Guidelines for Education Programs
In Effect: 2018-02-05
- To establish a framework for standards of, and referrals to, education programs that effectively address inmates' education needs
Applies to all staff, including contractors, involved in education program development, delivery and oversight, and education assessments and referrals
- The Director, Reintegration Programs, will oversee the management and monitoring of education programs and services.
- The Director, Reintegration Services, will oversee the management and monitoring of library services.
- The Assistant Warden, Interventions, will ensure:
- that each inmate has had an education assessment, with an identified grade level, completed and entered in the Offender Management System
- all education related information and reports are updated and entered in a timely manner in the Offender Management System, pursuant to the Education Programs: National Offender Management System Procedures.
- The unique circumstances of Indigenous offenders, including Indigenous social history, will be considered and documented throughout the education process. Please refer to the Indigenous Social History Tool for more information.
- Educational planning requires that education assessment(s) be completed during the offender intake assessment process.
- Education assessment(s) are used to identify inmates who have an education need and to establish their initial functioning grade level, which will determine the education program to which an inmate should be referred.
- There are two categories of education assessments available during intake:
- initial functioning level, determined through the use of approved standardized assessments
- documented level, based on official documents obtained from the Ministry of Education, school board or school.
- In case of a conflict between the results from the initial functioning level assessment and the documented level, the education assessor will determine the appropriate level for referral to education programs.
- The standardized assessment tools used to assess an inmate’s initial functioning level may include, but are not limited to, the Canadian Adult Achievement Test (CAAT) and the Kauffman Test of Educational Achievement – Second Edition Brief Form (KTEA-II). Academic diagnostic tools may also be utilized by regions to determine education grade level.
- In the absence of an official high school diploma (or the provincial equivalent), an inmate will be referred to education programs, even if the inmate is assessed as having a functioning grade level of grade 12 or above.
- If an inmate has a documented high school diploma, a documented level of grade 12 will be entered in the Offender Management System. An initial functioning level assessment will not be required for these inmates.
- Some inmates may be unable or unwilling to complete an education assessment to determine their initial functioning level. Reasons for not completing an initial functioning level assessment include the following:
- refusal of assessment
- unwilling: the inmate did not want to participate in the assessment and could not be convinced to do so
- unable to take assessment
- vision problem: the inmate could not complete the assessment due to vision problems
- under medical supervision: the inmate had medical issues that prevented the inmate from completing the assessment
- language not English or French: the inmate could not complete due to language constraints
- other: the inmate could not complete the assessment for other reasons. If this option is selected, the reason must be clearly detailed and supported.
- refusal of assessment
- When an inmate is unwilling or unable to complete an education assessment during the intake process, the inmate will be assessed at the earliest reasonable opportunity after intake. If the inmate continues to refuse, an attempt to complete the assessment by a Teacher/designated education staff should occur every six months.
- If an inmate refuses to complete an education assessment on more than one occasion, the refusals should be documented in the Correctional Plan Update.
- All inmates must have an education grade level entered in the Offender Management System after the education assessment, including inmates who do not have an education need.
- A new education assessment must be completed for inmates returning to incarceration after having been in the community for more than five years.
Referral Process for Education Programs
- Prior to referring an inmate to an education program, the inmate’s education assessment results will be reviewed by the Parole Officer in consultation with the Guidance Counsellor, or a designated Teacher.
- The results of the education assessment(s) will be documented in the Dynamic Factor Assessment Report and incorporated in the Correctional Plan by the Parole Officer pursuant to CD 705-5 – Supplementary Assessments.
- The Chief of Education or other designated education staff member will normally attend the Correctional Intervention Board meeting to support the Parole Officer’s referral to an education program. If their attendance is not possible, their support for the referral should be provided to the Chair of the Correctional Intervention Board.
- Inmates who require language courses in order to meaningfully participate in other correctional interventions will be referred to the English or French as an Additional Language programming, regardless of their level of educational attainment.
- Inmates will only be referred or assigned to one education program at a time, regardless of whether they will be participating full-time or part-time.
- If an inmate is referred to an education program prior to completing the prerequisite education program(s), the Correctional Intervention Board will deny or defer the referral, as appropriate. The Program Assistant will document the decision in the comments section of the referral and in the Board minutes.
- If the inmate needs Adult Basic Education programming, the initial referral will be made to the lowest Adult Basic Education program level required. Referrals to subsequent Adult Basic Education program levels will be made via administrative referrals.
- After a referral to an education program has been accepted by the Correctional Intervention Board, the Program Assistant will assign the inmate to the appropriate schedule. If the inmate cannot immediately participate in the education program, the inmate should be waitlisted to the appropriate schedule.
- An inmate who is waitlisted will be assigned as soon as the inmate is available to participate and there is space available in the education program. To ensure proper use of education waitlists, an inmate:
- may only be waitlisted for one education program at any given time
- cannot be waitlisted to a second education program if the inmate is currently assigned to an education program.
- The same Adult Basic Education program level is not to be repeated. When required, an inmate should complete reviews for a previously completed Adult Basic Education program level while the inmate is assigned to the subsequent Adult Basic Education program level.
- Notwithstanding the above, in cases where an inmate is inter-regionally transferred, there may be instances where significant differences exist between the provincially mandated grade level requirements. When this occurs, the inmate may be required to complete courses from a lower Adult Basic Education level in order to obtain the required knowledge to proceed in subsequent courses at the current Adult Basic Education level. In these cases, the rationale should be clearly documented in the referral comments. Once the referral is accepted by the Correctional Intervention Board, the inmate’s Individual Education Plan will be updated to identify a strategy for the inmate to re-attain their previous grade level.
Prioritization of Participation
- When prioritizing non-Indigenous men inmates for participation in education programs, reintegration potential will be determined pursuant to CD 705-6 – Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile.
- For non-Indigenous men inmates who are waitlisted to an education program schedule, participation will be prioritized in the following order:
- inmates who cannot communicate proficiently in either official language and require English or French as an Additional Language programming
- inmates with low to moderate reintegration potential who require Adult Basic Education III and/or Adult Basic Education IV level programming, including Adapted Adult Basic Education III and IV
- inmates with low to moderate reintegration potential who require Adult Basic Education I and/or Adult Basic Education II level programming, including Adapted Adult Basic Education I and II
- inmates with high reintegration potential who require Adult Basic Education programming, including Adapted Adult Basic Education programming
- inmates who require any other education program.
- For women and Indigenous men inmates, reintegration potential will not be taken into consideration when prioritizing for participation in education programs. When women and Indigenous men inmates are waitlisted to an education program schedule, participation will be prioritized in the following order:
- inmates who cannot communicate proficiently in either official language and require English or French as an Additional Language programming
- inmates who require Adult Basic Education III and/or Adult Basic Education IV level programming, including Adapted Adult Basic Education III and IV
- inmates who require Adult Basic Education I and/or Adult Basic Education II level programming, including Adapted Adult Basic Education I and II
- inmates who require any other education program.
- Notwithstanding the above, inmates serving sentences of four years or less or whose expected release date is in the next 12 months should be prioritized for program participation by the Correctional Intervention Board to ensure that they do not face unreasonable delays in accessing education programs.
- Once an inmate has been prioritized to attend a program, the Chair of the Correctional Intervention Board, or designate, will provide the list of participants to the designated Teacher.
- Once an inmate starts an education program, their program assignment status must be updated to assigned.
- If an inmate has left their current program assignment in order to participate in a different program (e.g., correctional, employment) with an expectation that the inmate will return to the education program, the program assignment status must be updated to temporarily reassigned.
- If an inmate is actively participating in an education program and the education program is cancelled while the inmate is participating in it, their program assignment status must be updated to program cancelled.
- When disciplinary concerns have arisen during program participation or when behavioural or other related program standards are not being met by the inmate, including poor attendance, their program assignment status must be updated to suspended, once the suspension is confirmed by the Correctional Intervention Board. This status is also used when an inmate withdraws from an assignment specified in the Correctional Plan. The inmate will not be reassigned without a new placement decision by the Correctional Intervention Board.
- When an inmate was assigned to and participated in an education program up to and immediately prior to the time of a scheduled release from incarceration on day parole, full parole, or statutory release, their program assignment status must be updated to released.
- If an inmate was transferred outside the current facility but was assigned to, and participated in, an education program immediately prior to transfer from the facility, their program assignment status must be updated to transferred.
- The inmate’s program assignment status must be updated to assignment transferred when an inmate is assigned or temporarily assigned to an education program and they permanently leave the program to attend another assignment at the same facility, or to participate in the same program at a different security level unit as a result of a movement within a clustered site.
- The inmate’s program assignment status must be updated to incomplete when an inmate participating in an education program did not complete the program and/or was removed from the program for reasons unrelated to program participation. The incomplete status includes when an inmate is deceased, is unable to meaningfully participate in the program due to responsivity needs, or must go to an outside court or to an outside hospital.
- The inmate’s program assignment status must be updated to warrant expiry date reached once an inmate participating in an education program has reached their warrant expiry date.
- When an inmate successfully completes a particular education program, the inmate’s program assignment status will be updated to successful completion, and a review of the inmate’s education needs will be conducted. The inmate’s current functioning level must also be updated.
- Teachers will complete a final program report for all education programs within 10 working days of the assignment end date for all participants. An additional two working days will be allocated for the quality control and locking of the report in the Offender Management System by the Chief of Education or the Manager, Programs, in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist.
Education Program Options
Adult Basic Education Programming
- Adult Basic Education programming covers grade 1 through 12 (or equivalent) and culminates in the attainment of a secondary school diploma (or equivalent). The programming consists of four program levels.
- Adult Basic Education I allows inmates to acquire the basic literacy and numeracy skills to function in society. This program level covers grades 5 and under in all regions except Quebec, where this program level covers grade 6 and under.
- Adult Basic Education II allows inmates to acquire the necessary education skills to proceed to secondary studies. This program level covers grades 6, 7 and 8 in all regions except Quebec, where this program level covers secondary I and II.
- Adult Basic Education III allows inmates to earn compulsory secondary credits as specified by the appropriate Ministry of Education. This program level covers grades 9 and 10 in all regions except Quebec, where this program level covers secondary III and IV.
- Adult Basic Education IV allows inmates to earn secondary credits in order to fulfill the requirements of a secondary school diploma (or equivalent) issued by the appropriate Ministry of Education. This program level covers grades 11 and 12 in all regions except Quebec, where this program level covers secondary V.
- Notwithstanding the above, at the discretion of the Chief of Education, or Manager, Programs, in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, an inmate may pursue one course at a higher Adult Basic Education program level without being assigned to the higher program level, as motivation to complete their current Adult Basic Education program level.
General Education Development Program
- The Atlantic region provides inmates with the opportunity to obtain a General Education Development certificate. The General Education Development Program allows inmates to demonstrate that they have the equivalency skills for a basic secondary education. This program consists of five different test sections: social studies, science, reading, mathematics and writing.
English or French as an Additional Language Programming
- Inmates who are unable to read, write or speak in either official language (English or French) will be referred to the appropriate Additional Language programming.
- An inmate will be deemed to have fulfilled the requirements of English or French as an Additional Language programming when the Teacher determines that the inmate has achieved the established learning outcomes of this program, which will enable the inmate to meaningfully participate in other programs.
Adult Basic Education - Adapted Programs
- The Adult Basic Education - Adapted Programs, which correspond to each of the four Adult Basic Education levels, are education programs that have been adapted for inmates with specific education needs that cannot be accommodated in the traditional Adult Basic Education curriculum.
Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program
- The Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program allows inmates the opportunity to earn additional secondary credits that they require in order to participate in post-secondary studies, vocational programs, or employment.
- In order to be referred to the Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program, the inmate must already possess a secondary school diploma (or equivalent).
- Inmates may request a referral to the Post-Secondary Prerequisite Program when they identify courses that they require in order to pursue post-secondary studies, vocational programs or employment opportunities.
Post-Secondary Education Program
- The Post-Secondary Education Program is typically offered to inmates via paper-based correspondence studies through a recognized college, university or CEGEP.
- Inmates may request a referral to the Post-Secondary Education Program when they meet the academic prerequisites.
- Education programs are offered on a continuous intake basis, meaning that inmates may begin their program assignment at any time if there is space available in the program, and there is no pre-determined end date to their assignment.
- The maximum number of inmates that may participate in a particular education program schedule will be determined by the Chief of Education or Manager, Programs, in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, based on the following factors:
- room size and availability
- the number of Teachers
- the characteristics of the inmate population (e.g. compatibility, number of participants with responsivity needs)
- the security classification of the institution/unit where the program is being delivered
- the type of education program (e.g. lower Adult Basic Education program levels, English or French as an Additional Language Programs, and Adapted Education Programs may require more one-on-one teaching).
- In the Atlantic region, Adult Basic Education program levels I and II follow an agreed upon regional curriculum. Adult Basic Education program levels III and IV follow the curriculum of the New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.
- In the Quebec region, all education programs are accredited by the Quebec Ministry of Education.
- In the Ontario region, all education programs follow Ontario Ministry of Education policies, procedures and curriculum guidelines.
- In the Prairie region, education programs in all institutions located in the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) are accredited by the Alberta Ministry of Education pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding.
- In the Pacific region, Adult Basic Education program levels I, II and III follow an agreed upon regional curriculum. The Adult Basic Education program level IV is offered through the Fraser Valley Distance Education School, which is accredited by the British Columbia Ministry of Education.
- Strategic Policy Division
Correctional Operations and Programs
Original signed by:
Cross-References and Definitions
CD 001 – Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
SOP 087 – Official Languages
CD 700 – Correctional Interventions
CD 702 – Indigenous Offenders
CD 705-5 – Supplementary Assessments
CD 705-6 – Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile
CD 726 – Correctional Programs
GL 726-2 – National Correctional Program Referral Guidelines
CD 730 – Offender Program Assignments and Inmate Payments
CD 860 – Offender’s Money
Indigenous Social History Tool
Education Programs: National Offender Management System Procedures
Canadian Adult Achievement Test (CAAT): a multiple choice test designed to assess an adult’s current functioning level in mathematics, reading and language comprehension. An assessor using the CAAT must first administer the Select-a-Level screening tool to determine which level of the CAAT is most suitable for the inmate.
Correctional Intervention Board: a multidisciplinary team that approves interventions and contributes to recommendations or decisions for complex cases. The Interdisciplinary Mental Health Team is considered a component of the Correctional Intervention Board.
Functioning grade level: an inmate’s education level at the time of the initial or current education assessment, whichever is most recent.
Indigenous social history: the various circumstances that have affected the lives of most Indigenous people. Considering these circumstances may result in alternate options or solutions and applies only to Indigenous offenders (not to non-Indigenous offenders who choose to follow the Indigenous way of life). These circumstances include the following (not an exhaustive list):
- effects of the residential school system
- sixties scoop into the adoption system
- effects of the dislocation and dispossession of Inuit people
- family or community history of suicide
- family or community history of substance abuse
- family or community history of victimization
- family or community fragmentation
- level or lack of formal education
- level of connectivity with family/community
- experience in the child welfare system
- experience with poverty
- loss of or struggle with cultural/spiritual identity.
Individual Education Plan: intended for the use of Teachers, Guidance Counsellors and inmates, an individual education plan identifies an inmate’s unique education requirements to meet their learning needs and priorities. The Chief of Education, or Regional Program Manager in regions where the Chief of Education position does not exist, determines whether the plan is formal or informal in nature.
Kauffman Test of Educational Achievement – Second Edition Brief Form (KTEA-II): an individually administrated assessment that evaluates academic skills in reading, mathematics and written and oral language.
Responsivity: the presence of a characteristic(s) that influences the offender's capacity to benefit from the targeted intervention(s). These can include, but are not limited to: mental health needs, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, age, gender, linguistic differences, ethnocultural background, motivation level, etc.
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