The programs we have considered so far help offenders to change their behaviours so that they can function better in society. But successful reintegration demands more on the part of offenders than an ability to practice sound management of their emotions and relationships; they must also integrate into the community and play an active role there.
Many studies have shown that employment helps offenders successfully integrate into society and reduces the rate of re-offending. Unfortunately, however, a high proportion of them do not have the necessary education and skills to get a stable job; before thinking about finding and keeping a job, offenders must therefore achieve an educational level that will enable them to meet employers' minimum requirements.
All CSC institutions provide offenders with educational programs appropriate to their needs, achievements and abilities.
- Adult Basic Education (Grades 1 to 10)
- Secondary Education
- Vocational Education
- Post-secondary Education
Adult Basic Education:
Upon arrival in institutions, the great majority of offenders test at a completion level lower than Grade 10 (Secondary 4). Adult Basic Education (ABE) includes areas such as math, language and science to the Grade 10 level, thus enabling offenders to fill the gaps in their education and deal more effectively with daily problems encountered in the community. Moreover, the sense of achievement and confidence that results from successfully completing such a program may encourage offenders to make further positive changes in their lives. Successful completion provides a basis from which offenders can further their education in other areas where literacy is essential.
The secondary education program leads to graduation at the Grade 12 level. A secondary school diploma has become a prerequisite for securing lasting employment and for entry into a variety of training opportunities.
Vocational programs provide training in a wide range of job-related skills that are relevant to employment opportunities that exist in the institutions as well as in the community. Some of the subjects currently taught by CSC vocational programs are:
- welding and metal trades
- small engine repair
- auto mechanics and auto body repair
- carpentry and cabinet making
- computer programming
The vocational education programs include a generic skills component that is applicable to a number of vocational fields. This component addresses, for example, industrial and shop safety and personal and interpersonal skills for success in the workplace.
Post-secondary education gives offenders the opportunity to acquire a trade or profession, as well as to update trade qualifications prior to their release. Offenders generally pay for their own post‑secondary studies, unless it can be demonstrated that the education addresses a very specific need.
Skills for Employment:
All correctional programs call for group interaction through which offenders learn and practise skills they will need to facilitate reintegration and adapt to private sector work settings. More specifically, they include problem-solving, critical thinking, punctuality, interacting with co‑workers, being respectful of other people's opinions and feelings, and dealing with authority figures.
Offenders who work while in an institution may earn between $5.25 and $6.90 daily, depending on their performance. Unemployed offenders are given a daily allowance of $1.00. Those who are unemployed through no fault of their own receive up to a $2.50 allowance per day. Pay may be suspended for offenders who refuse to work or to participate in institutional programs.
CORCAN is a key rehabilitation program of the Correctional Service of Canada. It provides employment training to offenders in federal correctional institutions and enables them to gain the employment experience and skills they need to become productive citizens, successfully reintegrate into society and reduce their risks of re-offending.
CORCAN shops make products and provide services in a businesslike manner and strive for the most realistic work environment possible. Its products and services are produced to private sector norms and standards because it has discovered that the more realistic the work experience, the more effective the rehabilitation experience.
Most CORCAN products are used internally within CSC. By contributing to institutional operation and maintenance, offenders help to reduce the costs to the government of their incarceration and rehabilitation. CORCAN also provides opportunities to observe offenders in a "real-world" work environment and assess how well other programs like anger management and substance abuse are working.
In addition, CORCAN operates community employment centres across Canada where offenders are helped to find jobs in fields such as construction, food and beverage services, janitorial services, trucking, tourism, manufacturing and call centres. In addition, these employment centres deliver a variety of job counselling services—including career counselling, Internet job search, résumé and letter preparation, and mock interview sessions—to offenders who have been released from prison and are in the community.
As we can see, safe rehabilitation of offenders depends on a large number of programs that help them become responsible, productive and well-integrated citizens.
However, the biggest factor for success is found in the team of people who train, deliver, and support CSC correctional programs. They are the pro-social role models who transform the lives of the offenders they work with.