Correctional programs for Indigenous offenders

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) delivers culturally-relevant Indigenous programs. They include:

These programs:

  • meet the specific needs of Indigenous offenders
  • consider Indigenous social history
  • include Elder involvement

Indigenous correctional programs are offered in most CSC institutions for men and all CSC institutions for women. Trained Indigenous correctional program officers (ICPOs) or culturally-competent correctional program officers (CPOs) deliver Indigenous correctional programs.

Background

The lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have been directly impacted by significant events. These include historical events such as:

  • colonization
  • forced attendance in residential school
  • the 60’s “scoop”

They also include recent events such as:

  • over-representation in foster care
  • lower rates of employment and education
  • cultural and community fragmentation

These common, yet unique experiences have:

  • created societal and psychological harms
  • caused cycles of intergenerational impacts in generations of Indigenous people's lives

One example of intergenerational impacts is the disproportionate incarceration rate of Indigenous people. While Canada's Indigenous population is only 4.3%, the rate of incarcerated Indigenous offenders is 26.5%. Footnote 1 Footnote 2

The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), Section 80 mandates CSC to deliver programs that meet the needs of Indigenous offenders. CSC must consider Indigenous people's unique circumstances and experiences. CSC must take into account:

Programs for Indigenous men

The Indigenous Integrated Correctional Program Model (IICPM) meets the specific needs of Indigenous offenders. The IICPM programs:

  • include a weekly ceremonial session
  • include culturally relevant materials, and
  • have at least of 50% Elder involvement (high and moderate intensity)

A facilitator delivers the program in a circle setting. The programs include an examination of the offender's Indigenous social history experiences such as:

  • cultural disruption
  • residential school or foster care experiences
  • community fragmentation, etc.

This approach aids the Indigenous offender to:

  • reconnect with their culture, and
  • lead a prosocial lifestyle consistent with traditional values

IICPM sessions include:

  • a culturally-relevant foundation
  • cognitive behavioral skills that address the offenders’ risk factors that led to crime

Offenders learn to manage their risk through various program skills such as:

  • self-monitoring
  • emotions management
  • thinking skills
  • social skills
  • goal setting and development of healing plans, etc.

All Indigenous offenders who have been assessed as presenting a moderate to high risk to reoffend should be enrolled in IICPM programs, whether they are on a healing path or not.

The programs also accept non-Indigenous offenders who follow Indigenous cultural traditions.

Indigenous Reintegration Program Division staff created the IICPM streams. They consulted with Elders and Indigenous CSC staff. They also involved Indigenous community members from across Canada.

IICPM Multi-target

The IICPM Multi-target has different intensity levels.

High intensity program

The high intensity program is for offenders with a high risk to reoffend. It:

  • has a total of 111 sessions (90 group sessions, 5 individual sessions and 16 ceremonial sessions)
  • has 50% Elder involvement
  • is normally co-facilitated
  • accommodates groups up to 12 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week
  • has a seventh session reserved for a weekly ceremony

Moderate intensity program

The Moderate Intensity IICPM Multi-target is for offenders with a moderate risk to reoffend. It:

  • has a total of 62 sessions (47 group sessions, 5 individual sessions and 10 ceremonial sessions)
  • has 50% Elder involvement
  • is delivered by one facilitator
  • accommodates groups up to 10 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week
  • has a seventh session reserved for weekly ceremony

Maintenance program explains the maintenance programming CSC provides offenders who need more help maintaining the skills they learn through IICPM Multi-target.

IICPM Sex Offender

The IICPM Sex Offender has different intensity levels.

High intensity program

The high intensity Indigenous sex offender program is for men who have offended sexually and are at high risk to reoffend. It:

  • has a total of 117 sessions (95 group sessions, 5 individual sessions and 17 ceremonial sessions)
  • has 50% Elder involvement
  • is normally co-facilitated
  • can accommodate groups of up to 12 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week
  • has a seventh session reserved for weekly ceremony

Moderate intensity program

The moderate intensity Indigenous sex offender program is for men who have offended sexually and are at moderate risk to reoffend. It:

  • has a total of 70 sessions (54 group sessions, 5 individual sessions and 11 ceremonial sessions)
  • has 50% Elder involvement
  • is delivered by one facilitator
  • can accommodate groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week
  • has a seventh session reserved for weekly ceremony

Maintenance program explains the maintenance programming CSC provides offenders who need more help maintaining the skills they learn through IICPM Sex Offender.

Programs for Inuit men

The Correctional Service of Canada offers the Inuit Integrated Correctional Program (IICP) for Inuit men offenders.

Inuit Integrated Correctional Program

The Inuit Integrated Correctional Program (IICP) responds to the needs of Inuit men. It is like the Integrated Correctional Program Model (ICPM) in that it:

  • extends through an offender's entire sentence
  • addresses multiple risk factors
  • uses a comprehensive and integrated approach through readiness, main, and maintenance programs

However, the IICP has a number of important differences that take into account the unique experiences of Inuit men offenders. It:

  • is culturally appropriate
  • acknowledges the uniqueness of the Inuit population, and
  • includes ceremonial activities

Elders play an important role in providing culturally-relevant teachings and support.

Contemporary best practice approaches are interwoven throughout the program. These include such major theoretical influences as:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • social learning theory
  • harm reduction
  • stages of change
  • motivational interviewing, and
  • relapse prevention

Inuit program streams and intensity levels

All Inuit programs are facilitated by trained Indigenous correctional program officers (ICPOs) or culturally-competent correctional program officers (CPOs). An Elder is also assigned to the program to lead Inuit cultural ceremonies and provide Inuit teachings.

Primer program

All Inuit offenders are eligible to take part in the primer regardless of their risk levels. The primer is a prerequisite for offenders who need moderate or high intensity IICP.

The primer:

  • has 11 group sessions, including ceremonial sessions
  • has Elder involvement
  • is delivered by one facilitator
  • can accommodate groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 5 structured sessions per week

Moderate intensity program

The moderate intensity Inuit program is for Inuit offenders whose risks and needs place them at moderate risk to re-offend. The program:

  • has a total of 62 sessions (58 group sessions and 4 individual sessions)
  • has Elder involvement
  • is delivered by one facilitator
  • can accommodate groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week

High intensity program

The high intensity Inuit program is for Inuit offenders whose risks and needs place them at high risk to re-offend. The program:

  • has a total of 108 sessions
    • the 62 sessions of the moderate intensity IICP-MT and then
    • the 42 group sessions and 4 individual sessions of the high intensity IICP-MT
  • has Elder involvement
  • is normally delivered by two facilitators
  • can accommodate groups of up to 12 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week

Moderate intensity sex offender program

The moderate intensity Inuit sex offender (SO) program is for men who have offended sexually and are at moderate risk to reoffend. The program:

  • has a total of 83 sessions
    • the 62 sessions of the moderate intensity IICP-MT and then
    • the 18 group sessions and 3 individual sessions of the moderate intensity IICP-SO
  • has Elder involvement
  • is delivered by one facilitator
  • can accommodate groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week

High intensity sex offender program

The high intensity Inuit sex offender program is for men who have offended sexually and are at high risk to reoffend. The program:

  • has a total of 143 sessions
    • the 62 sessions of the moderate intensity IICP-MT
    • the 21 sessions of moderate intensity IICP-SO
    • the 46 sessions of the high intensity IICP-MT
    • the 13 group sessions and 1 individual sessions of the high intensity IICP-SO
  • has Elder involvement
  • is normally delivered by two facilitators
  • can accommodate groups of up to 12 participants
  • has up to 6 structured sessions per week

Programs for Indigenous women

CSC offers separate Indigenous Women Offender Correctional Programs (IWOCP) to respond to Indigenous women's unique, culturally-related needs. The IWOCP model strikes a balance between a healing and a skills-based approach. It includes culturally-relevant teachings and ceremonies.

Engagement program

The Indigenous Women Offender Self-Management Program (IWO-SMP) is a low intensity, introductory program. It as a primer for all Indigenous women admitted into a federal institution. This program is a pre-requisite for all other programming.

The goals of the program are to motivate participants to change and to introduce all of the integrated skills which are used throughout the Circle of Care. Women offenders:

  • learn social skills
  • begin to identify problematic behaviours
  • are introduced the concept of the healing plan, which includes coping strategies to help them live positive lifestyles

The program:

  • has a total of 12 sessions
  • has 100% Elder involvement
  • is delivered by a single facilitator
  • accommodates groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 5 sessions per week

Women's Engagement Program provides more information.

Moderate intensity program

The moderate intensity IWOCP is for Indigenous women offenders with a moderate risk to reoffend. It builds on the knowledge they gained in IWEP.

CSC encourages Indigenous women to:

  • take part in their own rehabilitation
  • focus on changing behaviours and
  • work towards short- and long-term goals

The program teaches the skills they need to address their problematic behaviours. Indigenous women learn and practice, amongst other skills:

  • emotion management
  • problem-solving
  • conflict resolution
  • communication skills

Indigenous women offenders learn the importance of positive and healthy relationships. They continue to develop healing plans, which include skills and strategies to help them adopt a positive lifestyle.

Other goals of the program are the:

  • development of a positive personal and cultural identity, and
  • empowerment of Indigenous women offenders

The program:

  • has 44 group sessions and 4 individual sessions
  • has Elder involvement
  • is delivered by a single facilitator
  • accommodates groups of up to 10 participants
  • has up to 6 sessions per week

Women's Moderate Intensity Program provides more information.

High intensity program

The high intensity IWOCP is for Indigenous women offenders with a high risk to reoffend. The program continues on from the moderate intensity IWOCP. It supports women offenders in their rehabilitation. It helps Indigenous women offenders practice, amongst other skills:

  • self-management
  • problem-solving
  • conflict resolution
  • communication skills

The program also addresses the importance of healthy lifestyles and relationships. Another goal of the program is the:

  • development of a positive personal and cultural identity, and
  • empowerment of Indigenous women offenders

The program:

  • has 58 group sessions and 4 individual sessions
  • has Elder involvement
  • is normally co-facilitated
  • accommodates groups of up to 12 participants
  • has up to 6 sessions per week

Women's High Intensity Program provides more information.

Self-management program

The Indigenous Women Offender Self-Management Program (IWO-SMP) is for Indigenous women who need support to maintain skills they have learned in other programs.

The program focuses on:

  • reinforcing strengths and coping strategies
  • increasing self-awareness
  • setting goals
  • solving problems
  • developing, revising and implementing healing plans

It is offered both in the institution and in the community.

The institutional IWO-SMP is open to all women who have completed pre-requisite programs. This includes IWEP and any other programs CSC has referred them to.

Women without any pre-requisite programming can engage in WO-SMP in the community if an assessment indicates that they require it. In the community, the program serves as a refresher program and continues to support the women after they leave the institution.

The program:

  • has a total of 12 weekly sessions
  • has Elder involvement
  • is delivered by a single facilitator
  • accommodates groups of up to 10 participants

Women's Self-management Program provides more information.

Modular intervention

Women's Modular Intervention is for women living in secure units. The program consists of 15 separate modules. CSC designed 5 modules specifically for Indigenous women offenders. These must involve Elders. Other modules may be Elder-assisted if desired.

Policy and legislation

Commissioner’s directives and guidelines

CD 700 Correctional Interventions applies to all staff involved in correctional interventions. It outlines their responsibilities and the procedures associated with the correctional intervention process.

CD 726 Correctional Programs outlines the purpose and procedures for all correctional programs delivered in our institutions. The process includes assessments, planning, interventions, and decision-making.

Legislation

Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Sections 3, 3.1, 4, 5(b), 15.1, 26, 76, 77, 79 and 80 outline information about programs for offenders.

Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations, Section 102 states that CSC must include program requirements for inmates in their correctional plans.

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