The Additive Effects of Participation in Multiple Correctional Interventions and Services for Federally Sentenced Women

Interventions and services other than correctional programs contribute to reducing revocations for women offenders.

Why we did this study

In the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), many services and interventions are provided to women to prepare them for release into the community in addition to correctional programs. It is important to examine the extent to which these services provide "additive effects"; that is, further improve the outcomes for women who participate in correctional programs. This study determined the relative contribution of key services and interventions to rates of return to custody with a revocation for federally sentenced women.

What we did

The cohort for this study consisted of all women admitted to the custody of CSC between September 2009 and August 2013 and who were released on day parole, full parole or statutory release (SR) prior to April 13th, 2014 (N = 918).

The study examined whether participation in additional services including institutional employment, educational programs, vocational training, prison visits, and maintenance programs added to the impact of participation in correctional programs.

The study controlled for key variables related to offending. First, interventions from several categories were added individually to the statistical model in addition to control variables. Finally, all interventions found to significantly contribute to outcome were added together in the final model.

What we found

Of the women released, 27% (250) were later revoked. Only 8% (72) were revoked with an offence. Given the low rates of reoffending, the outcome analyses were based on revocations for any reason.

The results are encouraging with respect to CSC's overall approach to rehabilitation of women offenders. In all the models explored, the combination of services and programs produced outcomes that significantly improved offenders' odds of remaining in the community without a revocation. The most promising programs are: 1) education programs, especially education programs that help offenders achieve close to a high school equivalent, 2) completed maintenance programs in the community (these reduced the hazard of returning to custody with an offence two-fold), and 3) prison visits.

What it means

Because of the complexity of the modeling, the results should be considered exploratory. Nevertheless, the results for the women mirror those for the men and indicate that participation in additional correctional services are associated with reduced returns to custody even after controlling for factors related to offending and participation in correctional programs. What is more, multiple additional services are not redundant with one another. Each added incrementally to positive outcomes. This suggests that there are several methods by which CSC works to reduce reoffending in addition to correctional programs. It is the overall approach throughout offenders' incarceration and community supervision that is contributing to public safety goals.

For more information

Wilton, G., & Stewart, L. (2015). The additive effects of women offenders' participation in multiple correctional interventions. (Research Report R-369).Ottawa, Ontario: Correctional Service of Canada.

To obtain a PDF version of the full report, or for other inquiries, please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the Research Publications section for a full list of reports and one-page summaries.