Descriptive Analysis of Unsuccessful Unescorted Temporary Absences

Key Words

temporary absences, failure rates, conditional release

What it means

Overall, the vast majority of unescorted temporary absences (UTA) are completed without incident. Of the 1.3% of UTAs that were recorded as “unsuccessful” only about half represent genuine failures. Therefore, UTAs allow for important reintegration opportunities without posing significant risk.

What we found

Almost all of the offenders released on UTAs returned to custody without incident. For all of the permits, less than ½ of one percent (0.4%, 45) had to be terminated while the offender was in the community or the offender did not return. Reasons for termination included breaches of reporting instructions, breaches of permit conditions, offenders gone unlawfully at large, offenders deemed to be an unmanageable risk, and permits where the objectives had not been met (see Table 1). In addition, 0.5% of the offenders were late returning with late times ranging from a few minutes to 2.5 hours, with some offenders calling to indicate they would be late. Furthermore, about 0.2% (26) of the permits were cancelled before the offender was released. Finally, a handful (0.1%, 5) of offenders were wrongly identified as having been unsuccessful while on UTA, when they had actually been successful.


Institutional Reintegration Operations requested a detailed analysis of the reason for failure of the 1% UTA failure rate.

What we did

This study included all UTA permits with “unsuccessful” completion codes in the Offender Management System (OMS) where the required arrival date fell between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012. In total 143 (1.3%) of the 10,774 UTAs granted during this time period were identified as having been unsuccessful representing 101 unique offenders.

The data for this study were extracted from the OMS and supplemented with manual coding of relevant case documents to identify in detail the reason or circumstances that lead to the failure of the UTA.

Table 1: Details of UTA Failure Reason From Manual Coding
Failure Type % of All UTAs % of Failures (n)
Administrative 0.24% 18% (26)
Breach of Reporting Instructions 0.05% 3% (5)
Breach of Permit Conditions 0.13% 10% (14)
Deceased 0.02% 1% (2)
Late 0.49% 37% (53)
Medical Crisis 0.00% 1% (1)
Miscoded (Successful) 0.05% 3% (5)
No Details 0.10% 8% (11)
Objectives Not Met 0.02% 1% (2)
Unlawfully at Large 0.11% 8% (12)
Unmanageable Risk 0.11% 8% (12)
Total 1.33% 100% (143)

For more information

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Prepared by: Trina K. Forrester & Brian Grant