Performance Assurance

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Performance Assurance

Final Report - Effective Corrections Initiative - Aboriginal Reintegration

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

EVALUATION TEAM MEMBERS

SIGNATURES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Evaluation of Pathways Ranges (Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary)
Evaluation of Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs)
Evaluation of the National Aboriginal Working Group (NAWG)
Evaluation of the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative (AGI)
INTRODUCTION
Mercredi Report
Government
PATHWAYS HEALING RANGES
Introduction
Evaluation Objectives
Evaluation Methodology
Financial Expenditures
Findings and Results
Finding 1
Finding 2
Finding 3
Recommendations
ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS (ACDO)
Introduction
Evaluation Objectives
Evaluation Methodology
Financial Expenditures
Findings and Results
Finding 1
Finding 2
Finding 3
Finding 4
Finding 5
Finding 6
Finding 7
Recommendations
NATIONAL ABORIGINAL WORKING GROUP ON CORRECTIONS (NAWG)
Introduction
Evaluation Objectives
Evaluation Methodology
Financial Expenditures
Findings and Results
Finding 1
Finding 2
Finding 3
Finding 4
Finding 5
Finding 6
Finding 7
Recommendations
ABORIGINAL GANG INITITIATIVE (AGI, BIMOSEWIN)
Introduction
Evaluation Objectives
Evaluation Methodology
Financial Expenditures
Findings and Results
Finding 1
Finding 2
Finding 3
Finding 4
Finding 5
Finding 6
Recommendations

CONCLUSION

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The evaluation team would like to express their appreciation to the staff of all the institutions we visited for their valuable assistance during this evaluation by ensuring that we had timely access to staff and offenders, and that we were able to conduct our interviews in a safe and secure environment.

 

EVALUATION TEAM MEMBERS

The core evaluation team members were:

Michel J. Burrowes, Senior Evaluation and Review Manager
Peter McIntyre, Evaluation Analyst

Supplementary Team Members

The team was augmented during the site visits and data collection and analysis was done by the following CSC staff:

Mark Nafekh, Evaluation & Review Manager
Diane Sabourin, Analytical Assistant
Nicole Allegri, Analytical Assistant
Hongchao Wang, Student
Maria Ciepala, Student

 

SIGNATURES

 

 

Original signed by

_______________________________

Pamela M. Yates, Ph.D., R.D. Psych

A/Director General

Evaluation & Review

 

 

2004-06-23

____________________

Date

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Prior to the Effective Corrections Initiative (ECI), the Correctional Service of Canada's (CSC) capacity to fully implement the legislated requirements of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) and the guidelines of Commissioner's Directive 702, and therefore effectively address the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples, was limited. The focus of Aboriginal corrections at that time was on institutional service delivery, which predominantly addressed culture, spirituality and traditions.

"Effective corrections is about distinguishing between offenders who need to be separated from society from those who could be better managed in the community." (Treasury Board Decision, July 27, 2000). As a result of the ECI, a series of new CSC initiatives have been funded and initiated to aid in, amongst other priorities, addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in correctional facilities. The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) approval for the ECI included a requirement to report on the progress and results of the various projects by June 2004. As such, the following evaluations provide an interim report to Treasury Board on activities funded in the past 4 years through Effective Corrections. The evaluations also present CSC with information regarding expenditures, results, findings and recommendations that will assist decision-makers in maximizing the levels of effectiveness and efficiency with respect to initiatives that support the ECI. The Evaluation and Review Branch (ERB) evaluated various components of the ECI, focussing on three major initiative areas from the Memorandum to Cabinet (MC):

1. Aboriginal Reintegration:

  • Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI) - Winnipeg
  • Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDO) - National
  • Pathways Ranges - Saskatchewan Penitentiary, Stony Mountain Institution and La Macaza Institution 
  • National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections

2. Citizen Engagement - Volunteers & Citizen's Advisory Committees (CACs)

3. CORCAN - Community Employment Centres

This evaluation report pertains only to those initiatives funded in support of Aboriginal Reintegration. Results of initiatives pertaining to Citizen Engagement and CORCAN are reported in separate documents.


Evaluation of Pathways Ranges (Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary):

Goals and Objectives of the Pathways Initiative:

The objectives of the Pathways Ranges are to focus on the provision of Aboriginal-specific institutional healing programs and services and to provide the appropriate cultural support to Aboriginal offenders in order to reduce their re-incarceration rates, and to increase the probability of successful reintegration into the community.

Evaluation Methodology:

The goals and objectives of the Pathways Initiative were evaluated through a combination of interviews with key stakeholders, and analyses of data extracted from the Offender Management System. Site visits to Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary were conducted in December 2003 and January 2004 respectively. Interviews were conducted with institutional Parole Officers, Native Liaison Officers, Elders, Project Managers, Unit Supervisors, Correctional Officers, wardens and inmates.

Financial Expenditures1:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development to Institutional Initiatives in order to establish the Pathways Ranges. As such, there were no fiscal or Treasury Board allocations specific to the initiative. Current and planned expenditures for the Pathways Ranges are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

-

-

-

-

-

-

Adjustments

-

116,000

795,000

1,080,000

960,000

2,951,000

Actuals

-

116,000

795,000

1,080,000

960,000

2,951,000

1Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Results:

- Initial indications are that Pathways participants are more likely to transfer to lower security, and thus enhance their opportunities for discretionary release. In fact, a comparison of Pathways participants with a matched group2 revealed that those exposed to the Pathways Ranges were more likely to have received a discretionary release than those not exposed to the Ranges (37% vs. 22%, p<.05).

- Although analyses for those offenders who were released and available for a one year follow up period ( N =44) revealed no significant differences across outcome measure (technical revocations and new offences), there was a trend for the Pathways participants to recidivate3 at lower rates than the non-participants (17% vs. 35%, respectively).

- Interviews with staff members and inmates (N=33 and 43 respectively) revealed that there is a high level of understanding and support with respect to the activities and purpose of the Pathways ranges.

- The Pathways ranges are centred on Aboriginal teachings and culture. These programs are well utilised and are generally supported within the respective institutions.

2The Pathways Initiative participant group was matched with a sample of federal offenders, incarcerated on November 1 st , 2001. Matching criteria were current federal institution security level and region, sentence length, risk level and age at time of admission. These matching criteria introduced controls for time, opportunity and tendency in the research design. The random sample was also stratified on ethnicity clusters to ensure that comparisons reflected exposure to the AGI program rather than characteristics associated with a particular ethnic demographic of the offender population.

3Recidivism is defined as any return to federal custody with a new offence, including returns to federal custody with outstanding charges.

Recommendations:

- That the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) continue to utilize Pathways Healing Ranges as an effective approach in meeting the healing and correctional needs of Aboriginal offenders, and consider expanding the number of Ranges to other areas of the country where needed.

- That the CSC ensure resources are adequately dedicated to the Pathways Healing Ranges such that the goals and objectives of the Ranges are met.

- That the CSC support the Pathways Ranges by encouraging and promoting collaboration with other programs and healing initiatives that complement the work of the Pathways Ranges, such as the Escorted Temporary Absence program at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

- That the CSC ensure that more detailed information is collected with respect to entry and exit of inmates to the Pathways Ranges. This would facilitate more detailed analyses of performance indicators, such as involvement in institutional incidents and program participation while on the Ranges, and outcome analyses for those released to the community.


Evaluation of Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs)

Goals and Objectives of the ACDOs:

The main goal of the Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO) initiative is to develop a national infrastructure for consistent delivery of Aboriginal community correctional initiatives in each region.

Evaluation Methodology:

The goals and objectives of the ACDO initiative were evaluated through a combination of interviews with key stakeholders, and analyses of data extracted from the Offender Management System. Site visits for this evaluation were conducted in the Prairie Region (all three provinces), Pacific and Ontario Regions. The site visits were supplemented by telephone interviews with institutional and community based Parole Officers. After a conference call with the ACDOs and the Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, it was decided that the evaluation team would revisit some regions (Prairie and Pacific) in order to conduct site visits at minimum security level institutions that were excluded from the initial site selections. Evaluation and Review Branch staff completed additional visits to the Prairie (Hobbema, Stan Daniels, Edmonton Parole and Bowden) and Pacific (William Head, Victoria and Elbow Lake) regions.

Financial Expenditures4:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development towards Aboriginal Community Reintegration, from which a portion was allocated to the ACDOs. Current and planned expenditures for the Aboriginal Community Development Officers are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

500,000

550,000

550,000

550,000

550,000

2,700,000

Adjustments

(74,000)

(94,000)

140,000

(58,000)

(44,000)

(130,000)

Actuals

426,000

456,000

690,000

492,000

506,000

2,570,000

4Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Results:

Since their introduction, ACDOs have had a tangible impact on the number of successful Section 84 consultations. Specifically, there were 187 completed Section 84 plans presented to the National Parole Board for 2001-02 and 2002/02. This is a significant increase over the two years prior to their introduction, where there were only 12 completions. A similar comparison revealed 199 versus 12 Section 84 plans in progress over the same time frame.

  • Analyses for those offenders who were released and available for a one year follow up period ( N =78) revealed no significant differences across outcome measures (such as a return to federal custody with a new offence) when compared to a matched group.5 However, there was a trend for those released through a Section 84 agreement to recidivate6 at lower rates than their matched counterparts (6% vs. 10%, respectively).

  • Progress has been made in expanding CSC's contacts and engagement with Aboriginal communities. This has been achieved by expanding the knowledge base of staff, offenders, and the National Parole Board (NPB) in regards to Section 84 consultations/implementation issues.

5Those who were released through a Section 84 agreement were matched with a sample of federal offenders released in the same time period. Matching criteria were admitting offence (violent/non-violent), age at release, releasing region, ethnicity, and reintegration potential.

6Recidivism is defined as any return to federal custody with a new offence, including returns to federal custody with outstanding charges.

Recommendations:

- The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) should continue with the Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO) initiative to advance the goal of developing a national infrastructure for consistent delivery of Aboriginal community correctional initiatives.

- The ACDO initiative should be utilized as a means of providing regular and consistent levels of staff and inmate awareness with respect to Section 84.

- The CSC should re-examine the regional ACDO funding structure with a view to re-allocating funds based in large measure on the size of the incarcerated Aboriginal population and the geographic size of the Region.


Evaluation of the National Aboriginal Working Group (NAWG)

Goals and Objectives of the NAWG:

The main goal and objective of the NAWG is to assist the CSC in validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies.7

7Taken from the Treasury Board submission requirement.

Evaluation Methodology:

The NAWG evaluation was completed in March, 2004. Data were collected through key informant interviews (Aboriginal Initiatives Branch staff, NAWG current coordinators and four former NAWG coordinators). A review of the NAWG's draft joint workplan, individual workplans, contribution agreements (both previous and revised), meeting minutes and quarterly/year-end reports was also conducted. In terms of ongoing performance measurement, members of the Evaluation and Review Branch attended a NAWG meeting, attempted to establish any partnerships developed with outside organizations and reviewed ongoing changes in NAWG membership.

Financial Expenditures8:

The Correctional Service Canada was allocated $1.5 million over 5 years to establish the National Aboriginal Working Group (NAWG) on Corrections. Current and planned expenditures for the NAWG are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

 

 

 

 

 

 

TB Allocation

-

330,000

390,000

390,000

390,000

1,500,000

Adjustments

240,000

65,000

125,000

135,000

40,000

605,000

Actuals

240,000

395,000

515,000

525,000

430,000

2,105,000

 

Fiscal 2000-01, $53,000 was reprofiled from Reintegration Programs; $187,000 was reprofiled from Aboriginal Initiatives base

Fiscal 2001-02, $65,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2002-03, $125,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2003-04, $135,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2004-05, $40,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

8Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Results:

- The NAWG effectively contributed to its policy development/validation objective through its active pursuit of a strong research agenda with CSC stakeholders. Specifically, the NAWG contributed to multiple research projects that focussed on assessing and meeting the needs of Aboriginal offenders. Research collaborations with the NAWG worked toward the successful reintegration of offenders into the community and, ultimately, the enhancement of public safety.

- While 52% ( N =22) of the NAWG's recommendations were related to policy directed toward Aboriginal-specific community and institutional corrections, 73% ( N =16) of those recommendations were deemed feasible and were actioned by CSC. For example, implementing the recommendation for CSC to work in partnership with the two national Inuit organizations assists in ensuring an effective communication strategy is developed between partners. The NAWG also recommended that an examination of Healing Lodges be conducted. A CSC research report assisted in identifying key factors that contribute to the success of the Healing Lodges.9

9An Examination of Healing Lodges for Federal Offenders in Canada. Correctional Services Canada, R-130,2002. http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/rsrch/reports/reports-eng.shtml

Recommendations:

- The CSC should continue to further its goals of validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies by encouraging strong linkages and collaborations between national Aboriginal stakeholders and other groups within the Service.

- The CSC should clarify the NAWG's role in such a way that future recommendations provided by the group are well documented, thus better facilitating the validation and development of policy.

- There is a need for CSC to improve upon the mechanism by which NAWG participants are engaged and funded, such that there is a higher degree of clarity with respect to responsibility and accountability issues.

- The Aboriginal Community Development Officers' (ACDOs') roles are directly related to the NAWG's main focus, as these officers are at the forefront of developing the capacity for communities and institutions to implement Aboriginal community integration programs.10 As such, the Correctional Service of Canada should encourage stronger linkages between these groups in order to facilitate reintegration opportunities as specified under Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).

- Discussions with NAWG members/former members revealed that a significant portion of time (40% to 50% in some cases) was spent on criminal justice related activities that were beyond those considered NAWG-related. For example, members of the NAWG were also involved in issues relating to gun-registration and organizational policy development. As such, the CSC should implement a strategy for establishing inter-linkages between the NAWG and other related departments such as the Department of Justice, the RCMP and the National Parole Board (NPB) to better facilitate achievement of overall goals and objectives.

10See Section 84, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.


Evaluation of the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative (AGI):

Goals and Objectives of the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative:

The goal of the AGI is to assist in the disengagement of Aboriginal Gang members from organized crime activities and in their safe reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens.

Evaluation Methodology:

The site visit to Winnipeg was completed in early December 2003. In addition to conducting interviews, the evaluation team extracted data from the Offender Management System (OMS) to make an initial assessment of the impact on gang members across a variety of standard indicators, such as involvement in institutional incidents, transfers to lower security level institutions, and success upon release.

Financial Expenditures11:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development towards the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative. As such, there were no fiscal or Treasury Board allocations specific to the initiative. Current and planned expenditures for the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

-

-

-

-

-

-

Adjustments

-

255,000

455,000

450,000

250,000

1,410,000

Actuals

-

255,000

455,000

450,000

250,000

1,410,000

11Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs Sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Results:

- When compared to a matched group12 across a multitude of factors such as most recent static and dynamic risk level ratings, reintegration potential and transfers to higher or lower security levels, there were no significant differences for those offenders exposed to the Initiative.

- A follow-up study of offenders released to the community indicated that, when compared with their matched counterparts, AGI participants were more likely to return with a new offence. Specifically, in a comparison of all those who returned (N=13), all AGI participants (100%) returned with a new offence compared to 25% in the matched group (p<.05).

- There were no discernible interventions designed to address Aboriginal-gang-related issues identified in previous research; 13 specifically in the areas of associates, employment, violent behaviour, and substance abuse. There were also no demonstrated connections to community agencies and groups that could provide these services or aid in the development of intervention strategies.

12The AGI program participant group was matched with a sample of federal offender gang affiliates, incarcerated on November 1 st , 2001. Matching criteria were current federal institution security level and region, sentence length, risk level and age at time of admission. These matching criteria introduced controls for time, opportunity and tendency in the research design. The random sample was also stratified on ethnicity clusters to ensure that comparisons reflected exposure to the AGI program rather than characteristics associated with a particular ethnic demographic of the offender population.

13See Nafekh, M. "An Examination of Youth and Gang Affiliation within the Federally Sentenced Aboriginal Population". Correctional Service Canada, Research Report No. R-121, 2002

Recommendations:

- The CSC should develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues associated with Aboriginal Gangs, and develop and implement an approach which is based on research and is more focussed on incarcerated offenders and their specific needs.

- That the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) re-configure the Aboriginal Gang Initiative and its management structure in such a way that the initiative is effective in addressing Aboriginal Gang issues.

 

INTRODUCTION

Aboriginal people only make up 3% of Canada's general population, but comprise 18% of all federal offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Recent forecasts of the federal male Aboriginal offender population reveal that this over-representation can be expected to continue.14 Specifically, the male Aboriginal offender population is predicted to continue increasing, while the male non-Aboriginal population is expected to decrease over the next three years.

Statistics also indicate that, when compared to non-Aboriginal offenders, Aboriginal offenders are more likely to:

  1. Be detained in multi-level or maximum security prisons;
  2. Be denied full parole and be released on mandatory supervision instead;
  3. Be denied either type of release (full parole and mandatory release);
  4. Serve their sentences farther away from their home community;
  5. Have their conditional releases revoked; and
  6. Serve a greater portion of their sentences.

Historically, Aboriginal offenders participated in reintegration programs developed for white European inmates, which are not culturally relevant and, therefore, do not address the unique needs of Aboriginal offenders.

The 1980's were the beginning of changes for Aboriginal offenders within the Canadian Criminal Justice system. Government and political activists were calling for change. As a result of several inquiries and research, three pivotal reports were published. These are:

  1. The Daubney Report (1988) by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice recommended the use of alternatives to incarceration and cultural treatment process specific to the needs of Aboriginal persons.
  2. The Task Force on Aboriginal People in Federal Corrections (1988) commissioned the Solicitor General to assess Aboriginal peoples in correctional institutions. They recommended increased hiring of Aboriginal staff members, cultural sensitivity training, specific programs/services, community involvement, and the recognition of Aboriginal peoples' rights to spiritual and cultural practices.
  3. The Correctional Law Review's Report on Correctional Issues Affecting Native Peoples (1988) (Working Paper # 7) reflected a more substantial change to CSC policy dealing with Aboriginal offenders and, as such, recommended that CSC more closely examine correctional processes as they relate to Aboriginal offenders and the larger Aboriginal community.

The Correctional Law Review outlined the need for CSC to incorporate changes to the manner in which Aboriginal offenders are treated into legislation. Among its recommendations, it was suggested that Aboriginal-specific programming is needed if CSC is to meet its corporate objective of successfully reintegrating Aboriginal inmates. It also recommended that CSC actively recruit Aboriginal staff members and provide cultural sensitivity training sessions to existing staff members, to ensure effective programming for these offenders.

14M. Nafekh and R. Boe - "Medium Term Federal Offender Population Forecast: 2003 to 2007" - CSC, Research Branch R-137 - 2003.


Mercredi Report

In May 2000, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Ovide Mercredi, examined Aboriginal gang issues and recommended 23 strategy options for CSC. The Mercredi Report called upon CSC to involve the Aboriginal community, especially Elders, in finding solutions to gang problems.15

In October 2000, Ovide Mercredi wrote a report on behalf of the Correctional Service of Canada entitled, Aboriginal Gangs: A Report on Aboriginal Youth Gang Members in the Federal Corrections System.16

The report made special recommendations regarding working with gangs. The report identified why these individuals have taken this path and stressed that the Elders are a key solution to rectifying this problem. When working with Aboriginal inmates and the community, Elder support is crucial.

15The Aboriginal Gang Initiative Report, 2003

16Aboriginal Gang Initiative - RMAF - December 2002


Government

The Aboriginal Justice Strategy, announced in 1996, provides funding to community-based justice programs aimed at reducing the rates of crime and incarceration among Aboriginal people. The Strategy also focuses on assisting Aboriginal people to assume greater responsibility for administration of justice within their communities, and making the mainstream justice system more sensitive to the needs and culture of Aboriginal communities. In the 2001 Speech from the Throne, the federal Government of Canada made a commitment to support the goals of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy by renewing the Strategy for another five years.17

Criminal justice partners and stakeholders recognize the Aboriginal view that disruption of communal norms or the natural law as upsetting the balance in relationships which in turn has consequences in a spiritual reality. The restorative approach in Aboriginal society seeks to repair harm done and to restore balance to broken relationships.18

Canada has committed to reducing the "percentage of Aboriginal people entering the criminal justice system, so that it is no higher than the Canadian average."19 As such, there are a number of criminal justice initiatives that are designed to support this goal in partnership with the Aboriginal community by striving to reduce the number of Aboriginal gang members that come into conflict with the law.

Aboriginal issues have always been a top priority for the government, particularly with regard to the welfare and security of Aboriginal and other citizens of Canada. Previous speeches from the Throne have expressed concern about the high rates of Aboriginal offenders in the justice system and the necessity for stronger anti-gang laws. The Speech from the Throne at the opening of the first session of Canada's 37 th Parliament noted:

Emerging organized crime has been, and remains, a challenge for society and governments of all levels. Correctional Service Canada, the government body responsible for penal institutions and the safe reintegration of offenders into the community as law-abiding citizens, is committed to fighting and preventing crime in its institutions. Policies have been developed to better manage gangs operating in the federal prison system. Commissioner's Directive 57620 noted the seriousness of the threat caused by organized crime, and the need to have effective programs to reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Strong and safe communities are an essential part of our society. They are critical to providing Canadians with the security to build a better future for themselves, their families, and to attract talented people from around the world to come and make their home here.

Canadian communities whether urban or rural, Aboriginal or multicultural, face diverse challenges and have unique needs. The Government of Canada is therefore coordinating actions and programs to help build solutions to local challenges.

The emergence of a focus on Aboriginal offenders in corrections began with the implementation of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) in 1992. The legislation committed the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to recognize the distinct needs of Aboriginal offenders and the need to work cooperatively with Aboriginal communities to address these needs. Sections 79-84 of the CCRA provide the framework for moving forward with a responsible, effective Aboriginal-based approach to providing institutional and community correctional programs and services to Aboriginal offenders.

In 1995, Commissioner's Directive (CD) 702, "Aboriginal Programming", was implemented to ". ensure that Aboriginal offenders were provided with an equitable opportunity to practice their culture and traditions without discrimination and with the opportunity to implement traditional Aboriginal healing practices". The CD enshrined the rights of Aboriginal offenders to practice and revitalize cultural traditions and customs. It also ensured that the needs of Aboriginal offenders were identified, such that CSC could respond appropriately.

Prior to the Effective Corrections Initiative (ECI), CSC's capacity to fully implement the legislated requirements of the CCRA and guidelines of CD 702, and therefore address the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in prison, was limited. CSC did not have a clear direction on, or approach to, Aboriginal offenders. A variety of local program initiatives (mostly in the Prairies Region) were in place to supplement the work of Elders and Native Liaison Officers. The focus at that time was on institutional service delivery, which addressed culture, spirituality and traditions.

"Effective corrections are about distinguishing between offenders who need to be separated from society from those who could be better managed in the community" (TB Decision, July 27, 2000). Through funding for the Effective Corrections Initiative, CSC strives to address the legislated obligations outlined in the CCRA Section 79-84 for Aboriginal offenders. Specifically, the "Corrections Continuum of Care" for Aboriginal offenders recognizes the need to continue to offer spiritual, cultural and traditional services, and attempts to involve Aboriginal communities in every aspect of corrections.21 The "Continuum of Care" addresses offender assessment, intervention and release in the federal correctional system. The process works to facilitate a continuity of programs and services (and where practicable - custody), preferably but not exclusively in an Aboriginal community.

As part of this "Continuum", CSC determines the next steps, service gaps and best practices for the continued implementation of effective corrections for Aboriginal offenders. The institutional environment utilizes Aboriginal-specific personnel and interventions to best meet the needs of Aboriginal offenders while they are incarcerated and to prepare them for a successful transition and reintegration into the community. In the community, CSC strives to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to provide care, treatment and reintegration support for Aboriginal offenders upon release. This support is instrumental to reducing recidivism among Aboriginal offenders.

This evaluation report is an amalgamation of the findings related to four initiatives funded under the ECI and relating to Aboriginal reintegration. They are: Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs), Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI), Pathways Ranges, and the National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections (NAWG).

17Speech from the Throne, January 30, 2001.

18See Appendix "B"

19Speech from the Throne, January 30, 2001.

20Management of Gangs/Organized Crime - CD 576 Article 1 - April 1996.

21The concept of the Continuum of Care was developed by the Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, CSC.

 

PATHWAYS HEALING RANGES

Introduction:

In September 2001, CSC approved the Aboriginal Pathways in Federal Corrections strategy, and in November of that year, a planning framework was created for the development of regional implementation plans. Pathways was presented and accepted as a complete regime that would intensify efforts and resources in the following ways:

  • Build a continuum of Aboriginal-specific services from intake to release through establishing specialised Aboriginal orientation units and healing units within existing correctional facilities;
  • Develop national assessment measures for Aboriginal offenders and deliver programs specifically tailored to meet the healing and correctional needs of Aboriginal offenders;
  • Integrate Aboriginal programming, case management, offender services, security; and
  • Recruit, deploy and retain dedicated Aboriginal correctional multi-disciplinary staff teams to all Pathways healing environments.

Pathways Ranges:

The objectives of the Pathways Ranges are to focus on the provision of Aboriginal-specific institutional healing programs and services and to provide the appropriate cultural support to Aboriginal offenders in order to reduce their re-incarceration rate and increase their chances at successfully reintegrating into the community.

Transfer to the Pathways Ranges is voluntarily and subject to screening by the Elder(s) and Case Management Team (usually at the Unit Board). Offenders who reside on this unit have greater access to Elders, Native Liaison Officers, Aboriginal staff and Aboriginal-specific programming than in the general population. The Pathways Ranges are to be viewed as a healing environment, free of gang influence, where all issues can be addressed without fear of recrimination. Although the concept of Aboriginal people working with Aboriginal offenders may seem straightforward, the implementation is not, given the complexity of the institutional environment.

Locations of the Pathways Ranges:

At present, there are four Pathways Ranges in operation: Saskatchewan Penitentiary (2), Stony Mountain Institution, and La Macaza Institution.

- Ni-Miikana, the Pathways Range at Stony Mountain Institution (medium-security) was opened on May 27 th , 2002.

- Saskatchewan Penitentiary Maximum Institution was opened on July 29 th , 2002. An additional medium-security level range was opened in 2003.

- La Macaza Institution (medium-security) was opened on April 2002. (Note: This unit was closed summer 2003 and re-established in December 2003).

Full-scale implementation of the Pathways Strategy would include an Aboriginal orientation unit in each region; healing units in maximum, medium, minimum, and multi-level security institutions in each region; and various Aboriginal community initiatives in all regions. The Pathways ranges represent a critical building block in the implementation of the Pathways Strategy.

Description of the Ranges:

Ni-Miikana Range "My Road":

The Ni-Miikana range is located in one of the two-level ranges of Unit 2 at Stony Mountain Institution. It provides a capacity of 48 beds with an additional cell that is wheelchair accessible. Since it opened in May 2002, the range has been consistently at or near capacity. For three consistent months, the range was at its maximum capacity of 49 beds. Recent construction in the institution has resulted in additional cells on each range. Upon completion, Ni-Miikana's cell capacity will be increased to 52 (plus accessible cell).

With the concentrated population of offenders involved in the traditional path, as well as the emphasis by the Offender Management Review Board (OMRB) placed on the Elder Assessment Tool, the workload (interviewing, counseling and documentation) has been considerable for one Native Liaison Officer. At any given time, Ni-Miikana's Liaison Officer has an active case load of between 50 and 60 offenders that includes some follow-up with offenders transferred to other institutions. The Elder, the Elder's Helper, and Liaison keep statistical records of the number of offender contacts and type of contacts that are made for each month. Responsibilities are often shared with other Aboriginal staff members so as to meet the demand and needs of the offenders on Ni-Miikana.

The following programs have been accessible for the offenders who reside on Ni-Miikana:

  • Traditional Circle Program - The program goals are to promote personal growth and change through the sharing of personal experience and traditional teachings, as well as to teach and provide guidance using the circle as part of spiritual growth.
  • Traditional Parenting Program - The program is designed to assist offenders develop and improve the understanding and skills required to successfully relate to their families and particularly to their children through traditional teachings.
  • In Search of Your Warrior - This program is an Aboriginal high intensity violence prevention program that is offered in the Prairie, Pacific and Quebec regions.
  • Elder Assessment Process - The Elder assessment is a unique process provided by Elders to the case management team to assist the case management team in determining the participation level and completion of Aboriginal programs involving Aboriginal offenders in Aboriginal culture, traditions and spirituality.
  • Métis Survivor Wellness Program - This program is delivered in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. facilitators. The program provides Métis offenders an opportunity to address the impact of physical and sexual abuses that occurred in residential schools to themselves, family members, and community members.
  • Métis Offender Employment Program - Offered in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation Inc., the program refers Métis offenders to an employment officer who can assist Métis federal inmates in securing employment and training upon release to community.

Saskatchewan Penitentiary Range:

To live on the Pathways range, offenders must generally have an interest in following Aboriginal Spirituality (walk the Red Path), and must participate in programs offered on the range. The following programs have been accessible for the offenders who reside on Pathways Range:

Elder's Healing Plan Program (See Appendix A), and Aboriginal Programs:

•  Family life improvement plan
•  In Search of Your Warrior
•  SOAAR-ASAP (Aboriginal substance abuse program)
•  Aboriginal sex offender program
•  Aboriginal parenting program
•  Healing in Wellness Program

Evaluation Objectives:

The objective of the Pathways Ranges can be summarized as follows:

  • To establish a range of Aboriginal-specific institutional programs and services and to provide the appropriate cultural support to inmates in order to reduce their re-incarceration rate and to increase their chances to successfully reintegrate into the community.

As such, in order to assess the success of the ranges against this objective, the ERB in consultation with AIB staff and project managers of the Pathways ranges, devised the following evaluation objectives:

Objective 1:

  • To assess the extent to which Pathways Ranges/Units are promoted and utilized as an alternative reintegration approach for Aboriginal inmates;

Objective 2:

  • To assess the extent to which culturally appropriate programs are offered, utilized and supported within the institution;

Objective 3:

  • To assess the extent to which the Pathways Units contribute to increased reintegration and reduced re-incarceration of Aboriginal inmates.

Evaluation Methodology:

The goals and objectives of the Pathways Initiative were evaluated through a combination of interviews with key stakeholders, and analyses of data extracted from the Offender Management System. The site visit to Stony Mountain Institution was conducted in December 2003. The visit to Saskatchewan Penitentiary was conducted in January 2004. A preliminary consultation was conducted at La Macaza Institution in September 2003. During the visit the team spoke at length with the Manager (AWCP) and the project lead. La Macaza Institution adopted a very different approach to their Pathways range than either Stony Mountain Institution or Saskatchewan Penitentiary due to the relatively small size of its Aboriginal population. Both Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary are in a position to actively recruit and screen candidates for their ranges given their Aboriginal populations (58% and 63% respectively).22 La Macaza's Pathways range did not meet the objectives of the program. Specifically, institutional healing programs and services and cultural support were not delivered to all inmates on the range. This was due to significant administrative and population management issues which led to the placement of all institution's Aboriginal offenders on the same range, regardless of their willingness to participate in the specific Pathways activities and programs. As a result, the institution decided in the late fall of 2003 to close the existing range and to integrate the inmates into the institutional population. The Pathways range is currently being reconstituted using the Prairie model with defined entrance and exit criteria. Entrance criteria will include a willingness to follow the Red Path and to participate in programs and other activities offered on and off the range. When offenders are accepted onto a Pathways range, they agree not to participate in any gang, drug or other criminal activity. There is an understanding that any breach of this agreement would result in an inmate being removed from the range. A decision was made by the evaluation team, in consultation with the DG Aboriginal Initiatives and the institutional managers, that a follow-up visit to the institution would be postponed until the new fiscal year, to allow the re-structured range an opportunity to be fully implemented.

22Corporate Reporting System, Performance Assurance, Correctional Service of Canada

Financial Expenditures23:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development to Institutional Initiatives in order to establish the Pathways Ranges. As such, there were no fiscal or Treasury Board allocations specific to the initiative. Current and planned expenditures for the Pathways Ranges are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

-

-

-

-

-

-

Adjustments

-

116,000

795,000

1,080,000

960,000

2,951,000

Actuals

-

116,000

795,000

1,080,000

960,000

2,951,000

23Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Findings and Results:

Finding 1:

  • From the forty-three inmates interviewed and thirty-three staff members, it is evident that there is a high level of understanding amongst staff members and inmates as to the purpose of the Pathways ranges. There is also a significant amount of support for the activities and purpose of the ranges from staff members and offenders.

The Pathways ranges at Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary are well understood and supported by staff and offenders. Seventy-nine percent (30/38) of the staff members that were interviewed indicated that the purpose of the Pathways range was to provide offenders with an opportunity to live in a healing and culturally supportive environment. Sixty percent (26/43) of the offenders interviewed stated that the purpose of the Pathways Range is for culture, tradition, and spirituality.

When compared to other ranges, the Pathways Range was viewed as a safer and more respectful place. This view was shared by both staff and inmates. Forty percent of offenders said that "the atmosphere on the Range is more relaxing, respected and more helpful; there is more togetherness, more of a sense of community". When staff were asked what makes the Pathways range different from the others in the institution, over half (56%) responded that the Range is more healing and relaxing because counselling is available, and since the Range is based on spiritual beliefs and Aboriginal culture, the offenders are allowed to practice traditional Aboriginal ceremonies. This perception has contributed to the significant interest amongst offenders in moving to these ranges and to its acceptance by staff.

In general, the Pathways Ranges at Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary were viewed as positively contributing to the offenders' reintegration efforts and to the stability of the institution. Ninety-five percent of those interviewed indicated that there should be a physically separate range which would offer programs and services specific to the Pathways initiative. When questioned further as to whether such separation could/would lead to the offenders being labelled and stigmatised, the majority of respondents replied that this was not the case for their particular range. Specifically, of the inmates interviewed, 94% reported that they have interactions with inmates outside the range, and almost all interactions were viewed as positive (94%). Similarly, 76% of inmates reported interactions with staff outside their range, and 67% of them viewed the interactions as positive. In summary, the range is seen in a very positive light by all concerned - desired by offenders due to the increased range of programs, ceremonies and most importantly, Elder access; and respected by staff because it appears to be making a substantial impact on the offenders living on the range. Both staff and offenders believe that Pathways is accomplishing what it set out to do and that it is an initiative worth continuing.

Much of the success of Pathways is attributable to the extensive amount of work done prior to the opening of the ranges, as well as to the continued and active engagement of the project managers. Managers in both institutions (Stony Mountain and Saskatchewan Penitentiary) engaged staff and offenders on a regular basis to inform them of the progress of the Pathways Ranges, and to seek input into their implementation design. Stony Mountain Institution took a more formal approach in the staffing of its range by soliciting volunteers to work with the range on a semi-permanent basis and then engaging all of the range staff in an intensive two-week cultural awareness program. The project manager was also successful in gaining the support of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO) in the establishment of a side roster. The side roster comprises a group of correctional staff assigned to work exclusively on the Pathways Range. This group of staff have been an integral in maintaining continuity of contact with offenders and stability on the range, and have promoted the establishment of more open relationships between staff and offenders. Saskatchewan Penitentiary has not enjoyed the same level of success in creating a side roster and a stable core of personnel to work with the offenders. However, efforts are ongoing in this regard and the personnel that are in place are dedicated to making the initiative work.

One of the clearest indications of the success of Pathways and the support accorded by management is the decision by Saskatchewan Penitentiary to open and internally fund a Pathways range in the medium-security section of the institution.24 Given the afore-mentioned positive aspects attributed to the range, management established that there was also a need to provide a similar-type environment at the Medium security level. Specifically, upon transfer to a lower security level, those who participated in the Pathways initiative could continue progressing with programs and services similar to those that were offered through the Maximum security Pathways Range.

Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary have adopted slightly different approaches to the implementation of their Pathways ranges. Stony Mountain Institution has a fairly exclusive approach in that the range provides enhanced services to its residents. Some of the services and ceremonies such as Sweats, Drum Circles, and Feasts etc., are limited to Pathways offenders. Programs such as In Search of Your Warrior are provided to general population and are open to all eligible offenders. While those who participate in the Stony Mountain Institution Pathways initiative continue to have considerable interaction with staff and offenders outside of the range, there is an understanding that they are pursuing a different path. The secure and supportive nature of the range promotes the pursuit of healing.

Saskatchewan Penitentiary has adopted an approach that, in comparison to Stony Mountain Institution, is more open. The Pathways range at Saskatchewan Penitentiary has a smaller number of programs that are limited to its residents. One of the key exceptions to this openness is the Escorted Temporary Absence (ETA) program run by the Pathways Elders and Native Liaison Officers. This program is very active and last fiscal year had more than 100 successful ETAs. These ETAs (unusual for a medium-security population) are integral to the learning, healing and eventual reintegration of offenders. Aside from the immediate benefits (teachings, program involvement, giving back to the community), the ETAs establish credibility for the offender and in many cases was used as the mechanism for transfer to minimum-security institutions. While ETAs from maximum-security institutions are extremely limited in scope and are rare, the offenders of the maximum-security Pathways range engaged in a form of ETA when they spent two days in the institutional yard engaging in ceremonies with the Elder. The Warden supported this unusual step (as did the Regional Deputy Commissioner) because the offenders had reached a plateau in their progress and a means needed to be found to continue within the confines of the maximum-security setting. A two-day "ETA" to the yard was proposed by the Elder and accepted by the administration after consultation with the appropriate union. The "ETA" was viewed as a success in that the inmates were reportedly focussed on engaging in the ceremonies. Subsequent to this "ETA", nine (9) of the offenders were re-classified and transferred to medium-security.

Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary employ alternative dispute settlement mechanisms and have Elder-guided alternatives to segregation programs, such as healing circles, talking circles, mediation circles, and sharing circles. These approaches are firmly rooted in Aboriginal culture and teachings. Interviews conducted with Elders and Pathways Project Managers indicated that these approaches are proving successful in effectively managing difficult situations and individuals. The ranges still have recourse to traditional correctional processes such as segregation, institutional charges and movement to other ranges. However, the nature of these ranges promotes the use of less punitive measures. Far from being viewed as "soft," the use of traditional approaches is perceived as more demanding by offenders due to the reliance on accountability to the "community", in this case the range residents and staff. Offenders respect these approaches and those who cannot or do not, quickly leave the unit.

Both Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary have operated near or at full capacity since opening. The existence of waiting lists is essential to the integrity of the ranges' operations. The absence of a waiting list comprised of ideal Pathways candidates had adverse effects in the maximum-security Pathways range. After initial success with Pathways offenders on this range, the unit was unable to maintain a stable voluntary core of offenders to continue, as successful "graduates" were transferred to medium-security institutions and replaced by maximum-security offenders from other institutions. Transfers to the range were dictated by regional population management pressures and not guided by screening for appropriate candidates. Interviews with staff and project managers indicated that, as a result, non-participants and disruptive offenders were transferred to the Pathways Range and destabilized the program. Management at Saskatchewan Penitentiary actively searched for a solution to the situation and found one in re-orienting the range such that the goals and objectives of the Range, and consequently the identification of appropriate candidates, were more formalized at a regional level. After securing agreement from the Regional Management Committee (RMC), Saskatchewan Penitentiary began work with other institutions in the Prairie region to create a regional waiting list for admission to the maximum-security Pathways range. Stringent selection criteria for program entry will assist in ensuring that suitable inmates are identified. The shift from a local to regional focus is quite recent and will take time to demonstrate results. However, the previously noted behavioral changes and successful transfers to lower-security level institutions suggest that a re-vitalized range can be successful in the long run.

24There was never an "official" opening of the medium unit as it is unfunded. The decision was made locally that re-aligning current resources to move in this direction was worthwhile. The range "officially" opened November 2002 with 23 beds and expanded to 46 beds in October 2003.

Finding 2:

  • All three ranges are centred on Aboriginal teachings and culture. These programs are well utilised and are generally supported within the respective institutions.

Both Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary have an established range of Aboriginal programs including CSC's core Aboriginal programs, In Search of Your Warrior, and Aboriginal Substance Abuse Programs . A more complete listing of program offerings can be found in Appendix A. At Stony Mountain Institution, interviews with staff and inmates indicated that resources are effectively and appropriately allocated. When asked whether they felt the Ni-Miikana range was sufficiently resourced with enough Elders, Helpers, Native Liaison Officers and CSC staff to address the needs of the offenders on the range, 79% of inmates and 75% of staff responded positively. Likewise, at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, 75% of CSC staff responded positively to this question, while only 45% and 21% of inmates in the medium and maximum security units, respectively, agreed. This response from inmates at Saskatchewan Penitentiary was not surprising, given the previously noted issues associated with the more operational use of the ranges.

Lastly, it is important to note that the relatively high workload of the Native Liaison Officers (the primary interface with the case management system) is of concern. In both Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary, Native Liaison Officers carry an average caseload of well over thirty offenders.

Finding 3:

  • Initial indications are that Pathways participants are more likely to transfer to lower security, and thus enhance their opportunity for conditional release.

The primary objective of the Pathways ranges is to create a supportive environment for the offender in which they can actively engage their healing journeys and correctional plans. This is done in order to facilitate the inmates' successful release to the community. Although early, results indicate the Pathways ranges are contributing to the process of an inmate's successful reintegration into the community.

Initial indications are that Pathways participants are more likely to transfer to lower security, and thus enhance their opportunities for discretionary release. In fact, a comparison of Pathways participants with a matched group25 revealed that those exposed to the Pathways Ranges were more likely to have received a discretionary release than those not exposed to the Ranges (37% vs. 22%, p<.05). Further, although analyses for offenders who were released and available for a one year follow up period ( N =44) revealed no significant differences across outcome measure (technical revocations and new offences), there was a trend for the Pathways participants to recidivate26 at lower rates than non-participants (17% vs. 35%, respectively).

During the course of the site visit the evaluation team encountered one unintended finding - there is a lack of collaboration between Stony Mountain Institution and the adjacent minimum-security Rockwood Institution which is impeding the transfer of inmates participating in the Pathways initiative to lower security levels. Interviews with management and staff at both institutions revealed differing views; specifically concerning which experiences and behaviours are relevant in contributing to an inmate's reclassification to lower security. The discord between the two institutions was recognised by all those interviewed as impeding the transfer of offenders from Ni-Miikana to Rockwood; however, no one was able to suggest how the impasse could be resolved. What is clear is that the situation needs to be resolved quickly if Ni-Miikana is to have continued success in cascading its offenders to lower security.

25The Pathways Initiative participant group was matched with a sample of federal offenders, incarcerated on November 1 st , 2001. Matching criteria were current federal institution security level and region, sentence length, risk level and age at time of admission. These matching criteria introduced controls for time, opportunity and tendency in the research design. The random sample was also stratified on ethnicity clusters to ensure that comparisons reflected exposure to the AGI program rather than characteristics associated with a particular ethnic demographic of the offender population.

26Recidivism is defined as any return to federal custody with a new offence, including returns with outstanding charges.

Recommendations:

- That the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) continue to utilize Pathways Healing Ranges as an effective approach in meeting the healing and correctional needs of Aboriginal offenders, and consider expanding the number of Ranges to other areas of the country where needed.

- That the CSC ensure resources are adequately dedicated to the Pathways Healing Ranges such that the goals and objectives of the Ranges are met.

- That the CSC support the Pathways Ranges by encouraging and promoting collaboration with other programs and healing initiatives that complement the work of the Pathways Ranges, such as the Escorted Temporary Absence program at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

- That the CSC ensure that more detailed information is collected with respect to entry and exit of inmates to the Pathways Ranges. This would facilitate more detailed analyses of performance indicators, such as involvement in institutional incidents and program participation, while on the Ranges.

 

ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS (ACDO)

Introduction:

Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs) were hired in each region, in order to develop a national infrastructure for consistent delivery of Aboriginal community correctional initiatives.

Atlantic and Quebec Region

One ACDO appointed in February 2001

Ontario Region

Two ACDOs appointed in early Fall 2001

Prairie Region One ACDO appointed in Alberta in June 2001
One ACDO appointed in Saskatchewan in July 2001
One ACDO appointed in Manitoba in September 2001
Pacific Region

Two ACDOs hired in mid-summer 2001 and another two in winter 2002

The first year of the project, fiscal year 2000-2001, predominantly involved the development of the program, as the ACDOs gained knowledge about their positions, CSC, and developed workplans for their regions. A manager in the Aboriginal Initiatives Branch was assigned this project to ensure effective development and implementation of the initiative. To encourage strong partnerships with area Parole Offices, most of the positions are located in the District Parole Offices. The last of the current ACDOs was hired in late 2002.

As outlined in the descriptions of work, the ACDOs' roles and activities have centred on the following areas:

  • Promoting the provisions of Section 84 and increasing Aboriginal Community involvement through awareness and training in the Aboriginal Community;
  • Providing awareness training for Parole Officers and the National Parole Board;
  • Promoting the provisions of Section 84 and increasing offender awareness of these provisions;
  • Promoting the involvement of the Aboriginal community in Federal Institutions; and
  • Implementing measures to ensure consistent follow-up where Section 84 has been identified as an option for an offender.

Evaluation Objectives

Through extensive discussions with AIB staff and the ACDOs, the ERB devised the following evaluation objectives:

Objective 1:

  • To assess the extent to which Aboriginal Community Development Officers have engaged in community and institutional consultation.

Objective 2:

  • To assess the extent to which the Aboriginal Community Development Officers have had an impact on the provision of effective and efficient services..

Objective 3:

  • To assess the overall impact that ACDOs have had on the Section 81/84 development process.

Evaluation Methodology:

The goals and objectives of the ACDO initiative were evaluated through a combination of interviews with key stakeholders, and analyses of data extracted from the Offender Management System. Site visits for this evaluation were conducted in the Prairie (all three provinces), Pacific and Ontario Regions. The site visits were supplemented by telephone interviews conducted with both institutional and community-based Parole Officers. After a conference call with the ACDOs and the Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, it was decided that the evaluation team would revisit some regions (Prairie and Pacific) in order to conduct site visits at minimum security level institutions that were excluded from the initial site selections. Evaluation and Review Branch staff completed additional visits to the Prairie (Hobbema, Stan Daniels, Edmonton Parole and Bowden) and Pacific (William Head, Victoria and Elbow Lake) regions.

Financial Expenditures27:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development towards Aboriginal Community Reintegration, from which a portion was allocated to the ACDOs. Current and planned expenditures for Aboriginal Community Development Officers are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

500,000

550,000

550,000

550,000

550,000

2,700,000

Adjustments

(74,000)

(94,000)

140,000

(58,000)

(44,000)

(130,000)

Actuals

426,000

456,000

690,000

492,000

506,000

2,570,000

27Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004.

Findings and Results:

Finding 1:

  • The ACDO function is relatively new, but progress has been made in expanding CSC's contacts and engagement with Aboriginal communities. This has been achieved by expanding the knowledge base of staff, offenders, and the National Parole Board (NPB) in regards to Section 84 consultations/implementation issues.

A priority for the ACDOs is to assist in raising the level of awareness of Aboriginal offenders' rights and responsibilities in relation to Section 84. This is accomplished through the development of educational materials, awareness training sessions, and workshops. Offender awareness is critical as the Section 84 process is offender-driven and does not formally commence until the offender makes a written request to the Aboriginal community for their involvement in his/her release planning. As part of this process, CSC has begun using the "Federal Aboriginal Offenders" pamphlet originally developed by the Prairie Region, as a standard communication tool. This pamphlet outlines the purpose and meaning of Section 84 of the CCRA, and its implications for Aboriginal offenders and their preparation for community reintegration. This pamphlet is widely available throughout the majority of institutions, and is available in French, English and Inuktitut. Given the unique nature of their work (specifically as a Section 84 facilitator based in the community), ACDOs have had to find innovative ways of communicating with offenders. One such approach is their participation in the "Reintegration Fairs" that have been recently mounted by Saskatchewan Penitentiary and Riverbend Institution. Through joint institutional visits with the Métis Justice Committee, the ACDO in Saskatchewan has been able to effectively collaborate with Métis offenders and their communities an effort to create links between the two parties.

ACDOs are engaged in providing staff awareness to CSC staff members and contractors to ensure that they understand their responsibilities and roles in the process. As per their workplans, ACDOs actively provide awareness training to both Institutional and Community Parole Officers, key individuals in the successful implementation and utilisation of Section 84. Each region has delivered training, to varying degrees, to Parole Officers, through workshops and through regular training. In addition, the Quebec region has implemented a three-hour training session into the new Parole Officers' training sessions. The Aboriginal Initiatives Branch is currently working toward implementing this training in all regions. Institutional Parole Officers, Elders and Native Liaison Officers are all key players in Section 84 implementation. Aboriginal offenders are informed of Section 84 in the early stages of their sentences, usually (but not exclusively) during their intake assessments. In all three intake units visited by the evaluation team, staff and offenders responded that the information was provided during the intake process. The provision of Section 84 information should continue beyond the initial offender intake process in order to assist inmates in making informed decisions prior to their parole eligibility dates. However, there were indications that relevant Section 84 information was not communicated beyond this process. Specifically, after speaking with one hundred Parole officers (76 Institutional Parole officers and 24 Community Parole officers), sixty-one percent (61/100) said the ACDO had never met with them in an awareness training context. Collaborations amongst Parole Officers, Elders, Native Liaison Officers and ACDOs that continue throughout the course of an offender's sentence would better facilitate an informed decision at the time of release.

To increase the ability of institutional staff to work with Aboriginal communities in release planning, all regions have developed, or are in the process of developing, a compendium of Aboriginal community resources such as community services available for offenders, and a list of communities with which CSC currently holds Section 84 agreements with. These compendiums will be placed on the CSC Intranet to ensure easy access by staff. The creation of these compendiums has also increased the involvement of Aboriginal communities in institutions.

ACDOs are responsible for liaising and informing Aboriginal communities about Section 84. Across the country, ACDOs have contacted over 300 Aboriginal communities and organisations and provided them with information on Section 84 and Section 81. Communities are slowly being introduced to the institutional environment. Invitations to participate in gatherings, socials, healing circles and Pow Wows provide opportunities to meet offenders and make connections. This participation also provides opportunities for communities to share their own traditions and cultures and to offer support to offenders. As connections among CSC staff, offenders and communities are made; Aboriginal communities are becoming increasingly involved in pre-release planning. As more Section 84 release plans are developed, the numbers of Parole Hearings attended by community members are increasing. For example, the Pacific Region now has 9 community members who have received security clearances to facilitate their access to institutions.

Communities are also beginning to take a lead in this area. Community Forums are being planned across the country, with the specific purpose of discussing their role in justice and corrections. The work done by ACDOs in raising awareness and in involving communities in the federal correctional process has played a large role in the creation of these Forums.

In order to ensure clear, consistent and accurate communications with Aboriginal communities, and to clarify the role of institutional staff and the community in the area of Section 84, a community information package is being developed by the AIB. The package, to be used nationally, will include information outlining the step-by-step process of release planning and the opportunities for communities to be involved through Section 84. This will assist in clarifying the various misconceptions about the Section 84 process that are held by staff, offenders and Aboriginal communities alike.

Involvement with the National Parole Board (NPB) occurred in various ways throughout the country. According to ACDOs interviewed in the Pacific, Prairie, and Ontario regions, training opportunities continue to be pursued, and NPB members are involved in the following ways:

In the Quebec Region, the NPB Regional Manager sits on the Aboriginal Advisory Committee;

In the Atlantic Region, CSC's Aboriginal Initiatives Branch and the NPB participate in weekly briefings to discuss relevant issues, participate in the delivery of training for new NPB members and are continuously exploring opportunities for partnering;

In the Ontario Region, CSC's Aboriginal Initiatives Branch works very closely with the NPB, defining Section 84 and providing updates of regional developments.

Finding 2:

  • Uncertainty exists amongst staff members and inmates regarding the meaning of Section 84. Some staff members believe that it is a discretionary clause to be used if supporting an inmate's parole application.

In spite of the significant time and effort invested by the ACDOs in providing accurate information, interviews with staff and offenders revealed there were misconceptions concerning the Section 84 process. Of the 192 offenders and 101 staff interviewed, many indicated they thought that Section 84 consultations must be made with the offender's home community. The perceived requirement to deal with the offender's home community combined with the belief that the process is long and arduous, has resulted in a reluctance on the part of Parole Officers to explore Section 84 with offenders, despite the legislated requirement to do so. At the same time, many offenders have opted for more contemporary means of release planning (e.g., half-way houses in urban settings) rather than pursue Section 84 with an Aboriginal community. As well, offenders continue to believe that Section 84 provides them with an avenue by which they will be able to circumvent the normal release process. Specifically, they feel that Section 84 allows them to serve time in an Aboriginal facility which has a security environment lower than that of their present situation, or to considerably reduce their time of incarceration altogether. Neither of these assumptions is true, as the Section 84 process is part of release planning which has as its central focus risk management. These misconceptions can be clarified through education, awareness and information sharing.

Finding 3:

  • The high turnover of Parole Officers and high number of people temporarily in these positions28 significantly impacts on the Section 84 process and the ability of the ACDOs to complete their work.

As noted above, ACDOs have been actively involved in the provision of formal and informal staff awareness training. One of the more significant challenges for them in this regard is the high number of actors in Parole Officer positions and the subsequent turnover and loss of continuity when those actors return to their substantive posts. This problem is not unique to the work of ACDOs, but given that the Parole Officer is instrumental in the case management process, the frequent turnover of staff not only creates a need for continual training in this area, but often significantly impedes the Section 84 process as the new Parole Officer becomes familiar with the case. As was indicated throughout the course of interviews with Institutional Parole Officers, the Section 84 process is often suspended until the Parole Officer becomes familiar with a particular offender's case. This occurs even in those cases for which there is support on file from the previous Parole Officer. This lack of continuity in the case management process is a concern for the Service at large, and efforts are underway to regularise individuals in these positions.

28Such as an acting assignment, where an employee is required to perform temporarily the duties of a higher classification level for at least the qualifying period specified in the collective agreement or the terms and conditions of employment applicable to the employee's substantive level.

Finding 4:

  • To enhance the ability to provide effective and efficient services, the Prairie and Pacific Regions have added contracts for additional help (In-reach workers and Community Liaison, respectively). This team approach appears to be working well in terms of increasing awareness amongst the Aboriginal community and inmates as to the process and benefits of Section 84.

The challenge of conducting outreach work to Aboriginal communities is enormous. All of the ACDOs have devised strategies to independently manage a large territory. While there are growing urban Aboriginal communities, the majority remain in rural and remote areas. Establishing and maintaining contact with these communities often leads to significant amounts of time spent by ACDOs travelling alone. In the Saskatchewan region, one of the strategies employed to address this issue has been the division of labour and the hiring of a contract person to assume some of the ACDOs' responsibilities. In the Winnipeg area, a Community Native Liaison Officer has been hired to work almost exclusively with Winnipeg's Aboriginal communities, which has allowed the ACDO to focus on the institutions and the rural communities. In Saskatchewan, another Liaison Officer has been hired on a part-time basis to provide information to offenders on the Intake Unit as part of their orientation process. In Vancouver, a Community Liaison Officer works out of an urban Section 81 facility and facilitates the Section 84 process in the Vancouver area. The redistribution of some of the ACDOs' responsibilities to other staff members has increased their ability to actively engage Aboriginal communities; however, the positions are understaffed given the enormity of the territories to be covered and the number of Aboriginal communities to be engaged. Serious consideration should be given to increasing the number of ACDOs based on the number of Aboriginal offenders and the geographic size of the region.

Much of the focus for Section 81 and 84 has been on First Nations communities, even though at least half or more of all offenders are released to urban settings. Significant community development and capacity building in the urban centers is required to prepare communities to receive and support recently released offenders. For this reason, funding was provided to the regions for fiscal year 2003-2004 only, for the establishment of urban transitional support. Regions contracted with an individual or agency to identify and co-ordinate urban services. These contractors worked with ACDOs to develop release plans for offenders, including section 84 release plans, and to assist offenders upon release to access services.

The focus of these community reintegration initiatives was two-fold:

  1. To create a network of Aboriginal-specific resources in urban communities that can provide services to conditionally released Aboriginal offenders; and

  2. To contribute to the release planning process, through section 84 consultations with these agencies, of Aboriginal offenders seeking conditional release to the urban community.

The benefits that accrue from this initiative are the promotion of an increased availability of services for Aboriginal offenders in urban communities and improved access to Parole Officers in urban communities.

Finding 5:

  • Since their introduction, ACDOs have had a tangible impact on the number of successful Section 84 consultations.

According to ACDOs and their supervisors, more than 300 Aboriginal communities and organisations have received information on Section 84 and Section 81 across the country. As can be seen from the table below, community contact has produced demonstrated results. Contact with these communities and organisations occurred through formal presentations, meetings with committees and planned workshops and a booklet entitled, "Enhancing the Role of Aboriginal Communities in Federal Corrections", which explains both Section 81 and 84 of the CCRA and how Aboriginal communities can get involved was widely distributed.

  • The numbers below illustrate the number of Section 84 release plans undertaken prior to and after the implementation of ACDOs. It demonstrates a dramatic difference in the number of Section 84s since the start of the ACDO initiative. Preliminary analyses suggest that, given the reintegration potential for these releases, ACDOs are contributing to the success of Aboriginal offenders by initiating more Section 84 releases. Specifically, analyses for those offenders who were released and available for a one year follow up period ( N =78) revealed no significant differences across outcome measures (such as a return to federal custody with a new offence) when compared to a matched group.29 However, there was a trend for those released through a Section 84 agreement to recidivate30 at lower rates than their matched counterparts (6% vs. 10%, respectively).  

Table Illustrating Pre/Post Section 84 Results

 

Pre-ACDO
(98/99 to 00/01)
Post-ACDO
(01/02 to 03/04)
PACIFIC REGION

 

 

Initiated*

0

73

Successfully Completed**

0

68

In Progress***

0

41

 

 

 

PRAIRIE REGION

 

 

Initiated

11

226

Successfully Completed

11

88

In Progress

0

56

 

 

 

ONTARIO REGION

 

 

Initiated

1

66

Successfully Completed

1 (Urban)

19

In Progress

0

12

 

 

 

QUEBEC REGION

 

 

Initiated

0

20

Successfully Completed

0

11

In Progress

0

7

 

 

 

ATLANTIC REGION

 

 

Initiated

0

4

Successfully Completed

0

1

In Progress

0

3

 

 

 

ALL REGIONS

 

 

Initiated

12

389

Successfully Completed

12

187

In Progress

0

119

*Initiated refers to interest expressed and followed through with, by the community and/or the inmate, whether or not a release plan was created.

**Completed refers to release plans developed and presented to the National Parole Board (NPB) utilizing Section 84 legislation, involving the Aboriginal community, whether or not the NPB granted release.

*** In Progress refers to consultations and release plan development, involving the Aboriginal community, currently underway in preparation for NPB hearing.

Note : 65 of the Section 84 successful completions were in an urban setting, 54 in the Pacific Region, and 11 in the Ontario Region.

29Those who were released through a Section 84 agreement were matched with a sample of federal offenders released in the same time period. Matching criteria were admitting offence (violent/non-violent), age at release, releasing region, ethnicity, and reintegration potential.

30Recidivism is defined as any return to federal custody with a new offence, including returns to federal custody with outstanding charges.

Finding 6:

  • Offenders receiving Statutory Release may also benefit from the Section 84 process.

In the strictest sense of its application, Section 84 applies only to those offenders who are released on some form of discretionary release. However, while Statutory Release is not technically a discretionary release, it is nonetheless a form of release before Warrant Expiry. This group has traditionally posed the highest risk for re-offending and would benefit from the structured release planning and support that is integral to the Section 84 process. Specifically, offenders on SR have been much more likely to be charged with a serious offence than offenders on day or full parole, as they accounted for 49% of charges in the period 1990/91 to 1996/97, while offenders on day and full parole accounted for 23% and 28% respectively.31 Of note is the fact that Aboriginal offenders continue to have higher Statutory Release rates than non-Aboriginals. Given the high return rates for these individuals, CSC would be well served to investigate the effects of continuing the Section 84 process beyond the point of discretionary release eligibility.

31Working Group of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. "CCRA 5 Year Review Statutory Release and Detention Provisions" - February 1998.

Finding 7:

  • There are technical difficulties inherent in OMS for effectively capturing Section 84 information, which is hampering CSC's ability to measure increases in this area.

The tracking of offenders, who indicate an interest in working with a community to develop a Section 84 release plan, has not been consistent. This problem was partly due to the fact that enhancements to the Offender Management System are required to accurately record information related to Section 84 release plans.

To address the issue of tracking, two activities are underway. ACDOs have created a tracking method, in which they record contacts made with offenders, progress made in individual cases and areas requiring follow-up. This method provides the capacity to measure success and progress, without having to rely on OMS. Concurrently, a series of meetings with the OMS renewal team took place to discuss the necessary enhancements to the system. This combined approach ensures that current information and progress are not lost and that future tracking in this area will be possible through OMS.

Recommendations:

- The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) should continue with the Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO) initiative to advance the goal of developing a national infrastructure for consistent delivery of Aboriginal community correctional initiatives.

- The ACDO initiative should be utilized as a means of providing regular and consistent levels of staff and inmate awareness with respect to Section 84.

- The CSC should re-examine the regional ACDO funding structure with a view to re-allocating funds based in large measure on the size of the incarcerated Aboriginal population and the geographic size of the Region.

 

NATIONAL ABORIGINAL WORKING GROUP ON CORRECTIONS (NAWG)

Introduction:

Originally, the NAWG was comprised of the following Aboriginal Organizations: Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Congress of Aboriginal People (CAP), Métis National Council (MNC), Métis National Council of Women (MNCW), Native Women's Association (NWAC) and the Paukuutit Inuit Women's Organisation of Canada. Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, although involved in the NAWG in partnership with Pauktuutit, did not hold a contribution agreement with CSC until 2003-2004. It was recognized that in order to appropriately address the issues of Inuit offenders, it was imperative to formalize the partnership with that organization through a financial commitment. At present, only six of the seven groups hold contribution agreements32 with CSC. According to CSC staff who were interviewed, NAWC's contribution agreement has been terminated but the group continues to participate in most of the NAWG meetings. The Aboriginal Initiatives Branch (AIB) staff who were interviewed stated that CSC would explore the possibility of another contribution agreement with the group at a later date when CSC's NAWG membership criteria and can be met by NWAC. The NAWG's interests are largely a mix of both local and national issues. For example, keeping travel restrictions in mind for numerous Inuit communities, with only 86 incarcerated Inuit offenders across Canada (all of whom are male), ITK and Pauktuutit are in a much better position to address Inuit community leaders directly. In contrast, AFN represents a much larger incarcerated population of 156233 offenders and must make its contributions from a much broader/national perspective.

32National Contribution Program (NCP) is intended to support the Mission of CSC by awarding to recipients conditional payments for conducting activities/programs that are complementary to those of CSC. Conditional payments do not include those related to capital expenditures.

33Source: CSC - Corporate Reporting System - Database as of March 29, 2004

Evaluation Objectives:

Following numerous consultations with the Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, a review of each of the NAWG's member's workplans, contribution agreements, meeting minutes and the draft joint workplan, two key evaluation objectives were developed:

Objective 1:

  • To determine the extent to which the National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections has assisted CSC in validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies (TBS submission requirement).

Objective 2:

  • To review the roles and responsibilities of the NAWG as outlined in each group's individual workplan, and to assess how these correspond to CSC's expectations of the NAWG's approaches, plans, and overall group direction.

Evaluation Methodology:

The NAWG evaluation was completed in March, 2004. Data was collected through key informant interviews (Aboriginal Initiatives Branch staff, NAWG current coordinators and four former NAWG coordinators). A review of the NAWG's draft joint workplan, individual workplans, contribution agreements (both previous and revised), meeting minutes and quarterly/year-end reports was also conducted. In terms of ongoing performance measurement, members of the Evaluation and Review Branch attended a NAWG meeting, attempted to establish any partnerships developed with outside organizations and reviewed ongoing changes in NAWG membership.

Financial Expenditures34:

The Correctional Service Canada was allocated $1.5 million over 5 years to establish the National Aboriginal Working Group (NAWG) on Corrections. Current and planned expenditures for the NAWG are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

 

 

 

 

 

 

TB Allocation

-

330,000

390,000

390,000

390,000

1,500,000

Adjustments

240,000

65,000

125,000

135,000

40,000

605,000

Actuals

240,000

395,000

515,000

525,000

430,000

2,105,000

 

Fiscal 2000-01, $53,000 was reprofiled from Programs; $187,000 was reprofiled from Aboriginal Initiatives base

Fiscal 2001-02, $65,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2002-03, $125,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2003-04, $135,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

Fiscal 2004-05, $40,000 was reprofiled from Healing Lodge Development

34Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004

Findings and Results:

Finding 1:

One of the main ways in which the NAWG addressed the objective of validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies was focused primarily on Section 81/84 development. Since part of the NAWG's role is to provide policy advice on community and institutional based issues, Section 81/84 issues are obviously key issues for the group. Only three of the NAWG's representatives have actually met with an Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO). Interview findings indicated that very little work had been done between the NAWG and the ACDOs. ACDOs are at the forefront of developing the capacity for communities and institutions for Section 84 implementation and one of the NAWG's main focuses is on Section 84 capacity development. Thus, the expectation would be that these two groups would have worked more closely together. In reality, the groups operated as two distinct entities rather than taking advantage of the resources that each had to offer.

Finding 2:

  • Five of the nine NAWG/former NAWG members felt that their recommendations were not received at a level high enough for them to be effective.

Many of the NAWG members expressed concern regarding the NAWG's reporting structure to CSC. Most said they either reported to a Senior Project Manager or to the Director General of the AIB. In general, this group felt that their recommendations should be communicated to the Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada or presented to CSC's Executive Committee (EXCOM). According to the CSC staff who were interviewed, feasible NAWG recommendations are in fact communicated to EXCOM. In relation to this, there was concern expressed that the Director General of the AIB should chair NAWG meetings more often than is currently the case. To establish a clearer picture of what the NAWG has provided in terms of policy advice, a list of the documented recommendations that the NAWG has provided is included in Appendix C. In addition, below is an analysis of the types of recommendations received, including whether the recommendations provided were policy related, funding related, outside the NAWG's intended role, or if the recommendation simply required further clarification. Virtually all of the documented recommendations provided came from meeting minutes and other documents dated no later than April 2002. Note that the NAWG may have provided recommendations beyond this date, but the recommendations provided are an inclusive list of all documented recommendations that could be located at the time of the evaluation. It is clear from some of the types of recommendations provided that the NAWG may not have a clear understanding on what its role is intended to be. For example, the recommendation that "National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs), would like to review any reports that are provided to the 'upper level', prior to the Aboriginal Issues Branch submission". This recommendation confuses a management role with that of an advisory role.

Finding 3:

While 52% ( N =22) of the NAWG's recommendations were related to policy directed toward Aboriginal-specific community and institutional corrections, 73% ( N =16) of those recommendations were deemed feasible and were actioned by CSC. For example, implementing the recommendation for CSC to work in partnership with the two national Inuit organizations assists in ensuring an effective communication strategy is developed between partners. The NAWG also recommended that an examination of Healing Lodges be conducted. The Research report assists in identifying key factors that contribute to the success of the Healing Lodges.35

 

Actioned Not Actioned

Policy Recommendations

16

6

Funding Recommendations

2

1

Outside Role / Misunderstanding of Role Recommendations

0

9

Clarification of Recommendation required

0

8

After a careful review of the documented recommendations provided by the NAWG, twenty-two of the NAWG's forty-two recommendations appeared to be policy recommendations that contribute to the NAWG's ultimate goal of "validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies". Seventy-three percent of these policy related recommendations were deemed feasible at the time, and were actioned. Twenty of the recommendations analyzed however, were considered to be beyond the intended role of the NAWG. As can be seen in the table above, two of the three funding recommendations were acted upon, but seventeen other recommendations either required further clarification or were deemed outside the NAWG's intended role through consultation with AIB staff. Forty-eight (48%) percent (20/42) of the recommendations provided by the NAWG were recommendations related to either funding requirements, recommendations that reflected a misunderstanding of the NAWG's role, or recommendations that required further clarification. Approximately half (52%) of the documented recommendations were policy-related recommendations.

35An Examination of Healing Lodges for Federal Offenders in Canada. Correctional Services Canada, R-130,2002. http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/rsrch/reports/reports-eng.shtml

Finding 4:

  • The NAWG effectively contributed to its policy development/validation objective through its active pursuit of a strong research agenda with CSC stakeholders. Specifically, the NAWG contributed to multiple research projects that focussed on assessing and meeting the needs of Aboriginal offenders. Research collaborations with the NAWG worked towards the successful reintegration of offenders into the community and, ultimately, the enhancement public safety.

Some NAWG members are heavily involved in research activities, some groups are focused on direct community contact and yet others are still focused on more preliminary organizational policy making decisions. According to CSC Research Branch staff who were interviewed, the NAWG has been most useful for the individual contribution of group members. The groups provided useful input for virtually every CSC Aboriginal research project that was undertaken. The group provided valuable input, and regularly attend the National Annual Aboriginal meetings in conjunction with CSC's Research Branch. The majority of research work to date has been done by CSC in consultation with the MNC, AFN, ITK and Paukuutit NAWG membership co-ordinators. Good examples would include AFN's involvement in a research project involving the childhood experiences of Aboriginal offenders, as well as participating in community consultation and needs assessments in partnership with CSC's Research Branch. MNC was involved in the review and presentation of research results, as well as the facilitation of meetings between Métis provincial councils and CSC's Research Branch. This facilitation was related to research conducted on Phase I projects in British Columbia (BC), Manitoba, and Saskatchewan involving the needs of Aboriginal offenders. Phase II research was also conducted in BC and Saskatchewan involving the extent to which communities could offer appropriate services for Métis offenders. MNC had a large role in starting the process and pushing this research agenda. ITK and Paukuutit were involved with CSC's Research Branch in the Evaluation of the Tupiq program as well as an examination of Inuit offender needs. These two groups have also provided advice to the Research Branch on Inuit need areas, types of questions to ask, and visited institutions for the purpose of information sessions.

Finding 5:

  • From the interviews conducted, the ERB has ascertained that the membership criteria for the NAWG's formation was originally not clear enough, and the original contribution agreements lacked accountability.

Four of the twelve persons interviewed felt that NAWG membership was based solely on whether the group had a contribution agreement in place. Two others identified the need for NAWG member organizations to be representative of a national membership. A number of other individuals were uncertain about the criteria for membership in the NAWG. One individual pointed out that there is some discussion across government in general to identify a consistent list of National Aboriginal Organizations. A review of the NAWG's contribution agreements has demonstrated that the original contribution agreements put in place for the NAWG allowed for very little accountability. Due to an increase in travel funding for some of the groups, three of the now six NAWG co-ordinators have revised contribution agreements in place for their respective organizations. These agreements appear to be much stronger in terms of defining issues, and expected outcomes, and in formally linking the group's individual workplans to the joint workplan. At the time of the evaluation, only three representatives of the NAWG had revised contribution agreements in place, namely ITK, CAP and Pauktuutit. AFN, MNC and MNCW are still operating under their initial contribution agreements as indicated above. There is only one year left under the original funding arrangement, and revising the remaining three contribution agreements could potentially take a considerable amount of time and resources to complete.

Finding 6:

  • Based on the interviews conducted, the average time NAWG members/former members have spent on NAWG activities is fifty (50%) to sixty (60%) percent.

It should be noted that there are noticeable differences in responses among individual NAWG members. The responses ranged from ten (10%) percent to one hundred (100%) percent of their time being spent on correctional activities. The AIB is providing funding to the NAWG through the Effective Corrections Initiative with the understanding that the NAWG members spend ninety (90%) to one hundred (100%) percent of their time on NAWG issues and related activities. While it is clear that much of the individual group members' time is spent on correctional-based issues, justice and policing issues are examples of the other multitude of areas these groups are faced with in trying to reduce the number of incarcerated Aboriginal offenders. These types of issues fall directly in line with correctional issues and the NAWG members feel they must address them.

Finding 7:

Considerable uncertainty exists around the joint workplan. Of all the interviews that were completed, some individuals believed it was still in progress and was yet to be implemented, while others believed it was in place and groups were actively pursuing it. If the NAWG is to function effectively as a group, they have to acknowledge the joint workplan as a group. Being cognisant of the fact that the AIB was running under-capacity (minimal staff), without a Director General for approximately eight months, the NAWG was three years into its funding before a joint workplan was developed. A review of all workplans revealed that individual workplans were developed from the joint workplan. As an added point, in the three member organizations with new contribution agreements, there is direct reference made to the joint workplan and how it will serve as the basis for determining their individual workplans.

Recommendations:

- The CSC should continue to further its goals of validating and/or developing new Aboriginal community and institutional correctional policies by encouraging strong linkages and collaborations between national Aboriginal stakeholders and other groups within the Service.

- The CSC should clarify the NAWG's role in such a way that future recommendations provided by the group are well documented, thus better facilitating the validation and development of policy.

- There is a need for CSC to improve upon the mechanism by which NAWG participants are engaged and funded, such that there is a higher degree of clarity with respect to responsibility and accountability issues.

- The Aboriginal Community Development Officers' (ACDOs') roles are directly related to the NAWG's main focus, as these officers are at the forefront of developing the capacity for communities and institutions to implement Aboriginal community integration programs.36 As such, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) should encourage stronger linkages between these groups in order to facilitate reintegration opportunities as specified under Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).

- Discussions with NAWG members/former members revealed that a significant portion of time (40% to 50% in some cases) was spent on criminal justice related activities that were beyond those considered NAWG-related. For example, members of the NAWG were also involved in issues relating to gun-registration and organizational policy development. As such, the CSC should implement a strategy for establishing inter-linkages between the NAWG and other related departments such as the Department of Justice, the RCMP and the National Parole Board (NPB) to better facilitate achievement of overall goals and objectives.

36See Section 84, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

 

ABORIGINAL GANG INITITIATIVE (AGI, BIMOSEWIN)

Introduction

Aboriginal gangs have been identified as negatively impacting the stability of federal institutions in the Prairie region.37 The gang issue and its attendant crime and violence, has become a critical one for both Aboriginal communities and the Correctional Service of Canada. Both groups are struggling to find solutions to this increasingly complex and broadening issue. The Effective Corrections Initiative (ECI) provided CSC with an opportunity to explore and implement new approaches relevant to CSC's Mission Statement.38 Funded under the ECI, the Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI) is part of CSC's response to this problem and is a component of the Service's renewed strategy to address Aboriginal offender reintegration. After an inaugural Steering Committee meeting in August 2001, the Aboriginal Gang Initiative became operational on September 4, 2001 with a staff of five and an ambitious plan to work with the staff and inmates of Stony Mountain Institution and Rockwood Institutions. Bimosewin (formerly the AGI) is "an Aboriginal-specific, programmatic response to the myriad of Aboriginal gang issues . Bimosewin dually targets its energy and resources within federal correctional Institutions and the Aboriginal community".39

Prior to the ECI and Bimosewin, CSC contracted with Mr. Ovide Mercredi to conduct interviews with gang members in the Prairies Region to assess the extent of gang involvement in the institutional cultures and to assess gang members' needs vis-à-vis the correctional system.40 What he found was:

"that more culturally-appropriate programs are needed that would address Aboriginal perspectives on healing, recovery and personal transformation for growth and development . Aboriginal experts in both education and healing areas understand the value of traditional knowledge. For them, the paramount principle for the personal development and advancement for Aboriginal people is the active engagement of their students in both holistic education and personal healing and recovery."41

"Many of the active members of the "Aboriginal youth gangs" voice respect for their traditional roots. The work of the Elders can help them [gang members] develop an alternative identity to their current "colours". In fact, those former members who have voluntarily left their "gang" affiliations have stated publicly that their desire and commitment to find an alternative life-style prompted their decision. They chose the traditional way of life".42

The direction and approach of Bimosewin is based, in large part, on the Mercredi report with its focus on Aboriginal specific approaches and the involvement of Elders and the Aboriginal community in the process.

In June 2002, members of the Evaluation and Review Branch (ERB) attended a Bimosewin Steering Committee meeting in order to commence work on a Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF). The ERB and Bimosewin staff worked on establishing the evaluation objectives and success measures for the initiative. The Aboriginal Initiatives Branch (AIB) was also involved in this process and all three parties agreed to the evaluation objectives and methodology before the evaluation team conducted its site visit.

37Report of the Task Force on Security, Correctional Service of Canada, 1999.

38The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), as part of the criminal justice system and respecting the rule of law, contributes to the protection of society by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control.

39Bimosewin, Terms of Reference (July 3, 2003) - Introduction, p. 12

40Ovide W. Mercredi, Aboriginal Gangs: A Report to the Correctional Service of Canada on Aboriginal Youth Gang Members in the Federal Corrections System - October 2000

41Ibid, p. 13.

42Ibid, p. 13.

Evaluation Objectives:

Bimosewin states its primary objective to be:

  • To assist in the disengagement of Aboriginal Gang members from organized crime activities and in their safe reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens.

Based on this objective, the evaluation team, in conjunction with Bimosewin and Aboriginal Initiatives Branch (AIB) staff devised the following evaluation objectives:

Objective 1:

  • To assess the extent to which Bimosewin has been able to successfully engage Aboriginal gang members in the Initiative;

Objective 2:

  • To assess the extent to which Bimosewin addresses specific criminogenic needs of Aboriginal gang members;

Objective 3:

  • To assess the extent to which there is demonstrable behaviour change by those offenders engaged by the Initiative;

Objective 4:

  • To assess the extent to which Bimosewin is understood and supported in the institutions and the community;

Objective 5:

  • To assess the extent to which Bimosewin is integrated into other Aboriginal initiatives (e.g. Pathways, In Search of Your Warrior); and

Objective 6:

  • To assess the extent to which Bimosewin is having an impact on gang related activities within the institutions.

Evaluation Methodology:

The site visit to Winnipeg was completed in early December 2003. The evaluation team conducted interviews with national and local CSC staff members in the institution and in the community, as well as with other stakeholders affiliated with the initiative. The evaluation team also extracted data from the Offender Management System (OMS) to make an initial assessment of the impact on gang members across a variety of standard indicators, such as involvement in institutional incidents, transfers to lower security level institutions, and success upon release.

Financial Expenditures43:

The Correctional Service Canada re-profiled funds from Healing Lodge development toward the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative. As such, there were no fiscal or Treasury Board allocations specific to the initiative. Current and planned expenditures for the Aboriginal Gangs Initiative are as follows:

 

 

 

 

Planned Planned

 

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Total
Fiscal Allocations

-

-

-

-

-

-

TB Allocation

-

-

-

-

-

-

Adjustments

-

255,000

455,000

450,000

250,000

1,410,000

Actuals

-

255,000

455,000

450,000

250,000

1,410,000

43Financial information provided by CSC's Correctional Operations and Programs sector, as of June 15, 2004 .

Findings and Results:

Finding 1:

  • Bimosewin solicited the participation of gang members at Stony Mountain Institution44 but the nature of participation in the Initiative has not resulted in continued commitment to change on the part of the offenders.

Approximately 25% of Stony Mountain Institution's Aboriginal population is classified as gang members.45 The Bimosewin team made contact with the majority of gang members in the institution. The Initiative's Project Manager indicated that, at the outset, Bimosewin attempted to solicit a written commitment to work with the team and the offender (via a behavioural contract) from most, if not all of the gang members in the institution. Bimosewin was quite successful in this endeavour, securing the signatures of 120 inmates.46 However, interviews with the Project Manager and Bimosewin staff indicated that quite soon after signing these contracts, the team could not physically attend to the needs of the increasing number of inmates expressing a commitment to change. Further, it was also indicated that Bimosewin participants modified their behaviour only at the outset of the initiative, but shortly after reverted to their established patterns of gang involvement. Statistical analyses included later in this section support this notion, as they show no significant differences between participants and their matched counterparts with respect to involvement in institutional incidents.

While the primary client group of the Initiative is gang members, client lists provided by the AGI team indicated that the team has targeted a broader group, including non-affiliated Aboriginal offenders, gang members' families, provincially incarcerated offenders and women. Many of the offenders interviewed indicated that "Pat [Facilitator, Institutional Relations] would work with anyone who asked". Further, the purpose and frequency of contact was sporadic. The additional contacts enlarge the potential client list well beyond the mandated group and stretch the Initiative's ability to deal with the targeted group in a meaningful manner. While it is a laudable goal to aid all those who present themselves, the end result has been the dilution of the team's efforts to target and work with gang members. As a result of this relative inability of the Initiative to effectively deal with the needs of its clients, Bimosewin re-focussed its efforts in 2003 onto a relatively small core group of individuals. Staff in the Winnipeg corridor (Stony Mountain Institution, Rockwood Institution and Winnipeg Parole Office) were equally split on the question of whether Bimosewin was reaching the appropriate inmates (34% yes, 34% no, and 32% don't know). These numbers reflect Bimosewin's initial approach of working with all inmates and the relative confusion amongst Parole Officers as to nature of Bimosewin's target group. This confusion is of concern given the Parole Officer's pivotal role in the reintegration process.

44Note: while the Initiative encompasses all offenders in the Winnipeg corridor, their main institutional presence is at Stony Mountain. The numbers of Bimosewin participants transferred to Rockwood Institution is low; however, two offenders at Rockwood were interviewed as part of this evaluation.

45CSC's Offender Management System (OMS).

46Bimosewin Initiative, Taking Responsibility for Your Path in Life , Presentation, LaRonge, Saskatchewan, June 2003, Slide 18.

Finding 2:

  • There are no discernible interventions designed specifically to address gang issues such as associates, employment skill acquisition and substance (drug) abuse.

One of the primary reasons for the creation of Bimosewin was the need to approach the gang issue from a unique perspective. Current practices employed by CSC and its partners have not yielded the desired results such as the increased reintegration of offenders and improved institutional behaviour. In a report produced by the Research Branch of CSC,47 the four primary need areas of Aboriginal offenders affiliated with a gang are: employment, associates, substance abuse and age. The work also reported that:

Although Aboriginal youth gangs have been identified as negatively impacting the stability of federal institutions in the Prairie region, this study has identified youth [emphasis added] as a key factor to be considered in intervention strategies.

Aboriginal youth gangs have been identified as negatively impacting the stability of federal institutions in the Prairie region in particular.48 Concerns that the problems with this population will persist are well grounded, as Aboriginal youth are one of the fastest growing demographic sectors in Correctional Service of Canada's (CSC) offender population, and gang membership within this group is increasing.49 This dual trend has raised questions as to whether intervention strategies should focus on gang affiliation or on identifying the treatment needs of Aboriginal youth.50

In his 2000, report Ovide Mercredi emphasized the importance of addressing the gang issue:

It will be impossible to address the special problems or issues that this inmate population presents without some focus on their organisations with the goal of prevention, intervention and transformation. For these reasons, special initiatives for dialogue and communications should be set up as well as introducing new programs that focus on alternative lifestyles to gang affiliation and organisation. The development of such new approaches has to be done in a participatory way that ensures that the inmate populations are consulted and involved.51

In keeping with both the anecdotal and research evidence regarding the need areas of gang members, Bimosewin staff developed a plan that would focus on four main areas: personal development (introspection), jobs, education, and training.52 What is missing is a focus on interventions specific to younger Aboriginal offenders.

In spite of the amalgamation of the established CSC approach of correctional planning with the holistic Aboriginal approach to healing, no demonstrable evidence was found to indicate that this approach was actively and effectively targeting gang behaviour. Neither staff nor offender interviews revealed any specific interventions for youth. Seventy five percent of offenders and 76% of staff interviewed stated that either there were no specific gang related interventions or programs, or that Bimosewin offered no additional contributions over and above programs that already exist.

47Mark Nafekh, An Examination of Youth and Gang Affiliation within the Federally Sentenced Aboriginal Population, (Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada), June 2002

48Report on the Task Force on Security, CSC, 1999

49Research Information Services, CSC 10-2000

50Nafekh, Youth and Gang Affiliation , p. 1.

51Mercredi, Aboriginal Gangs , October 2000, p. 13

52Bimosewin, Taking Responsibility , June 2003, Slide 11

Finding 3:

  • There were no observable changes in behaviour for those offenders engaged by the Initiative.

The institutional approach to managing the gangs has traditionally been to isolate the members and deal with them either through segregation or transfer to another institution, usually a maximum-security facility. However, Mercredi noted:

The problems and challenges associated with "Aboriginal youth gangs" members within the federal prison system cannot be addressed in isolation from the general population. The tendency of the institutions has been to focus on issues of security and violence inside the institutions.53

Bimosewin sought to change the situation by taking a collaborative approach with CSC in working with offenders. Bimosewin (primarily through the efforts of its sole front-line worker) is providing a valuable service to offenders in the provision of support in the institution and community; however, interviews with staff members at Stony Mountain Institution indicated that Bimosewin's resources are spread too thinly.54

The "Institutional Relations Manager" (IRM) functions well as an in-reach worker; however, his efforts are doing little to advance disengagement from the gangs or increased participation in the offenders' Correctional Plan. Statistical analyses55 revealed that, when compared to a matched group, no significant differences were found with respect to involvement in major institutional incidents56 and changes in motivation and reintegration potential levels.57 A follow-up study of offenders released to the community indicated that, when compared with their matched counterparts, AGI participants were more likely to return with a new offence. Specifically, in a comparison of all who returned (N=13), all AGI participants returned with a new offence(100%) compared to 25% in the matched group (p<.05). As a result of the Bimosewin client base acting much like the rest of the gang population, a decision was made by Bimosewin and Stony Mountain Institution management to focus the efforts of the IRM on those offenders in Unit 5 - Segregation and Intensive Monitoring Ranges.

53Mercredi, Aboriginal Gangs , October 2000, P. 13

54Note: In February 2004, a Community Relations Manager was hired by Bimosewin to work on community linkages.

55For the purposes of this evaluation, all available data for federally sentenced offenders were extracted from CSC's automated database (Offender Management System; OMS). Information was available for 110 Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI) participants who were exposed to the program between November 1 st , 2001 and October 31 st , 2003. The AGI program participant group was matched with a sample of federal offender gang affiliates, incarcerated on November 1 st , 2001. Matching criteria was current federal institution security level and region, sentence length, risk level and age at time of admission. These matching criteria introduced controls for time, opportunity and tendency in the research design. The random sample was also stratified on ethnicity clusters to ensure that comparisons reflected exposure to the AGI program rather than characteristics associated with a particular ethnic demographic of the offender population.

56Major incidents include; assault on inmate, assault staff, assault visitor, forcible confinement, sexual assault, hostage-taking, inmate fight, major disturbance, minor disturbance and murder. Minor incidents include; property damage, disciplinary problems, fire setting, intelligence, theft, unauthorized item, under influence.

57Motivation levels are re-assessed against the following criteria: i) Recognition that a problem exists with lifestyle, behaviour and resulting consequences; ii) Level of comfort with problem and its impact on offender's life; iii) Level of feeling of personal responsibility for the problem(s); iv) Willingness to change, i.e. expression of wish to change, or intention to fully participate in Correctional Plan; v) Possession of skills, knowledge required to effect change in behaviour, i.e. is ready to change; vi) Level of external support from family, friends or other community members; vii) The offender's Case Management Strategy Group.
Reintegration Potential is reassessed based on the following criteria: i) Score on the Statistical Information on Recidivism - Revised 1 (SIR-R1) scale ; ii) Level of intervention based on static factors; iii) Level of intervention based on dynamic factors; iv) Security reclassification; v) Level of motivation.

Finding 4:

  • There were no demonstrated connections to community agencies and groups that could provide these services or aid in the development of intervention strategies. The Initiative is not well-understood within the CSC community in Winnipeg and is only nominally supported by those who are aware of the Initiative's activities.

Seventy six percent of staff interviewed indicated that they could identify the Bimosewin team. 56% of staff identified the IRM is the only member of Bimosewin, 12% identified the project manager as well. 60% of offenders identified the IRM and 10% identified the project manager. Interviews with staff and offenders revealed there is uncertainty with respect to knowledge of other staff and the existence of an office in Winnipeg.

Based on interviews with Bimosewin staff, institutional staff members and offenders, there is significant confusion about the role and function of the Initiative. Bimosewin, the Steering Committee and CSC have struggled with their conflicting visions as to the purpose of the Initiative (e.g., to reduce violence between gangs, increase institutional safety, disengage Aboriginal offenders from the gangs). Additionally, there is confusion as to whether the Initiative is (or should be) institutionally or community based. Staff members are unclear as to the role of the IRM. Information from the IRM's interactions is not communicated in a timely or effective manner to Institutional Parole Officers or other interested institutional staff. Thus, staff members do not view the Initiative's team members as supportive resources when there is a need to confront Aboriginal gang issues.

A prime example of this can be seen during the June 2003 incident in the yard between the Indian Posse and Manitoba Warriors in which Bimosewin was not called in to help calm the tensions in spite of their contacts with a significant number of the offenders involved. The management team did not consider Bimosewin to be relevant in finding a solution to the issue. Staff members who fall outside the majority holding these views suggested during their interviews that the IRM work with offenders at intake so as to reach them before they are transferred to a maximum-security institution or to segregation.

Over the past several years Bimosewin has attempted to introduce several new initiatives58 to aid in the reintegration process, but most were not supported by CSC management in the Winnipeg corridor. CSC managers who were interviewed generally stated two reasons why they could not support the proposed initiatives; the initiative was perceived to lack relevancy, or had cost limitations. In referring to one initiative's goal to assist inmates to attain a driver's license, one manager stated: "how is getting a driver's licence going to address the offender's gang behaviour?" In February 2003 at a meeting between representatives of the Initiative, AIB and ERB it was revealed that the working relationship between Bimosewin and CSC had become somewhat adversarial. While CSC managers would not characterise their attitude towards Bimosewin as adversarial, it was evident from the interviews that the Initiative is not held in high regard and believe that their (Bimosewin's) resources59 could be more effectively employed in other CSC need areas, such as escorts and Pathways.

Interviews with national and local CSC staff members in the institution and community (such as institutional and community Native Liaison Officers and Aboriginal Community Development Officers), and other stakeholders affiliated with the initiative revealed that these groups were not aware of Bimosewin's community activities or contacts. The Native Liaison Officers and ACDOs were aware of Bimosewin's institutional activities but commented that their involvement with the community was minimal. As such, referrals to or from Bimosewin from these groups are low. Bimosewin has been struggling with the issue of developing greater community links since its inception. Over the past several years, Bimosewin staff members have been in contact with various First Nations and community organizations.60 However, these contacts have not necessarily resulted in strong working relationships or in emerging solutions or services for gang members. During the past six months, Bimosewin has focused its efforts on strengthening its relationship with the Southern Chiefs Organization (Manitoba), Hollow Water First Nation, Society 2000 and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians. In March 2004, Bimosewin was part of an Aboriginal Round Table on Gangs that brought together numerous community organizations and government agencies to re-examine current interventions and services for gang members. Gang issues are complex and require significant resources primarily in terms of time and energy, as this is a group that can quickly exhaust available resources. The development of community partnerships takes time and in some cases, money, in order to aid in the creation of community capacity. The Roundtable was an important step in re-focusing community and government resources on this important and pervasive issue. Bimosewin is working to be part of the emerging solution but its effectiveness and relevance will depend on increasing its visibility within the Aboriginal communities and within CSC.

While developing "trusting relationships" is critical in working with gang members, Bimosewin must evolve beyond in-reach services to provide useful and consistent linkages with Aboriginal services and interventions (both institution and community-based) which will effectively address gang member needs. Bimosewin must demonstrate to its clients and partners that there is value added in their work. According to Parole Officers, the credibility of the initiative is questioned due to the ambiguity of its goals and the lack of practical information being provided to CSC staff for use in the case management process. Both of these issues must be addressed if Bimosewin is to be successful in aiding gang members in successfully reintegrating into the community and disengaging from gangs.61

58Rockwood Community Resource Fair, Aboriginal Gang Initiative - Client Management System. Community Round Table on Aboriginal Gang Initiatives (February 2004), Provision of basic Driver's Licensing for Federal Inmates, Walking the Red Road Program.

59Bimosewin was allocated and expended nearly $1 million over the past three years .

60Including but not limited to: Semaganis - Hollow Water, Waywayseecappo, Peguis First Nation, MacDonald Youth Services, RCMP "D" Division, West Broadway Youth Builders, Ochichakkosipi Healing Lodge, Winnipeg Child and Family Services, and Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres.

61Note: this work has begun with the new direction for the Initiative adopted by the Steering Committee in January 2004.

Finding 5:

  • Over the past three years Bimosewin's integration into other Aboriginal initiatives has been minimal. However, efforts are underway to work more closely with the Ni-Miikana staff at Stony Mountain Institution.

Staff and offender interviews indicated that there were little or no Aboriginal-specific components to the Initiative's interventions. Early in the Initiative, an Elder was working with the offenders and providing one-on-one counseling. The implementation plan called for group Sweat ceremonies, sharing circles and Sweat ceremonies for Bimosewin staff. That these ceremonies did not take place and this, along with the lack of a dedicated Elder, has been identified as a major shortcoming in the operation of the Initiative. Efforts were made to address this deficiency by enlisting the services of an institutional Elder working on Unit 5 (Segregation and Intensive Monitoring Ranges) at Stony Mountain Institution. However, these efforts have not resulted in a substantial increase in one-on-one counseling or in access to Sweats and Circles. Specifically, offenders interviewed on Unit 5 expressed their discontent with their access to the Elder and his availability. The limited access to the Elder is a direct result of the workload placed upon these individuals within the institution. There are simply not enough Elders to attend to the considerable needs of all the offenders.

Based on a sample of inmates interviewed who are "working" with the Initiative ( N =20), inmates do not appear to be accessing Aboriginal programs or services in any greater numbers than they did prior to the implementation of the Initiative. Interestingly, 65% of offenders interviewed indicated that Bimosewin offenders were participating in more programming but when questioned further could not provide any clear indication as to which programs were being accessed.

Stony Mountain Institution has an established and successful Pathways range - Ni-Miikana - that is providing a safe environment for offenders to pursue their healing journey and engage their correctional plans. However, interactions between Bimosewin and Ni-Miikana have been limited to the occasional attendance at range feasts and ceremonies. As noted above, as a result of the January 2004 Steering Committee meeting, Bimosewin has received direction to work more closely with Ni-Miikana. This co-operative effort is in its initial stages and will require monitoring to ensure that appropriate gang members are referred to the range.

Finding 6:

  • Bimosewin's impact on gang related activities within the institutions has been minimal.

As noted earlier in the report, Bimosewin participants exhibited the same behaviour as non-involved gang members (see Finding 3 above). Of particular interest is the rate of admission to segregation and Bimosewin participants' involvement in major incidents. Bimosewin participants did not display any significant differences in these areas. The question of impacting on institutional violence has been a difficult one for the Initiative to address as it has limited resources to affect change in this area. The comments of both staff and inmates are quite instructive in pointing out that it is unrealistic to expect one relatively small group (4 people) to have a significant influence on the activities and behaviour of gang members. Factors identified were the large number of gang members and the level of complexity with respect to gang-related issues. However, this has been the measure by which many CSC staff have assessed the success, or lack thereof, of the Initiative. Given the complex nature of the institutional culture and the impact of gangs on that culture, CSC and Bimosewin need to reassess their respective expectations.

Recommendations:

- The CSC should develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues associated with Aboriginal Gangs, and develop and implement an approach which is based on research and is more focussed on incarcerated offenders and their specific needs.

- That the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) re-configure the Aboriginal Gang Initiative and its management structure in such a way that the initiative is effective in addressing Aboriginal Gang issues.

 

CONCLUSION

The various Aboriginal Reintegration initiatives funded under the auspices of the Effective Corrections Initiative (ECI) should be viewed not as individual and independent projects but as connected as envisioned in the Continuum of Care strategy. In order to fully appreciate the accomplishments of these initiatives it is important to view them from a broader perspective and within longer timeframes. The Continuum of Care strategy is attempting to affect nothing less than a major cultural shift in the administration and philosophy of corrections; a philosophy of inclusion and healing. As with many social issues, dealing with the cultural and historical uniqueness of Aboriginal peoples in the correctional system is a complex challenge requiring action on many fronts. These initiatives represent part of the multi-faceted approach of CSC; first critical steps in a longer-term process. In addition to the initiatives covered in this report, CSC is engaging Aboriginal communities through the development and construction of Healing Lodges; development and implementation of new institutional programs; and reconnecting Aboriginal offenders with their Christian roots, where appropriate. These processes and programs will require a significant amount of time and commitment from CSC, offenders and Aboriginal Communities in order to achieve the desired results: the successful reintegration of Aboriginal offenders and the increased involvement of Aboriginal Communities in corrections.

The evaluations of the Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI), Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs), Pathways Units and the National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections (NAWG) reveal that progress has been made in establishing an effective and viable infrastructure for Aboriginal reintegration. Progress has been uneven, with some initiatives demonstrating more effectiveness and relevance than others.


Pathways Ranges

The Pathways Ranges of Stony Mountain Institution and Saskatchewan Penitentiary have proven to be successful initiatives. Based on a holistic and Aboriginally-centred approach to healing and corrections, the Pathways Ranges have succeeded in creating safe and supportive environments in which offenders can pursue their correctional plan and engage Elders, Aboriginal communities and others in their healing process. The establishment of such environments is a result of the extensive planning and consultation with staff and Elders before offenders were moved to the ranges. The success of the offenders in progressing with their correctional plans and moving either to lower security or to the community is due, in large measure, to the implementation of an Elder centered semi-structured screening process. Only those individuals who demonstrate both a willingness to change and a desire to follow a traditional path are accepted onto the ranges. Alternative dispute settling mechanisms, such as range circles for the discussion of issues, have contributed significantly to a feeling of inclusion on the ranges and have reduced the number of offenders spending time in segregation or being expelled from the range. The Escorted Temporary Absence (ETA) program at Saskatchewan Penitentiary (Medium) in support of the Pathways range has significantly contributed to the high numbers of offenders from this range that are transferred to lower security and/or granted parole.

The increasing demand to participate, combined with population management issues within the Prairie region, did not facilitate the effectiveness of the Pathways range in the maximum-security section of Saskatchewan Penitentiary. The majority of the initial groups of Pathways participants were cascaded to the medium-security section of the institution. As space became available in the maximum-security unit they were filled by offenders on the regional waiting list. These offenders were not necessarily suitable for the Pathways range and soon the initiative's integrity was compromised to the point where the initial successes became almost impossible to duplicate. In February 2004, the institution changed the composition of the range to make it a "program-based" range with distinct entrance and exit criteria. The "program" will draw from a regional base of maximum-security offenders and in this way will ensure the integrity of the range is preserved. The re-establishment of this range provides a crucial starting point for a high risk, high needs segment of the offender population.

The voluntary nature of the Stony and Saskatchewan Penitentiary ranges stands in sharp contrast to the initial experiences of La Macaza Institution. Initially, the La Macaza range was populated solely on the basis of ethnicity due to the relatively low number of Aboriginal offenders in the institution (<30) and the mistaken belief that all Aboriginal offenders would want to participate in, and would benefit from, traditional teachings and Elder services. Approximately eight months after implementation the situation became untenable and the range population was disbursed throughout the institution. In the latter part of 2003, La Macaza Institution re-constituted its Pathways range along the Stony and Saskatchewan models to include a screening process for voluntary entry and the expansion of Aboriginal programming to include such programs as "In Search of Your Warrior".

In the Prairie Region institutions, the Pathways ranges are making inroads vis-à-vis staff acceptance. In both institutions the ranges are no longer viewed as passing fads but as viable means of addressing the needs of Aboriginal offenders. Staff acceptance is critical to the longer-term success of these initiatives and the outreach work done by the range staff to the rest of the institution has proved beneficial.


Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs)

With the creation of the Aboriginal Community Development Officer positions across the country, CSC made a concerted effort to actively engage Aboriginal communities in corrections. Significant numbers of Aboriginal offenders return to their home communities and often do not have the structured supports to help them succeed in reintegrating. The ACDOs have made significant progress in working with Aboriginal communities. The success rate of the Section 84 process (consultation with the Aboriginal community and subsequent release based on the involvement of the community) has increased significantly since putting these dedicated resources in place in 2001.62 However, much work still needs to be done and the ACDOs face significant challenges in working with very diverse populations within their assigned territory, unstable governance structures in which the level of engagement changes as political members change, and varying capability levels to even deal with correctional issues from highly structured Justice Committees to ad-hoc groups. Within the institutions, the ACDOs face the ongoing challenge of educating and working with a constantly changing cadre of Parole Officers. The considerable number of staff acting in PO positions makes it difficult for both the offender and the ACDO to have any type of continuity of contact. This is an issue that the Service is attempting to rectify.

The Prairie Region has the largest Aboriginal population and largest geographic region to contend with. Thus, as one might expect, the workload of the ACDOs is highest in that region. Currently, the Prairies have three (3) ACDOs, one for each province. Given the territory to be covered and number of offenders they are dealing with, the number of ACDOs is inadequate for the task at hand. This workload would increase significantly if ACDOs begin to engage offenders who are going to be released on Statutory Release (SR). Given the sizable number of Aboriginal offenders released on SR and the fact the need for sound release planning and structured community support is key to successful reintegration, the needs of these offenders are being overlooked. The legislation speaks of conditional release, which is interpreted as Day and Full Parole. Statutory release is a form of release and as such more consideration should be given to engaging this segment of the incarcerated population.

In spite of these significant challenges, the ACDOs have demonstrated that they can have a positive and significant impact on the reintegration of Aboriginal offenders and in increasing the engagement of Aboriginal communities in corrections.

621995/96 - 2000: 8 successful Section 84s, 2000 - 2003/04: 183 successful Section 84s.


National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections (NAWG)

Overall, the National Aboriginal Working Group on Corrections has had mixed results. The group has faced many difficulties, including stability in terms of membership. The role of the NAWG and group membership criteria are unclear. In addition, a lack of resources (including a Director General, AIB) for an extended period of time provided for an unstable period for the group. To the NAWG's credit, it must be noted that they did in fact meet on various occasions, with or without a CSC presence during this eight-month period. Measurable outcomes are difficult for this type of evaluation, however, some of the partnership development that has occurred is one of the highlights. Reference is being made not only to partnership development with outside organizations such as the Nishnabe Aski Nation, Statistics Canada and the Department of Justice, but to internal partnerships as well. Specifically, this is the first time all of these particular groups have come together to deal with correctional based issues. From CSC's viewpoint, the NAWG in its original intentions could potentially serve as a source of direct input from the Aboriginal community regarding correctional issues and vice-versa. In short, if the NAWG is to achieve success, clearer understanding of the group's role on the part of the NAWG is crucial, and stronger accountability mechanisms are essential.


Aboriginal Gang Initiative (AGI)

While the Aboriginal Gang Initiative began with very worthy goals it quickly encountered significant directional and management challenges. Caught between competing demands to be both institutionally and community focused, the AGI found that its resources were limited. This reduced the effectiveness and impact of the initiative. Thus, the Initiative struggled to effectively engage either Gang members or the Aboriginal communities in Winnipeg and Manitoba. The efforts of the AGI became, both in spirit and substance, an in-reach program - "an Aboriginal Support Initiative". Interviews revealed there was a lack of collaboration between AGI team members and staff. Consequently, institutional staff members relegated the AGI to a peripheral role in dealing with the gang-related issues. Offenders working with the initiative continued to be supportive of those efforts due in large measure to the services provided to them on a personal, as opposed to a correctional, level (e.g. providing phone calls from the institution and providing transportation to wives and partners).

The AGI also suffered under the weight of unrealistic expectations; the disengagement of offenders from the gangs. While no one within the Service condones gang membership and its related activities, it is widely accepted that disengagement is not a reasonable or viable option for most gang members. Their strength lies in numbers and an individual who chooses to separate from the relative safety of the gang while still in prison could be putting themselves at considerable risk. Thus the measure of how many gang members have been disengaged is misleading, as it does not address the real issue of whether the offender is prepared for his return to the community. Unfortunately, none of the AGI's institutional or community efforts substantially increased their clients' ability to reintegrate. The AGI found that it was difficult to maintain contact with individuals once they were released and that their motivation to change was low. The behavioral contracts signed by many became meaningless as they once again confronted the reality of living in the community.

In the latter part of 2003, the AGI under the guidance of a revitalized Steering Committee made some substantial changes in the way it interacted with Stony Mountain staff members and the Aboriginal communities. The AGI is becoming more institutionally based as it attempts to engage gang members in the essential work of preparing for release. It remains to be seen if the AGI can effectively re-group and successfully address the specific needs of gang members. What is critical in this process is that not only does the AGI need to address "gang issues", it needs to be accorded a reasonable amount of time in which to effect these changes. An issue as complex as this requires a considerable amount of time in order to yield tangible results.

Overall, three of the four Aboriginal reintegration initiatives have demonstrated progress in establishing a viable infrastructure and in facilitating the reintegration process. All four initiatives require more time to mature and collect the data required to conduct outcome analyses. Only after this has occurred can a definitive statement on the efficacy and relevance of these initiatives be made, however, the initial results are quite promising.

 

APPENDIX A:

Pathways Programs and Activities


The following activities have taken place during the operational period and are specific to offenders on Ni-Miikana:

  • Arts projects
  • Craft projects
  • Drum Making
  • Drum Teachings
  • Weekly Sweat lodge ceremonies
  • Weekly sharing circles
  • Hide Tanning
  • Naming, sunrise and pipe ceremonies
  • Vision quests
  • Releasing circles and sweat lodge ceremonies
  • Women's teachings
  • Traditional feast on range for offenders and staff
  • Family sweat lodge ceremonies
  • Intervention circles
  • Peace making circles
  • Fence clearances, ETAs
  • Tours and visits by community individuals and groups
  • Media coverage by Let's Talk and Toronto Star

Some specific activities have already been scheduled, including:

  • Spring Traditional Feast for staff and offenders
  • Spring Vision Quest
  • Ceremony to honour the Naming Ceremony that occurred on May 21, 2002
  • Open House on range in honour of the Official Opening May 27, 2003-including the unveiling of the range murals
  • Implementation of Aboriginal Language Program (Cree and Ojibway)
  • Plan events for National Aboriginal Days on June 21
  • Assist in the plans for Chief Big Bear Gathering

Saskatchewan Penitentiary:

Elder's Healing Plan Program

  • Elder Assessment Tool
  • Healing Plan
  • Pipe Ceremony
  • Sweat Lodge Ceremony
  • Sacred Circle
  • Escorted Temporary Absence Program
  • One On One Counselling
  • Who Spa Gan
  • Alternative Segregation
  • Traditional Skills
  • Community Reintegration Program (Broken Wing)
  • Specialized Workshops

Aboriginal Programs:

  • Family life improvement plan
  • In search of your warrior
  • SOAAR-ASAP (Aboriginal substance abuse program)
  • Aboriginal sex offender program
  • Aboriginal parenting program

Healing in Wellness Program:

The Healing in Wellness Program will run with continuous quarterly programming. Approximately every 12 weeks, there will be a break when alternative activities may be planned in addition to ongoing attendance at work and school. During this week, the Elder may be off site.

 

APPENDIX B

RECOMMENDATIONS PROVIDED BY THE NAWG:


Policy Recommendations:

  1. Ensure appropriate representation for Inuit in regards to the National Aboriginal Advisory Council.

  2. Pauktuuit and ITK must be consulted for Inuit-specific input into the Aboriginal Cultural Awareness strategy that is currently being developed.

  3. Communication between all CSC departments and the National Aboriginal Organizations needs to increase.

  4. CSC must work in partnership with the two national Inuit organizations to ensure an effective communication strategy is developed.

  5. Re: Pathways strategy. Will not be effective because the community needs to be involved from the start through appropriate consultation.

  6. Need to work with Community Development Officers (CDOs) to educate them in the role of National Aboriginal Organizations. CDO's need to work with NAO's to make S.81 & S.84 a reality.

  7. Organize a National conference where we can network, share best practices and share information and discuss important issues. Focus & Action.

  8. The Pathways Strategy document should be very explicit in explaining the process, and not rely on inferences as this could lead to misinterpretation.

  9. Ensure that NAO's are made aware of conferences so they can send representatives to attend.

  10. The scope of work, included in the current Contribution Agreements, need to be refined, identifying specific deliverables.

  11. Need to partner with other federal government departments, in coordination with CSC, in order to tackle the issue of capacity development.

  12. Need to conduct a thorough evaluation of Healing Lodges, both from an Aboriginal perspective and from CSC's perspective. Need to identify what type of support from the Region is necessary to make Healing Lodges successful.

  13. There is a desire to develop an Inuit specific healing lodge model, with the flexibility to partner with provincial organizations.

  14. Need to have a more systematic approach to orientation on an on-going basis for new staff NAO's.

  15. Need to define the cultural indicators of success for each Aboriginal offenders group.

  16. There needs to be equal representation of the cultural group's presents in the Commissioner's advisory group, as well as in Regional Advisory Committees, the Corporate Policy Committee, etc.

  17. There is a need to do an environmental scan or comprehensive review of Section 81 and Section 84.

  18. Draft evaluation questions provided to NAO's, seeking NAO input.

  19. Need to keep NAWG informed of the developments in AIB, initiatives we are working on, in order to ensure optimum partnership and strategy.

  20. NPB and OCI should be at future meetings to facilitate partnership.

  21. That a Deputy Commissioner of Aboriginal Issues should be appointed to ensure Aboriginal issues are brought to the Executive level.

  22. Community Development Officers' regional reports be distributed to the NAO's.

  23. That the NAO's receive full reports on all Aboriginal initiatives taking place within CSC. NAO's want to ensure that Aboriginal Initiatives are Métis, Inuit and First Nations inclusive and those partnerships are being forged with Métis, Inuit and First Nations.

Funding Recommendations:

  1. Need to acquire funds to bring Inuit Elders from the north to provide appropriate elder services for Inuit in southern federal institutions.

  2. It is recommended that National Inuit Organizations receive adequate human and financial resources to effectively meet the needs of Inuit persons as they relate to correctional matters.

  3. Invitations to be sent to Regional Parole office in Nunavut and NWT Area Director, to attend the CDO meeting with the NAO's.

Requires Clarification Recommendations:

  1. Communities need to be re-educated to see offenders in a different light and learn about the way their justice system was. Elders need to send the message that these are our people and we need to care for them.

  2. Need to consider how we can both cost-effective and more inclusive in our work.

  3. We need to ensure that the needs of Aboriginal inmates are addressed in all of our work.

  4. Need to better utilize and develop longer term planning around training and human resources.

  5. There needs to be continuity within CSC.

  6. Need to increase national, regional and community capacity.

  7. Need to be supported by Wardens, and the unit must work as a team for "pathways" to succeed.

  8. Important for the NAO's to visit the institutions and travel together.

Misunderstanding of Role Recommendations:

  1. National Aboriginal Organizations (NAO's) would like to review any reports that are provided to the "upper level", prior to the Aboriginal Issues Branch submission.

  2. CSC needs to identify government representatives that should attend the NAWG table, to promote partnership and awareness.

  3. A meeting with the Heads of Corrections be held.

  4. National organizations need to work more closely with ACDO's in order to increase community development. This may require a revision to ACDO's work plans.

  5. The consultation process for each NAO needs to be defined; what is the process, what are the levels we must go through.

  6. There is a need for training and orientation for the incoming Director General for Aboriginal Issues, to understand the issues surround Inuit, Métis and First Nations. It was also suggested that NAO's participate in the interview process.

  7. The Commissioner for CSC needs to be an advocate to other departments.

  8. That NAO's and Aboriginal communities need to be actively involved in the implementation of CSC initiatives, with appropriate resources.