Evaluation Report:

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Community Residential Alternatives

Evaluation Branch
Policy Sector
November 2009

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The evaluation team would like to express their appreciation to the members of the Community Residential Alternatives Evaluation Consultative Group for their ongoing support and commitment to this project. Our sincere acknowledgement goes to the representatives of CSC’s Community Reintegration Operations Division (Angela Knoll), Regional District Offices (Clara Rendell, Erwin Berg, France Simard, Madeleine Mainville), Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate (Jennifer Hayward), Research Branch (Philippe Bensimon), Women Offenders Sector (Mark Christie), and the nominated representatives from the Community Residential Alternatives projects (Dawn Hrycon, Michel Gagon, Caroline Bruss). Your assistance and feedback on the evaluation plan, data collection instruments and draft versions of this report, and your support in coordinating site visits have been instrumental to the completion of this project.

The evaluation team would also like to thank all staff members involved in the Community Residential Alternatives initiative at Stella Burry Community Services, Projet Oxygène and Intensive Management Program who daily collect and compile project information in progress reports and project tracking tools. Without your diligence in accumulating this information on an on-going basis, this evaluation would not be possible.

The evaluation team would also like to express their gratitude to senior management of the Evaluation Branch who took the time to review and provide substantive feedback on this report.

Finally, a special note of thanks goes to Correctional Service Canada staff members, community partners and Community Residential Alternatives participants who have provided invaluable information and input through their participation in the evaluation.

EVALUATION TEAM MEMBERS

Evaluation Report Prepared by:

Mark Nafekh
Director
Evaluation Branch, Policy Sector
Correctional Service Canada

Eugenia Didenko
Evaluation Officer
Evaluation Branch, Policy Sector
Correctional Service Canada

Vanessa Anastasopoulos
Senior Evaluator
Evaluation Branch, Policy Sector
Correctional Service Canada

Evaluation Team Members:

Bernard Marquis, Senior Portfolio Manager
Michael Olotu, Director
Tamara Jensen, Evaluation Officer
Christopher Rastin, Evaluation Officer
Michael Henighan, Evaluation Analyst
Elizabeth Loree, Evaluation Analyst
Cara Scarfone, Evaluation Analyst
Brittany MacDonald, Evaluation Analyst
Marcie McKay, Evaluation Analyst

Correctional Service Canada’s
Residential Alternatives

SIGNATURES

 

 


Lynn Garrow
Associate Assistant Commissioner
Policy Sector

 


Date

 

 


Dr. Pamela M. Yates
Director General
Evaluation Branch

 


Date

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

The Community Residential Alternatives initiative was developed to enhance the Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC’s) capacity to meet offenders’ housing needs and increase their likelihood of safe and successful reintegration. Specifically, Community Residential Alternatives were designed to develop, implement, and evaluate reintegration assistance (including, but not limited to, residential options) for sub-groups of offenders requiring enhanced and/or specialized services (e.g., older offenders, offenders with mental health issues, women offenders, Aboriginal offenders).

Currently, three projects receive Community Residential Alternatives funding:

  1. Stella Burry Community Services—Community Support Program:

    The Community Support Program (St. John’s, Newfoundland) is a joint federal/provincial initiative that aims to improve the quality of lives and promote the independent living of men and women who have complex mental health needs and a history of alternating between mental health care services and correctional facilities at the federal and provincial levels.

  2. Projet Oxygène:

    Projet Oxygène (Montreal, Quebec) targets male offenders 50 years of age and older, and long-term offenders experiencing community reintegration difficulties. Support services are directed toward addressing offenders’ day-to-day reintegration concerns (e.g., life skills teaching, referrals to other community groups, employment and financial support, support related to health issues, crisis intervention, etc.) and providing emotional support. Projet Oxygène also assists older and long-term offenders to identify residential options and secure appropriate and affordable housing.

  3. Intensive Management Program:

    The objective of the Intensive Management Program (Kamloops, British Columbia) is to provide intensive outreach services to offenders on conditional release who are affected by a mental disorder or brain injury, as well as to elderly, Aboriginal and/or women offenders. Services also focus on the variety of special needs with which these target groups typically present, such as substance abuse, mental health issues, fetal alcohol syndrome and effects (FAS/FAE), and low functioning abilities. Intensive Management Program participants are typically housed in one of four residences, each of which is operated by the John Howard Society. Outreach services are also provided to offenders living in their homes.

Evaluation Strategy

The evaluation was conducted by the Evaluation Branch, CSC, to inform decision-making on the future disposition of Community Residential Alternatives. The evaluation focused on success, cost-effectiveness, continued relevancy, and implementation.

The evaluation used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.  Information used to facilitate these analyses was collected through:

  • Survey with key sources1;
  • Interviews with Community Residential Alternatives project participants;
  • Data derived from CSC’s automated database - the Offender Management System (OMS), and the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database;
  • A review of documentation relevant to Residential Alternatives, Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), information provided by CSC staff members to the evaluation team, and a previous evaluation of Community Residential Alternatives; and
  • A review of the relevant literature regarding similar initiatives.

Interviews were conducted by the evaluation team in person and by telephone during the months of March and April, 2009.

Data collected in the regions where Community Residential Alternatives services were being implemented were used to identify offenders’ participation (N = 150). Subsequently, two groups were created, a group of offenders who participated in Community Residential Alternatives, and a comparison group of offenders who were released to the same communities and who resided in a Community Correctional Centre or independent agency. A multivariable approach to modeling was chosen to statistically control for any underlying differences that may have contributed to program effect other than program participation, such as offenders’ age, risk, need level, sentence length and release type 2.

Effectiveness outcomes were defined as post-release success, including community outcomes such as technical revocations and re-offending, which extended past the end of an offender’s federal sentence.

Financial Expenditures

Table 1 presents the Community Residential Alternatives financial expenditures from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-2009. On average, CSC spends $339,201 per year on Community Residential Alternatives, including both salary and operating costs.

Key Findings

FINDING 1: The Community Residential Alternatives initiative is consistent with departmental and government priorities, and with CSC’s strategic objectives.
FINDING 2: The goals of Community Residential Alternatives are congruent with comparable initiatives identified in international jurisdictions.
FINDING 3: There is a continued need for the Community Residential Alternatives initiative, given the goals and objectives of the initiative and the current offender profile.
FINDING 4: Information regarding Community Residential Alternatives participants varied across sites.
FINDING 5: Awareness of Community Residential Alternatives projects was low among CSC institutional and community staff members; however, those who were aware of the projects were supportive of the Community Residential Alternatives initiative.
FINDING 6: Male Aboriginal participants, diagnosed as having a mental health condition and/or who were 50 years of age or older, were well-represented across Community Residential Alternatives sites.
FINDING 7: It was reported that there were barriers to certain aspects of implementation, including a lack of clarity surrounding inclusion criteria and referral procedures, a shortage of available services, and delays in the identification of, and initial project contact with, eligible offenders.
FINDING 8: Community Residential Alternatives have developed a cadre of support services and resources which are tailored to meet participants’ special needs, and which aid in the reintegration process.
FINDING 9: Community Residential Alternatives projects are addressing the needs of offenders requiring enhanced and/or specialized services. However, Community Residential Alternatives participants and key stakeholders alike expressed concern that special needs offenders might lose access to needed services once they reached the end of their sentence.
FINDING 10: Analyses suggested that interventions offered by Community Residential Alternatives to participants were having the same level of impact as alternative services offered through CSC.
FINDING 11: Community Residential Alternatives are cost-effective, as the same level of outcomes was achieved at lower associated costs when participants were compared to their respective counterparts.
FINDING 12: Women participants, diagnosed as having a mental health condition and/or who were 50 years of age or older, were under-represented across Community Residential Alternatives sites.

Recommendations

RECOMMENDATION 1: To facilitate monitoring and performance reporting, CSC should ensure that the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool be: i) revised to include all relevant information; and ii) standardized for consistency across sites.  CSC should also provide Community Residential Alternatives project managers with training to use the revised Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool.
RECOMMENDATION 2: CSC and Community Residential Alternatives staff members should jointly develop referral procedures and inclusion criteria to identify candidates to receive Residential Alternatives services. Further, both parties should meet regularly to enhance the level of communication and working relationships, and to better coordinate service delivery in a timely manner.
RECOMMENDATION 3: CSC and Community Residential Alternatives staff members should work together to develop a continuum of care strategy in order to ensure that those offenders requiring Community Residential Alternatives services are identified early in their sentences, and have necessary services in place to address their special needs, and support their successful reintegration.
RECOMMENDATION 4: CSC should examine the extent to which the needs of women offenders with mental health issues and women offenders 50 years of age or older are adequately met in the community.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF ACRONYMS

ACCOP
Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs
CBRF
Community-Based Residential Facility
CCC
Community Correctional Centre
CCRA
Corrections and Conditional Release Act
CRF
Community Residential Facility
CSC
Correctional Service Canada
ECI
Effective Corrections Initiative
FAS/FAE
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Effects
NHQ
National Headquarters
NPB
National Parole Board
OMS
Offender Management System
RHQ
Regional Headquarters

1.0 INTRODUCTION

PROGRAM PROFILE

1.1 Background

Offenders are required, as part of their release plans, to reside at a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) – either a Community Correctional Centre (CCC) or a Community Residential Facility (CRF) - for periods of Day Parole, Statutory Release with Residency, or as a condition of a Long-Term Supervision Order.

In addition to the 16 CCCs operated by CSC, there are approximately 200 contracts with Community-Based Residential Facilities (includes CRFs, private home placements, hostels, treatment centres, and supervised apartments) with a capacity to provide residential support for approximately 2,000 offenders under community supervision, on any given day.

Upon completion of Day Parole or release from a penitentiary on Statutory Release or for offenders serving a Long-Term Supervision Order, assistance may be required to locate appropriate and sustainable housing and accommodation. The Community Residential Alternatives initiative was developed to enhance CSC’s capacity to meet offenders’ housing needs and increase their likelihood of safe and successful reintegration.  Specifically, Community Residential Alternatives were designed to develop, implement, and evaluate reintegration assistance (including, but not limited to, residential options) for sub-groups of offenders requiring enhanced and/or specialized services (e.g., older offenders, offenders with mental health issues, women offenders and Aboriginal offenders).

1.2 Effective Corrections Initiative and Community Residential Alternatives

In 1996, the Solicitor General of Canada (now the Minister of Public Safety) and the Minister of Justice recommended a six-part strategy to increase Canadian public protection while containing Canada’s incarceration rate and associated costs.  In response to this strategy, the Effective Corrections Initiative (ECI) was developed in 2000. The ECI allocated funding to the departments within the Government of Canada’s Public Safety portfolio. CSC received $30 million in ECI funding over five years (2000-01 to 2004-05), $11.4 million of which was provided for supporting initiatives that enhance the community corrections infrastructure. The ECI was subsequently renewed for another five years (2005-06 to 2009-10), in support of initiatives that enhance the community correctional infrastructure.

Three programs endeavouring to enhance the community correctional infrastructure currently receive ECI funding: Community Residential Alternatives (CRA); Community Employment Centres (CEC); and Community Maintenance Programs (CMP). Community Residential Alternatives, which are the focus of the present evaluation, were developed to respond to the challenges associated with finding suitable community accommodations for federal offenders with special needs.

Currently, three projects receive Community Residential Alternatives funding3:

1.2.1 Stella Burry Community Services—Community Support Program:

The Community Support Program (St. John’s, Newfoundland) is a joint federal/provincial initiative that falls under the umbrella of Stella Burry Community Services. The Community Support Program aims to improve the quality of life and promote the independent living of men and women who have complex mental health needs and who have a history of alternating between mental health care services and correctional facilities at the federal and provincial levels. The program serves a wide range of individuals who include, but are not limited to, offenders under CSC’s jurisdiction who are preparing for transfer into, or who are living in, the community.

Stella Burry Community Service participants receive ongoing intensive emotional support, advocacy for services, life skills teaching, community access, crisis intervention, and respite support services when required. Participants also have access to other services, such as supportive housing, pre-employment counseling, literacy programs, and employability skills development.

1.2.2 Projet Oxygène:

Projet Oxygène (Montreal, Quebec) is operated by Maison CrossRoads, which also provides other community services (e.g., LifeLine) for offenders in Montreal and the surrounding areas. Projet Oxygène targets male offenders 50 years of age and older and long-term offenders experiencing community reintegration difficulties. The project is delivered by one worker who offers individual support services to offenders on parole and to incarcerated offenders preparing for release to the community. Support services are directed toward addressing offenders’ day-to-day reintegration concerns (e.g., life skills teaching, referrals to other community groups, employment and financial support, support related to health issues, crisis intervention) and providing emotional support. Projet Oxygène also assists older and long-term offenders in identifying residential options and securing appropriate and affordable housing. In 2008, Maison CrossRoads established Residence Leo’s Boys, which offers shared living accommodations with private bedrooms for elderly male offenders, in order to provide another housing alternative for elderly offenders who have few or no resources in the community.

1.2.3 Intensive Management Program:

The objective of the Intensive Management Program (Kamloops, British Columbia) is to provide intensive outreach services to offenders on conditional release who are affected by a mental disorder or brain injury, as well as to elderly, Aboriginal or women offenders. Services focus on the variety of special needs with which these target groups typically present, such as substance abuse, mental health issues, fetal alcohol syndrome and effects (FAS/FAE), and low functioning abilities.  Intensive Management Program participants are typically housed in one of four residences, each of which is operated by the John Howard Society. The program also provides outreach services to offenders in their homes. Outreach services are delivered in accordance with individualized treatment plans and include guidance and support in securing financial assistance and medical care, shopping, housing, recreation, and crisis intervention, as well as setting up and attending various appointments with social services agencies, mental health partners, police, parole, etc. The program is delivered by one primary worker and involves frequent contact with offenders. Furthermore, offenders also access other services from the John Howard Society when residing at a building contracted to provide residential services by CSC.

1.3 Governance Structure

The Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs (ACCOP), is accountable for the Effective Corrections Initiative. A National Advisory Committee, consisting of various divisions at CSC, approved the Effective Corrections Residential Alternatives projects.  The projects are managed by the District Directors in the Pacific and Atlantic Regions, and by Regional Headquarters (RHQ) in the Quebec Region.  The District Directors report to the Regional Deputy Commissioner of their respective regions. The Director General, Community Reintegration Branch, is accountable to the ACCOP for the oversight of these projects.

1.4 Financial Expenditures

Table 1 presents the Community Residential Alternatives financial expenditures from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-2009. On average, CSC spends $339,201 per year on Community Residential Alternatives, including both salary and operating costs.

Table 1: Financial Expenditures by Community Residential Alternatives Project
Project Fiscal Year Total
2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Salaries O&M Salaries O&M Salaries O&M Salaries O&M Salaries O&M

Stella Burry Community Services

$68,641

$72,753

$69,779

$88,858

$70,414

$117,555

$74,034

$47,509

$282,868

$326,675

Projet Oxygène

 

$107,414

 

$104,466

 

$48,433

 

$59,049

 

$319,362

Intensive Management Program

 

$113,344

 

$100,844

 

$100,844

 

$112,867

 

$427,899

Total

$68,641

$293,511

$69,779

$294,168

$70,414

$266,832

$74,034

$219,425

$282,868

$1,073,936

Sources: CSC NHQ Finance, Atlantic RHQ, Quebec RHQ, and Pacific RHQ (July 2009).

1.5 Planned Results

The objective of the Community Residential Alternatives Initiative is to contribute to the successful reintegration of offenders through the development, implementation and evaluation of residential options for sub-groups of offenders who have difficulty reintegrating as a result of their special accommodation needs.

1.6 Evaluation Context

This is the initial evaluation by the Evaluation Branch of the three Residential Alternatives initiative projects. A previous evaluation of the Stella Burry Community Support Program was conducted in 2004 by Bobbie Boland & Associates and Ken Organ4.

1.7 Purpose of Evaluation

The current evaluation was summative in nature, simultaneously exploring issues of relevance, success and cost-effectiveness, in addition to implementation issues and unintended outcomes.

1.8 Logic Model

A logic model outlining the activities, outputs, and outcomes of Community Residential Alternatives is presented in Figure 15.

Figure 1: Logic Model for Community Residential Alternatives


[full description for Figure1: Logic Model for Community Residential Alternatives]

The outputs illustrated in the logic model represent what the program produces in order to achieve its goals. Outcomes refer to program goals or what program activities intend to change and/or create, and can also include unintended effects of program activities. In this logic model, outcomes are grouped into immediate, intermediate and long-term goals.

2.0 EVALUATION METHOD

2.1 Scope of the Evaluation

The evaluation was conducted by the Evaluation Branch, CSC. The evaluation was completed to inform decision-making on the future disposition of Residential Alternatives and focused on success, cost-effectiveness, continued relevancy, implementation, as well as unintended effects. At the outset of the current evaluation, the following expected results were identified under each evaluation objective:

Objective #1: Continued Relevancy
  • Community Residential Alternatives activities are consistent with other correctional reintegration strategies, continue to operate under originally intended principles and guidelines, and serve the public interest.
Objective #2: Program Implementation
  • Community Residential Alternatives operate according to standards set out in policy, and are supported by both internal and external CSC staff members, and partnerships exist and function at an optimal level.
Objective #3: Success (Effectiveness & Efficiency)
  • Services for offenders with special accommodation needs are readily available.
  • Residences are operating at an optimal capacity.
  • Greater success outcomes when compared to participants’ previous release history, such as (but not limited to) longer periods of success; lower number of technical violations, lower number of suspensions/revocations, and/or completion of sentence without re-offending.
Objective #4: Cost-effectiveness
  • Outputs and outcomes have been effectively achieved with designated funding.
  • Value for money type analyses yield positive results.
Objective #5: Unintended Impacts
  • Positive and/or negative unintended effects created by or encountered through Community Residential Alternatives have been identified.

2.2 Sample Composition

Automated Data

According to data provided by the three Community Residential Alternatives-funded projects, 150 offenders participated in the Community Residential Alternatives projects between January 2004 and September 2008. There were 10 offenders who received services through Stella Burry Community Services, 62 who participated in Projet Oxygène, and 78 who participated in the Intensive Management Program.

Community Residential Alternatives Participant Interviews

A total of N = 22 offenders from the Community Residential Alternatives projects were interviewed, representing 15% of the 150 offenders who had participated in a Community Residential Alternatives project at the time of the evaluation. Among these Community Residential Alternatives participants, 41% (n = 9) were serving a life sentence.

In total, 50% (n = 11) of Community Residential Alternatives participant interviewees were from Projet Oxygène, 32% (n = 7) were from the Intensive Management Program, and 18% (n = 4) were from Stella Burry Community Services. Of note, Intensive Management Program interviewees were somewhat under-represented, relative to the total number of CSC offenders who had received Community Residential Alternatives services at the time of the evaluation. Specifically, Stella Burry Community Services interviewees represented 40% of the 10 CSC offenders who have received services from Stella Burry Community Services at some point during the data collection phase and Projet Oxygène interviewees represented 18% of the 62 CSC offenders who have received Projet Oxygène services, but Intensive Management Program interviewees only represented 9% of the 78 CSC offenders who have received Intensive Management Program services.

At the time of the interviews, most Community Residential Alternatives participants lived in a residence affiliated with one of the Community Residential Alternatives projects (46%, n = 10). The remaining participants were distributed across Community Residential Facilities (18%, n = 4), private home placements (9%, n = 2), private dwellings (9%, n = 2), or had other living arrangements (18%, n = 4).

Key Stakeholder Interviews: Staff and Community Service Providers

A total of N = 359 CSC and community service provider staff members provided responses to the Community Residential Alternatives electronic survey. However, only 79 (22%) of the respondents reported being at least moderately familiar with the goals and objectives of the Community Residential Alternatives initiative. The data provided by those respondents who were unfamiliar with Community Residential Alternatives were therefore screened out of subsequent data analyses6.

Among the 79 key stakeholders who reported at least moderate familiarity with Community Residential Alternatives, most were from the Pacific (28%, n = 22), Ontario (22%, n = 17), Atlantic (19%, n = 15) or Quebec (18%, n = 14) Regions, and a smaller proportion was from the Prairies Region (9%, n = 7) or National Headquarters (NHQ) (4%, n = 3). One response to this question was missing7.

Approximately one-half (53%, n = 41) of key stakeholder respondents reported that they were not (and had not been previously) involved with any of the three Community Residential Alternatives projects. Among those 37 key stakeholder respondents who had been involved with a Community Residential Alternatives project, 38% (n = 14) were involved with Stella Burry Community Services, 32% (n = 12) with the Intensive Management Program, 24% (n = 9) with Projet Oxygène and 5% (n = 2) were involved with all three projects at CSC’s National Headquarters.

In terms of occupation, the majority (81%, n = 63) of key stakeholder respondents were CSC employees. Among CSC key stakeholder respondents, 52% (n = 33) were CSC institutional staff members, 37% (n = 23) were CSC community staff members, 6% (n = 4) were from RHQs, and 5% (n = 3) were from NHQ. On average, CSC key stakeholder respondents had been working for CSC for 15.79 years (SD = 10.52, range: 1-34) and had been in their current position for 5.41 years (SD = 5.77, range: 1-28). Staff members interviewed held a variety of positions, including but not limited to: Institutional Parole Officers; Community Parole Officers; Community Parole Officer Supervisors; Correctional Officers; Institutional program delivery staff members; Area Directors; Program Managers; Program Coordinators; Project Officers/Managers; and Health Service/Psychological Service providers.

Another 19% (n = 15) of key stakeholder respondents were community service providers. These key stakeholders held a wide variety of occupations, such as case managers (27%, n = 4), directors of not-for-profit organizations (13%, n = 2), chaplains (13%, n = 2) and others (47%, n = 7), and had been working in their current positions for an average of 7.27 years (SD = 4.36, range: 1-18).

2.3  Measures

Multiple research methods were used for this evaluation. Qualitative and quantitative methods were implemented to address the stated evaluation objectives8. Information was collected through an on-line survey with key stakeholders, a review of the relevant literature related to effective corrections, interviews with Community Residential Alternatives project participants, automated data sources (CSC’s OMS and Canadian Police Information Centre), administrative file and data reviews, analysis of financial data and a review of other initiative-specific information (e.g., annual and quarterly reports, training packages, protocol documents, minutes of conference calls).

2.3.1 Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool

As of April 1, 2007, Community Residential Alternatives project data were collected on an ongoing basis by each of the three ECI-funded projects, using the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool 9, and submitted to NHQ Community Reintegration Operations. The Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool was comprised of two components: 1) project-specific data; and 2) offender-specific data10.

The project-specific component included data pertaining to:

  • A brief project description that remained the same across all bi-annual and annual reports, unless changes were instituted;
  • The amount of funding dedicated to the project (annual amount for the fiscal year being reported);
  • A description of any changes made to the project and the reasons for which these changes were initiated;
  • A description of any positive changes that took place;
  • A description of any challenges that were encountered and the manner by which they were resolved; and
  • Any other information that could be beneficial for the project evaluation11.

The offender-specific component included data pertaining to:

  • The offender’s full name;
  • The offender’s fingerprint serial (FPS) number;
  • The Community Residential Alternatives project in which the offender participated;
  • The offender’s target needs;
  • A summary of project activities addressing the offender’s target needs;
  • The offender’s project admission date;
  • The offender’s project termination date;
  • The reason for terminating the offender’s project participation;
  • The number of previous times the offender participated in the project;
  • The offender’s prior project admission dates; and
  • The offender’s prior project exit dates12.

The collected data were drawn upon for subsequent analyses, including the development of the Community Residential Alternatives participant profile and Community Residential Alternatives project-related outcomes.

2.3.2. Stakeholder Survey

Community Residential Alternatives stakeholders were invited to participate in an on-line survey. A single survey questionnaire was developed for all stakeholder groups.  The questionnaire was structured such that it addressed the following evaluation objectives: (a) implementation; (b) continued relevancy; c) success; (d) best practices and lessons learned; and e) unintended outcomes. Survey questions were designed such that responses were open-ended, categorical, dichotomous, or rated along a five-point scale.

2.3.3. Semi-Structured Interviews with Project Participants

Semi-structured interviews were used to aid in the collection of information and to allow Community Residential Alternatives project participants the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences with the services received.  Project participants were asked to volunteer to participate in face-to-face interviews with evaluation staff members. Interview questions were designed such that responses were categorical, dichotomous, rated along a five-point scale or open-ended.

2.4 Procedures

Interviews were conducted by the evaluation team in person and/or by telephone during the month of March 2009. The interview process included site visits across all regions and National Headquarters.  Interviews were approximately 25 to 40 minutes in duration.

Interview data were entered into Snap Survey software and exported into SPSS. Qualitative data generated as a result of the interview process were exported into Microsoft Word. Themes relevant to the evaluation objectives were then generated by evaluation analysts. Quantitative interview data were analyzed in SPSS.

Automated data used to identify and analyse the Community Residential Alternatives comparison groups were drawn from CSC’s Offender Management System (OMS). As such, this generated a sample of 1,234 offenders released between 2004 and 2008 to the same supervision offices to which participants in the Community Residential Alternatives initiative reported.  Offender releases were limited to those with: i) a diagnosis of a mental health condition at the time of their admission to federal custody (n = 590); and/or ii) who were 50 years of age or older at the time of their release (n = 692)13; and iii) who were residing in either a Community Correctional Centre or a Community Residential Facility. Next, to establish success or failure on community outcome measures, the evaluation extended the follow-up period beyond an offender’s federal sentence to include provincial re-offending in the definition of recidivism. As such, offender OMS records were linked to Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) data. These records were then parsed through a routine programmed in SAS software. The resulting electronic database contained both federal and provincial offending, and sentencing information subsequently used in the community outcomes analyses.

Financial information regarding individual Community Residential Alternatives projects was obtained from CSC’s Integrated Management Reporting System (IMRS). Data regarding the cost of maintaining an offender were drawn from CSC’s Cost of Maintaining an Offender Data (COMO) in the institution and community tables.

2.5 Analyses

Summary data from quantitative interview questions and themes generated from open-ended survey and interview responses are presented in the appropriate Key Findings sections below. Quantitative methods were used to profile the samples of offenders, to identify trends and to compare various characteristics with a comparison group of offenders. Specifically, survival analyses14 were used to examine and compare between-group differences where data were censored15. Outcome measures examined for between-group analyses included length of time in the community with and without re-offending16.

Potential differences among some important variables between the comparison group and the Residential Alternatives participant group were controlled for in all analyses. These variables included age at admission, sentence length, static risk rating, custody rating scale rating, release type, and identified need in the following areas: employment; family/marital; social interaction/associates; substance abuse; community functioning; personal/emotional; and attitude17.

2.6 Limitations

The low number of women and Aboriginal men receiving services from Community Residential Alternatives initiatives precluded quantitative analyses examining community outcomes separately for these groups. In addition, the number of offender interviewees from the three projects did not reflect the distribution of all Community Residential Alternatives participants. Also, the proportion of offenders housed in one of the four residences provided through the Intensive Management Program was unknown. Thus, this evaluation took a conservative approach in estimating that one-half of project participants was in a residency for the purposes of the cost-effectiveness analyses.. Finally, almost no women received services through Community Residential Alternatives. However, women who were elderly and/or women who were diagnosed with mental health problems may have received services through alternative options. The evaluation did not examine the extent of usage of these alternative services; thus, the existence or extent of a gap in service for this group remains uncertain.

3.0 KEY FINDINGS

The following results are presented under their respective Evaluation Objectives, namely: 1) Continued Relevancy; 2) Implementation; 3) Success; 4) Cost-Effectiveness; and 5) Unintended Outcomes.

Objective 1: Continued Relevancy:

The extent to which the Initiative remains consistent with departmental and government-wide priorities, and realistically addresses an actual need.

FINDING 1 : The Community Residential Alternatives initiative is consistent with departmental and government priorities, and with CSC’s strategic objectives.

In response to the challenges of managing a changing offender profile while contributing to public safely, CSC undertook a comprehensive process to identify new priorities in 2006-2007. Five priorities were established in response to the changing offender profile, the paramount importance of public safety, and the Government’s emphasis on crime prevention:

  • Safe transition of eligible offenders into the community;
  • Safety and security for staff and offenders in our institutions;
  • Enhanced capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders;
  • Improved capacities to address mental health needs of offenders; and
  • Strengthened management practices (Correctional Service Canada [CSC], 2008).

 

CSC’s commitment to the safe transition of eligible offenders was reaffirmed in the 2008-09 Report on Plans and Priorities (CSC, 2008). Given that the main activity of funded projects is to provide reintegration assistance for special needs offenders, Community Residential Alternatives is consistent with CSC’s strategic priority of safe transition of eligible offenders into the community. In addition, two of the three funded projects (Stella Burry Community Services and the Intensive Management Program), offer services for offenders with mental health issues, which is consistent with CSC’s strategic priority of improved capacities to address mental health needs of offenders.

Community Residential Alternatives are also consistent with specific recommendations made by the Correctional Service Canada Review Panel (Public Safety Canada [PSC], 2007). The Panel recommended that CSC conduct “a full review of the capacity and capability of community residential facilities, in particular the current lack of community accommodation alternatives available for women offenders as well as Community Residential Alternatives S. 81/84 agreements with Aboriginal communities” (PSC, 2007). Furthermore, the Panel recommended that “…correctional policies, programs, and practices, where possible, respect… the needs of offenders with special mental health requirements, and the needs of other groups of offenders with special requirements” (PSC, 2007).

In addition to these links with key CSC priorities, data provided by key stakeholders indicated that the majority of respondents (81%, n = 55) agreed that Community Residential Alternatives’ goals and objectives were consistent with CSC’s mission and strategic priorities. Some of the respondents (n = 32) further explained that Community Residential Alternatives aimed to facilitate offender reintegration (63%, n = 20), addressed offenders’ needs (28%, n = 9), and increased public safety (22%, n = 7).

FINDING 2: The goals of Community Residential Alternatives are congruent with comparable initiatives identified in international jurisdictions.

The following is a brief description of two initiatives, one in England and the other in Australia, whose goals closely resemble those of Community Residential Alternatives with respect to addressing the housing needs of offenders within the community.

The Tenancy Support Service (TSS) was developed in the Greater Manchester Area, England, for the primary purpose of assisting offenders to access mainstream housing after release. The TSS employs a tenancy support worker whose role is to act as an intermediary between parole officers and the housing authorities in order to help offenders secure housing.  A review of this project revealed that it operates most effectively when the tenancy support worker begins working with offenders prior to their release (Allen & Barkley, 2002).

The Transitional Housing Management - Corrections Housing Pathways Initiative (THM-CHPI) was developed in the state of Victoria, Australia, to link offenders who would be at risk of homelessness with transitional housing and support services (Meehan, 2002).  The program aims to maintain accommodations for offenders entering prison on short-term sentences, as well as target those leaving prison from long-term sentences who are at risk of homelessness. Housing placement workers assess offenders’ risk of homelessness and support needs, develop individualized pre-release housing plans, link offenders with appropriate services to address issues associated with reintegration, and assist offenders in securing appropriate housing prior to their release. Sixty-one properties have been leased or purchased to accommodate the housing needs of offenders from three prisons. An evaluation of the two-year THM-CHPI pilot project revealed that the initiative showed promise in reducing the incidence of homelessness for participants from pre-incarceration to post-release, improving offenders’ transitional experience, and reducing re-offending rates of project participants, relative to the comparison group, upon release to the community (Bartholomew, Patton, Balkin & Stock, 2004).

FINDING 3: There is a continued need for the Community Residential Alternatives initiative, given the goals and objectives of the initiative and the current offender profile.

Data collected from key stakeholders indicated that the vast majority agreed that Community Residential Alternatives was a worthwhile initiative to fund (90%, n = 55), given the specialised services provided to special needs offenders (49%, n = 27) and the cost-savings of having offenders in the community rather than in penitentiaries (13%, n = 7). In addition, the vast majority of key stakeholder respondents (90%, n = 65) agreed that there is a continued need for Community Residential Alternatives, given its goals and objectives, as well as the current offender profile. Key stakeholders explained that Community Residential Alternatives fills a gap in the CSC services available for offenders with special needs (29%, n = 19) and effectively facilitates the reintegration of these offenders into the community (22%, n = 14).

This view is supported by the offender reintegration literature, which identifies the period immediately following release as one of the most challenging for offenders trying to reintegrate into the community (Bell & Trevethan, 2004; Metraux & Culhane, 2004; PSC, 2007). Considerable prior research points to a strong association between appropriate post-release housing and favourable post-release outcomes (Baldry, McDonnell, Maplestone & Peeters, 2003; Allen & Barkley, 2002; Bobbie Boland & Associates & Organ, 2004). Residential programs that provide housing and/or assist with finding adequate housing have been shown to help decrease recidivism and to aid in reintegration (Bobbie Boland & Associates & Organ, 2004; Schram, Koons-Witt, Williams & McShane, 2006; Griffiths, Dandurand & Murdoch, 2007). Research also indicates that offenders express concern about where they will live when they re-enter the community, as they worry that certain environments may tempt or lead them to re-offend (Davis, 2003).  Consistent with this concern are findings that, upon release, lack of adequate and affordable housing can result in offenders living in, or returning to, areas of the community with higher concentrations of crime, more risk factors, and fewer social services (Griffiths, Dandurand, & Murdoch, 2007; Rodriguez & Brown, 2003; Baldry, McDonnell, Maplestone & Peeters, 2003).

Challenges exist for those offenders who plan to live with family or friends upon release. For example, special conditions of release prohibit some offenders from living with family or friends (Rodriguez & Brown, 2003), while other offenders (especially elderly offenders) may have no family or friends who are able to assist them (Rikard & Rosenberg, 2007).  There are no clear numbers on the percentage of released offenders who are homeless in Canada; however, Australian research indicates that the proportion of homeless offenders is higher than that of the general Australian population (Willis, 2004).  In the United States, research has found that a significant proportion of offenders go directly to a homeless shelter upon release from a correctional facility (Metraux & Culhane, 2004), although several states have implemented policies that prevent offenders from being released unless they have a place to live and some states will not release offenders to homeless shelters (Rodriguez & Brown, 2003).

Recently released offenders may face a number of obstacles and barriers to obtaining and retaining housing.  For example, in some Canadian provinces, provincial Human Rights Codes that regulate discrimination in rental housing provide no protection from discrimination on the grounds of having a criminal record (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006). Research conducted in the United States indicates that refusal to rent properties to applicants with a criminal record is common (Clark, 2007; Pettus & Severson, 2006; Willis, 2004) and that friends and family risk being evicted if they allow an offender to live with them (Pogorzelski, Wolff, Pan, & Blitz, 2005; Rodriguez & Brown, 2003).

As of 2008, 31% (6, 977) of Canadian federal offenders under the CSC’s jurisdiction were being actively supervised in the community (Public Safety Canada, 2008)18 and, among these offenders, 7% were female, 14% were Aboriginal, and 15% had either a current or previous mental health problem (14% of men, 26% of women) (Community Reintegration Operations Division, 2008).  There is considerable evidence suggesting that offenders with special needs are at a particular disadvantage with regard to securing appropriate housing. For example, like many male offenders, women offenders require adequate transitional housing and assistance when re-entering the community; however, women offenders are more likely to live with children and, thus, require additional assistance finding adequate and affordable housing (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2005; Pedlar, Arai,Yuen & Fortune, 2008; Harm & Phillips, 2001) .  Moreover, compared with women offenders who have secured adequate post-release housing, those who have not done so are more likely to re-offend (Schram, Koons-Witt, Williams & McShane, 2006).

The housing needs of Aboriginal women offenders may be heightened due to their location in isolated communities, high unemployment rates, low educational levels, and high substance abuse levels (Bell, Trevethan & Allegri, 2004). Interviews conducted by CSC’s Research Branch with Aboriginal women offenders at the time of their release revealed that the majority of these women foresaw being in need of additional housing assistance in the community.  However, regardless of gender, Aboriginal offenders may require more assistance with housing than other offenders because of housing shortages on Canadian reserves (Saulis, Fiddler & Howse, 2001). Aboriginal offenders, who are overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system, are at risk of becoming caught in a cycle of lack of housing and imprisonment that can be worsened by a lack of adequate pre- and post-release programs (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006).

Another sub-group of offenders who have been identified as requiring more assistance with post-release housing is older offenders. A large proportion of older offenders have one or more health problems at the time of release, including chronic medical conditions and physical impairments, as well as mental health issues and cognitive impairments (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006; Crawley & Sparks, 2006; Fazel, Hope, O’Donnell, Piper & Jacoby, 2001; Rikard & Rosenberg, 2007; Williams & Abraldes, 2007). These special needs can make reintegration and independent living more difficult, and these individuals may require specialized housing services, such as supportive and/or physically accessible housing (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006). Older offenders also tend to experience high anxiety about returning to the community and some of their fears centre around where they will live upon release, primarily because of lack of available family support for assisting with their housing needs (Crawley & Sparks, 2006; Williams & Abraldes, 2007; Crawley & Sparks, 2006; Rikard & Rosenberg, 2007). Furthermore, some older offenders are too young to collect a pension and, as a result, may encounter difficulties affording appropriate housing (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006), especially given that obtaining social or subsidized housing for offenders is generally challenging (Allen & Barkley, 2002; Pedlar, Arai, Yuen, & Fortune, 2008).  A recent CSC report, developed by the Community Reintegration Operations Division, identified a notable shortage of Canadian facilities that specialized in housing for older offenders who were re-entering the community19; there are currently 17 community-based residential facilities that report specializing in geriatric cases. This includes beds at four Community Residential Facilities, one Community Correctional Centre and twelve alternative community beds.  It is not possible at this time to determine the actual number of beds available to older offenders, since the data collected for the review were reported for geriatric and disabled offenders as one group.  The report indicates the following:

There are currently 20 CBRFs that report specializing in physically disabled residents and 17 that report specializing in geriatric cases, although there is a lot of duplication within these categories (i.e., several facilities indicate specializing in both).  In terms of actual bed capacity, this translates into a maximum of 328 beds, or 13% of the 2,580 available across all three CBRF types (CCCs, CRFs and ACBs).  However, there are another 260 beds listed as accessible to disabled clients in facilities that do not claim to specialize in this client group, raising the grand total of beds open to the geriatric or physically impaired to 588, or 22% of all CBRF beds in Canada. Given that 27% of offenders in the community are over the age of 50, and that in last year alone, 24% of those released had known physical health problems, CSC is undoubtedly facing bed shortages in dealing with this population (p.50).

Offenders with mental health issues are at a higher risk of homelessness, both before and after incarceration, than are other offenders (Southern, 1999; Baldry, McDonnell, Maplestone & Peeters, 2003; Metraux & Culhane, 2004; Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006). Furthermore, offenders with mental health issues are less likely to request assistance with housing and other needs (Southern, 1999).   Perhaps not surprisingly, finding landlords who are willing to rent their properties has been shown to be especially challenging for offenders with mental health issues (Southern, 1999).  In addition, some offenders with mental health issues also have substance abuse problems and/or serious mental illnesses (Wolff, 2005) and, therefore, require reintegration programs that are customized to meet their specific needs.

Additional housing support is also important for offenders with fetal alcohol syndrome and effects (FAS/FAE), a significant proportion of whom are Aboriginal (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006; Public Safety Canada, 2007; Bracken, 2008). Similar to the housing challenges encountered by offenders with mental health issues, offenders with FAS/FAE require supportive housing upon release (Cathexis Consulting Inc., 2006) and perhaps even constant supervision (Fast & Conry, 2004).

According to data provided by the three Community Residential Alternatives-funded projects, all of the 150 offenders who participated in one of the Community Residential Alternatives projects at the time of evaluation presented with special needs. For Stella Burry Community Services, all of the 10 participants presented with complex mental health needs or dual diagnoses (100%), none were Aboriginal, one individual was 50 years of age or older and one participant was female.  The majority also showed needs in the areas of employment and education (80%, n = 8), community access and leisure (70%, n = 7), and life skills (70%, n = 7)20.  Several also had housing (30%, n = 3), physical health (20%, n = 2), and substance abuse (20%, n = 2) needs.

Among the 62 offenders who participated in Projet Oxygène, 58% were 50 years of age or older at the time of their participation (n = 36). The majority of participants presented with personal/emotional (70%, n = 43) and community functioning (60%, n = 37) needs.  In addition, several participants had needs in the areas of attitude (37%, n = 23), employment (34%, n = 21), and social interaction (32%, n = 20). Eight percent of Projet Oxygène participants were Aboriginal (n = 5) and one participant (2%) was a woman.

The majority of the 78 Intensive Management Program participants presented with a variety of needs, including substance abuse (74%, n = 58), major mental disorder (MDO; 68%, n = 53), low functioning (69%, n = 54), community functioning (23%, n = 18), and serious medical/palliative conditions (10%, n = 8). All project participants were male. In addition, almost one-quarter of clients were Aboriginal (35%, n = 27) and 27% were 50 years of age or older (n = 21).

The wide variety of special needs of offenders who participate in Community Residential Alternatives projects also suggests there is a continued need for such initiatives to assist offenders requiring enhanced and/or specialised services. Key stakeholder respondents indicated that the following special needs offenders were targeted groups for the Community Residential Alternatives project(s) with which they were familiar (the number and the percentage of key stakeholders is highlighted in brackets):

  • Offenders with mental health issues (91%, n = 59);
  • Low functioning offenders or offenders identified as developmentally delayed (93%, n = 54);
  • Offenders with substance abuse issues (92%, n = 47);
  • Offenders with FAE/FAS (86%, n = 44);
  • Offenders with dual diagnoses (e.g., major mental disorder and substance abuse; 92%, n = 44);
  • Women offenders (82%, n = 40);
  • Offenders with brain injuries or other neurological issues (81%, n = 38);
  • Offenders 50 years of age or older (77%, n = 37);
  • Offenders serving life sentences (78%, n = 35); and
  • Offenders with physical disabilities (75%, n = 30).

Objective 2: Implementation:

This evaluation objective ascertains whether the initiative is organized and delivered in such a way that goals and objectives can be achieved.  This involves appropriate and logical linkages between activities, outputs, outcomes and long-term outcomes.

FINDING 4: Information regarding Community Residential Alternatives participants varied across sites.

For performance measurement purposes, it is necessary to track offenders who have participated in the Community Residential Alternatives projects, including information pertaining to their sentences, their target needs, the Community Residential Alternatives activities addressing these needs, and the reasons for termination of participation. Community Residential Alternatives project managers have been submitting this information to CSC on a bi-annual basis, in a standardized format, since April 2007. As described above, the Microsoft Excel component of the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool is designed to track this offender-specific information. However, the manner in which data were entered into the Microsoft Excel template was not standardized across the projects, making it possible for information to vary in detail, format, and design.  Data reliability issues could be remedied if this component of the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool were revised and standardized to provide greater clarity for project managers who are entering information. This approach would also improve the level of efficiency in manipulating information and for monitoring results on an ongoing basis.

RECOMMENDATION 1 : To facilitate monitoring and performance reporting, CSC should ensure that the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool be: i) revised to include all relevant information; and ii) standardized for consistency across sites.  CSC should also provide Community Residential Alternatives project managers with training to use the revised Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool.

FINDING 5 : Awareness of Community Residential Alternatives projects was low among CSC institutional and community staff members; however, those who were aware of the projects were supportive of the Community Residential Alternatives initiative.

Information provided by key stakeholder respondents suggested that CSC community staff members were aware (69%, n = 33) and supportive (82%, n = 40) of the Community Residential Alternatives projects21. Although fewer key stakeholders indicated that CSC institutional staff members were aware of Community Residential Alternatives (37%, n = 16), they agreed that those CSC institutional staff members who were aware were also supportive of these projects (71%, n = 30).

Data provided by institutional and community staff members themselves corroborated these findings. A total of 198 CSC institutional staff members were invited to participate in the on-line stakeholder survey. Of note, the vast majority of institutional staff members (83%, n = 164) reported that they were not familiar with Community Residential Alternatives. Among those who indicated at least moderate familiarity, however, 86% (n = 19) were in agreement that the initiative was worthwhile to fund.

Awareness of Community Residential Alternatives projects among CSC community staff members was also low. Specifically, of 80 community staff survey respondents, more than two-thirds (71%, n = 57) rated themselves as unfamiliar with the initiative. Of significance, the majority (85%, n = 17) of community staff members who were familiar with Residential Alternatives thought it was a worthwhile initiative to fund.

FINDING 6: Male Aboriginal participants, diagnosed as having a mental health condition and/or who were 50 years of age or older, were well-represented across Community Residential Alternatives sites.

While Aboriginal men represented 18.9% (n = 110) of offenders released with a mental health diagnosis22, they comprised 25.4% (n = 14) of those receiving services through the Community Residential Alternatives initiative. Similarly, while Aboriginal men represented 11.6% (n = 97) of offenders released when they were 50 years of age or older, they comprised 15.6% (n = 5) of those receiving services through the Community Residential Alternatives initiative.

FINDING 7 : It was reported that there were barriers to certain aspects of implementation, including a lack of clarity surrounding inclusion criteria and referral procedures, a shortage of available services, and delays in the identification of, and initial project contact with, eligible offenders.

According to most key stakeholder respondents, at its inception, Community Residential Alternatives were implemented according to the planned schedule (73%, n = 11). Specifically, key stakeholder respondents agreed that CSC contracted the most appropriate partners to deliver Community Residential Alternatives services (77%, n = 30) and that these contracts were developed in a timely manner (82%, n = 23). Furthermore, the contracted Community Residential Alternatives project staff members were believed to be capable of providing support (87%, n = 39) and structure (91%, n = 41) for offenders with special needs. The majority of key stakeholder respondents also agreed that the target offender populations were clearly defined (74%, n = 32).

Throughout the data collection period for this evaluation, changes to the operations of Community Residential Alternatives projects resulted in the expansion of services and service providers. These changes were noted in the reports submitted bi-annually by each project. Specifically: 1) Stella Burry Community Services reported having received increased provincial funding, accompanied by growth in the number of participants and staff members; 2) Maison CrossRoads founded Residence Leo’s Boys in 2008, where some Projet Oxygène participants were housed; and 3) the John Howard Society founded Linkage House and Georgian Court in 2008, where Intensive Management Program participants were commonly housed.

In general, the ongoing implementation of Community Residential Alternatives appears to have been delivered in such a way that its goals and objectives could be achieved. For example, according to key stakeholder respondents, offenders with special needs were being referred to the appropriate Community Residential Alternatives project to address their needs (68%, n = 28). In addition, key stakeholder respondents agreed that there was frequent communication between Community Residential Alternatives staff members and community Parole Officers (80%, n = 36) and that the services provided through Community Residential Alternatives projects were coordinated with those provided by community Parole Officers (80%, n = 37).

The responses of the Community Residential Alternatives participants who were interviewed for this evaluation (N = 22) mirrored those of key stakeholders with respect to the ongoing implementation of Community Residential Alternatives projects. Most participants indicated that there were no communication problems between their Parole Officers and their residential facility staff members (79%, n = 15) and that their Parole Officers and Community Residential Alternatives project staff members worked together to ensure that their reintegration needs were met in a balanced way (60%, n = 12). In addition, the majority of Community Residential Alternatives participants indicated that it was not difficult for them to obtain information about available services (77%, n = 17) or to access the services they required (91%, n = 20). Most participants also indicated that they had been assigned to work with a specific individual from the Community Residential Alternatives project (86%, n = 19) and that they had at least daily or weekly contact with project staff members (82%, n = 18).

Of note, key stakeholders identified several obstacles regarding the Community Residential Alternatives referral process. Although the majority agreed that clear offender inclusion criteria (72%, n = 47), explicit referral procedures (64%, n = 41), and guidelines on when referrals should be initiated (72%, n = 48) were important for the Community Residential Alternatives initiative, notably fewer agreed that these attributes were present (44%, n = 19; 31%, n = 13; and 33%, n = 15; respectively). Furthermore, less than two-thirds of key stakeholder respondents (57%, n = 26) agreed that offenders with special needs were identified in a timely manner to enable coordination of Community Residential Alternatives project services. Data from Community Residential Alternatives participant interviews corroborated these findings. Specifically, participants (18%, n = 4) reported that they first learned about their Community Residential Alternatives project only after being released into the community. Moreover, although most key stakeholder respondents  reported that Community Residential Alternatives participants had timely initial contact with Community Residential Alternatives project staff members (74%, n = 26), one-third of participant interviewees (24%, n = 5) indicated that their first contact with Community Residential Alternatives project staff members occurred only following their release into the community.

In addition, less than one-third of key stakeholder respondents (30%, n = 13) reported being aware of offenders who were eligible for Community Residential Alternatives, but who did not receive Community Residential Alternatives services. On average, these key stakeholders were aware of 11.4 such offenders (SD = 17.0, range: 2-50) and the primary reasons cited for not having received services were that Community Residential Alternatives projects were not available in the community to which the offender was released (83%, n = 10), that the waitlist for services was too lengthy23 (75%, n = 9), and that the offender was not identified in time to coordinate services (67%, n = 8). Only three key stakeholders (27%) reported that eligible offenders did not receive Community Residential Alternatives services because offenders refused to participate.

To increase the successful reintegration of offenders into the community, key stakeholder respondents suggested that Community Residential Alternatives projects should be offered in more communities across Canada (33%, n = 14). In addition, it was recommended that communication and sharing of information between Community Residential Alternatives staff members and both institutional and community CSC staff members be improved (41%, n = 17; e.g., organize regular visits to institutions for Community Residential Alternatives staff members and to Community Residential Alternatives project sites for CSC staff members, provide regular Community Residential Alternatives information sessions to CSC staff members, and communicate about potential Community Residential Alternatives project participants prior to their release). This latter recommendation was echoed in key stakeholders’ responses regarding lessons learned and best practices. Specifically, seven (17%) key stakeholder respondents highlighted the importance of building a strong working relationship between CSC and Community Residential Alternatives staff members in order to raise CSC staff’s awareness of Community Residential Alternatives projects and better coordinate service delivery in a timely manner.

When asked whether there have been other obstacles encountered in the delivery of Community Residential Alternatives projects, several key stakeholders respondents identified funding challenges (25%, n = 4; e.g., insufficient project budgets for staff resources and bed spaces).  To increase effective reintegration into the community, it was recommended that CSC should guarantee ongoing Community Residential Alternatives funding and increase funding for Community Residential Alternatives project staffing (14%, n = 6).

RECOMMENDATION 2 : CSC and Community Residential Alternatives staff members should jointly develop referral procedures and inclusion criteria to identify candidates to receive Residential Alternatives services. Further, both parties should meet regularly to enhance the level of communication and working relationships, and to better coordinate service delivery in a timely manner.


Efficiency:

The extent to which Community Residential Alternatives is producing planned outputs.

FINDING 8 : Community Residential Alternatives have developed a cadre of support services and resources which are tailored to meet participants’ special needs, and which aid in the reintegration process.

According to data provided by Community Residential Alternatives participant interviewees,  Community Residential Alternatives projects most frequently provided participants with individual support (91%, n = 20), general support services (91%, n = 20; e.g., assistance with shopping, employment, finances, and recreational activities), and housing assistance (77%, n = 17). Some participants also received mental health counselling (46%, n = 10), assistance with medical care and health issues (38%, n = 8), and substance abuse counselling (23%, n = 5).

Project-specific data submitted bi-annually by each of the three Community Residential Alternatives projects corroborated Community Residential Alternatives participant reports. Data submitted by Stella Burry Community Services indicated that all 10 participants received intensive case management, such as mental health and substance abuse counselling (100%, n = 10).  In addition, the majority received general support (80%, n = 8; including assistance with banking and finances, finding accommodation, and general support from Stella Burry Community Services staff members), individual support from Stella Burry Community Services staff members (60%, n = 6), and skills training/pre-employment services (50%, n = 5).

At Projet Oxygène, the majority of the 62 participants received general support (69%, n = 43; including assistance with transportation, banking, and finding accommodation and employment) and progress report updates (61%, n = 38).  In addition, several participants received support for conditional release activities (31%, n = 19; e.g., accompaniment during unescorted and escorted temporary absences), were accompanied at NPB hearings (13%, n = 8), and received emergency response services (13%, n = 8; e.g., support in cases where the offender was unlawfully at large, attempted suicide or was severely intoxicated).  A few participants also received assistance with release planning (4.8%, n = 3).

Data provided by the Intensive Management Program only identified services provided to offenders who participated in the project as of October 2007, when the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool was implemented. Most of these 31 participants were accompanied to appointments with police officers (97%, n = 30) and parole officers (87%, n = 27). In addition, participants received general support (78%, n = 24; including shopping for necessities, escorts to the food bank, assistance with banking and budgeting, and assistance finding employment), counselling/mental health support (61%, n = 19), and substance abuse counselling (52%, n = 16). In terms of provided housing services, the vast majority of Intensive Management Program participants were housed either in the Lighthouse housing project (71%, n = 22) or at Linkage House (19%, n = 6).

FINDING 9 : Community Residential Alternatives projects are addressing the needs of offenders requiring enhanced and/or specialized services. However, Community Residential Alternatives participants and key stakeholders alike expressed concern that special needs offenders might lose access to needed services once they reached the end of their sentence.

Taken as a whole, data from the Community Residential Alternatives bi-annual reports (reported above) suggested that all three Community Residential Alternatives projects provided participants with general support services (e.g., finding accommodations, banking and finances, etc.) and accompanied participants to appointments. However, other types of services varied from one Community Residential Alternatives project to the next in accordance with the special needs of the offender sub-groups targeted by each project.  Consistent with this finding, most key stakeholders respondents agreed that offender Community Residential Alternatives projects’ Correctional Plan Progress Reports were tailored to the specific needs of each participant (78%, n = 36) and that participants’ correctional needs and special needs were being met in a balanced manner (70%, n = 31).

Key stakeholders also indicated that the Community Residential Alternatives projects increased the availability of supportive environments for special needs offenders in the community (93%, n = 40) and, more generally, the availability of resources for CSC offenders in the community (91%, n = 41). According to key stakeholder respondents, there were increases in the partnerships built with community agencies and services to provide services to offenders (94%, n = 45) and in the linkages to support services while offenders were under CSC community supervision (96%, n = 42).

In terms of specific sub-groups of offenders, most key stakeholders reported that Community Residential Alternatives projects successfully increased CSC’s ability to address the needs of the following special needs offenders:

  • Offenders with mental health issues (87%, n = 33);
  • Low functioning offenders or offenders identified as developmentally delayed (87%, n = 34);
  • Women offenders (81%, n = 25);
  • Offenders with brain injuries or other neurological issues (80%, n = 20);
  • Offenders with dual diagnoses (e.g., major mental disorder and substance abuse (79%, n = 26);
  • Offenders with FAE/FAS (74%, n = 23);
  • Offenders 50 years of age or older (74%, n = 23);
  • Offenders serving life sentences (72%, n = 21);
  • Offenders with substance abuse issues (71%, n = 25); and
  • Offenders with physical disabilities (56%, n = 15).

When asked about their overall experiences with participation in Community Residential Alternatives projects, almost all participants reported that they were either ‘very much’ or ‘completely’ satisfied with the services they received (95%, n = 20). Most participants also reported that Community Residential Alternatives services helped their return to the community (86%, n = 19) and helped them to live successfully in the community (91%, n = 20). Specifically, participants indicated that Community Residential Alternatives services met their needs in the following areas24:

  • Substance abuse counselling (100%, n = 5);
  • Mental health counselling (100%, n = 8);
  • Assistance shopping (86%, n = 12);
  • Recreational activities (85%, n = 11);
  • Accommodation/residence (81%, n = 13);
  • Employment assistance (82%, n = 9);
  • One-on-one support (80%, n = 16);
  • Assistance attending appointments (76%, n = 13);
  • Assistance with medical/health care (63%, n = 5); and
  • Financial assistance (54%, n = 7).

Participants’ responses also reflected a high level of satisfaction with Community Residential Alternatives project staff members’ ability to address their needs. According to participants, project staff encouraged them to take an active role in their treatment planning (100%, n = 20), helped them access resources in the community (95%, n = 19), and followed up with them after giving referrals to ensure they received needed services (91%, n = 20). In addition, participants reported that Community Residential Alternatives project staff members knew about their special needs (100%, n = 22) and were available when needed (86%, n = 19). Furthermore, most participants indicated that they knew who to go to if they need help (95%, n = 21). Overall, 100% (n = 22) of participants agreed that Community Residential Alternatives project staff were helpful in their return to the community.

All of the 22 interviewed participants identified aspects of their Community Residential Alternatives project that they considered to be the most helpful, including the availability of general support (64%, n = 14; e.g., listening and providing advice), assistance with day-to-day living (50%, n = 11; e.g., transportation and housing assistance, and accompaniment when attending appointments), the professional services offered to participants (9%, n = 2; e.g., counselling services and programs), and assistance with the transition from incarceration to the community (9%, n = 2; e.g., visits from Community Residential Alternatives project staff in penitentiaries).

Despite this strong endorsement of Community Residential Alternatives staff and services, only 60% (n = 6) of Community Residential Alternatives participants with determinate sentences indicated that they had all the needed services in place to sustain them beyond the end of their sentences. Explanations regarding why not all the needed services were in place were inconsistent across Community Residential Alternatives participants, but included the need for pre-employment training, assistance with anger management, substance abuse counselling, and assistance finding housing. Several key stakeholders (12%, n = 5) recommended providing a continuum of care for Community Residential Alternatives participants, from the start of their sentence through to the end of their sentence (e.g., incorporating referrals to Community Residential Alternatives projects into the intake process or correctional plans, and enabling consistency of services targeting participants’ special needs beyond the end of their sentence).

Effectiveness:

The extent to which a policy, program, or initiative is meeting its planned results.

FINDING 10 : Analyses suggested that interventions offered by Community Residential Alternatives to participants were having the same level of impact as alternative services offered through CSC.

Although Community Residential Alternatives participants were, in general, more likely to return to federal custody when compared with non-participants25, once statistical controls were imposed such that both the participant and comparison groups were matched in terms of risk and need, statistical differences were not observed. Specifically, when Community Residential Alternatives participants were compared to offenders receiving services through other independent agencies or at other community residential centres26, there were no significant differences across community outcomes. In particular, participants diagnosed with a mental health condition did not differ from the comparison group in their likelihood of returning to custody with a technical revocation (Hazard Ratio=1.80, p=0.25), or with a new offence (Hazard Ratio=3.63, p=0.16). Similarly, participants who were 50 years of age or older at their time of release did not differ from the comparison group in their likelihood of returning to custody with a technical revocation (Hazard Ratio=0.98, p=0.96)27.

RECOMMENDATION 3 : CSC and Community Residential Alternatives staff members should work together to develop a continuum of care strategy in order to ensure that those offenders requiring Community Residential Alternatives services are identified early in their sentences, and have necessary services in place to address their special needs, and support their successful reintegration.

Objective 4: Cost-Effectiveness:

Cost-effectiveness determines the relationship between the amount spent and the results achieved relative to alternative design and delivery approaches.

FINDING 11 : Community Residential Alternatives are cost-effective, as the same level of outcomes was achieved at lower associated costs when participants were compared to their respective counterparts.

As demonstrated earlier, there were no significant differences in community outcomes between Community Residential Alternatives participants and their respective counterparts28. However, a comparison between the costs associated with Community Residential Alternatives projects and Community Correctional Centres revealed that costs associated with the Community Residential Alternatives were less than those associated with Community Correctional Centres.  Specifically, had Community Residential Alternatives participants received services through a combination of private agencies and Community Correctional Centres, the average annual cost of maintaining participants would have been $38,218.48 per offender. However, the average annual cost of maintaining offenders under Community Residential Alternatives initiatives was $26,141.94 per offender. Thus, the Community Residential Alternatives initiatives yielded an average annual cost-savings of $12,076.54 per offender (please refer to Appendix D for detailed calculations).

A separate evaluation of Stella Burry Community Services was conducted in 2004 by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (now Public Safety Canada; Bobbie Boland & Associates & Organ, 2004). This evaluation’s findings showed that Stella Burry Community Services participants (including federal offenders and other participants) spent 73% fewer days in federal or provincial correctional facilities following their admission to the Stella Burry Community Services project, compared with the number days spent incarcerated prior to Stella Burry Community Services participation; this reduction in incarceration days resulted in a cost savings of $1,349,200 for CSC. In addition, Stella Burry Community Services participation was linked with reductions in admissions to, and days spent in, hospitals, as well as decreases in the number of visits to psychiatrists and hospital emergency rooms.

Objective 5: Unintended Outcomes:

Unintended outcomes are areas wherein the Initiative created or encountered any positive or negative effects.

FINDING 12: Women participants, diagnosed as having a mental health condition and/or who were 50 years of age or older, were under-represented across Community Residential Alternatives sites.

Only 2 out of 106 women either diagnosed with a mental health condition or 50 years of age or over were Community Residential Alternatives participants29. It was noted that two-thirds (n = 70) of this group was involved with other Community Residential Facilities or private agencies. However, since the evaluation did not examine the extent of usage of services at those sites, the existence or extent of a gap in service for this group remains uncertain.

RECOMMENDATION 4: CSC should examine the extent to which the needs of women offenders with mental health issues and women offenders 50 years of age or older are adequately met in the community.

References

Allen, C. & Barkley, D. (2002). Housing for offenders: The role of 'understanding relationships' in supporting people. Probation Journal, 49, pp. 267-276.

Baldry, E., McDonnell, D., Maplestone, P. & Peeters, M. (2003). Ex-prisoners and accommodation: What bearing do different forms of housing have on social reintegration? Retrieved from http://www.ahuri.edu.au/publications/p70068/.

Bartholomew, T., Patton, S., Balkin, S. & Stock, L. (2004). Final report of the implementation of Victoria’s pilot Transitional Housing Management – Corrections Housing Pathways Initiative (THM-CHPI). Melbourne, AU: Deakin University. Retried October 1, 2009 from http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/DOJ+Internet/resources/file/eb628301d4ab296/Corrections%20Housing%20Pathways%20Initiative%20-%20Main%20Document.pdf.

Bell, A. & Trevethan, S. (2004). Community residential facilities in Canada: A descriptive profile of residents and facilities. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service Canada.

Bell, A., Trevethan, S. & Allegri, N. (2004). A needs assessment of federal Aboriginal women offenders. Ottawa, ON: Research Branch, Correctional Service Canada.

Bobbie Boland & Associates & Organ, K. (2004). Rebuilding lives: Investing in people. An evaluation of: Stella Burry Community Services Community Support Program. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.

Bracken, D.C. (2008). Canada’s Aboriginal people, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome & the criminal justice system. British Journal of Community Justice, 6(3), pp.21-33.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (2005). Women offenders: Characteristics, needs and impacts of transitional housing. Retrieved from http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.

Cathexis Consulting Inc. (2006). Housing options upon discharge from correctional facilities: Final report. Ottawa, ON: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Clark, L.M. (2007). Landlord attitudes toward renting to released offenders. Federal Probation, 71(1), pp.20-30.

Community Reintegration Operations Division (2008). A review of community-based residential facilities in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service Canada.

Correctional Service Canada (2007). 2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service Canada.

Correctional Service Canada (2008). 2008-2009 Report on Plans and Priorities. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service Canada.

Crawley, E. & Sparks, R. (2006). Is there life after imprisonment: How elderly men talk about imprisonment and release. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 6(1), pp. 63-82.

Davis, D.K. (2003). Living with an “X” on your back: Released and no place to go. Corrections Today, 65(5), pp.16-18.

Fast, D.K. & Conry, J. (2004). The challenges of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the criminal legal system. Addiction Biology, 9(2), pp.161-166.

Fazel, S., Hope, T., O’Donnell, I., Piper, M. & Jacoby, R. (2001). Health of elderly male prisoners: worse than the general population, worse than younger prisoners. Age and Ageing, 30, pp. 403-407.

Griffiths, C.T., Dandurand, Y. & Murdoch, D. (2007). The social reintegration of offenders and crime prevention. Ottawa, ON: National Crime Prevention Centre.

Harm, N.J. & Phillips, S.D. (2001). You can’t go home again: Women and criminal recidivism. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 32(3), pp.3-21.

Meehan, A. (2002). Report on pre- and post-release housing services for prisoners in NSW. Retrieved on July 21, 2009 from http://www.communityhousing.org.au/Publications/Reports_by_Fed/Full_Rpts/Research%20Reports/prisoners%20report.pdf

Metraux, S. & Culhane, D.P. (2004). Homeless shelter use and reincarceration following prison release. Criminology and Public Policy, 3(2), pp.139-160

Pedlar, A., Arai, S., Yuen, F. & Fortune, D. (2008). Uncertain futures: Women leaving prison and re-entering community. Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo. Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Pettus, C.A. & Severson, M. (2006). Paving the way for effective reentry practice: The critical role and function of the boundary spanner. The Prison Journal, 86, pp. 206-229.

Pogorzelski, W., Wolff, N., Pan, K. & Blitz, C.L. (2005). Behavioral health problems, ex-offender reentry policies, and the “Second Chance Act”. American Journal of Public Health, 95(10), pp.1718-1724.

Public Safety Canada (2007). Report of the Correctional Service of Canada Review Panel: A roadmap to strengthening public safety. Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Government Service Canada.

Public Safety Canada (2008). Corrections and conditional release statistical overview: Annual report 2008. Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Rikard, R.V. & Rosenberg, E. (2007). Aging inmates: A convergence of trends in the American criminal justice system. Journal of Correctional Health Care, 13, pp. 150-162.

Rodriguez, N. & Brown, B. (2003). Preventing homelessness among people leaving prison. Retrieved from http://www.vera.org/csc/csc-pubs.html.

Saulis, M., Fiddler, S. & Howse, Y. (2001). Release potential of federally-sentenced Aboriginal inmates to communities: A community-based research project. Retrieved from http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/rsrch/reports/r110/r110_e.pdf.

Schram, P.J., Koons-Witt, B.A., Williams, F.P. III & McShane, M.D. (2006). Supervision strategies and approaches for female parolees: Examining the link between unmet needs and parolee outcome. Crime and Delinquency, 52, pp. 450-471.

Southern, R. (1999). Improving resettlement for mentally disordered offenders. Probation journal, 46, pp.187-191.

Williams, B. & Abraldes, R. (2007). Growing older: Challenges of prison and reentry for the aging population. In Greifinger, R. (ed.), Public health behind bars: From prisons to communities. New York: Springer.

Willis, M. (2004). Ex-Prisoners, SAAP, Housing and Homelessness in Australia: Final Report to the National SAAP Coordination and Development Committee. Retrieved at http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/reports/2004-05-SAAP.html.

Wolff, N. (2005). Community reintegration of prisoners with mental illness: A social investment perspective. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 28, pp.43-58.

Appendices

Appendix A: Evaluation Matrix

Evaluation Objective 1: Relevance:
Does the policy, program or initiative remain consistent with departmental and government wide priorities?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

Effective Corrections Initiatives’ activities are consistent with other correctional reintegration strategies, and continue to operate under originally intended principles and guidelines.

The initiative is comparable to those existing in other correctional jurisdictions.

  • Interviews with stakeholders
  • Document review

Initiative's activities are run according to program handbooks

  • Interviews with stakeholders
  • Document review

Initiative's planned results are consistent with CSC's Report on Plans and Priorities

  • Document review

Initiatives target client group is consistent with CSC's Report on Plans and Priorities

  • Literature and document reviews

ii)

Effective Corrections Initiatives serve the public interest.

Research (national and international) support the relevance of the initiative.

  • Literature and document reviews - Auditor General’s Report: 1999, 2003

Initiative's activities support CSC's Mandate

  • Document review

iii)

There is an appropriate, legitimate and necessary role for CSC in Effective Corrections initiatives.

Stakeholders concede/ confirm the initiative(s) are relevant.

  • Interviews with stakeholders

Initiative's activities support CSC's Mandate

  • Document review

Initiative's planned results are consistent with CSC's Report on Plans and Priorities

  • Document review - Auditor General’s Report: 1999, 2003

 

Evaluation Objective 2: Success: (Efficiency)
Is the policy, program or initiative producing its planned outputs in relation to expenditure of resources, and meeting its planned results?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

Community contact for capacity development purposes occurs regularly.

New community service provriders are contacted

  • Interviews with community service-providers.

Community service providers are aware of the needs of CRA

  • Interviews with community service-providers.
  • Interviews with CRA staff

ii)

There is a regular pattern of offender-intervention.

Residences operating at an optimum capacity.

  • Occupancy logs.
  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.

Services for offenders with special accommodation needs readily available.

  • Occupancy logs.
  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.

iii)

There is a well developed cadre of tools and resources made available to aid in the facilitation of the offender reintegration process.

Increased services for offenders with special needs.

  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.
  • Program documents

 

Evaluation Objective 2: Success: (Effectiveness)
Is the policy, program or initiative producing its planned outputs in relation to expenditure of resources, and meeting its planned results?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

High Usage of Effective Corrections Initiative activities by the targeted groups

More high potential inmates transferred to lower security/community

  • Key informant interviews
  • Program documents

Offenders are appropriately referred to CRA

  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.
  • Risk, Need, and Reintegration profiles, Data obtained from OMS

Referred offenders utilize the services

  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.
  • File review.

ii)

The initiative’s target group demonstrates positive results.

Needs of offenders better addressed when compared to a matched group.

  • Interviews with participants and community service-providers.

Higher success rates in the community when compared to a matched cohort.

  • Intake Assessment and Community Intervention Scale dynamic factor indicators, OMS.
  • OMS query profiling various demographic factors of residents.
  • File review.
  • Outcome: Suspensions, revocations, Recidivism

 

Evaluation Objective 3: Cost-effectiveness
Have the most appropriate and efficient means being used to achieve outcomes?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

Outputs / Outcomes listed in the logic model have been effectively achieved with designated funding.

An examination of all measures of success (see above) reveals initiative outcomes are appropriately and effectively achieved.

  • Interviews with Stakeholders, file reviews and OMS queries.

ii)

Effective Corrections Initiatives value for money type analyses yield positive results.

Comparisons of costs and success levels will be drawn with other initiatives where appropriate.

  • Interviews with Stakeholders, file reviews and OMS queries.

 

Evaluation Objective 4: Implementation Issues
Has the policy, program or initiative been managed in such a way that goals and objectives can be realistically achieved, and have management implementation issues been adequately considered?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

Staff members and offenders at other institutions have knowledge of Effective Corrections Initiative activities and their purpose.

Staff at other institutions know the goal of the Effective Corrections initiative and how the initiative intends to achieve that goal

  • Institution Staff Survey

Offenders know of the initiative and admission criteria

  • Offender survey

ii)

Initiatives operate according to standards set out in policy.

Stakeholders confirm implementation key results have been achieved adequately.

  • Interviews with stakeholders.

Review of relevant documents reveals implementation key results have been achieved.

  • Review of relevant documentation.

iii)

The Effective Corrections Initiative activities are supported by both internal and external CSC staff.

Internal and External staff have a positive regard for the initiative

  • Institution Staff Survey
  • Interviews with stakeholders.

Internal and External staff would recommend the initiative to clients if possible

  • Institution Staff Survey
  • Interviews with stakeholders.

iv)

Effective Corrections Initiative activities are carried out in a similar manner and fashion, where initiatives extend beyond a single institution, area or region.

All Institutions offering the initiative have been identified

  • Interviews with stakeholders.

All institutions offering the initiative are aware of and follow the same initiative documentation

  • Review of relevant documentation.

v)

Partnerships exist and function at an optimal level.

The most appropriate partners are responsible for the delivery of services and/or programs.

  • Interviews with partnership stakeholders.

 

Evaluation Objective 5: Unintended Outcomes
Has the policy, program or initiative created/encountered any positive or negative unintended effects?

 

Key Results Performance Indicators Information Sources

i)

Have there been any other impacts or effects resulting from the initiative?

Views of senior management, staff, offenders, community stakeholders regarding any unintended impacts

  • Survey of staff and community stakeholders
  • Interviews with offenders Review of documents and files

Appendix B: Summary of Data Provided in the Microsoft Word Component of the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool.

Summary of Qualitative Reports

Prior to April 1, 2007, information regarding program changes, successes, and challenges were submitted in the form of descriptive documents to the Regional Program Coordinators.  The following information is summarized from submissions dated from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2008.

Stella Burry Community Support Program

Changes to the Program
From April 1, 2007 to September 30, 2007, few changes to the operation of the Community Support Program were reported.  However, the program experienced continued growth in the number of participants and staff, and received increased provincial funding during this time.

Successes
In May 2006, the community service provider was recognized as an example of  ‘best practices’ in Senator Kirby’s report Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.

Between April 1, 2007 and September 30, 2007, the approach of the community service provider was recognized in the community as being highly effective, contributing to a lengthy wait list for participants.  Examples of participants’ individual successes include the transition to independent living in the community, participation in employment-based training, securing part-time employment, and continuing to participate with the community service provider past Warrant Expiry Date (WED).

Challenges
According to reports covering the period of April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2007, community service provider case managers were challenged with finding acceptable, affordable housing for individuals with arson and sexual offending histories.  The loss of support from CSC when an offender reaches their WED also posed a challenge for program staff during this time, as community service provider staff provide support for participants for as long as they request services, regardless of their status with CSC.

 

Projet Oxygène

Changes to the Program
Between April 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008, no significant changes were made to Projet Oxygène. However, there were significant changes to the program’s data gathering methodology, as the result of a study conducted by CSC.

Successes
The greatest achievement for 2007-08 was the opening of a residence dedicated to elderly inmates (age 60 and older) who have often served long sentences and who have few or no resources in the community: the Residence Leo’s Boys.

Examples of participants’ individual successes include the transition to independent living in the community, securing employment, obtaining health insurance, social insurance and other identity cards needed to live in the community, opening a bank account and using public transportation.

Challenges
According to reports, between April 1st, 2007 and March 31st, 2008, Projet Oxygène was challenged with the task of meeting individuals in the community. Meeting individuals in the community is more complicated logistically than meeting them in an institutional setting. Considering the travel time required to meet with each client and the different context for intervention, an interview conducted in the community can easily take up 2 to 3 hours, compared to 30 minutes in an institution.

Intensive Management Program

Changes to the Program
Between April 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008, the John Howard Society Thompson Region opened Linkage House, a residence for Aboriginal offenders where outreach workers connect offenders to Aboriginal-specific community resources.  In addition, an Elder provides cultural and spiritual opportunities for Linkage House clients.

Successes
During the six month period from April 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008, the Intensive Management Program staff reported a variety of successes based on a total of 20 clients participating in the program during this time.  Successes included30:

  • 95% did not receive any new charges;
  • 90% remained compliant with medications;
  • 90% maintained good health;
  • 85% improved life skills;
  • 85% positively transitioned to community living;
  • 85% maintained regular contact with Parole and RCMP;
  • 55% established pro-social relationships;
  • 45% obtained paid employment or a community volunteer position; and
  • 20% reached WED.

Intensive Management Program staff reported additional successes for individual clients between September 1, 2006 and March 31, 2008, including exhibiting good role model behaviour, remaining longer in the community than ever before,  reaching the end of their sentence, receiving substance abuse treatment, decreases in medication dosages, participation in volunteer work, gaining employment, owning a house on a reserve, and owning a vehicle.

Challenges
The unique challenges presented by Mentally Disordered Offenders (MDO) and dual diagnosis clients were cited by Intensive Management Program staff in reports from 2008, as well as increasing issues of aging offenders.  In response to these challenges, staff reported tailoring Intensive Management Program services to meet the unique needs of clients.  Staff also reported challenges related to limited bed space and a growing demand for the Intensive Management Program services over the course from 2006 to 2008.

Appendix C: Offender Risk and Needs

Reintegration potential, static and dynamic risk factors
CSC conducts a full assessment and referral process on each inmate at intake, addressing their program and security needs, which may include medical, psychological, psychiatric, employment and educational assessment.  With this information, a Correctional Plan is created.  The Correctional Plan is the principal document that provides a comprehensive initial assessment of the offender and an identification of proposed interventions.  It is the base document against which all progress is measured.  The Correctional Plan provides a succinct description of the critical information that is required to understand how the offender’s sentence is to be managed from inception to Warrant Expiry.  The Correctional Plan is reviewed at regular intervals and Correctional Plan Progress Reports are prepared to summarize the review process31.

Prior to release, a Community Strategy is developed, built upon the Correctional Plan Progress Reports.  The Community Strategy includes a risk assessment, outlines how the various dynamic factors will continue to be addressed in the community, how the offender will be monitored in the community and determines the level of intervention to be applied upon the offender’s release to the community32.

Motivation level is re-assessed against the following criteria:

  • Recognition that a problem exists with lifestyle, behaviour and resulting consequences;
  • Level of comfort with problem and its impact on offender’s life;
  • Level of feeling of personal responsibility for the problem(s);
  • Willingness to change or intention to fully participate in Correctional Plan;
  • Possession of skills, knowledge required to effect change in behaviour (e.g., is ready to change);
  • Level of external support from family, friends or other community members; and,
  • The offender’s case management strategy group.

 

Reintegration potential is assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Score on the Statistical Information on Recidivism – Revised 1 (SIR-R1) scale;
  • Level of intervention based on static factors;
  • Level of intervention based on dynamic factors;
  • Security reclassification scale outcome; and,
  • Level of motivation.

 

Static factors are based on historical information related to risk that is available at the time of the offender’s admission to federal custody.  The Statistical Information on Recidivism – Revised 1 (SIR-R1) scale is used in analyzing static factors. The SIR-R1 combines measures of demographic information and criminal history in a scoring system that yields probability estimates of success or failure within three years of release (CSC, CD 705-6, Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile).

The dynamic level of intervention is based on the assessment of dynamic factors. Dynamic factors are based on information related to the offender’s needs that are available at the time of the offender’s admission to federal custody. When offenders undergo their initial assessment upon intake, part of the assessment involves administering the Dynamic Factor and Identification Analysis (DFIA)33. The DFIA assesses dynamic factors. It contains seven components: employment; marital/family; associates/social interaction; substance abuse; community functioning; personal/emotional orientation; and attitudes.

Supplementary Intake Assessment Instruments
Offenders’ programming needs are assessed to determine in which correctional program, and at what intensity level, he or she should participate. Referrals to correctional programs occur on the basis of several assessment activities and tools, including:

  • An interview with the offender;
  • Objective tools assessing static and dynamic indicators; and
  • Supplementary specialized assessments conducted at intake (e.g., supplementary intake assessments) for programs including substance abuse, family violence, violent offenders, and sex offender.

The following section provides a description of the supplementary intake assessment used by target program.

Substance Abuse
As mandated by Standard Operating Procedure 700-04 (s.34), when an offender meets one or more criteria indicating the possibility of substance abuse problems, he/she must be referred to complete a supplementary substance abuse intake assessment.  The results of these assessments are then used to guide referrals to the appropriate intensity level of substance abuse programming.  Within CSC, the Computerized Lifestyle Assessment Instrument (CLAI) and its successor, the Computerized Assessment of Substance Abuse (CASA), are used to determine offender referrals for substance abuse programming.

Computerized Lifestyle Assessment Instrument (CLAI; Robinson, Fabiano, Poporino, Millson, & Graves, 1993)
The CLAI is a computer administered inventory with over 600 items assessing substance abuse among offenders.  The inventory examines a variety of factors associated with substance abuse, including physical health, mental health, nutrition, family and social functioning, education/work, criminal behaviour patterns, substance abuse and its relationship to criminal activity, past substance abuse treatment, and readiness for future treatment.  The CLAI can be administered in both French and English (Weekes, Vanderburg, & Millson, 1995), has been used with Aboriginal offenders (Vanderburg, Weekes & Millson, 1994), and key components have been tested on women offenders (Lightfoot & Hodgins, 1988).  Validity studies have demonstrated strong criterion validity for the CLAI (e.g., Robinson & Millson, 1991; Beal, Weekes, Millson, & Eno, 1997; Weekes, Moser & Langevin, 1997).

Computerized Assessment of Substance Abuse (CASA; Addictions Research Centre, 2000)
After consultations with operational staff and an international accreditation panel of experts, the Reintegration Programs Branch of CSC developed a new assessment system to replace the CLAI.  In 1999, the CASA was developed, field tested, and refined by the Addictions Research Centre.  The CASA is a 288-item, bilingual, audio-enhanced instrument that assesses substance abuse in seven domains: alcohol abuse severity; drug abuse severity; patterns of use; link to criminal behaviour; parental substance abuse; previous program participation; and treatment readiness.  Research suggests that the CASA accurately differentiates cases for referral to substance abuse programs (Kunic & Grant, 2006).  Specifically, offenders with increasing substance abuse severity levels as assessed by the CASA had more criminogenic need indicators as measured by the Offender Intake Assessment (OIA), had more involved criminal histories as measured by higher static factor (risk) scores and were rated more likely to re-offend by the Statistical Information on Recidivism Scale – Revised (SIR-R).  Due to the time period covered in the present evaluation, scores from either the CLAI or the CASA were used as a measure of need for substance abuse programming.

Family Violence
Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA; Kropp, Hart, Webster & Eaves, 1995) 
When screening criteria on the Family Violence Risk Assessment (FVRA) are met, the offender’s parole officer completes the SARA.  Results of this assessment determine whether an offender’s level of risk is low, moderate, or high.  The SARA has been found to be useful in guiding recommendations regarding family violence programming, private family visits, and for release considerations (Gitzel, 1997). Offenders classified as low risk on the SARA should be referred to a Family Violence Awareness Program, whereas offenders assessed as moderate or high risk should be referred to Moderate or High Intensity Family Violence Programs, respectively.

Violent Offenders
Statistical Information on Recidivism (SIR; Nuffield, 1982)
The SIR combines 15 items in an actuarial scoring system that provides a probability of re-offending within three years of release.  Each of the 15 items is static and includes type of current offence, age of admission, previous incarceration and history of violence. Twelve of the 15 items relate to criminal history, and the remaining three items refer to marital status, number of dependants, and employment status at arrest.  Summation of SIR items yields a total score ranging from -30 (poor risk) to 28 (very good risk). The items of the SIR are negatively weighted, with lower numbers indicating greater severity.  Prediction studies have shown the SIR to be predictive of general recidivism (Wormith & Goldstone, 1984; Bonta, Harman, Hann & Cormier, 1996; Kroner & Loza, 2001; Mills, Loza & Kroner, 2003; Mills, Kroner & Hemmati, 2004).  An offender’s SIR assessment is used to guide referral to the appropriate intensity level for violence prevention programs.

Sexual Offenders
Specialized Sex Offender Assessment (SSOA)
SSOAs must be completed for: (a) offenders whose current offence is a sex offence; (b) offenders who have a history of sex offences; and (c) offenders whose current or past offences involved sex offences, whether or not the latter resulted in conviction.  The SSOA includes an assessment of history and development of sexual behaviour, sexual preference(s), attitudes, cognitive distortions, social competence, medical history, psychopathology, previous assessment results, prior treatment results, other information relevant to a particular individual offender, score on the Static-99 (Hanson & Thornton, 1999), a structured assessment of dynamic risk factors, using actuarial risk assessment instruments with established reliability and validity (STABLE-2007, Hanson et al., 2007), additional assessment instruments that may be administered at the discretion of the psychologist and in conjunction with established community standards for assessment, and a clear evaluation of the need for sex offender treatment.  The SSOA forms the basis of a referral to a specific intensity SOP.

Measures of Pre-/Post-Program Belief and Attitude Changes
Generic Program Performance Measure (GPPM; Stewart, 2005)
The GPPM is a measure of treatment gain, involving a pre- and post-treatment rating.  The GPPM is based on a rating system used in a number of programs and clinical situations that allows the program facilitator to systematically assess the progress of a participant on the goals of the intervention.  A version of the GPPM used by CSC has been shown to have good psychometric properties indicating that the tool is reliable (Hogue, 1993; 1994).  The rating is based on behavioural indicators, such as the quality of the participant’s participation in role-plays, group exercises, quality of homework, indication of skill development, and application.

Appendix D: Average Annual Cost Estimates – 2005-2006 to 2008-2009

 

Scenario 1:
Community Residential Alternative (CRA)

 

Scenario 2:
Community Correctional Centre (CCC)

 

# Residents Total Cost

 

# Residents Total Cost

Residency

109a

$1,356,804.00 b

 

44e

$10,675,456.00g

Parole

109c

$10,041,080.00d

 

65f

$5,987,800.00h

Total Cost

 

$11,397,884.00

 

 

$16,663,256.00

Average Annual Cost per Offender

 

$26,141.94

 

 

$38,218.48

a. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-2009.
b. Total associated costs from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-200934.
c. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants incurring parole supervision expenditures. Note that it was presumed all offenders incurred parole supervision expenditures, regardless of whether they were in the community and receiving outreach services, or residing at a Community Residential Facility.
d. Total costs associated with parole supervision. This was calculated as the average annual cost ($23,030) multiplied by the number of offenders (109) over 4 years.
e. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-2009 with a residency condition (n = 19) plus half of those participating in the Intensive Management Program (n = 25)35.
f. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants from fiscal years 2005-2006 to 2008-2009 minus e (above).
g. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants who would have incurred expenditures associated with residing in a Community Correctional Centre36.
h. Total number of Community Residential Alternatives participants who would have incurred expenditures associated with parole supervision37.

1 Sources were identified by evaluation consultative group members. The consultative group represented regional and national stakeholders, including representatives from CSC’s Community Reintegration, Women Offender, Aboriginal Initiatives and Evaluation Branches. Sources included but were not limited to: Institutional Parole Officers, Community Parole Officers, Community Parole Officer Supervisors, Correctional Officers, Institutional program delivery staff, Area Directors, Program Managers, Program Coordinators, Project Officers/Managers, and Health Service/Psychological Service providers, other community service providers, and offenders receiving services through the program. These sources are referred to as ‘key stakeholders’.

2 A multivariable approach was chosen over a priori subject matching (e.g., propensity score matching, exact matching) as a method for controlling confounding variables and reducing bias, because the former produces similar results and also allows for the examination of the effects of other covariates on the outcome.  Also, study participants are less likely to be lost due to an inability to find controls who have the same distribution of matching factors as the study participants (Cepeda, Boston & Strom, 2003; Dohoo, Martin, & Stryhn, 2003; Shah, Laupacis, Hux, & Austin, 2005).

3 Initially, the Community Residential Alternatives services were to be delivered through four projects; however, a portion of the funding was re-profiled within two Residential Alternatives projects in the Quebec region.

4 Overall, the evaluation was positive, with evidence that the program was successful in reducing the number of days clients spent in hospital or prison while helping clients live independently or at least in a non-institutional setting. The cost-savings through this initiative were found to be substantial, given the significant decrease in hospital and incarceration days.

5 Based on CSC’s Evaluation Framework for the Effective Corrections Initiative. Ottawa, Ontario 2004.

6 Among the 280 respondents screened out of subsequent analyses, the vast majority (97%, n = 264/271) were CSC employees and most (69%, n = 172/248) indicated that they would like to know more about Community Residential Alternatives, through emails (46%, n = 104/226), information sessions (27%, n = 60/226), and/or information posted on CSC’s Infonet (19%, n = 42/226).

7 Please note that all survey and interview data in this report are presented as a percentage of the valid responses to the question, as some questions were not applicable, or respondents were unable to answer them.

8 See Appendix A for evaluation objectives, performance indicators and data sources.

9   Prior to April 1, 2007, no systematic means of data collection was in place, although Community Residential Alternatives projects did submit progress reports, which differed in format and content.

10   The Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool is a data collection tool that each of the three Community Residential Alternatives projects used to collect data on an ongoing basis. Offender-specific data were collected by means of a Microsoft Excel template and project-specific data were collected by means of a Microsoft Word template.

11   A summary of data provided in the Microsoft Word component of the Community Residential Alternatives Tracking Tool is presented in Appendix B.

12   In cases for which the specific date of Community Residential Alternatives project entry and exit was not available (i.e., only the month and year were available), dates were estimated to be the 15th of the month, thereby reducing the confidence interval of date estimation to approximately ± two weeks.

13   There were 48 offenders who were both over 50 years of age at the time of release and who were diagnosed with a mental health condition upon admission to federal custody.

14   Survival analysis is a statistical technique that estimates the time taken to reach some event, and the rate of occurrence of that event.

15   Observations are referred to as censored when the dependent variable of interest represents the time to a terminal event (reconviction), and the duration of the study is limited in time.

16   Outcome measures were dependent on resident status (inmate, discretionary release, statutory release with residency).

17   Information about offender reintegration potential, static and dynamic risk factors, intake assessment instruments and measures used to assess attitudinal change is presented in Appendix C.

18 Active supervision includes Day Parole, Full Parole, Statutory Release, and Long-Term Supervision Orders.

19 Community Reintegration Operations Division (2008). A review of community-based residential facilities in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service Canada.

20   Note that Community Residential Alternatives participants often presented with more than one special need; therefore, the total percentage of participants’ special needs is likely to exceed 100%. 

21 Please note that results (i.e., frequencies and percentages) are reported for valid responses only.

22 This represents those Aboriginal male offenders with a mental health diagnosis who were released between 2004 and 2008 to communities where Community Residential Alternatives services were being offered.

23   Only two of the 22 Community Residential Alternatives participant interviewees reported having been placed on a waitlist for their Community Residential Alternatives project. However, in accordance with data provided by key stakeholders, it is possible that other eligible offenders on waitlists never received Community Residential Alternatives services.

24  Community Residential Alternatives participants were only asked to rate the extent to which Community Residential Alternatives services met their needs for those services that they reported having received through their Community Residential Alternatives project participation.

25 Community Residential Alternatives participants were more likely to return to custody than offenders without a mental health condition (Hazard Ratio=1.87, p<.001). Similarly, participants were also more likely to return to custody when compared with those over the age of 50 (Hazard Ratio=2.80, p<.01).

26 This included Community Residential Centres and Community Correctional Centres. Also, analyses were only conducted for non-Aboriginal male offenders as sample sizes for Aboriginal and women offenders were not sufficient to conduct empirical analyses.

27  Analyses could not be conducted for re-offending outcomes given the limited number of observations in the data for this group.

28  Comparisons were made with a group of offenders who were released to the same communities and who resided in a Community Correctional Centre or independent agency. Comparisons also controlled for age at admission, sentence length, custody rating scale rating, release type, and identified need in the following areas: employment, family/marital, associates, substance abuse, community functioning, personal/emotional, and attitude.

29  This represents those women offenders who were released between 2004 and 2008 to communities where Community Residential Alternatives services were being offered.

30 Percentages are based on client totals; range is from 11 to 20 over the course of the six month period.

31 Commissioner’s Directive 705, Intake Assessment Process, 2007-09-18.

32 Commissioner’s Directive 712-1, Pre-Release Decision Making, 2009-06-05.

33   For more information regarding the individual see CSC CD 705-6, Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile.

34  CSC’s Cost of Maintaining an Offender, figures for 2007-2008.

35  The number of offenders housed in one of the four residences provided through the Intensive Management Program was unknown. However, since participants are typically housed in a residence through this program, it was estimated that half were in a residency for the purposes of this evaluation.

36  CSC’s Cost of Maintaining an Offender, figures for 2007-2008.

37  Ibid.