Use of Programs and Interventions with Canada’s Federally Sentenced Radicalized Offenders

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Key Words

Terrorism, radicalized offender, counter-terrorism, risk-factors, rehabilitation

What it means

By examining the institutional and community-based interventions which the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has utilized with radicalized offenders[1] and the congruence of these interventions with identified needs, CSC achieves a more comprehensive understanding of how past and current intervention options address the needs of radicalized offenders. 

This knowledge can be used to inform any future intervention referrals for radicalized offenders, identify limitations in current intervention options, and highlight opportunities for adaptation of existing or new interventions for this group.

What we found

The three most commonly attended interventions by radicalized offenders were identified as institutional employment, education, and psychological services.  When examining core correctional programming specifically, radicalized offenders were most likely to participate in living skills, violent offender, personal development, and substance abuse programming, however this involvement was much less frequently identified than participation in other institutional interventions such as social programs or chaplaincy.

Those with an identified need in the education and employment domain were the most likely to participate in at least one intervention that addressed the education and employment domain.  The next most common need domain addressed was community functioning (for those assessed by the Dynamic Factor Identification and Analysis, or DFIA) and personal/emotional needs (for those assessed by both the DFIA and its revised version DFIA-R).  Least likely to be addressed were needs related to the marital/family domain; however this was a need area that was not frequently identified as problematic for radicalized offenders.

Why we did this study

Since 1989, CSC has applied the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) principle in order to identify and address the risks and criminogenic needs of the federally sentenced offender population. The effectiveness of this approach has been empirically assessed and validated on offender populations in general. However, to date, there has not been research to demonstrate the applicability of the RNR principle with radicalized offenders.

This paper identifies the interventions in which radicalized offenders participated in relation to their identified criminogenic and violent extremist needs.

What we did

Using information from the Offender Management System (OMS) as well as data coded from various sources, the interventions in which a sample of radicalized offenders participated were identified and summarized.  Congruence between these interventions and the offenders' identified needs (criminogenic needs as identified by the DFIA, DFIA-R, and file coding for other violent extremist needs) was assessed.    

For more information

Michel, S. & Stys, Y. (2014).  Use of Programs and Interventions with Canada's Federally Sentenced Radicalized Offenders (Research Report R-345). Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service of Canada.

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Footnote 1

CSC defines a radicalized offender as “an ideologically motivated offender, who commits, aspires or conspires to commit, or promotes violent acts in order to achieve ideological objectives”.

Return to footnote 1