cultural ceremonies appear to reinforce the benefits of this program. These results provide further evidence that correctional programs must be responsive to both gender and culture. Further research efforts may include more culturally sensitive measures, and post program follow up in terms of recidivism and other reintegration measures.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

TABLES

FIGURES

INTRODUCTION

In 2001, the Spirit of a Warrior program was developed as a violence prevention program for Aboriginal women offenders. This program attempts to achieve the mandate of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) through the provision of a culturally sensitive and women specific program that will assist in the reintegration of women offenders into the community. This report examined various process and outcome variables to determine the program’s effectiveness as a correctional intervention for women offenders. This evaluation was based upon an evaluation framework developed by the Research Branch of the CSC (Flight, 2003).

Programming Needs for Aboriginal Women: A Historical Overview

The importance of recognizing issues affecting Aboriginal women offenders is emphasized by their significant overrepresentation in the federal correctional system. Aboriginal people represent approximately three percent of the total Canadian population (Statistics Canada, 2001), but account for approximately 19% of the federally incarcerated population, and approximately 28% of federally incarcerated women (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), 2004). Furthermore, the majority of Aboriginal women (80%) are serving time for violent offenses (PSEPC, 2004).

The January 2001 Speech from the Throne discussed the priority of addressing issues facing Aboriginal people by noting that:

Canada must take the measures needed to significantly reduce the percentage of Aboriginal people entering the criminal justice system, so that within a generation it is no higher than the Canadian average (Government of Canada, 2001).

Consequently, Aboriginal healing within the context of the Correctional Service of Canada has been the subject of many discussions, and the importance of Aboriginal specific programming has been emphasized. Research pertaining to Aboriginal programming is often anecdotal in nature and points to the need for continued empirically based studies in this area. Nonetheless, existing literature suggests that mainstream programming, which has proven appropriate for non-Aboriginal offenders, may be inadequate for Aboriginal offenders. More specifically, the literature suggests that these programs are less successful at attracting Aboriginal offenders, that Aboriginal offenders are less likely to complete them, and less likely to demonstrate positive results from their completion.

A research report by Johnston (1997) demonstrated that Aboriginal offenders are most trusting of other Aboriginal people, especially spiritual leaders and Elders. Johnston further argued that Aboriginal offenders constitute an exceptionally spiritual group, placing a high value on their traditions and culture. In turn, there is a high degree of participation in native cultural activities, a more positive attitude during participation, and a desire for increased opportunity in this area. These findings provided support for Aboriginal oriented programming and its effectiveness.

Moore, Low and Berland (2002) also emphasized the need for culturally relevant programming. Structured interviews with 64 Métis male offenders, querying their needs in the institution, revealed that over half felt the need for more knowledge or awareness of their Métis culture, more than one-quarter reported the need for more Métis-specific programs, and a further 28% reported the need for Métis program facilitators. These results suggest that a substantial proportion of Métis offenders place importance on culturally sensitive programming in the institutions.

Similarly, a study by Wormith and Oliver (2002) examined the factors contributing to attrition from correctional treatment. Participants included 93 violent offenders who had been referred to an intensive treatment program at the Regional Psychiatric Center in Saskatoon. Results revealed that very high- risk Aboriginal offenders were dramatically less likely than equally high- risk non-Aboriginal offenders to complete treatment (20% versus 67%, respectively). Such findings invoked concerns about a program’s capacity to accommodate responsivity issues inherent in the cultural heritage of its clientele. As such, the importance of an increased sensitivity to cultural factors to reduce treatment attrition in Aboriginal offenders was noted.

The 1989 Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women (Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, 1990) noted that federally sentenced Aboriginal women were among the first to articulate the need for programs and services to be developed and delivered to Aboriginal offenders by organizations and communities. The Task Force argued that only Aboriginal people can design and deliver programs that will appropriately address the needs of Aboriginal people and create a trusting environment in which to do so. Furthermore, it was argued that existing mainstream programs could not reach Aboriginal women and that only Aboriginal people can truly know and understand the experiences of Aboriginal people.

In order to create an Aboriginal specific program, a number of assumptions and beliefs that are inherent to the Aboriginal world-view need to be addressed (Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA), no date). Holism, for example, is a concept that is shared by many different Aboriginal groups and communities throughout Canada. It refers to a world-view that acknowledges the interdependence of all aspects of life, all things being connected. More specifically, holism is a paradigm that acknowledges the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual parts of every individual and suggests that all parts of the self affect and are affected by each other. When applied in the context of healing, holism asserts that healing cannot occur in one dimension only; in order to affect real and sustainable change in an individual, one must address all parts of ones’ life concurrently and not in isolation (Krawll, 1994).

The existing literature highlighting the need for Aboriginal specific programs, as well as the overrepresentation of Aboriginal offenders within the Canadian correctional system, has led to the Correctional Service of Canada recognizing the value in correctional approaches that are sensitive to the needs of Aboriginal people. The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA, 1992) mandates the provision of programs and practices that respect and respond to gender and cultural differences, and the provision of equitable opportunities to practice and revitalize cultural traditions and customs. Accordingly, CSC has facilitated spiritual and cultural ceremonies in the institutions such as pipe ceremonies, religious fasting, sweat lodge ceremonies, and the burning of sweet grass, sage and cedar. The development of Aboriginal healing lodges such as Okimaw Ohci for women and Willow Cree for men, and Aboriginal specific programs such as Spirit of a Warrior for women and In Search of Your Warrior for men, provide evidence for this evolution.

Spirit of a Warrior: A Program Overview1

The importance of Aboriginal programs that target violence is underscored by the fact that a higher proportion of Aboriginal women offenders commit crimes of violence as compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts (80% vs. 50% respectively) (PSEPC, 2004). Following the success of In Search of Your Warrior, a violence prevention program that proved effective with Aboriginal men at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, it was decided to create a women specific model, Spirit of a Warrior.

In 2002, the Spirit of a Warrior program was first piloted with women offenders incarcerated in the co-located unit in Saskatchewan Penitentiary2. At the time of data collection for this report (October 2003 – March 2005), the program had been delivered a total of 10 times including delivery at Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge (5), Edmonton Institution for Women (2), Saskatchewan Penitentiary (1), Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (1), and Fraser Valley Institution (1). Since its inception, there had been a total of 51 women who had successfully completed the Spirit of a Warrior program.

The Spirit of a Warrior program is a high-intensity violence prevention program that was designed specifically to address the needs of Aboriginal women. The program is based on cognitive-behavioral rehabilitative strategies that target attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. As such, it is a healing program for women who are interested in exploring their acts of violence and in understanding how violence has shaped their lives. The program views finding the roots of one’s violence as being the initial step to healing and learning alternative ways of dealing with one’s anger. It was designed to provide Aboriginal women with an opportunity to gain insight into how violence evolves and how it is passed from generation to generation, with the ultimate goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating violent behavior.

The program attempts to guide women back to a more natural and non-violent way of life through ceremonies and cultural rituals. From an Aboriginal perspective, the term “Warrior” in the program name represents a cultural metaphor. The notion of “Warrior” suggests inherent strength or resilience and a willingness to tap into this strength and to shield against one’s heredity and experiences. A “Warrior” includes development of such qualities as self-possession, spiritual and psychic awareness/alertness, goodness and caring, endurance, patience, and resilience. The program is based on the concept that all individuals have a warrior within that provides them with strength and courage, however through life experiences many individuals have lost touch with their warrior.

The Spirit of a Warrior healing program contains a possible 92 separate sessions varying in length from 1 to 2 hours. The sessions are divided into four sections: Introduction,

Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood/Alternatives to Violence. These four sections are designed to address eight core components with specific goals:

  1. Anger awareness: This component defines anger; it addresses the beliefs and attitudes about anger, feelings and experiences with anger, and triggers of anger.
  2. Violence awareness: This component defines violence; it addresses experiences with violence, factors that influence violence (media, racism, abandonment), cycle of violence, and the impacts of violence.
  3. Family of Origin Awareness: This component addresses childhood experiences, family members and roles, family relationships and their influence on the self, and sources of family conflict.
  4. Self-awareness: This component addresses the inner child, expression of feelings, interpersonal relationships, adolescent experiences, abandonment, Aboriginal and cultural identity, and personal boundaries and limits.
  5. Individual Skill Development: This component addresses the development of a self- care plan, the identification and expression of feelings, accountability, empowerment, empathy, self-talk, self-control, and grieving.
  6. Group Skill Development: This component addresses program expectations, development of personal goals, and development of a comforting and safe environment through trust and self-disclosure.
  7. Cultural Awareness: This component addresses the role of spirituality in the healing process, the importance of ceremony, the medicine wheel, usage of culturally appropriate rituals and symbols, and the role of the Elder.
  8. Cognitive Learning: This component addresses self-care, the process of change, journal writing, the inner child, boundaries, self-esteem, and the impact of labeling, racism, prejudice, and stereotypes.

Each day of the program begins with a sweetgrass ceremony (or the appropriate ritual for those participating) and an opening prayer. In addition, each week and/or day begins and ends with a sharing circle that provides participants with an opportunity to debrief and share their experiences and feelings about the healing program. The program is divided into three, five-week phases. In the fifth week of the first and second phase, it is intended that the participants participate in Bridge week activities such as crafts or one-on-one counseling. At this time a consultation group meets and provides updates and strategies for the following phase. After completion of each phase, the participants receive a certificate of “graduation”. This acts as a break for participants and facilitators from the intensive program and as an incentive for participants to remain involved in the program. In theory, the program delivery time is estimated at 15 weeks, however, this timeframe does not include pre-program interviews and consultation or post-program report writing. Each program is delivered by one principal facilitator and one co-facilitator. The attendance of the Elder can be on a full time or part time basis.

METHODOLOGY

Evaluation Framework

The evaluation of the Spirit of a Warrior program followed the framework developed by Flight (2003). The framework outlined the proposed research questions and methodology for the present investigation. The subject matter represented in the evaluation design was determined by a number of sources. First, the Spirit of a Warrior program manual was reviewed which consequently prompted a number of important questions regarding the implementation of the program. Second, individuals from the Aboriginal Initiatives Committee were contacted to contribute feedback regarding the different methods of evaluation. Third, assessment issues and measures that are traditionally used in program evaluations (Posavac & Carey, 1992) were considered and incorporated where applicable. The current study chose a moderate evaluation option which encompassed offender file review, pre- and post-participant surveys (including standardized measures), pre- and post-facilitator assessments, facilitator and participant interviews, and staff surveys.

Measures

The following description details the list of measures used in this program evaluation. Sample sizes and the procedures for each measure are described.

Offender File Review

Offender file information from the Offender Management System (OMS) of the Correctional Service of Canada was reviewed. A profile of successful program completers was developed including a description of socio-demographics, offence characteristics, and criminal history. Pre- and post-program variables were also extracted to demonstrate change among the participants’ behaviour. Static and dynamic factors were considered: security classification, risk to re-offend, need for correctional programming, motivation for intervention, reintegration potential, and individual need domains.

Participant Survey

Participant surveys were administered to all voluntary program participants prior to program commencement and following program completion in order to examine self-reported areas of change. Program facilitators distributed and collected the surveys from participants and mailed the confidential sealed packages to the Research Branch. The surveys were based largely on those utilized by Eljdupovic-Guzina & Blanchette (1997) and Richardson and Blanchette (2001) with additional questions designed specifically for the present evaluation framework. Appendix A contains the pre- and post-participant survey.

Four standardized measures were selected and included in the participant surveys based on their application to the Spirit of a Warrior program goals and targets. The instruments include the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), the Novaco Anger Scale (NAS), the Spheres of Control Scale (SCS), and the Paulhus Deception Scale (PDS). It is important to note that while some standardized measures have been utilized with Aboriginal samples, many have not. Furthermore, none of the standardized measures have published normative data for Aboriginal samples. For this reason, results were interpreted with caution, and used simply to supplement other sources of information.

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) is a ten item self-report measure used to assess personal perceptions of self worth (Rosenberg, 1965). The scale is a global measure of self-esteem that is predictive of behavior across a range of situations. Each item on the scale is rated on a four point Likert scale with ratings ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Scores can range from 10 to 40. Lower scores suggest higher levels of self-esteem. This scale has been administered with samples of offenders, both men and women (Weekes & Mills, 1994; Taylor & Blanchette, 2001; Syed & Blanchette, 2000; Delveaux & Blanchette, 2000), as well as to Aboriginal samples of men and women (Weekes & Mills, 1994). The scale generally has high reliability: test-retest correlations are typically in the range of .82 to .88 and Cronbach’s alpha for various samples are in the range of .77 to .88 (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1993; Rosenberg, 1986).

Novaco Anger Scale

The Novaco Anger Scale (NAS) consists of two parts; assessing two anger dimensions (Novaco, 1994). Part A is a 48-item questionnaire which provides statements describing things that people think, feel, and do. The first part measures three domains, each with four sub-scales: Cognitive (Attentional Focus, Rumination, Suspicion, Hostile Attitude), Arousal (Intensity, Duration, Somatic Tension, Irritability), and Behavioral (Impulsive Reaction, Verbal Aggression, Physical Confrontation, Indirect Expression). These items are rated on a three point Likert scale ranging from “never true” to “always true”. Scores range from 48 to 144. Part B is a 25-item questionnaire3 which focuses on the amount of anger the participant would feel if a specific situation were to happen. There are five sub-scales which measure: Disrespectful Treatment, Unfairness/Injustice, Frustration/Interruption, Annoying Traits, and Irritations. It uses a four point Likert scale ranging from “not at all angry” to “very angry”. Scores range from 25 to 100. Higher scores on both Part A and Part B reflect greater anger. The total scale has demonstrated good test-retest reliability for a two-week interval (r=.86) and excellent internal consistency (a=.97) (Novaco, 1994). This scale has been normed on a population of Canadian federal offenders (Mills, Kroner, & Forth, 1998); however, no research has been conducted using this measure with Aboriginal populations.

Spheres of Control Scale

The Spheres of Control Scale (SCS) is a three-dimensional battery of measures pertaining to the domains of personal efficacy, interpersonal control, and sociopolitical control (Paulhus, 1983). For the purposes of this evaluation, only the first two subscales were utilized: personal efficacy and interpersonal control. Each subscale consists of 10 items rated on a seven point Likert scale, from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. Scores range from 20 to 140. High scores indicate a high internal locus of control and low scores indicate a high external locus of control. Psychometric properties of the scale are good, with test-retest reliabilities range from .70 for a 6-month interval to .90 for a 4-week interval (Paulhus, 1983). There are currently no published normative data on the SCS specifically for Aboriginal offender populations. However, it has been normed with females and utilized previously with federally sentenced women offenders (Taylor & Blanchette, 2001).

Paulhus Deception Scale

The Paulhus Deception Scale (PDS) is a self-report questionnaire designed to measure two forms of socially desirable responding, Self-Deceptive Enhancement (SDE), and Impression Management (IM) (Paulhus, 1991). Self-Deceptive Enhancement refers to the tendency of respondents to give honest but inflated self-descriptions. The Self-Deceptive Enhancement items express an unusual degree of self-assurance and self-confidence (e.g. ‘I never regret my decisions’). Impression Management refers to a tendency to present oneself favorably in order to impress others. Impression Management items represent unlikely virtues (e.g. ‘I never swear’). The PDS offers two separates subscales to measure these aspects of social desirability, in addition to providing a total score. The PDS consists of 40 self-referential statements that are scored on a five point Likert scale ranging from “not true” to “very true”. For purposes of this study, only the Impression Management subscale was utilized. The scale has been used with samples of offenders, both men and women (Kroner & Weekes, 1993; Irving, Taylor, & Blanchette, 2001) as well as with samples of Aboriginal offenders (Weekes & Mills, 1994).

The overall completion rate for both the pre- and post-participant surveys was 100%; meaning that every woman who completed a pre-test also completed a post-test. However, some individual items in each scale were uncompleted by some participants. In the case of missing data, if more than 20% of the data were missing, the scale was removed from the analysis. This included missing data for sub-scale totals and overall scale totals.

Although 10 sessions of Spirit of a Warrior have been delivered since 2002, participant surveys were distributed to participants for only four sessions of the program. This included the delivery of the program at Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (2003), Edmonton Institution for Women (2003), Edmonton Institution for Women (2004), and Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge (2004). From the four sessions of the program, a total of 27 women completed both a pre- and post-participant survey.

Facilitator Assessment

The facilitator assessment tool represents a short assessment instrument that was designed and utilized by the Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA) to evaluate the effectiveness of the In Search of Your Warrior program for male offenders. The assessment instrument utilizes goal attainment scales in order to evaluate individualized longitudinal change for each woman in four different areas of functioning: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The instrument consists of 23 items, each scored on a five point Likert scale ranging from a score of -2 to +2. Definitions are provided for each item including indicators of success and rating guidelines. Scores are summed and range from -46 to +46. Appendix B contains the facilitator assessment.

The assessment tool was completed by the program facilitators for each woman prior to the program beginning and again after its completion to detect changes in the four areas of functioning. The tool was completed following the pre-program interview, or during the first week of the program. Either both program facilitators completed the tool for each woman together, or each program facilitator completed the tool for half of the participants. The facilitator assessment was distributed to program facilitators for completion for four sessions of Spirit of a Warrior. However, only two sessions (Edmonton Institution for Women (2004) and Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge (2004))4 could be used for data analysis which resulted in pre- and post-facilitator assessments being completed for only 15 participants.

Interviews

In-person interviews were conducted with program facilitators and program participants of the Spirit of a Warrior program.

Participants

During site visits to three women’s institutions, interviews with participants of the program were conducted by two researchers of the Research Branch of CSC. The interview schedule consisted of open-ended questions inquiring about the program structure and delivery, program support, facilitator and Elder roles, effectiveness, unintended effects, and recommendations for improvement. A total of 29 participant interviews were conducted. Appendix C contains the participant interview.

Facilitators

Interviews were also conducted with six facilitators of the program. The interview posed questions to facilitators regarding program structure and delivery, participant selection, facilitator training, facilitator characteristics, program support, the Elder role, effectiveness, unintended effects, and recommendations for improvement. With the assistance of Elders, a total of 10 women have facilitated the program since its inception. Appendix D contains the facilitator interview.

Staff Survey

A staff survey was created to distribute to non program staff in the women’s institutions where the Spirit of a Warrior program has been delivered. The staff survey asked questions about their knowledge and support of the program and the various impacts of the program on the institution and program participants. Surveys were distributed in person to a convenience sample of staff members during site visits to Edmonton Institution for Women and Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. A total of 10 surveys were completed and returned by staff. Appendix E contains the staff survey.

Sample

As described above, sample sizes varied by measure. For example, some offenders completed pre- and post-participant surveys but were unavailable to participant in an interview5. Others only participated in an interview due to data collection timeframes for the participant surveys6. Those offenders who completed the pre- and post–test surveys would also have a facilitator assessment completed for their participation in the program. The following table (Table 1) summarizes the sample sizes for each measure.

Table 1: Sample Size by Measure
Measure Sample Size
Participant Survey 27
Facilitator Assessment 15
Participant Interviews 29
Facilitator Interviews 6
Staff Survey 10

RESULTS

The results of the present study are presented below following the evaluation issues and questions outlined in the evaluation framework prepared by Flight (2003).

Evaluation Issues and Questions

Program Rationale: Is there a need for the program?

There are two central issues related to the need for a program such as Spirit of a Warrior. First, it was important to assess whether the program has its own place and function within the institution. Further to this point, there was a need to examine whether the program targets the appropriate population given its purpose as a correctional program.

Purpose

Based on interviews with program facilitators and participants, it was ascertained that the Spirit of a Warrior program is different from other available programs and thus serves its own purpose. Program facilitators described the Spirit program as different from other programs for three reasons. First, it is based on a holistic approach of spirituality and healing. Second, it is non-traditional or unconventional in its program delivery in that group sharing is practiced rather than academic lecturing. Third, the intensity and depth of the program content encourages the sharing of and coping with the ‘real life’ experiences of the women participating in the program. The responses provided by program participants were parallel to the reasons explained by the program facilitators.

Beyond the claim that the Spirit of a Warrior program is different from other programs, both facilitators and participants conceded that the program produced positive results above and beyond that of required programs. With the majority of participants (24/26) stating its superior impacts, women explained that the program was responsible for greater intensity and depth into core issues (46%), greater sharing and openness (27%), increased positive changes in motivation and commitment (23%), greater understanding and connection to spirituality (19%), and increased positive feelings about one’s self (12%).

Participant Selection

According to program facilitators, the screening criteria for potential participants of the Spirit of a Warrior program can be based on three factors. Primarily, participants must have a history of violent offences. Potential participants must also be willing to engage in Aboriginal spirituality by participating in ceremonies and teachings. In some cases, the sentence length of a woman may be a determining factor whereby those with short sentence lengths or Accelerated Parole Review (APR) cases may not be permitted participation in the program.

Given that the Spirit of a Warrior program is intended to target Aboriginal women with high intensity anger and violence, five of the six facilitators agreed that the appropriate women were targeted and selected for participation in the program. In their opinions, women who participated in the program were well suited or appropriate for the Spirit program because they had similar backgrounds or life experiences, they were motivated and willing to change, and they wanted to learn about their Aboriginal culture. However, one facilitator identified a case in which a woman was inappropriately selected due to her lack of motivation and experiences with core issues discussed in the group.

Between February 2002 and September 2005, 51 women had successfully completed7 the program. In addition, seven women had been classified as suspended8, six as incomplete9, and one as unsuccessfully complete10. These data yield a 78% successful program completion rate.

With the exception of two women, all of the program completers were Aboriginal (First Nations n=41, Métis n=8). One woman was identified as Caucasian, while no race was identified for the other woman. As mentioned above, the program is designed for Aboriginal women offenders. Despite the participation of two non-Aboriginal women, participation selection typically includes women who are actively engaging in Aboriginal spirituality. The participants were either married/common-law (n=21; 41%), single (n=26; 51%), divorced/separated/widowed (n=3; 6%), and unknown (n=1; 2%). The mean age of the participants at their program start date was 30.9 years old (Mdn=28.7 years, min=20.0 years, max=49.9 years).

The most serious offence for which the program participants were incarcerated was homicide/attempted murder (43%), assault (25%), robbery (22%), other violent offences (6%), and sexual assault (2%). One participant was incarcerated for a property related offence. With the exception of this one property case, it appears that women were appropriately selected for the program given that a violent offence history is a selection criterion for the program. However, the details surrounding this particular case are unknown, and therefore a history of violence may have been present.

Resources: Are there adequate resources and support for establishing the Spirit of a Warrior program?

The issue of resources involved three separate areas of inquiry. The first area was program facilitator training including the content and quality of training for the Spirit of a Warrior program and the selection of individuals for facilitation of the program. Following this, it was necessary to assess the level of support between facilitators and participants, and the degree of support received by non-program staff.

Facilitator Training

Of the six facilitators interviewed, all of them received formal training by Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) for the facilitation and delivery of the Spirit of a Warrior program. However, all of the facilitators received training using the In Search of Your Warrior manual. Each facilitator generally agreed that the manual was comprehensive and easy to follow. Three facilitators suggested that the manual could be expanded to include topics such as healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, female gangs, positive community support, defense and coping mechanisms, relational theory, and social learning theory. Two facilitators commented that the language used in the hand-outs and exercises was difficult for some participants to understand. Overall, program facilitators were quite satisfied with the training provided by NCSA with an average rating of four based on a five point scale. Four of the six facilitators reported that more time was needed during training to learn and teach the sessions in the manual. Similar to above, it was reiterated that more topics needed to be explored in addition to having more time to discuss the current material. In addition, two facilitators suggested that the training should also include instruction on facilitation skills rather than solely on program content. Finally, two facilitators expressed concerns regarding the appropriateness of the facilitators chosen for training. In these cases, it was reported that the emotional stability of some individuals participating in the training was unclear and presented an obstacle to an effective training environment and ultimately to effective program delivery.

From the perspective of the program participants, the majority (79% or 22/28) stated that both of the program facilitators had sufficient training to deliver the Spirit of a Warrior program. Three participants stated that only one of the program facilitators had sufficient training, and three reported that neither of the facilitators had sufficient training. According to the participants11, facilitators had sufficient training because they demonstrated positive personality characteristics or qualities, they were trained using experiential methods, they had similar life experiences, or they had a good teaching method. In contrast, poor facilitator characteristics and qualities and weak program delivery methods were also the reasons for insufficient facilitator training.

Facilitator Selection

Based on interviews with program facilitators, it is suggested that there are certain facilitator experiences and characteristics which may contribute to successful program facilitation and delivery. Facilitators personally commented on their strengths as facilitators of this program. Their strengths included knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture and history (5 facilitators), similar life experiences and background to the participants (3), personality characteristics such as compassion, honesty, and respect (3), and strong facilitation skills (2). The facilitators interviewed had an average of 7 years experience working with women offenders.

Participants also commented on the strengths of the program facilitators. Similar to the responses of the facilitators, program participants identified the following strengths: personality characteristics and qualities (39% or 11/28), ability to share and facilitate sharing (39% or 11/28), similar life experiences to participants (32% or 9/28), strong facilitation skills (14% or 4/28), and knowledge and practice of Aboriginal spirituality (11% or 3/28). Only eight participants provided areas of weakness by the facilitators. The majority of participants (61% or 17/28) stated that no improvements needed to be made to the role of the facilitators.

External Program Support

External program support involved the support facilitators and participants receive from non-program staff. This issue was explored from the perspective of the facilitators and participants themselves, as well as from institutional staff.

Slightly over half of the women (57% or 16/28) were only participating in the Spirit of a Warrior program at the time of the interview. The other proportion of women had to balance the Spirit program with other correctional programs, school, work, or other activities. Of these participants, they rated the ease at which they were able to balance the program with other activities at an average rating of 4.3 out of a possible 5 (very easy). These particular participants were fairly satisfied with the support they received from staff for balancing the Spirit program with other expected activities: the average rating was 4.0.

Based on average ratings on a five point scale, it appears that there is support of participants attending the program by non-program staff, with participants and facilitators providing similar ratings (average of 4.2 and 4.1 respectively) and non-program staff providing a slightly lower rating (average of 3.6). However, there were instances during program delivery when non-program staff expected participants to be somewhere else, other than in the program, according to participants (11% or 3/28), facilitators (83% or 5/6), and institutional staff (25% or 2/8).

Program facilitators were asked further questions regarding program support. Overall, facilitators provided an average rating of 3.8 for their satisfaction with the support received by non-program staff. Facilitators reported that different types of institutional staff considered the program important to varying degrees. For example, facilitators appointed Wardens and Elders the highest ratings (average of 4.8 and 4.7 respectively) for their consideration of the Spirit program as important. These ratings were followed by lower averages for mental health professionals (4.2), parole officers (4.2), and primary workers (3.8). Furthermore, three of the six facilitators reported resistance to the program by staff. Of those who indicated staff resistance, they described a lack of support for the program approach and method (2/3), and a lack of support for the participants’ feelings and experiences as a result of the program (2/3). From a staff perspective, four of the nine respondents reported resistance to the program.

Implementation: Are the activities of the program organized in a way that its goals can be achieved?

The issue of implementation referred to the extent to which the program met the participants’ needs in terms of program content and quality, and the level of support and communication between participants and facilitators.

Participant Needs

The utility, length, and quality of program sessions are an important indication of meeting the participants’ needs, as well as serving the function of a correctional intervention. According to the majority of participants (93% or 27/29) and facilitators (67% or 4/6), the program covered a sufficient number of topics in the sessions. Participants suggested additional topics such as abandonment, prostitution, and street life, whereas facilitators recommended topics such as Aboriginal culture, defense mechanisms, resistance, shame, and guilt. However, most participants (71% or 20/28) reported that the time devoted to each topic was sufficient. The sessions were well paced and easily understood for almost all of the participants (90% or 26/29).

Internal Program Support

Internal support for the program consisted of support, cooperation, and trust between the facilitators and participants. On average, participants rated the level of support higher than the facilitators (see Table 2). The average rating for level of trust was slightly lower for participants than facilitators, while there were slight differences in average for level of cooperation.

Table 2: Average Ratings of Support, Trust, and Cooperation
Average Rating
Facilitators (n=6) Participants (n=29)
Level of Support 4.4 4.7
Level of Trust 4.4 4.2
Level of Cooperation 4.5 4.6

Overall, the majority of participants (86% or 24/28) described their relationship with both facilitators as very positive. Of those who indicated a positive relation, the participant-facilitator relationship was characterized by open communication and sharing (63%), trust and respect (33%), close bond (33%), and encouragement and support (17%). Participants also rated the availability of facilitators as high, with an average rating of 4.5 based on a five point scale.

Effectiveness: Is the program effective?

Several indicators were used to determine the effectiveness of the Spirit of a Warrior program. These indicators included achievement of program components and program objectives, improvements to cognitive processing and coping skills, positive changes to relationships, and changes in three attitudinal targets (i.e., anger, self-control, self-esteem).

Program Components

According to the Spirit of a Warrior manual, there are eight program components. Facilitators and staff in general were asked to what degree, on a five point scale, was each component effective for the majority of the program participants. Participants were also asked to rate the effectiveness of each component for themselves. The results indicated that facilitators and participants, on average, rated the effectiveness of the program components higher than non-program staff (see Table 3). The average ratings of participants and facilitators differed in the degree of effectiveness for individual and group skill development. Fairly equal and high ratings were given by facilitators and participants for the components of self awareness, cultural awareness, and anger awareness.

Table 3: Effectiveness of Program Components
Program Component12 Average Rating
Participants (n=26) Facilitators (n=6) Other Staff (n=8)
Anger Awareness 4.4 4.6 3.9
Violence Awareness 4.4 4.3 4.1
Family of Origin Awareness 4.1 4.3 3.9
Self Awareness 4.7 4.7 4.1
Individual Skill Development 4.5 3.7 4.0
Group Skill Development 4.1 4.6 3.8
Cultural Awareness 4.6 4.5 4.2
Cognitive Learning 4.4 4.2 3.9
Program Objectives

The program objectives of the Spirit of a Warrior program were developed using a holistic framework under an Aboriginal paradigm. Holism is based on the interdependence of life: everything is related and connected. Hence, the four dimensions of life include the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual elements of one’s self. According to this perspective, healing and healthy change can only occur if all four dimensions are affected and found to be in balance of one another.

Facilitators were asked about changes in the participants’ four dimensions of healing, while participants were also asked to self-report the presence of these changes. All of the facilitators (n=6) observed changes in the women participants in all four components of healing. The majority of participants also observed changes in themselves with respect to the emotional (86% or 24/28), spiritual (82% or 23/28), mental (82% or 23/28), and physical (68% or 19/28) dimensions. More specifically, Figure 1 presented below depicts the particular changes within each dimension according to both facilitators (F) and participants (P).

Figure 1: Changes in Program Objectives

Spiritual Component
Participation in Aboriginal ceremonies (Px7) (Fx4)
Knowledge & understanding of Aboriginal culture (Px11) (Fx1)
Balance & connectedness with Aboriginal spirituality (Px6)

Physical Component
Self care strategies (Px8) (Fx1)
Appearance & body language (Px8) (Fx5)
Physically active and energetic (Px7)

Changes in Program Objectives-Spiritual Component, Physical Component, Mental Component, Emotional Component

Mental Component
Communication skills (Px10) (Fx3)
Positive patterns of thinking (Px14)
Self esteem & acceptance (Px8) (Fx4)

Emotional Component
Healthy expression of feelings (Px12) (Fx4)
Positive strategies for expressing anger (Px7)
Stabilize or improve mood (Px11) (Fx2)

 

The achievement of program objectives was quantitatively assessed using an assessment tool developed by the Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA, no date). Facilitators rated each participant, pre- and post-program, on mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. The tool is comprised of 23 objectives to capture these four dimensions.

The results from the facilitator assessment tool indicated that participants experienced significant changes in the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual elements of healing. The mean total score significantly improved from pre-program (M=1.8, SD=5.0) to post-program (M=27.8, SD=8.0). Furthermore, mean scores for each dimension (4) and for individual items (23) of the tool showed significant differences from pre- to post-program (see Table 4) with the greatest amount of change occurring in the emotional dimension. Surprisingly, the smallest change occurred in spirituality. In sum, all four dimensions of healing appeared to be positively affected by the program, and consequently a balance of the elements was demonstrated. The scale demonstrated good internal consistency at pre- (a = 0.77) and post- (a = 0.89) tests.

Table 4: Pre-program to Post-program Differences on Achievement of Program Objectives
Subscales and Items †† Pre-test Score (n=15) Post-test Score (n=15) Difference Score t p
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001, ****p<.0001
† A Bonferroni correction was employed for the items within each subscale (p<.008; p<.007; p<.008; p<.013, respectively).
†† Each item on the scale ranges from -2 to +2.
Physical † 0.47 6.33 -5.87 -9.90 .0001****
Develop self discipline 0.00 0.80 -0.80 -4.00 .0013***
Develop self care strategies -0.20 1.27 -1.47 -6.81 .0001****
Develop communication skills 0.00 1.13 -1.13 -8.50 .0001****
Abstain from drugs and alcohol 0.33 0.93 -0.60 -4.58 .0004***
Develop ability to act autonomously 0.13 0.93 -0.80 -3.59 .0029**
Develop a positive support network 0.20 1.27 -1.07 -5.17 .0001****
Emotional † 0.33 8.80 -8.47 -9.65 .0001****
Develop positive strategies for expressing anger -0.27 1.40 -1.67 -7.91 .0001****
Develop positive Aboriginal identity 0.40 1.20 -0.80 -3.59 .0029**
Develop emotional awareness 0.20 1.60 -1.40 -6.55 .0001****
Develop empathy and caring 0.00 1.40 -1.40 -5.96 .0001****
Develop forgiveness 0.00 1.07 -1.07 -3.10 .0079**
Develop a sense of humour -0.07 0.87 -0.93 -3.50 .0035**
Develop self worth 0.07 1.27 -1.20 -6.00 .0001****
Mental † 0.40 7.85 -7.46 -10.18 .0001****
Understand the cycle of violence 0.20 1.60 -1.40 -6.55 .0001****
Understand triggers of rage 0.07 1.47 -1.40 -8.57 .0001****
Take responsibility and accountability for violence -0.07 1.59 -1.66 -7.04 .0001****
Develop positive problem solving skills -0.13 0.80 -0.93 -5.14 .0002***
Develop internal locus of control 0.00 1.13 -1.13 -6.86 .0001****
Develop the ability to trust 0.33 1.27 -0.93 -5.14 .0002***
Spiritual † 0.60 4.80 -4.20 -6.55 .0001****
Enhance spiritual connection 0.33 1.47 -1.13 -5.26 .0001****
Develop stable and positive belief/value system 0.07 0.93 -0.87 -4.52 .0005***
Foster sense of usefulness and belonging to community 0.07 1.00 -0.93 -3.29 .0054**
Develop sense of hope, persistence, and motivation 0.13 1.40 -1.27 -8.26 .0001****
Total Score 1.80 27.79 -25.99 -10.83 .0001****
Cognitive Processing and Coping Skills

The Spirit of a Warrior program heavily concentrates upon women understanding their emotions and thoughts related to anger and violence, and developing effective strategies to resolve and cope with such experiences. As such, participants and facilitators were asked to report the extent to which participants’ understanding and thinking changed, and the ways in which their problem solving or coping skills improved.

Of those participants who responded to the interview question (n=27), all of them stated that their way of understanding and thinking about situations or people has changed as a result of the program. All of the facilitators concurred with this report of positive change. In particular, participants indicated that they were more understanding of people and their behaviour (30% or 8/27), less judgmental and more accepting of individuals (30% or 8/27), used positive coping strategies to deal with their emotions (22% or 6/27), had a greater understanding of themselves (19% or 5/27), and had an increased ability to share and express their thought and feelings (7% or 2/27). One participant commented on her change:

Just being able to accept the person for who they are, giving them a chance to talk and express what they are feeling. If they need to talk about something, having that open mind, and just respecting their boundaries and having them respect your own. (Spirit of a Warrior Participant)

Facilitators agreed that participants developed positive strategies to deal with emotions such as anger (67% or 4/6), had a greater understanding of their behaviour and triggers (50% or 3/6), and had a greater understanding of others (50% or 3/6). One facilitator summarized the change of thinking among the participants:

They recognize their patterns of behaviour, their cycles, why they occurred and how they developed, what works and what doesn’t anymore and then when they become aware of these things, they are able to decide what they want to change. (Spirit of a Warrior Facilitator)

Additionally, a large proportion of the non-program staff (86% or 6/7) surveyed also reported positive changes in this area.

As reported by the majority of the participants (96% or 26/27), their problem solving and coping skills improved after participating in the Spirit of a Warrior program. This included women using more positive coping strategies to deal with violence and anger (27% or 7/26), more positive problem solving strategies to deal with issues (31% or 8/26), and a greater emphasis on self improvement (i.e., goal setting, healthy choices, and personal control) (31% or 8/26). These themes are evidenced in the following quotes:

I do everything in a positive way, like self-care and…journal writing, being able to deal with my anger in a positive way instead of putting myself down. I don’t do that anymore. (Spirit of a Warrior Participant)

Well before I wouldn’t ask questions, I would just go and start fighting someone…but now I’ll go and I’ll ask them to [talk]…and I’ll explain how I’m feeling and if there is a problem then I’ll try and resolve it without dealing with it how I used to…I’ve done that like five times already. (Spirit of a Warrior Participant)

I never took time off for me, and that’s how I got a relapse because I thought I’d failed, but now with the program, everything I do in life is for me, and that boosted my self-esteem. To speak out and to ask – there is nothing wrong with asking for help. (Spirit of a Warrior Participant)

Relationships

Due to the nature of group sharing within the Spirit of a Warrior program, the women’s relationships with others served as an important area of inquiry. Changes in the participants’ relationship with the program staff (i.e., facilitators, Elders) were observed by the majority of the participants (86% or 24/28) and by all of the facilitators (100% or 6/6). Specifically, the participants reported that a bond and friendship developed (75% or 18/24), while sharing and communication also improved (42% or 10/24). One participant of the program commented:

My relationship with them is much stronger because you know at the beginning I was kind of pulled back from everybody, but now whenever I need to talk to one of them, I go see them whenever I can. It’s more of a friendship now. (Spirit of a Warrior Participant)

Participants also reported that their relationship with other program participants changed as a result of the program (81% or 22/27). Positive changes were also observed by the six facilitators interviewed. Similar themes from above were identified, such as the development of a bond and friendship (73% or 16/22) and improved communication (46% or 10/22). In addition, the facilitators spoke of acceptance, trust, and understanding among the women:

There was much more acceptance of each other, and a level of understanding and compassion from where each woman came from. They’d look at a woman and say “Wow, now I know your story; you’re not just a person that lived on the dark side”. (Spirit of a Warrior Facilitator)

[They] came to love each other and trust one another…recognized that they were at different life levels and learned from ones that had more experience. (Spirit of a Warrior Facilitator)

I believe they became more supportive and the trusting of each other …they had a strong level of respect for each other. (Spirit of a Warrior Facilitator)

Relationships with non-program staff also positively changed according to program participants (73% or 16/22) and facilitators (100% or 5/5); however, these changes were less likely to be observed by non-program staff themselves (25% or 2/8). Participants (64% or 16/25) and facilitators (100% or 4/4) also reported changes with women not involved in the program (alternatively non program participants). Again, these changes were less evident from the perspective of non-program staff surveyed (33% or 3/9).

Attitudinal and Behavioural Targets

Participants were administered three standardized measures (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES); Novaco Anger Scale (NAS); and Spheres of Control Scale (SCS)), pre- and post- program, to assess changes in self-esteem, anger and provocation, and personal efficacy and interpersonal control. In addition, the Impression Management subscale of the Paulhus Deception Scales was administered to assess potential response bias by participants. The results for the standardized measures component of the study are presented below.

Social Desirable Responding

Prior to determining pre-post changes, the association between the three measures and the Impression Management scale of the PDS was analyzed. To reiterate, impression management refers to respondents’ tendency to exaggerate, fake, or lie in order to purposely provide a more favourable impression of themselves to others.

The overall mean score for the Impression Management subscale of the PDS at pre- (M=7.37) and post- (M=8.52) testing were considered valid according to cutoff scores (<2 >8) set by Paulhus (1998). That is, on average, participants were neither ‘faking bad’ nor ‘faking good’. The range of scores at pre- (min=0, max=14) and post- (min=4, max=14) testing suggested that participants were more likely to fake good than fake bad.

At pre-test, the tendency to engage in impression management was significantly associated with lower scores on the NAS and Part A subscale (see Table 5). At post-test, impression management was again related to lower scores on the NAS and the Part A subscale. At this time, impression management scores were also significantly correlated with lower RSES scores, thereby indicating that those who self-reported higher levels of self-esteem were more likely to be portraying a favourable self-impression. In this study, the NAS appeared to be most susceptible to social desirability response bias. That is, those participants who reported less anger had the tendency to present themselves in a more favourable light. Given these findings, the results of the NAS must be interpreted with caution.

Table 5: Relationship between Impression Management and Standardized Measures
Measure PDS-IM: Pre-test PDS-IM: Post-test
r n r n
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001, ****p<.0001
† A Bonferroni correction was employed for each subscale (p<.03).
RSES -0.09 27 -0.39* 26
SCS † 0.24 27 0.29 26
Personal Efficacy 0.21 27 0.36 26
Interpersonal Control 0.19 27 0.12 26
NAS † -0.42* 27 -0.46* 26
Part A -0.53** 27 -0.47** 26
Part B -0.21 27 -0.39 27
Pre-Program to Post-Program Differences

Changes in attitudinal and behavioural targets were assessed prior to program commencement and following program completion. Although previous analyses demonstrated significant correlations between impression management and two measures (i.e., NAS and RSES), it must be noted that pre-test and post-test impression management scores were not significantly correlated with any of the pre- to post-test difference scores. In addition, pre-test and post-test impression management scores were significantly correlated (r = .44; p<.05). These data may imply that post-treatment changes in attitudinal and behavioural measures were not explained by increased impression management.

For each measure, the results indicated significant differences between pre-test and post-test scores (see Table 6). Specifically, based on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), the self-esteem of program participants increased from pre- to post-test. Scores on the Novaco Anger Scale (NAS) significantly decreased with regard to the type and level of anger following program completion. Finally, the participants’ internal locus of control, as measured by the Spheres of Control Battery (SCS), increased significantly after completing the program. The increased level of control was particularly evident in the SCS’s subscale of Interpersonal Control.

Table 6: Pre-program to Post-program Differences on Standardized Measures
Measure Pre-test Score (n=27) Post-test Score (n=27) Difference Score t p
**p<.01, ***p<.001, ****p<.0001
† A Bonferroni correction was employed for each subscale (p<.03).
RSES (higher score = lower self esteem) 19.65 14.65 5.00 7.54 .0001****
SCS (higher score = higher internal locus of control) † 92.19 101.36 -9.17 -4.35 .0002***
Personal Efficacy 50.12 52.54 -2.42 -2.22 .0400
Interpersonal Control 42.07 48.82 -6.75 -4.93 .0001****
NAS (higher score = higher level of anger) † 136.94 112.12 24.82 5.25 .0001****
Part A 81.46 66.37 15.09 5.72 .0001****
Part B 55.39 45.40 9.99 4.30 .0002***

A more thorough analysis was conducted on the NAS and its subscales since the program focuses heavily upon anger awareness. The NAS is divided into two parts; each contains further subscales assessing anger and provocation. With the exception of one subscale (impulsivity), these data demonstrated significant decreases in the cognitive, arousal, and behavioural anger domains upon program completion. In hypothetical scenarios, participants were also less likely to be provoked by disrespectful treatment, unfairness or injustice, frustrations or interruptions, annoying traits, and irritations. See Table 7 for detailed information on these changes.

Table 7: Pre-Program to Post-Program Differences on NAS Subscales
NAS Subscales Pre-test Score (n=27) Post-test Score (n=27) Difference Score t p
**p<.01, ***p<.001, ****p<.0001
† A Bonferroni correction was employed for each subscale (p<.01).
NAS Total 136.94 112.12 24.82 5.25 .0001****
Part A 81.46 66.37 15.09 5.72 .0001****
Cognitive Domain † 28.38 23.66 4.73 6.41 .0001****
Attentional Focus 8.35 7.23 1.12 3.92 .0006***
Rumination 7.00 5.73 1.27 5.41 .0001****
Hostile Attitude 6.23 4.73 1.50 5.00 .0001****
Suspicious Attitude 6.81 5.97 0.84 2.97 .0065**
Arousal Domain † 27.62 22.20 5.41 4.65 .0001****
Intensity 6.50 5.25 1.25 3.71 .0010***
Duration 7.15 5.65 1.50 4.02 .0005***
Somatic Tension 7.15 5.79 1.36 3.60 .0014**
Irritability 6.81 5.50 1.31 3.56 .0015**
Behaviour Domain † 25.27 20.40 4.87 4.65 .0001****
Impulsive Reaction 5.88 4.93 0.95 2.70 .0123
Verbal Aggression 6.92 5.71 1.21 4.32 .0002***
Physical Confrontation 6.46 4.96 1.50 4.82 .0001****
Indirect Expression 6.00 4.79 1.21 3.14 .0043**
Part B † 55.39 45.40 9.99 4.30 .0002***
Disrespectful Treatment 11.74 9.43 2.31 4.91 .0001****
Unfairness/Injustice 12.15 10.42 1.72 2.85 .0085**
Frustrations/Interruptions 10.78 8.91 1.87 3.17 .0039**
Annoying Traits 11.06 8.87 2.19 3.34 .0026**
Irritations 9.67 7.78 1.89 3.73 .0009***
Correlates of Post-Program Improvement

Further analyses were conducted to determine which pre-test measures and/or background variables predicted post-program improvement.

(i) Correlates of Post-Test Scores

Analysis of post-test scores produced some significant relationships. Pre-test scores on the RSES were significantly associated with the post-test SCS total (r (26) = -.44, p<.03) and its Personal Efficacy subscale (r (26) = -.45, p<.02). These results indicated that higher levels of self-esteem13 at the beginning of treatment were associated with higher levels of internal locus of control and personal efficacy at the end of treatment.

Program participants were asked, pre- and post-program, to rate themselves on several skills and abilities on a five point Likert scale, with five representing the strongest presence of the item. Ratings of high interpersonal skills (r (26) = .50, p<.01) and a high understanding of Aboriginal culture (r (26) = .45, p<.02) at the start of the program were associated with higher interpersonal control, as measured by the SCS, at the conclusion of the program.

Sentence length also produced a significant relationship with one post-test measure. In this case, participants with shorter sentence lengths14 had significantly lower scores on the RSES thereby indicating higher levels of self-esteem following treatment (r (24) = .48, p<.02).

Several pre-program need and risk factors produced notable relationships with post-program test scores. High reintegration potential ratings were significantly correlated with lower anger scores on the NAS overall (r (26) = -.51, p<.01), subscale Part A (r (26) = -.48, p<.01), and subscale Part B (r (27) = -.44, p<.02) following treatment. At pre-program, high motivation level was associated with higher interpersonal control post-program as measured by the SCS (r (26) = .42, p<.03). In examining specific need domains, results showed that low family/marital needs prior to the program were associated with higher interpersonal control (SCS) following the program (r (26) = -.44, p<.02). Alternatively, pre-program assessments showing high needs in community functioning (r (26) = .47, p<.01) and attitude (r (26) = .42, p<.03) were significantly correlated with post-program higher levels of anger, as measured by the NAS overall. Part B of the NAS also showed a significant association between high community functioning need and higher levels of anger at post-testing.

(ii) Correlates of Pre-Test and Post-Test Difference Scores

Several pre-test measures and background variables significantly predicted test difference scores. Lower personal efficacy scores (SCS) measured prior to the program were significantly associated with greater improvement in the level of anger (Part A of the NAS) following the program (r (26) = -.42, p<.03).

Participants who thought that sharing personal experiences in a group setting was good15 at pre-testing demonstrated less improvement on the NAS total (r (26) = -.56, p<.003), NAS Part A (r (26) = -.47, p<.01), and NAS Part B (r (27) = -.59, p<.001). This somewhat peculiar finding may be explained by the fact that those women who thought sharing in a group was good at pre-testing also demonstrated lower scores on the NAS total, NAS Part A, and NAS Part B at pre-testing. Therefore, they may have showed less improvement because they had a lower base rate of anger in which to demonstrate improvement from pre- to post-testing.

Length of time in which a woman has been incarcerated (not sentence length) showed a significant relationship to post-program improvement in level of control as measured by the SCS. For instance, shorter lengths of incarceration were associated with higher levels of internal locus of control (r (26) = -.47, p<.01) and interpersonal control (r (26) = -.55, p<.004) following the end of the program.

After examining the predictability of dynamic need and risk factors, the results showed that individuals with a more pronounced need in the attitude domain displayed less improvement on the RSES (r (26) = -.49, p<.01). In contrast, those with an attitude problem showed more improvement in the Personal Efficacy subscale of the SCS (r (26) = .43, p<.03). Finally, women assessed as higher risk to re-offend demonstrated less improvement on the RSES (r (26) = -.47, p<.02).

Unintended Effects: Does the program create any positive or negative unintended effects?

The unintended effects of the program refer to any positive or negative events or issues that occurred which were unanticipated or unexpected according to the program design and goals. These effects were measured by way of the perceptions of program participants, program facilitators, and staff in general.

In forethought of program implementation issues, it was viewed that sharing personal experiences in a group setting may be problematic for some participants, and hence represent a possible unintended effect. Participants were asked if they ever felt pressured to share their experiences with the group, and the majority (61% or 17/28) reported no pressure to share. Of those who reported pressure to share at some point, some women handled it by succumbing to the pressure and sharing with the group (4/10), others spoke very little to the group (3/10), and a couple listened to others share their experiences instead (2/10)16. According to five of the program facilitators, delivering the program in a group setting affects, in varying degrees, participants’ ability to be completely honest about their experiences. However, three of the five facilitators stated that complete honesty is only limited at the beginning of the program.

Overall, many of the participants (32% or 9/28) reported that sharing their feelings and experiences in a group setting was fairly easy because of the bond and trust in the group. Others (57% or 16/28) reported that it was difficult to share in the beginning, but with time and comfort, sharing was easy. Only two respondents would have preferred the sharing to be one-on-one rather than in a group sharing format. Participants were also asked on a five point Likert scale, pre- and post-program, whether sharing their personal experiences in a group setting will be/was a good thing. The extent to which participants positively rated group sharing significantly increased from pre- to post-program (Mpre = 4.3, SD = 0.7, Mpost = 4.8, SD = 0.4; t (24) = -3.93, p<.001).

More generally, both positive and negative unintended effects were reported. Many of the program participants (62% or 16/26) reported unintended effects. Some of the positive effects included the closeness and openness of the group (44%), a greater understanding of relationships and behaviour (25%), and more positive feelings and emotions (19%). Three respondents reported unexpected conflict and incidents. In addition, four of the six facilitators reported unintended effects with two stating negative effects, and the others reporting positive effects. The negative effects included the wrongful actions of a facilitator and resistance to learning about Aboriginal history. In contrast, the positive effects were the longer than expected session lengths, and the overwhelming power of the spiritual components.

Improvements: In what way could the program be improved?

Participants and facilitators were asked to provide ways in which the program could be improved. Major themes for program improvement were program environment, program length, program facilitators, and program content and/or activities. The table below provides the frequency of response for each area by facilitators and participants.

Table 8: Areas of Program Improvement
Areas Facilitators (n=6) Participants (n=15)
Program length 2 11
Program content 2 2
Program environment 2 2
Elder and/or facilitator selection 1 3

All of the program facilitators provided suggestions for potential areas of improvement to the program, whereas only half of the participants made suggestions for improvements to the program. The first area of improvement was program length in which respondents requested more time for: group sessions, one-on-one with facilitators or Elders, and self-care. Changes to program content were also recommended including the addition of exercises (i.e., videos and guest speakers), activities (i.e., bracelets and painting), ceremonies (i.e., cedar bath), and group sessions (i.e., self disclosure about crime). With regard to improvements to the program environment, the participants discussed the need for increased privacy of the program atmosphere, while facilitators spoke of the need for an enhanced ability to fully respect and follow the entirety of cultural ceremonies. Lastly, respondents suggested the importance of selecting Elders and facilitators who are dynamic, strong, understanding, and knowledgeable.

An additional note of importance stressed by the facilitators was the need to continue the flexibility of and adaptability in delivering the program in order to meet the specific cultural and personal needs of the groups.

CONCLUSION

The final section of this report provides a summary of the findings, discusses the limitations of the evaluation, and suggests recommendations for improvement to the program.

Summary of Findings

Program Rationale

Based on interviews with program facilitators and participants, the Spirit of a Warrior program serves a unique purpose for Aboriginal women offenders and provides results for its participants above and beyond traditional programming. The program was described as unique and beneficial due to its focus on group sharing, Aboriginal spirituality, and core issues.

According to program facilitators, the selection criteria are based on a history of violence, and participation in Aboriginal spirituality. Upon cross-referencing these criteria with the offence profile of program completers, it appeared that participants were appropriately selected for the program with only one participant being incarcerated for a non-violent offence. All but two of the participants were Aboriginal; however, participation in Aboriginal spirituality rather than Aboriginal descent was the criterion for inclusion in the program.

Resources

With regard to facilitator training, some program facilitators suggested modifications to the content and language of the manual for Spirit of a Warrior. In addition to program content, facilitators expressed the need to have more time in training to learn and teach the lessons in the manual. Overall, facilitators rated the training they received for this program highly. From the perspective of the program participants, the majority agreed that facilitators had sufficient training to deliver the program.

Both facilitators and participants conceded that the strengths of facilitators included four qualities. Strong facilitators have knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture, effective program facilitation skills, similar life experiences to program participants, and personality characteristics such as honesty and respect.

External program support, namely the support of facilitators and participants by institutional staff, is moderately present for the program. However, there were reported incidents of institutional staff expecting the participants to be elsewhere during program delivery. According to the facilitators, the degree of program support depended on the position of staff whereby Wardens and Elders provided the highest level of support. Resistance to the program was reported by the program facilitators and by the institutional staff themselves.

Implementation

Overall, the length and content of the sessions were sufficient. Some suggestions were made in terms of program content such as adding topics about prostitution, defense mechanisms, resistance, shame, and guilt.

There was ample evidence of strong internal program support, consisting of support between the facilitators and participants of the program. Ratings of support, cooperation, and trust between participants and facilitators were considerably high. Participants described their relationship with the facilitators as positive, especially with regard to the availability of facilitators to meet with the participants upon demand.

Effectiveness

The effectiveness of the eight program components was rated higher from the perspectives of the participants and facilitators compared to institutional staff (or non-program staff). Based on the ratings provided by facilitators and participants, the most effective components, or the components that received the highest ratings, were self awareness, anger awareness, and cultural awareness.

The facilitator assessment tool detected significant changes in the holistic healing of the participants from pre- to post-program. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual elements of healing with the greatest change occurring in the emotional domain. Interview results also reinforced these quantitative findings with all the facilitators reporting changes in participants’ healing, and the large majority of participants reporting changes in all four elements. Once again, the largest percentage of participants reported change in the emotional domain.

All of the participants and facilitators reported participant change in the ability to think and understand situations and people, and further to this, both groups reported improvements in problem solving and coping skills. Non-program staff largely concurred with this sentiment. In addition, the participants’ relationships with others greatly improved. This included their relationships with program staff, with other program participants, non-program staff, and women offenders in general.

Participants were also administered three standardized tests, pre- and post-program, to determine changes in the areas of self-esteem, anger and provocation, and personal efficacy and interpersonal control. As measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the participants’ level of self-esteem increased from pre- to post-testing. Results from the Novaco Anger Scale demonstrated that the type and level of anger experienced by the program participants decreased following program completion. Finally, the Spheres of Control Battery detected significant increases in the participants’ internal locus of control, particularly their interpersonal control, upon completion of the program.

Correlation analyses of post-test scores with pre-test measures and background variables demonstrated some significant findings. For example, higher levels of self-esteem at pre-test were associated with higher levels of internal locus of control and personal efficacy at post-test. Self-reported ratings of high interpersonal skills and high understanding of Aboriginal culture at pre-testing were associated with higher interpersonal control at post-testing. Shorter sentence lengths were also significantly associated with higher levels of self-esteem following program completion.

In addition to the above, some pre-program need and risk factors were associated with post-program test scores. For instance, ratings of high reintegration potential were significantly correlated with lower anger scores post-treatment. Ratings of high motivation level were significantly associated with higher interpersonal control post-treatment. Upon examination of the seven need domains at intake, it was found that low family/marital needs were associated with higher interpersonal control, high community functioning needs were associated with higher levels of anger, and high attitude needs were associated with higher levels of anger upon program completion.

Additional correlational analyses produced significant relationships between test difference scores and some pre-test measures and background variables. Firstly, lower personal efficacy scores measured at pre-test were significantly associated with greater improvement in the level of anger. Secondly, shorter lengths of incarceration were associated with improvements in internal locus of control and interpersonal control. Thirdly, positive ratings about sharing personal experience in a group setting at pre-testing were associated with less improvement in anger. Fourthly, participants rated with higher attitude needs displayed less improvement in terms of self-esteem, but more improvement in terms of personal efficacy. Finally, participants rated at high risk to re-offend demonstrated less improvement in self-esteem.

Unintended Effects

Although originally suspected as a potential concern, the ability to share experiences in a group setting was not reported as a problem among the majority of participants and facilitators. Many of the participants spoke of the positive effects including the experiences of closeness and openness, the greater understanding of relationships and behaviours, and the more positive feelings and emotions. Positive effects reported by the facilitators included the longer session lengths and the powerfulness of spirituality. Only three participants reported unintended negative effects such as conflict. Two facilitators also reported negative effects.

Recommended Program Improvements

There were four common areas of improvement provided by facilitators and participants. The areas included the following: extend program length, add sessions to program content, improve privacy of program environment, and ensure appropriate selection of facilitators and Elders. However, in the case of undertaking any of these improvements, it may require a slight restructuring of program content and reallocation of program resources. Of course, in any program, if the appropriate facilitators and Elders are not selected, the integrity of the program may certainly be jeopardized. Furthermore, due to the intense emotional content of the program, appropriate facilitator and Elder selection is of most importance to ensuring program integrity.

In sum, the findings of this preliminary evaluation prove to be positive and encouraging. Although there appears to be some logistical concerns regarding program content and training, and a slight weakness in program support, the effectiveness of the program in terms of meeting program goals and participant needs is extremely promising. There also appears to be a strong level of internal program support and a healthy balance of holistic healing. There is also evidence of improvement to levels of self-esteem, internal control, and anger among the sample; however, the reliability of these particular measures with an Aboriginal women offender population may require the consideration of different, more culturally sensitive measures.

Similar to past research on Aboriginal offender programs (Johnston, 1997; Moore, Low & Berland, 2002; Wormith & Oliver, 2002), these findings provide further evidence of the importance of correctional programs’ responsivity to gender and culture. By incorporating Aboriginal culture and history into a violent prevention program, participants may experience a greater level of comfort with regard to relating to the program content and its deliverers (facilitators and Elders). Research continues to demonstrate the significance of gender and cultural responsivity factors; however, more tangible and robust indicators of effectiveness must be investigated.

Study Limitations

Sample

The pre- and post-facilitator assessments were incorrectly completed for two sessions of the program. Therefore, facilitator assessment data were analyzed for only two sessions (EIFW and OOHL). The sample size (n=15) for this component of the research was relatively small given the overall number of women who completed the program. Additionally, facilitators may have provided socially desirable responses in favour of positive participant change- this possibility was not assessed within the current study. Therefore, this section of the findings should be interpreted with caution in relation to the implications for changes among program participants as reported by the facilitators.

Due to the short data collection period for the interviews (September 2004 to March 2005), it was not possible to interview all of the program participants because a number of women had been released or transferred at the time of the site visits.

Facilitator interviews were conducted with six of the ten individuals who have delivered the Spirit of the Warrior program to date. Therefore, the full range of facilitator experiences with the program was not captured.

Very few staff surveys were completed. Adequate representation of staff working in institutions that deliver the Spirit of a Warrior program was not obtained. However, high completion rates for staff surveys are an anomaly in offender research in general, and therefore this may indicate a methodological problem rather than an issue related to the program itself.

Measures

Three standardized measures (RSES, NAS, SCS) were included in the pre- and post-participant surveys based on their alignment with program goals and objectives. In general, there are very few measures available specifically developed and normed on Aboriginal women offenders. In this study, only the RSES had normative data available for a population of Aboriginal women. Given the lack of normative data on Aboriginal women offenders for the NAS and SCS, it is important to consider the limitations of these scales with regard to their cultural sensitivity and hence the reliability of their results for the current population under study. Despite this limitation, it must be noted that there were no comparable validated culturally relevant measures available at the time of developing the evaluation framework.

The facilitator assessment tool was the only measure included in the study that was specifically designed to target the program goals and objectives. In this study, the tool demonstrated good internal consistency. However, as mentioned above, the tool was completed for only a small number of program participants, and the overall implications for change among spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental elements of healing are limited.

Recommendations

Following a comprehensive examination of the Spirit of a Warrior program, potential areas of improvement to the program have been identified. The following is a list of suggested recommendations.

Recommendation One: Screening Criteria

Screening criteria should continue to target moderate to high risk women who have a history of violence. Preference and priority should be given to this target population in consideration of the small group sizes and budget constraints to deliver this program.

Recommendation Two: Facilitator Training

Although the Spirit of a Warrior program is based upon the In Search of Your Warrior program for male offenders, it is recommended that facilitator training for the Spirit of a Warrior program be instructed using the Spirit of a Warrior manual. This is critical for effective program delivery because training must incorporate the gender specific elements of the program, and identify the gender responsive approaches to facilitating a program specifically designed for women. It is further recommended that the content of the program be reviewed to determine whether additional gender specific topics are required (i.e., female gangs, prostitution, healthy sexuality). An important component of training for additional consideration is the instruction of facilitator and co-facilitator skills. This represents an issue related to facilitator selection as individuals undergoing training for this program should already possess a strong skill set in this area.

Recommendation Three: Facilitator Selection

Appropriate selection of program facilitators for this program is critical given its intense emotional content. It is recommended that screening criteria for Spirit of a Warrior facilitators be developed and to consider both the professional and personal experiences of potential candidates. For example, the following criteria should be suggested: strong facilitation skills, healthy emotions and coping strategies, knowledge and practice of Aboriginal culture, and key personality characteristics such as compassion, honesty, and respect. This recommendation represents a complicated endeavor as the appropriate tools to assess these experiences and characteristics would need to be identified and/or developed.

Recommendation Four: Support and Communication

It appears that internal program support is positive and effective for facilitators and participants in the Spirit of a Warrior program. Although support is great among spiritual leaders and Wardens, an improved network of communication and support must be established between front-line staff and program staff. It is, therefore, recommended that mandatory awareness sessions for front-line staff are held to promote general support and recognition of the program including individual support to its facilitators and participants. These sessions should contain information on the program delivery method and content, the importance of self-care, and program after-care strategies.

Recommendation Five: Program Targets

The program manual for the Spirit of a Warrior program outlines four sections and eight program components (see Introduction). In order to measure change among program participants, it is recommended that a permanent assessment battery be developed for administration at the pre- and post-program stages for each session of the program.

In order to clearly demonstrate participant change, it is necessary to develop more tangible and concrete measures for each program objective. For example, the program components of anger and violence awareness address beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and experiences associated with anger and violence. Potential indicators may include increased knowledge of general and individual triggers, decreased presence of violent beliefs and attitudes, decreased number of violent incidents, decreased level of risk to re-offend, or decreased rate of violent recidivism. These indicators may be measured by a series of instruments, including a knowledge questionnaire, attitudinal survey, and an automated database using extracted OMS data.

The question of scale development for new measures, such as a knowledge questionnaire or attitudinal survey, is open to consideration of the role by CSC and NCSA and to criticism of the approach taken. It is proposed that the issue of scale development is undertaken as a collaborative effort between the Reintegration Programs Division of CSC and the Native Counseling Services of Alberta.

It is recommended that the facilitator assessment tool developed by the Native Counselling Services of Alberta be included in this battery. However, the scale items in the facilitator assessment tool must be first clearly linked to the program objectives and goals outlined in the manual.

Recommendation Six: Elder Role

The Elder plays a critical role in the program given the importance of providing spiritual guidance, Aboriginal history, and cultural ceremonies. In the history of the program, part-time and full-time Elders have been utilized, or an Elder of exceptional character takes on the role of both the Elder and facilitator. By design, the program is intended to be delivered by one facilitator, one co-facilitator, and one full-time Elder. Recently, three alternatives to the Elder role have been accepted by the Reintegration Programs Division of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC, 2004). First, it is permitted that the program can be delivered by two facilitators given that one of the facilitators has experience with Elder services. Second, the program can be delivered by one facilitator and one Elder permitted the Elder has training and skills in program facilitation. Third, in the event of the unavailability of a full-time Elder, the program can be delivered by two trained facilitators. In this case, the Elder responsible for spiritual services at the site must provide part-time assistance for the required spiritual services in the program. Due to the emotional and mental intensity of the program, and the considerable after-care required by both participants and facilitators, it is recommended that the program standard of one facilitator, one co-facilitator, and one Elder is respected.

Recommendation Seven: Overall Improvements

The various suggestions for improvement to program length and content must be channeled to a feedback session between CSC and NCSA. Modifications or changes to the program are the responsibility of the NCSA. Any improvements to the program environment will remain an issue to be resolved at the institutional level. The importance of flexibility and adaptability of the program was highlighted by the facilitators. Although rigidity is not encouraged in correctional program delivery, it must also be noted that such flexibility or adaptability cannot allow the program to be altered in such a way that it deviates from program standards or program goals.

Future Directions

Based on these evaluation results, it is evident that the Spirit of a Warrior program offers great potential to address the needs of Aboriginal women offenders who have a history of violence. Positive feedback from program facilitators, participants, and institutional staff reinforce the importance of and need for such a program that targets the anger and violent tendencies of this offender population. The cultural sensitivity of the program demonstrates further corroboration for the continued delivery, funding, and support of the Spirit of a Warrior program.

The continued data collection, and thus progress monitoring of the program participants will represent the next step in ensuring the success of the program. More rigorous outcome evaluation, such as the program effect on the recidivism rates of the participants, will be an important endeavour to undertake in order to determine the full impact of the program on community reintegration and public safety.

REFERENCES

Blascovich, J, & Tomaka, J. (1993). Measures of self-esteem. In J.P Robinson, P.R. Shaver, & L.S. Wrightsman (eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes (3rd ed). Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.

Correctional Service of Canada. (November 30, 2004). Memorandum: Spirit of a Warrior Implementation. Ottawa, ON: Reintegration Programs Division, Correctional Service of Canada.

Delveaux, K., & Blanchette, K. (2000). Results of the Evaluation of the Peer Support Program at Nova Institution for Women. Report R-87. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Eljdupovic-Guzina, G., & Blanchette, K. (1997). An evaluation framework for the peer support team program models for women offenders. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Flight, J. (September 2003). An Evaluation Framework for the Spirit of a Warrior Program for Women Offenders. Unpublished evaluation framework, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Government of Canada (2001). Speech from the Throne to open the first session of the 37th Parliament of Canada. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada.

Irving, J., Taylor, K, & Blanchette, K. (2001). Results of an Evaluation of the Intensive Treatment Program at Burnaby Correctional Center for Women. Report R-128. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Johnston, J. (1997) Aboriginal Offender Survey: Case Files and Interview Sample. Report R-61. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Krawll, M. (1994). Understanding the role of healing in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal People’s Collection. Ottawa, ON: Solicitor General of Canada.

Kroner, D. G., & Weekes, J. R. (1993). Offender Typologies: Identifying Treatment-Relevant Personality Characteristics. Forum on Corrections Research, 5(1).

Mills, J.F., Kroner, D.G., & Forth, A.E. (1998). Novaco Anger Scale: Reliability and validity within an adult criminal sample. Psychological Assessment, 5(3), 237-248.

Moore, J.P., Low, T., & Berland, F. (2002). Métis offenders in British Columbia: An Examination of needs in the institution and upon release. Forum on Corrections Research, 14(3), 42-45.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). (2001). Spirit of a Warrior. Edmonton, AB: Native Counselling Services of Alberta.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). (no date). Violent Offender Research Project. Unpublished report, Native Counselling Services of Alberta. Edmonton, AB: Native Counselling Services of Alberta.

Novaco, R.W. (1994). Anger as a risk factor for violence among the mentally disordered. In J. Monahan & H.J. Steadman (Eds.), Violence and mental disorder : Developments in risk assessment (pp. 21-59). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Novaco, R.W. (1988). Novaco Provocation Inventory. In M. Hersen and A. Bellack (Eds.) Dictionnary of Behaviour Assessment Techniques. New York, NY: Pergamon Press.

Paulhus, D.L. (1983). Sphere-specific measures of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1253-1265.

Paulhus, D.L. (1991). Measurement and Control of Response Bias. In J.P. Robinson, P.R. Shaver, & LS. Wrightsman (Eds.). Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Inc, pp. 17-59.

Paulhus, D.L. (1998). Paulhus Scales: User’s Manual. Toronto, ON: Multi-Health Systems Inc.

Posavac, E.J. & Carey, R.G. (1992). Program Evaluation: Methods and Case Studies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC). (December 2004). Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.

Richardson, K. & Blanchette, K. (2001). An evaluation framework for the Pawsitive Directions Canine Program (PDCP) for women offenders at Nova Institution. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service Canada.

Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rosenberg, M. (1986). Conceiving the Self. Malabar, FL: Krieger.

Statistics Canada. (2001). Census of Canada 2001. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.

Syed, F., & Blanchette, K. (2000). Results of the Evaluation of the Peer Support Program at Joliette Institution for Women. Report R-88. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Syed, F., & Blanchette, K. (2000). Results of the Evaluation of the Peer Support Program at Grand Valley Institution for Women. Report R-86. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women. (1990). Creating choices: Report of the task force on federally sentenced women. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service of Canada.

Taylor, K. & Blanchette, K. (2001). Results of an Evaluation of the Pawsitive Directions Canine Program at Nova Institution for Women. Report R-108. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Weekes, J.R., & Mills, W.A. (1994). The Native Offender Substance Abuse Pre-Treatment Program: Intermediate Measures of Program Effectiveness. Research Report R-35. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada.

Wormith, J.S., & Oliver, M.E. (2002). Offender treatment attrition and its relationship with risk, responsivity, and recidivism. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 29(4), 447-471.

APPENDICES

APPENDIX A: PARTICIPANT SURVEY

Informed Consent

The purpose of this study is to assess the Spirit of a Warrior program that you will be participating in. This evaluation will look at how effective the program is at meeting your needs, as well as whether or not the goals of the program are being met. This evaluation is important so that the strengths and weaknesses of the program can be identified, in an attempt to obtain the most effective program.

Your participation will involve completing a package containing a short survey and 4 questionnaires. The survey deals with issues such as your goals and expectations of the program, how you became involved in the program, and your views on yourself. The 4 questionnaires examine things such as how you interact and react in different situations.

Your participation will involve completing two packages of questionnaires. You will complete the first package now. The second package will be administered when the program is completed. Each package takes at most, one hour and a half to complete.

Right to Participate and Withdraw

It is important to understand that you are under no obligation to take part in this study. You have the right to withdraw at anytime, and to choose not to answer any questions that you do not wish to. There will be no penalty if you decide not to participate, nor if you withdraw at any time. Your will not incur any gains or losses by participating in this study. Your participation in the evaluation however is critical to its success.

Confidentiality

Strict confidentiality will be given for all of your responses. Each completed questionnaire will be dealt with solely by the research team conducting this study and you will have complete anonymity. Individual information gathered from the study will not be released to any other CSC employee. After you complete all the questionnaires, simply place them and this informed consent into the envelope provided and seal the envelope. The package, once complete and sealed, will be sent to the Research Branch.

Informed Consent

My signature below indicates that I have read the above description of the study, and understand fully its requirements and purpose. I also understand my rights regarding confidentiality, voluntary participation, and withdrawal. I hereby give my consent to participate in the research project.

Name (print): _______________________________

Signature: __________________________________ Date:____________________

Participant Pre-Program Survey

In order to understand how the Spirit of a Warrior program is going and to find ways to make it even better, we would appreciate if you would fill out this questionnaire and tell us how you feel about the Spirit of a Warrior Program.

Your responses will be kept entirely confidential and your anonymity is guaranteed.

  1. How old are you? ______
  2. How long is your current sentence? ________
  3. How long have you been incarcerated? _________
  4. How long have you been at this facility? _________
  5. Were you worried about participating in the program?

    If yes, why were you worried? (Check all that apply to you)

    ________you were not really interested?

    ________you were occupied with another program or work placement?

    ________you didn’t think you needed to?

    ________you didn’t think you would feel comfortable in a group setting?

    ________you were worried what other participants might think?

    ________you were worried what other inmates might think?

    ________you were worried what staff might think?

  6. What do you expect to gain from your involvement in the program? What are your personal goals?

    _______________________

  7. How effective do you think the Spirit of a Warrior Program will be at helping you to meet your personal goals?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  8. How would you rate your level of understanding of behavior and why you do things?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  9. How would you rate your ability to help yourself?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  10. Do you think that sharing your personal experiences in a group setting will be a good thing?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  11. How would you rate your decision-making ability?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  12. How would you rate your control over your behavior?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  13. How would you rate your interpersonal skills?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  14. How would you rate your understanding of the Aboriginal culture and way of life?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  15. How important are Aboriginal ceremonies/spirituality to you?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  16. Do you foresee any problems with the Spirit of a Warrior Program?

    ___________ Yes _____________ No

    Please describe: _________________

  17. What do you think you will like the most about the Spirit of a Warrior Program? _________________
  18. What do you think you will like least about the Spirit of a Warrior Program? _________________
  19. How do you think the Spirit of a Warrior Program will compare to other programs you have been involved in?

    (please circle one number)

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    Why do you think this? _________________

Participant Post-Program Survey

The Spirit of a Warrior is an intensive treatment program designed specifically to address the needs of Aboriginal women offenders. It explicitly targets violence. In order to understand how this program is going and the changes that have occurred and to find ways to make it even better, we would appreciate if you would fill out this questionnaire and tell us how you felt about the Spirit of a Warrior Program.

Your responses will be kept entirely confidential and your anonymity is guaranteed.

  1. What did you gain from your involvement in the program? Were any personal goals met? _________________
  2. Overall, how helpful has the program been for helping you meet your personal goals?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  3. How would you rate your level of understanding of behavior and why you do things?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  4. How would you rate your ability to help yourself?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  5. Do you think that sharing your personal experiences in a group setting was a good thing?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  6. How would you rate your decision-making ability?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  7. How would you rate your control over your behavior?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  8. How would you rate your interpersonal skills?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  9. How would you rate your understanding of the Aboriginal culture and way of life?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
  10. How important are Aboriginal ceremonies/spirituality to you?
    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely
  11. Do you have any general complaints about the Spirit of a Warrior Program?

    ___________ Yes _____________ No

    Please describe: _________________

  12. Did the Spirit of a Warrior fulfill your expectations?

    (please circle one number)

    1 2 3 4 5
    Not at all A little Somewhat Fairly Extremely

    If yes, in what way? _________________

    If no, why not? _________________

  13. How would you rate the Spirit of a Warrior Program in comparison to other programs you have been involved in?

    (please circle one number)

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

APPENDIX B: FACILITATOR ASSESSMENT

Facilitator Assessment Tool

Name of Participant: ___________________________________________ Date:___________________

Name of Officer Completing Test: _______________________________

PHYSICAL
Objective 1: To Develop Self Discipline
Definition: Self discipline refers to the individual’s ability to reflect on the consequences of an action before acting. The development of self discipline assists offenders to resist the desire to act negatively, censor inappropriate behaviour (both in the community and institution) and is also a method of self-monitoring (Appleford, 1989). Participants learn to choose an action that is consistent with the laws of Canada and with the social values of their community. Indicators of Success:
  • Participant thinks before she:
  • Physically harms another person or object or
  • Is verbally abusive and chooses a more appropriate behaviour
  • Can become angry without being violent
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SELF
DISCIPLINE
Regularly acts out hostility and aggression; no evidence of reflection before action. Frequent moments of negative reactions and hostility. Reflects on behaviours after she does them. Understands how thought and behaviour are connected and shows ability to reflect adequately before acting. Shows ability to think before acting - uses no physical aggression and rarely has verbal outbursts. May still struggle in the process of choosing a positive action. Always thinks before acting - complete control over urges to act out hostility and aggression. Reacts with respect and kindness.
Objective 2: To Develop Self Care Strategies
Definition: During the Spirit of a Warrior Program, participants must design a self care plan that they practice throughout the program and after completion. (This can be compared to a relapse plan - but is holistic in nature). The plan is required to be holistic in nature, having strategies in the four dimensions. The purpose of the plan is to assist the participant in maintaining a balanced / healthy lifestyle and in the continuation of personal development. Indicators of Success:
  • Participant can make it through crisis without destructive behaviour
  • Participant has a self care plan or it is evident that she has a balanced lifestyle that attends to the four parts of herself
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SELF CARE
Sees no relationship between her lifestyle and her criminal / inappropriate behaviour. Not interested in learning / developing strategies. Shows only partial or superficial understanding of healthy lifestyle; shows little interest in identifying strategies. Shows a clear understanding of self care concepts and how they can result in healthy community lifestyle. Can articulate self care plan; attempts at maintaining a balanced lifestyle; frequent but irregular use of strategies. Self care plan has been integrated into general life; maintains a balanced lifestyle; relaxation and other strategies used to control inappropriate behaviour.
Objective 3: To Develop Communication Skills
Definition:
In the Spirit of a Warrior Program, it is important for participants to develop communication skills, which are non-destructive and non-manipulative means of expressions (Appleford, 1989). Communication skills enhance the participant’s ability to manage anger and stressful situations with calmness and without violent or aggression.
Indicators of Success:
  • Can communicate non-violently
  • Can express feelings openly and honestly
  • Actively listens to other people (body language, give verbal prompts to indicate she is listening, may ask questions)
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
COMMUNI-CATION SKILLS
Does not communicate, except out of necessity; one or two word sentences. No communication regarding feelings. Only feeling that is communicated is anger; does not pay attention to others sharing their feelings - no listening skills. Can communicate how she is feeling without hostility or anger; can listen to others who are sharing their feelings. Can share her feelings openly; frequently listens to others share their feelings - is developing active listening skills, but is sometimes distracted. Can share information openly and honestly, with kindness; listens well when others share their feelings - excellent active listening skills.
Objective 4: To Abstain from the Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Definition:
Abstaining from the use of drugs and alcohol is important because most of the offenders have serious addictions to drugs, alcohol or both. Using drugs and alcohol is connected to criminal behaviour and extremely destructive in the lives of offenders. Although Spirit of a Warrior Healing Program is not an addictions treatment or relapse prevention program, participants are required to abstain from the use of drugs and alcohol during the duration of the program.
Indicators of Success:
  • Abstains from drugs and alcohol willingly, without outside/institutional coercion
  • Understands how drugs and alcohol are connected to criminal lifestyle and inappropriate behaviour
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
ABSTAINING FROM DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
Continued use and may desire to increase drugs and / or alcohol use. Occasional drug use with peers; actively seeking more opportunities to use. Abstains only with external controls. Abstaining; may have relapses, but is developing skills to prevent further relapse. Does not use drugs and / or alcohol - needs no external control to maintain sobriety.
Objective 5: To Develop the Ability to Act Autonomously
Definition: Autonomy is the individual’s ability to examine a situation and choose an action that is both independent and has positive consequences. Many violent offenders do not see that they can choose their behaviour; they may externalize blame, claiming that someone else “made them do it” or feel helpless or powerless to affect change in their situation. Autonomous behaviour is part of the healing process, as it enables the participant to think and act independently of other men in the institution and with good judgment. Autonomy also refers to the right to establish appropriate boundaries between self and others, knowing when to distance oneself from negative relationships and when to remain emotionally distant from those who do not treat the individual with respect (Wolin & Wolin, 1993). Indicators of Success:
  • Demonstrates ability to take action that is not peer influenced
  • Demonstrates ability to make decisions that have a positive result
  • Demonstrates ability to distance self from negative peers and people who treat her disrespectfully
  • Actively seeks out positive friends in institution and community
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
AUTONOMY
Actions are completely peer motivated; no ability to act independently; completely enmeshed with negative influence. Attempts made to act independently, however, usually feel powerless against peers. Demonstrates ability to make decisions independently of peers. Shows ability to make independent decisions; decisions sometime have a positive result, can distance himself from negative peers. All decisions are made independently; decisions have positive results; no affiliation with negative peers.
Objective 6: To Develop a Positive Support Network
Definition: Many ex-offenders found that a renewed focus on family was important for stability and re-integration. In addition, significant individual correctional staff (or others) had a positive impact on the participants by supporting them and challenging them to make real changes in their lives. (Heckbert and Hodgson, 1995) The importance of a positive support network is important to the healing and sustainable positive lifestyle of the participants, in that it can provide the encouragement, role modeling and support needed to affect change. Indicators of Success:
  • Participant actively seeks help and support from positive relationships
  • Participants are making attempts at rebuilding family relationships
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SUPPORT NETWORK
Has no positive support network; affiliates exclusively with negative peers. Hostile toward staff who extend support / respect. Little attempt to change network of individuals; may feel powerless to do so; sees a positive relationship with staff as useless. Can identify a positive support person and meets with this person regularly Has two positive support people within network of friends; some attempts to seek support group or build relationship with staff or has reconnected with a positive family member. Has over three positive support people in life; belongs to a support group that meets regularly; interested in developing new relationships with positive person (staff/otherwise).
EMOTIONAL
Objective 7: Positive Strategies for Expressing Anger
Definition: One of the major objectives in the Spirit of a Warrior healing program is participant recognition of the difference between anger and rage. Anger can be a powerful antecedent to violence; however it can also be a part of a participant’s ability to identify and positively express a whole range of emotions. The ability to differentiate between anger (a natural emotion) and rage (out of control / violent) is essential to the Spirit of a Warrior Healing Program and personal development. Indicators of Success:
  • Understands the difference between anger and rage; accepts anger as a part of her life
  • Has developed positive strategies for expressing anger; (ie: time out and venting in group / trusted individual)
  • While speaking of incidents when she is angry, she is able to understand the “core” issue: fear, shame or hurt
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
POSITIVE ANGER EXPRESSION
Anger is often and regularly the precursor to violent behaviour. Demonstrates no understanding of the relationship between the two. Anger is usually unmanageable; feels afraid to become angry, as she is not sure of result. Partial or incomplete understanding of the relationship between the two. Understands how mismanaged anger results in violent behaviour. Demonstrates an ability to feel anger without becoming violent. Anger is an emotion that is controllable; has developed positive strategies for expressing anger and uses them regularly. Is beginning to understand core issues. Anger is an emotion that is positive and helpful. Has a deep under-standing of the core issue that is behind anger - shame, fear and / or pain. Has strategies to manage the core issue.
Objective 8: Positive Aboriginal Identity
Definition: “Identity issues are fairly central to the overall rehabilitation process. Since identity issues are firmly rooted within the colonial experience of oppression and policies of assimilation, they are best handled within an Aboriginal framework. Much of the work of Aboriginal Elders and spiritual leaders in prison is directed toward resolving identity conflict and establishing a positive, proud Aboriginal identity within troubled inmates” (Waldram, 1997 p.67). In addition, Elders have reported that “a lack of self-knowledge, self-respect and pride were significant factors contributing to criminal behaviour.. a person who understands their heritage and their spiritual role in life as an Aboriginal will be less likely to re-offend” (Ellerby and Ellerby, 1998; p.40). Indicators of Success:
  • Understands and accepts the general history of Aboriginal people in Canada
  • Pride in heritage
  • Has or actively seeking knowledge of family history
  • Increased comfort and honesty in talking about self as an Aboriginal person
  • Enjoys the commonality and comradery of other Aboriginal people
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
POSITIVE ABORIGINAL IDENTIFY
Denies that she has any Aboriginal ancestry; has a negative or stereo-typical opinion of Aboriginal people. Acknowledges Aboriginal ancestry, but is embarrassed or angry with the fact. No knowledge of history. Shows that she is comfortable with her Aboriginal ethnicity, has a basic knowledge of Canadian Aboriginal history. Comfort with ethnicity; has a desire to learn and participate in cultural / spiritual activities. Very comfortable; deep sense of pride in who she is; an excellent role model for others; feels comaraderie with other Aboriginal’s
Objective 9: Emotional Awareness
Definition: Emotional awareness is defined as the ability to identify, understand where emotions originate and express a broad range of emotions in a good way. Emotional awareness assists the participant to move from an involuntary perspective of “knowing what she does and the reason she does it”. This awareness facilitates the participant’s understanding of how emotions affect or cause patterns of behaviour and assist them to change that behaviour. Self awareness also helps participants to accept others, through an acceptance of self. Indicators of Success:
  • Will show emotion in an appropriate manner - can release emotion with confidence
  • Sees how incidents in the past are related to behaviours / issues that she has in the present and can identify core feelings around those issues
  • Acknowledges the male and female aspects of self (metaphor of the inner warrior)
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
EMOTIONAL AWARENESS
Sees no relationship between self awareness and her violent behaviour. Has some understanding of self, but does not see a need to change or work on any areas. Understands the importance of self awareness; has identified one incident from the past, the emotions connected to it and how they affect current behaviours. Sees clearly how past experiences are connected to present behaviour and has an indication of how these issues developed. Feels comfortable expressing basic emotion. Has profound understanding of issues that result in violent behaviour and is actively trying to make personal changes. Confidently emotes; encourages others to do the same.
Objective 10: Empathy and Caring
Definition: Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and experience those emotions in the context of that person’s situation. Many Elders state that remorse and empathy are indicators of change. (Ellerby and Ellerby, 1998); p.70) One Elder stated that: “What people need to do and certainly to be able to move on…you need to have an appreciation of what you have done, not only intellectually, but emotionally.” (P.71) Indicators of Success:
  • Understands how personal violence has affected other people
  • Can recall emotional trauma of being a victim, and relate that to victims of personal violence
  • Demonstrates care and concern for the perspective, and feelings of other people
  • Has made effort to apologize for violent behaviour
  • Demonstrates deep understanding of the perspective of others in the group
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
EPATHY AND CARING*
No under-standing of the harm to the victims, seen as unharmed or enjoying the abuse. Understands that harm was done to the victim, but rationalizes action; victim deserves it and / or has managed OK. Shows genuine empathy for the victims of her offence. Shows full empathy. Understands the mental / physical harm to the victim. Shows full empathy / understanding. Wishes to undo the long term harm caused.
Objective 11: Forgiveness
Definition: The ability and desire to ask for forgiveness is an important part of healing in the Aboriginal community. The action of forgiveness if also important for the participant. When the participant can forgive those who victimized her as a child and adult, she then can move forward to forgive herself for her violent behaviour. It is through her process that the participant can release the change and anger associated with victimization and perpetration, moving forward to acceptance and healing. Indicators of Success:
  • Has a desire to ask forgiveness of victims of personal violence
  • Has released anger towards perpetrator and can understand the perspective of the perpetrator of childhood violence
  • Can articulate forgiveness
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
FORGIVENESS
Refuses to forgive perpetrator for childhood abuse; still wishes to inflict harm on perpetrator. Does not feel she needs to be forgiven for anything. Would like to forgive perpetrator for childhood abuse, but cannot due to overwhelming anger / shame / despair. Feels too full of shame to ask for forgiveness. Has desire to ask for forgiveness for her current crime. Forgives perpetrator of childhood abuse; has desire to ask forgiveness for all inappropriate behaviour. Forgives perpetrators; has understanding of perspective; has desire to ask for forgiveness of personal violence.
Objective 12: Sense of Humour
Definition: Humour has been identified as an important component of a resilient individual. Humour is part of the development of pro-social behaviours (those that assist in the ability for an individual to find and keep healty relationships with others). Benard, (1991). Humour is a part of finding a creative response to adverse conditions; humour can be used to reduce tension and; made a bad situation better (Wolin and Woli 1993). There are many physiological, psychological, social and spiritual effects of humour and it is also helpful in coping with stress and as an intervention with patients (James, 1995).
Humour is also an integral part of many Aboriginal communities; it has assisted Aboriginal people in managing the stress of oppression and the day-to-day difficulties of poverty and marginalization. Many Aboriginal people believe that humour has assisted in sustaining the many Aboriginal cultures in Canada to this date.
Indicators of Success:
  • Has an ability to laugh openly and genuinely
  • Demonstrates an ability to laugh at self and at situations she is in
  • Can use humour to manage a tense situation or de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation.
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SENSE OF HUMOUR
Uses very sarcastic, bitter humor, usually to cause harm to someone. Some sarcastic humor, and / or a lack of ability to see the humor in any situation. Has the ability to laugh genuinely and appropriately. Has a good sense of humor, can relate humorous, appropriate stories; can use humor to diffuse a bad situation. Great sense of humor; can put people at ease; can laugh at herself; humor is a tool for positive interaction / situation management.
Objective 13: Self Worth
Definition: Benard (1991) states that a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem are important components of the resilient individual - of an individual who believes that she can affect change in her situation. It seems evident that in isolation, an increased self esteem does not necessarily result in a crime-free lifestyle. However, as a component of a holistic healing program, working toward a health self esteem is a part of working towards a healthy person - one who has no need to commit violent crimes.
Self-esteem is defined as a realistic, positive opinion of self which is built upon a sense of worth, love acceptance, and constructive growth.
Indicators of Success:
  • Participant feels that she is worthy of a good life (love, happiness, a job etc.)
  • Participant feels that she has valuable contributions to make in group and in life
  • Does not need to get approval / feedback constantly - appreciation for self comes from within
  • Can engage in personal growth activities without feeling shame or despair
  • Can show kindness and respect for others
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SELF WORTH
Very low opinion of self; inability to speak of self positively; self loathing; possible self mutilation; no group participation. Low opinion of self; somewhat defensive or ashamed of self; little confidence, usually associated with unrealistic view of self. Can see some basic positive characteristics of self. Some confidence in group and in interacting with others. Kindness to self and others, can articulate both personal strong points and improvements in a healthy manner. Demonstrates very high regard for self and others; is a confident participant in group; committed to personal growth.
MENTAL
Objective 14: Understanding of the Cycle of Violence
Definition: When children have role models (specifically their families) who partake in violent behaviours, they can become violent adults. Therefore, understanding that violence is cyclic and is passed on inter-generationally is critical in the healing process. It clarifies for the participants the origin of the violence they endured as children and how that affects their behaviour now. It also helps participants to accept responsibility for their actions, without feeling shameful for their violent behaviour. Indicators of Success:
  • Can articulate how the cycle of violence has affected her life (ie: using the family map)
  • States that she wants to stop the cycle of violence in her family - will choose non-violent interaction
  • Is choosing non-violent behaviour at the institution
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
Denies that her violence is anything more than a means to an end or a reaction to a situation. Cannot identify the cycle of violence in her life; states that she cannot remember or that only parts of the concept apply to her experience. Understands the cycle of violence, and how it has affected her life and her behaviour. Identifies the cycle of violence in her past and how it has affected her behaviour; would like to stop / change the cycle from continuing. Clearly sees the cycle of violence in her life; is actively attempting to stop the cycle from continuing by seeking a non-violent lifestyle.
Objective 15: Understand What Triggers Rage
Definition: One of the cornerstones of the Spirit of a Warrior Program is the notion that there is a difference between anger and rage. Understanding which events “trigger” a process that turns healthy anger into out-of-control rage an important part of controlling violent behaviour. By increasing the participant’s ability to stop that process and reflect on what is happening, the participant can then consciously choose a nonviolent action. Indicators of Success:
  • Recognizes emotional triggers (worry, fear, depression, jealously, disappointment)
  • Recognizes cognitive triggers (negative self talk)
  • Recognizes environmental triggers (high risk environments, marital problems)
  • Recognizes kinesthetic triggers (ie: nausea, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, fatigue, etc.)
  • Demonstrates an ability to control actions during an argument or emotional conversation.
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
RECOGNIZES TRIGGERS FOR ANGER
Sees no relationship between cues (triggers) and rage; does not see need to change. Understands how triggers occur before rage - cannot identify any. Understands fully how triggers or cues occur before anger occurs. Accepts that she has triggers. Can identify at least one. Can identify at least one cognitive, kinesthetic, environmental and emotional triggers. Has a good grasp of personal triggers; uses this knowledge to not have rage experiences.
Objective 16: To Take Personal Responsibility / Accountability for the Perpetration of Violence
Definition: It is important for participants to move away from rationalization and justification of violent behaviour and move forward to honesty and accountability. The healing process includes disclosing the violence committed, taking responsibility for the action and then moving forward. Elders often see honesty and accountability as two important factors in evaluating offender progress and change. This level of openness and honesty was seen as needing to go beyond Indicators of Success:
  • Understands how she contributes to her issues
  • Takes responsibility for the crimes she has been charged with, and the inappropriate behaviour she has never been charged with
  • Accepts the rules of the group and the facility, and takes responsibility for any infraction
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
Accepts little or no responsibility; blames victims, situation or others; sees no problem with actions. Accepts some responsibility - but victim or situation is also to blame for her behaviour. Accepts complete responsibility for the violent offence she has been charged for and her behaviour. Accepts complete responsibility for offence charged for, as well as all violent behaviour in her life; sees need to seek help to make changes. Accepts complete responsibility for all behaviour and is actively attempting to make changes in behaviour in the future.
Objective 17: Develop Positive Problem Solving Skills
Definition: Often, participants will begin their healing process demonstrating a lack of critical reasoning skills, poor judgment and negative problem solving skills. Positive problem solving refers to the ability to find good ways of dealing with problems - that result in positive consequences in life.
Well-developed problem solving skills include the ability to plans, to be resourceful and have initiative (Benard, 1991) - this is particularly important for participants in finding new ways of managing old situations.
Indicators of Success:
  • Can find constructive solutions to personal problems
  • Demonstrates that the skills she has learned affect the decisions that she makes
  • Takes actions that are consistent with the expectations of her community of origin (as opposed to the institutional community)
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
Continues to resolve problems based on decisions that are not planned and based on negative influences - no desire to change. Inconsistent problem solving; inability to see the difference between a good plan of action and a bad one. Would like to change, but has no idea how. Demonstrated the ability to find solutions to problems that have a positive consequence for herself. Ability to problem solve in positive way. Can take into consideration how her solution affects other people. Constructive solution finding; takes others into consideration; can help another person walk through the process of problem solving.
Objective 18: To Develop an Internal Locus of Control
Definition: An important component of the healing process is the development of a sense of control over personal situations - the understanding that one always has a choice of action. Individuals who feel that they have control over what happens to them are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and for making changes in their lives (Ellerby and Ellerby, 1998, p.41-42) Indicators of Success:
  • Motivated
  • Sets long and short term goals
  • Enjoys being challenged and working towards a goal
  • Can identify the choices that she has in every situation - that she is not forced to take any action that she chooses not to take.
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL
Feels she is completely powerless in her situation; apathetic; controlled by others. States that she wants to exert control, but sees no options or choices that she has. Understands that she has some control over her situation; sees that she has options and choices. Understands that she has some control; makes short term and long term goals. She enjoys being challenged and working towards goals; sees the benefit of planning for future.
Objective 19: Development of Ability to Trust
Definition: The concept and action of trust - the trust of all life forms - is an integral part of the Aboriginal paradigm. Many Aboriginal offenders, before becoming involved in the criminal justice system, have lot their ability to trust anyone, including themselves. In the healing process, developing the ability to trust someone else, is an important factor. Through the trusting process, the participant can move towards honesty, acceptance of self and empowerment. Elders have also cited the importance of trust, being an indicator of positive change and progress (Ellerby & Ellerby, 1998). Trust also refers to a participant’s faith in the process or plan - possibly that a higher power can help them in a time of need or crisis. Indicators of Success:
  • Can develop trust relationships with healthy people
  • Participant can trust herself to “do the right thing” participant has a trust in the process / plan - can see what she is working toward in the process of her incarceration. She understands and has faith in the plan and is working with others (case workers, Elders or facilitators) towards her release.
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
TRUST DEVELOP-MENT
Trust no one - including herself. Does not want to trust. Everyone is out to get her. Sees her situation as hopeless, and does not know who to trust. Will trust peers / negative influences, which usually has negative consequences. Can see the merit in trusting those who can help her. Willing to share basic information. Understands the plan in place for her incarceration. Willing to work towards her release. Can establish healthy, trusting relationships with positive people in her life. Has a relationship with a staff member (CSC or Aboriginal) who is assisting her in her healing path or release. Has many healthy, trust-based relationships within and outside of the institution. Actively working towards release with Centre staff.
SPIRITUAL
Objective 20: To Enhance the Participant’s Spiritual Connection.
Definition: From a traditional Aboriginal paradigm, spirituality plays an important role in traditional healing. Many Elder’s believe that spirituality is the foundation of everything. As soon as inmates find their spirituality their whole lives can change - they become that kind, respectful, honest, sharing person (Ellerby and Ellerby, 1998). An ex-offender, stated that “What helped me into sobriety is the spiritual part this program offered…I know that I had found myself. This is me and I know then too, that I will never drink again”. (Heckbert and Hodgson, 1995) Indicators of Success:
  • Interest
  • Respect
  • Participation
  • Commitment (how important is it?
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
Complete disrespect for all forms of spiritual expression. Somewhat interested, but spirituality is not a priority. May not feel ready or worthy to begin spiritual journey. Shows respect for spiritual expression; demonstrates interest in spiritual growth / expression (ie: Church). Demonstrates respect and some participation in traditional Aboriginal ceremonies (or other form of spiritual expression). Demonstrates respect, active participation and deep commitment to a spiritual path (traditional Aboriginal or otherwise).
Objective 21: To Develop a Stable and Positive Belief / Value System.
Definition: One attribute of a resilient person is that she demonstrates religious or spiritual commitment, as it provides the individual with a stable belief system (Benard, 1991). Spirituality assists the participants in adopting philosophies that are consistent with those of the community, and beliefs that will assist them in re-integrating successfully.
In Heckbert and Hodgson (1995), an ex-offender stated that “the Elders taught me that my traditions are…a way of life and it is something that I try to incorporate for myself, my children, my family, everybody that I have known” (p.42).
Indicators of Success:
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the teachings / values (traditional Aboriginal or other)
  • Can articulate her values (ie: honesty, sharing, caring, kindness and respect)
  • This understanding has affected her behaviour
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
VALUE SYSTEM
States that he values nothing; Behaviour indicates that her value system is not consistent with positive behaviour. Can talk about positive values, but behaviour is not consistent with these values. Demonstrates an understanding of basic pro-social values. Can integrate at least some of the values into daily lifestyle. Can articulate what her values are; her values are consistent with her lifestyle. Is a role model for others regarding a strong value system and the incorporation of these values into all aspects of life - can teach others to do the same.
Objective 22: To Foster a Sense of Usefulness and Belonging to a Community.
Definition: By increasing an awareness of the traditions and the traditional way of life, the participants gain insight into who they are as Aboriginal people and how they fit into the Aboriginal community. An ex-offender stated that “I was getting into the culture itself and it really gave me a good sense of belonging, identity and most of all I have been able to understand that I am a gifted man” (Heckbert and Hodgson, 1995, p.42) Indicators of Success:
  • Connecting to other people in a genuine, positive manner
  • Ability to identify with a spiritual community
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
BELONGING
Regularly is isolated, alone; does not have any close friendships or ties. Seeks sense of belonging in destructive ways - such as gang influence or peer motivated negative behaviour. Her ability to connect with other people in a positive and appropriate manner. Identifies in some way with a community of people. Identifies with a spiritual community. Has close relations with members of that community. Can connect with other people in a spiritual community in a genuine, honest manner. Identifies ways that she can contribute to that community
Objective 23: To Develop a Sense of Hope, Persistence and Achievement Motivation.
Definition: A resilient person is one who has a sense of purpose and future; included in this notion is a motivation to achieve positive goals, a belief in a compelling, attainable future, the ability to have healthy expectations and a desire to continue to better oneself (Benard, 1991). The development of the spiritual self facilitates this process, by instilling a sense of hope for a brighter future.
In addition, some Aboriginal people feel that spirituality is the essence of the Aboriginal people, which bolstered their desire to continue through adversity.”…Spirituality is at the core of our survival. Many Native educators agree that our spirituality has been the cornerstone of our survival through generations of adversity and oppression: (HeavyRunner & Morris, No date).
Indicators of Success:
  • Making plans for the future
  • Attainable, healthy goal setting
  • Is a role model for others
  • Demonstrates a willingness and ability to make positive changes in her life
RATING -2 -1 0 1 2
GOAL
ATTAINMENT
SCALE FOR
HOPE AND MOTIVATION*
No motivation to change; states that change is not necessary. Motivation to change comes and goes or the reason to change is inappropriate. Motivated to change behaviour. Is motivated to change behaviour; sees it as necessary for her family and community. Demonstrates constant willingness to change and is actively doing so; role model to others.

APPENDIX C: PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW

Informed Consent

This form is intended to make sure that you are aware of your rights concerning participation in this evaluation and to make sure you are well informed to be able to decide whether you wish to participate. Please read the following carefully and sign below to show that you understand your rights as a voluntary participant in this evaluation.

I understand that this evaluation is looking at the Spirit of a Warrior Program and that the purpose of this interview is to discuss my experiences with this program. For instance, I will be asked general questions about the implementation of the program, as well as any thoughts that I might have on the program.

I am willing to participate in an interview and understand that it will take approximately one hour. I am aware that I may choose not to answer specific questions or I may leave at any point in the process for any reason without punishment. I also understand that I will not receive any rewards for choosing to participate in this study, nor will incur any loses for refusing to do so.

I understand that my name will not be shown in any way on the interview format and thus my anonymity is guaranteed. The data, once collected, will be kept strictly confidential and will not be used in any way other than for the research purposes outlined above. I also understand that there is a limit to my confidentiality. I am aware than any information I disclose concerning plans to self-harm or harm others will be disclosed to staff.

Date: __________________________

Signature of Participant: ___________________________________

Signature of Researcher: ___________________________________

I have agreed to participate in an interview and understand my rights as a voluntary participant in this evaluation. I agree to have this interview audio recorded and I understand that these recordings will remain confidential and be used only for the purposes of this evaluation. I am aware that my name will not be identified in any way in this recording and my anonymity is guaranteed. I also understand that I have the right to refuse having this interview recorded without penalty.

Date: ___________________________________

Signature of Participant: _____________________________________

Signature of Researcher: _____________________________________

Interview Guide with Program Participants

Respondent Number: ___________ Date: _________________

Program Delivery Site: _____________________

Date of Program Delivery: __________________

Current Institution: ________________________

The Program

  1. How did you become involved in the Spirit of a Warrior program (i.e., did you seek out the program yourself or was it recommended to you by staff or other women)?

    It is my understanding that the Spirit of a Warrior program is divided into 4 sections: Introduction, Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood (or Alternatives to Violence). These 4 sections are further divided into 92 sessions. Each session explores a different topic or area.

  2. Do you feel that the program covered a sufficient number of topics in the sessions? If not enough, what do you think was missing? If too many, what was not necessary?
  3. Was the time devoted to each area/topic sufficient? If no, what area(s) needed more time?
  4. Were all of the sessions well paced and easily understood? If no, how could it have been improved?
  5. Could you describe for me what a general day in the program was like (i.e., the schedule/ layout/ structure of the program)?
  6. How often were the sessions held?
  7. Can you describe the atmosphere/environment in which the program was delivered (i.e., private, quiet, comforting, spiritual, safe versus intrusive, noisy, tense, restrictive)?
  8. Do you think this atmosphere/environment was appropriate? Why or why not?
  9. How did you find sharing your feelings and experiences in a group setting? Would you rather this be one on one?
  10. Did, at any time, you ever feel pressured to share life experiences with the group when you did not feel comfortable doing so? If yes, how did you handle this?
  11. How is this program different from other programs you have taken?


    Balancing the Program with Other Activities
  12. Was your attendance at the program supported by other non program staff?
    Not at all Somewhat Entirely
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  13. At anytime during program delivery, were non program staff expecting you to be somewhere else or to be engaged in some other activity? If yes, explain.
  14. How easy did you find it to fit the program in with your other program, school and/or work duties?
    Very Hard Very Easy
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  15. How satisfied were you with the support you received for fitting the program in with other program, school and/or work duties that you were expected to complete?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?


    Facilitators

  16. Do you think the Spirit of a Warrior facilitators have sufficient training for the program?
  17. How would you describe your relationship with the program facilitators?
  18. How would you assess the level of support between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior facilitators?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5
    Why or why not?
  19. How would you assess the level of trust between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior facilitators?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  20. How would you assess the level of cooperation between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior facilitators?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  21. How satisfied were you with the availability of the program facilitators to have consultations with you when you needed them?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  22. How effective did you find the facilitators to be?

    What were their strengths?

    What were their weaknesses?

  23. How could the role of the facilitators be improved?


    Elders
  24. How would you describe your relationship with the Elder(s)?
  25. Overall, how satisfied were you with your relationship with the Elder(s)?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  26. How satisfied were you with the availability of the Elder to have consultations with you when you needed them?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  27. How effective did you find the Elder to be?

    What were their strengths?

    What were their weaknesses?

  28. How could the role of the Elder be improved?

    Relationships
  29. How satisfied were you with your relationship with other program participants?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  30. How satisfied were you with your relationship with other women not involved in the program?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  31. Did your relationship (i.e., attitude and behaviour) with program staff change (positively or negatively) due to participation in the program? If yes, how?
  32. Did your relationship (i.e., attitude and behaviour) with non program staff change (positively or negatively) due to participation in the program? If yes, how?
  33. Did your relationship (i.e., attitude and behaviour) with women involved in the program change (positively or negatively) due to participation in the program? If yes, how?
  34. Did your relationship (i.e., attitude and behaviour) with women not involved in the program change (positively or negatively) due to participation in the program? If yes, how?


    Effectiveness
  35. Overall, how helpful did you find the program?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  36. Overall, how satisfied are you with the program?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    As you know, Spirit of a Warrior is based upon holistic healing. This involves focusing on the spiritual, physical, psychological, and emotional elements of health.

  37. Do you feel that you have changed in any of these health areas as a result of your participation in the program? If yes, which areas and how?

    The program also targets eight core components.

  38. For each of the following components, could you please rate on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 representing “poor effectiveness” and 5 representing “very good effectiveness”, the degree to which each component was effective for you?

    (a) Increasing your level of anger awareness: This component defines anger; it addresses the beliefs and attitudes about anger, feelings and experiences with anger, and triggers of anger.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (b) Increasing your level of violence awareness: This component defines violence; it addresses experiences with violence, factors that influence violence (media, racism, abandonment), cycle of violence, and the impacts of violence.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (c) Increasing your level of family of origin awareness: This component addresses childhood experiences, family members and roles, family relationships and their influence on the self, and sources of family conflict.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (d) Increasing your level of self awareness: This component addresses the inner child, expression of feelings, interpersonal relationships, adolescent experiences, abandonment, Aboriginal and cultural identity, and personal boundaries and limits.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (e) Increasing your level of individual skill development: This component addresses the development of a self care plan, the identification and expression of feelings, accountability, empowerment, empathy, self-talk, self-control, and grieving.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (f) Increasing your level of group skill development: This component addresses program expectations, development of personal goals, and development of a comforting and safe environment through trust and self-disclosure.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (g) Increasing your level of cultural awareness: This component addresses the role of spirituality in the healing process, the importance of ceremony, the medicine wheel, usage of culturally appropriate rituals and symbols, and the role of the Elder.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (h) Increasing your level of cognitive learning: This component addresses self-care, the process of change, journal writing, the inner child, boundaries, self-esteem, and the impact of labeling, racism, prejudice, and stereotypes.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  39. Has your way of understanding or thinking about situations or people changed (i.e., cognitive process) due to the program? If yes, in what ways? If no, how could the program could better target this area?
  40. Do you find that you deal or cope with problems in your life differently after participating in Spirit of a Warrior (as compared to before your participation)? Can you give me an example of how you coped with a problem before, and how you think you would have (or have) coped with that same problem now?
  41. Do you think the program improves the institutional behaviour (specifically physical and verbal violence) of its participants? Please explain.
  42. Personally, do you feel that your own institutional behaviour (specifically physical and verbal violence) has improved as a result of participating in the program? If yes, in what ways? If no, how could the program could better target this area?
  43. Have there been any other positive or negative results from taking the program?
  44. What was the main impact of this program on you? Please explain.
  45. What did you like the most about the program?
  46. What did you like the least about the program?
  47. Has the program produced positive or negative results above and beyond that of required programming? Why or why not?


    Unintended Effects
  48. What were your expectations of the program? Were these expectations met? What occurred that was similar or different from these expectations?
  49. Were there any unintended effects (positive or negative events or issues that happened which were unanticipated or unexpected) as a result of taking the program?


    Recommendations
  50. Do you have any thoughts on how the program could be improved (i.e., length of program, content of program, program resources, program environment)?
  51. Do you have any other comments or feedback about the Spirit of a Warrior program?

APPENDIX D: FACILITATOR INTERVIEW

Informed Consent

This form is intended to make sure that you are aware of your rights concerning participation in this evaluation and to make sure you are well informed to be able to decide whether you wish to participate. Please read the following carefully and sign below to show that you understand your rights as a voluntary participant in this evaluation.

I understand that this evaluation is looking at the Spirit of a Warrior Program and that the purpose of this interview is to discuss my experiences with this program. For instance, I will be asked general questions about the implementation of the program, as well as any thoughts that I might have on the program.

I am willing to participate in an interview and understand that it will take approximately one hour. I am aware that I may choose not to answer specific questions or I may leave at any point in the process for any reason.

I understand that my name will not be shown in any way on the interview format and thus my anonymity is guaranteed. The data, once collected, will be kept strictly confidential and will not be used in any way other than for the research purposes outlined above.

Date:__________________________

Signature of Participant: ______________________________

Signature of Researcher: ______________________________

I have agreed to participate in an interview and understand my rights as a voluntary participant in this evaluation. I agree to have this interview audio recorded and I understand that these recordings will remain confidential and be used only for the purposes of this evaluation. I am aware that my name will not be identified in any way in this recording and my anonymity is guaranteed.

Date: ___________________________________

Signature of Participant: _______________________________

Signature of Researcher: _______________________________

Interview Guide with Program Facilitator

Respondent Number: ___________ Date: ________________

Program Delivery Site: __________________________

Date of Program Delivery: _______________________

Current Institution: _____________________________

General Program Description
  1. Please describe your role in the program.
  2. What are the goals and objectives of the program?
  3. How is this program different from other programs?
  4. Do you feel that the program covered a sufficient number of topics in the sessions? If not enough, what do you think was missing? If too many, what was not necessary?
  5. Are the estimated time frames for each phase of the program adequate?
  6. How often were the sessions held?
  7. Is there an ideal group size? If yes, was this ideal achieved?
  8. Can you describe the atmosphere/environment in which the program was delivered (i.e., private, quiet, comforting, spiritual, safe versus intrusive, noisy, tense, restrictive)?
  9. Do you think this atmosphere/environment was appropriate? Why or why not?
  10. Was there a graduation ceremony after completion of the program? If yes, how does this further contribute to the program goals?

    Participant Selection
  11. Is there an initial screening of potential participants?

    If yes, what screening criteria are used?

    Who does the screening?

  12. Can an individual participate in the program more than once?
  13. Do you think that the appropriate participants were afforded the opportunity to participate in the program? Why or why not?
  14. Do you think that certain types of participants would benefit more from the program? If yes, what type and why?
  15. How were the women in your program more or less suited for such a program?

    The Spirit of a Warrior program is intended to target Aboriginal women with high intensity anger and violence.

  16. According to this intention, do you think these types of women are being targeted and selected for participation in the program? If no, what is the situation and do you think it should be changed?

    Facilitator Training
  17. Did you receive formal training for Spirit of a Warrior? When? Where? Who provided the training?
  18. How was the training delivered? For example, was it experiential (hands-on, interactive, active participant) or theoretical (hands-off, classroom setting, lectures, passive participant)?
  19. Do you think that the method of training delivery has an impact on your ability to effectively facilitate the program? Why or why not?
  20. Do you feel that the training adequately covered all of the necessary topics? If no, what was missing?
  21. Was the time allotted to each topic sufficient?
  22. Is there a training manual for Spirit of a Warrior?

    If yes, do you feel that the manual is comprehensive and easy to follow? If no, what needs to be changed?

    If no, do you think there should be a manual?

  23. Overall, how satisfied were you with the training provided?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    Facilitator Characteristics/Opinions

  24. What do you think your strengths are as a facilitator (i.e., characteristics, teaching method, experience)?
  25. How much experience have you had working with women in general? Working with women offenders? Working with Aboriginal offenders?
  26. What life experiences do you feel make you a good facilitator for this program?
  27. Are there any areas in which you feel you could use further developmental or training opportunities?
  28. How would you assess the level of support between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior participants?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  29. How would you assess the level of trust between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior participants?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  30. How would you assess the level of cooperation between yourself and the Spirit of a Warrior participants?
    Poor Moderate Excellent
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?


    Program Support

  31. Do you feel that the Spirit of a Warrior program is considered important by the following staff at the facility?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    Mental health professionals 1 2 3 4 5
    Primary workers 1 2 3 4 5
    Warden 1 2 3 4 5
    Spiritual leaders (Elder, Native Liaison) 1 2 3 4 5
    Parole officers 1 2 3 4 5
  32. Overall, how satisfied are you with the support you received by non program staff to facilitate the program?
    Not at all Somewhat Very
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  33. Have you noticed any resistance to the Spirit of a Warrior Program, either by inmates or staff? If yes, please explain.
  34. How do you perceive other staff’s responsiveness to the Spirit of a Warrior program?
  35. How do you perceive the participant’s responsiveness to the Spirit of a Warrior program?


    Balancing the Program with Other Activities
  36. Were participants attending the Spirit of a Warrior program supported by non program staff?
    Not at all Somewhat Entirely
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  37. At anytime during program delivery, were non program staff expecting participants to be somewhere else or to be engaged in some other activity? If yes, explain.

    Elder Role
  38. Was an Elder present for the required sessions during the program?
  39. What was the role of the Elder in the Spirit of a Warrior program?
  40. In what ways did the presence of the Elder facilitate the program?
  41. What were the advantages and disadvantages of his/her presence? Please explain.


    Effectiveness
  42. Overall, for most of the participants, what was their level of commitment to the program?
    Weak Strong
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    As you know, Spirit of a Warrior is based upon holistic healing. This involves focusing on the spiritual, physical, psychological, and emotional elements of health.

  43. Do you feel that the program changed some or all of these health areas for the majority of the program participants? If yes, which areas and how?

    The program also targets eight core components.

  44. For each of the following components, could you please rate on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 representing “poor effectiveness” and 5 representing “very good effectiveness”, the degree to which each component was effective (for the majority of the program participants)?

    (a) Increasing the participants’ level of anger awareness: This component defines anger; it addresses the beliefs and attitudes about anger, feelings and experiences with anger, and triggers of anger.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (b) Increasing the participants’ level of violence awareness: This component defines violence; it addresses experiences with violence, factors that influence violence (media, racism, abandonment), cycle of violence, and the impacts of violence.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (c) Increasing the participants’ level of family of origin awareness: This component addresses childhood experiences, family members and roles, family relationships and their influence on the self, and sources of family conflict.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (d) Increasing the participants’ level of self awareness: This component addresses the inner child, expression of feelings, interpersonal relationships, adolescent experiences, abandonment, Aboriginal and cultural identity, and personal boundaries and limits.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (e) Increasing the participants’ level of individual skill development: This component addresses the development of a self care plan, the identification and expression of feelings, accountability, empowerment, empathy, self-talk, self-control, and grieving.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (f) Increasing the participants’ level of group skill development: This component addresses program expectations, development of personal goals, and development of a comforting and safe environment through trust and self-disclosure.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (g) Increasing the participants’ level of cultural awareness: This component addresses the role of spirituality in the healing process, the importance of ceremony, the medicine wheel, usage of culturally appropriate rituals and symbols, and the role of the Elder.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

    (h) Increasing the participants’ level of cognitive learning: This component addresses self-care, the process of change, journal writing, the inner child, boundaries, self-esteem, and the impact of labeling, racism, prejudice, and stereotypes.

    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not?

  45. For the majority of the participants, did you see changes (positive or negative) in their relationship (i.e., attitudes and behaviour) with program staff? If yes, how?
  46. For the majority of the participants, did you see changes (positive or negative) in their relationship (i.e., attitudes and behaviour) with non program staff? If yes, how?
  47. For the majority of the participants, did you see changes (positive or negative) in their relationship (i.e., attitudes and behaviour) with women involved in the program? If yes, how?
  48. For the majority of the participants, did you see changes (positive or negative) in their relationship (i.e., attitudes and behaviour) with women not involved in the program? If yes, how?
  49. Do you think the program improves the institutional behaviour (specifically physical or verbal violence) of its participants? If yes, in what ways? If no, how do you think the program could better target this area?
  50. Do you think the program changes the participants’ way of understanding or thinking about situations or people (i.e., cognitive process)? If yes, in what ways? If no, how do you think the program could better target this area?
  51. Has the program produced positive or negative results above and beyond that of required programming? Why or why not?
  52. Do you think the program will have long-term effects (positive or negative) on the participants? If yes, how?

    Unintended Effects
  53. Were there any unintended effects (positive or negative events or issues that happened which were unanticipated or unexpected) of the program? If yes, please explain.
  54. Do you think that delivering the program in a group setting affects the participants’ ability to be completely honest about their experiences? Why or why not?


    Recommendations
  55. Is there anything that you would find helpful for improving the facilitation of the program (i.e., resources, materials, time, etc.)?
  56. Do you have any thoughts on how the program could be improved (i.e., length of program, content of program, program resources, program environment)? If yes, how?
  57. Do you have any other comments or feedback about the Spirit of a Warrior program?

APPENDIX E: STAFF SURVEY

Informed Consent

The purpose of this study is to assess the Spirit of a Warrior program. This evaluation will look at how effective the program is at meeting the needs of its participants, as well as whether or not the goals of the program are being met. This evaluation is important so that the strengths and weaknesses of the program can be identified, in an attempt to obtain the most effective program.

Your participation will involve completing one survey that will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The survey asks questions about your perceptions of the program, including its purpose, institutional support, and the various impacts of the program.

Right to Participate and Withdraw

It is important to understand that you are under no obligation to take part in this study. You have the right to withdraw at anytime, and to choose not to answer any questions that you do not wish to. There will be no penalty if you decide not to participate, nor if you withdraw at any time. Your will not incur any gains or losses by participating in this study. Your participation in the evaluation however is critical to its success.

Confidentiality

Strict confidentiality will be given for all of your responses. Each completed questionnaire will be dealt with solely by the research team conducting this study and you will have complete anonymity. Individual information gathered from the study will not be released to any other CSC employee. After you complete the questionnaire, simply place it and this informed consent into the envelope provided and seal the envelope. The package, once complete and sealed, should be sent to the Research Branch.

Informed Consent

My signature below indicates that I have read the above description of the study, and understand fully its requirements and purpose. I also understand my rights regarding confidentiality, voluntary participation, and withdrawal. I hereby give my consent to participate in the research project.

Name (print): _______________________________

Signature: __________________________________

Date:____________________

Staff Survey

This questionnaire is designed to determine the effectiveness of the Spirit of a Warrior Program from the point of view of the staff at the institution where the program is implemented.

We would appreciate if you could respond to the following questions. Your perceptions and feelings about this program are of great importance for its evaluation.

  1. Are you aware of the Spirit of a Warrior program (check one)?

    Yes No (do not complete remainder of questionnaire)

    If yes, how did you find out about the Spirit of the Warrior program?

    ____________________

  2. How many women who you interact with have participated in the Spirit of a Warrior program? ____________ (if none (0), go to question 4)
  3. What is your extent of involvement with the women who have participated in the program? _______________
  4. Do you know the goals of the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what do you think are the goals?

    __________________

  5. How is this program different from other programs? _________________
  6. Please comment on as many of the following items as possible.

    For each of the following components, could you please rate on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 representing “poor effectiveness” and 5 representing “very good effectiveness”, the degree to which each component was effective (for the majority of the program participants)?

    (a) Increasing the participants’ level of anger awareness: This component defines anger; it addresses the beliefs and attitudes about anger, feelings and experiences with anger, and triggers of anger.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (b) Increasing the participants’ level of violence awareness: This component defines violence; it addresses experiences with violence, factors that influence violence (media, racism, abandonment), cycle of violence, and the impacts of violence.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (c) Increasing the participants’ level of family of origin awareness: This component addresses childhood experiences, family members and roles, family relationships and their influence on the self, and sources of family conflict.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (d) Increasing the participants’ level of self awareness: This component addresses the inner child, expression of feelings, interpersonal relationships, adolescent experiences, abandonment, Aboriginal and cultural identity, and personal boundaries and limits.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (e) Increasing the participants’ level of individual skill development: This component addresses the development of a self care plan, the identification and expression of feelings, accountability, empowerment, empathy, self-talk, self-control, and grieving.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (f) Increasing the participants’ level of group skill development: This component addresses program expectations, development of personal goals, and development of a comforting and safe environment through trust and self-disclosure.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (g) Increasing the participants’ level of cultural awareness: This component addresses the role of spirituality in the healing process, the importance of ceremony, the medicine wheel, usage of culturally appropriate rituals and symbols, and the role of the Elder.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    (h) Increasing the participants’ level of cognitive learning: This component addresses self-care, the process of change, journal writing, the inner child, boundaries, self-esteem, and the impact of labeling, racism, prejudice, and stereotypes.

    Circle one number only.

    1 2 3 4 5
    Poor Fair Average Good Very Good

    The Spirit of a Warrior program is intended to target Aboriginal women with high intensity anger and violence.

  7. According to this intention, do you think these types of women are being targeted and selected for participation in the program?

    Yes (go to question 8) No (go to follow-up questions)

    If no, what is the situation? __________________

    Do you think the current situation should be changed? Why and how? __________________

  8. Were participants attending the Spirit of a Warrior program supported by non program staff?
    Not at all Somewhat Entirely
    1 2 3 4 5

    Why or why not? ____________________

  9. At anytime during program delivery, were non program staff expecting participants to be somewhere else or to be engaged in some other activity?

    Yes No

    If yes, please explain. ____________________

  10. Have you noticed any changes in the general atmosphere at the facility due to the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  11. Have you noticed any changes in the relationship between program participants and non program staff due to the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  12. Have you noticed any changes in the relationship between program participants and women not involved in the program due to the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  13. Have you noticed any changes in the participants’ institutional behaviour (specifically physical and verbal violence) due to the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  14. Have you noticed any changes in the participants’ way of understanding or thinking about situations or people (i.e., cognitive process) due to the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  15. Have you noticed any other changes in the program participants since their involvement in the program (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of changes? ____________________

  16. Has the program produced any positive results or impacts (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what are they? _________________

  17. Has the program produced any negative results or impacts (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what are they? ____________________

  18. Has the program produced positive or negative results above and beyond that of required programming?

    Yes No

    If yes, in what ways? ____________________

  19. Has the program produced any unintended effects (positive or negative events or issues that happened which were unanticipated or unexpected)?

    Yes No

    If yes, in what ways? ____________________

  20. Has the Spirit of a Warrior ever created a crisis or a problem (check one)?

    Yes (go to follow-up questions) No (go to question 21)

    If yes, when and why? ____________________

    Was it resolved?

    Yes No

    If yes, how? ____________________

  21. Have you noticed any resistance to the program, either by inmates or by staff (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, what type of resistance? ____________________

  22. Do you believe that the Spirit of a Warrior is ever used for other purposes (such as to chat, to avoid work, etc) (check one)?

    Yes No

    If yes, how? ____________________

  23. Do you have any other comments or feedback about the Spirit of a Warrior program? ____________________


    Please answer the following questions if you feel comfortable, otherwise please feel free to skip them.
  24. What is your position at the facility?
  25. How long have you been in this position? _____________________________
  26. How long have you been working with women offenders? ________________
  27. How long have you been working with Aboriginal offenders? ______________

After you complete the questionnaire, simply place it and the informed consent into the envelope provided and seal the envelope. The package, once complete and sealed, should be sent to the Research Branch.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR COOPERATION IN COMPLETING THIS SURVEY!

Footnotes

1 The majority of information provided in this program description was obtained from the Spirit of a Warrior manual for program facilitators, created by Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA, 2001).

2 Phyllis Nault, in consultation with the Native Counseling Service of Alberta, co-facilitated the first Spirit of a Warrior program in Saskatchewan and made preliminary changes to the adapted model to better meet the needs of incarcerated women.

3 Part B is an abbreviated version of the five point scale, the Novaco Provocation Inventory (Novaco, 1988).

4 Facilitator assessments were erroneously completed by the participants rather than the program facilitators for two sessions of Spirit of a Warrior. Therefore, these data were considered invalid and rendered inappropriate for data analysis.

5 Data collection for the participant interviews was from September 2004 to March 2005; site visits included Edmonton Institution for Women, Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, and Fraser Valley Institution. During site visits in 2004-2005, past program participants had been released to the community for federal supervision or on Warrant of Expiry.

6 Data collection for the participant surveys and facilitator assessments was from October 2003 to February 2005.

7 The offender has successfully completed the program both in terms of attendance and treatment gain.

8 The offender was terminated from program enrollment due to disciplinary concerns or poor quality of participation.

9 The offender did not complete the program assignment and/or was removed, usually due to segregation, non-program offence, and/or for outside court/hospital.

10 The offender completed the program but there was no evidence of treatment gain.

11 Only 11 of the 22 respondents provided further explanation as to why facilitators had sufficient training.

12Refer to the Introduction for a description of the eight program components.

13 Lower scores on the RSES indicate higher levels of self-esteem.

14 Lifers were excluded.

15 This question was asked on a five point Likert scale in the pre- and post- participant surveys.

16 11 women or 39% of the participants felt pressured to share their experiences. Only 10 women provided information on how they handled this pressure. Some of this information could not be grouped into themes.