An Examination of the Validity of the Accountability, Motivation, and Engagement Assessment

Research Highlights: Research results support the continued use of motivation and engagement ratings to inform correctional plans.


Why we did this study

Assessing the accountability, motivation and engagement (AME) of offenders provides information that can guide correctional staff at the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) in their approach to targeting offenders’ identified criminogenic needs and helping them build the skills to support rehabilitation and successful re-entry into the community. The goal of the current research was to assess whether these ratings accurately measure the constructs they were designed to measure and whether they are predictive of key correctional outcomes.

What we did

The study included 25,177 federal offenders with admission dates between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014 who had at least one AME assessment on record. Analyses examined the prevalence of each rating, whether AME ratings were inter-correlated (significantly related to each other), and if AME ratings were dynamic over time. Associations between AME ratings and offender correctional programming participation, and institutional and community outcomes were investigated. Correlational analyses were conducted to determine whether AME ratings were associated with the Generic Program Performance Measure (GPPM) scores assessing correctional program participation. Finally, analyses were conducted to examine whether the relationship of correctional outcomes and AME ratings were mediated by risk and/or need ratings. All analyses were disaggregated by gender and Indigenous ancestry when possible.

What we found

Most offenders were rated high or moderate on the accountability and motivation components and were assessed as engaged; women were more likely to receive high or moderate ratings than men. Ratings for Indigenous offenders did not differ from non-Indigenous offenders. The results demonstrated that the ratings changed for about 27% of those who were reassessed. The three components of AME were strongly inter-correlated.

Ratings of motivation and engagement were mostly significantly predictive of correctional programming participation, rates of institutional charges, transfers to segregation, granting of temporary absences and parole release, and returns to custody on release in the anticipated direction across offender groups. Accountability ratings, however, were less consistently predictive.

What it means

The results support the continued use of the AME ratings to inform the offenders’ correctional plan. Consideration, however, could be given to further research to determine whether there is added value in including the accountability component in the assessment.

For more information

Mathias, K., & WormithFootnote 1 , S. (2017). An examination of the validity of Accountability, Motivation and Engagement Assessment (Research Report R-399). 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.

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