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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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4. Research Analysis

Some common themes that resulted from the research data are:

Racism and Discrimination

FSAW stated they were not treated with respect and dignity, but viewed with prejudice because they were prisoners. Some staff had a prejudiced view of the FSAW. A psychologist working in one of the institutions stated the FSAW were "animals". Some FSAW stated that identifying themselves as Aboriginal did more harm than good.

Breeches of Confidentiality

FSAW felt there are breeches of confidentiality because staff talk to prisoners about other prisoners. Consequently, there is no confidentiality in the prisons because everyone (staff and prisoners) finds out what is going on with any one of the FSAW. CSC needs to be more adamant in their keeping of confidentiality.

Authority Based Programming

Withholding programs is used as punishment against FSAW to get them to conform and obey CSC staff. This authority based programming and interaction aimed at controlling the prisoner results in non-cooperation by FSAW, who believe program availability and permisson to participate should be available to all prisoners and not conditional on staff perceptions. FSAW are frustrated because correctional staff recognize only their negative behaviour and not the positive. Because programs are withheld or delayed, FSAW cannot address their Correctional Plans and remain incarcerated longer, many until their statutory release dates. CSC needs to monitor their prisons to ensure they are providing the required programming to prisoners. An essential requirement is that institutions allow FSAW to take programs, not withhold programs and not delay the implementation of programs, etc..

Young Offender Record History

FSAW's young offender histories have been included in the assessment of security classification as required by Commissioner's Directive #505 . There is no recognition of personal growth, change in behaviour and emotional maturity. Some FSAW are between the ages of 30 to 40 years, but their young offender history is still used against them. CSC needs to determine a cut-off point in gathering data against offenders, by excluding young offender record history.