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1996 No. SR-3
The National Parole Board &
The Correctional Service of Canada
Brian A. Grant, Larry Motiuk, Louis Brunet, Linda Lefebvre
Correctional Service of Canada
National Parole Board
The study was initiated to review the day parole program in light of changes contained in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (1992). The study provides a description of the trends in day parole use and a description of who is on day parole. Analyses of the relationship between day parole outcome and risk/needs is presented along with analyses of factors related to failure whileon day parole to determine how to better select and manage day parole cases. Analyses identifying differences between all offenders receiving day parole and females and Aboriginal offenders are presented.
From 1987-88 to 1991-92, about 40% of the conditional release decisions made by the National Parole Board were for day parole, and the absolute number of day parole decisions increased over this period. Overall, about 40% of day parole releases were followed by a release on either full parole or statutory release. The results indicate that some regions use day parole more frequently than others (Atlantic and Quebec regions) and that these variations are consistent over the five-year period. The rate of day parole revocations also varies across regions, with the Ontario region showing a large decline in the later years.
Offenders released on day parole have committed less serious offences than offenders in the inmate population. For 97% of the cases, day parole was the first conditional release (excluding temporary absences), and 87% of the releases were for ordinary day parole with a residency requirement. While other factors in the CCRA may have affected day parole releases the change in eligibility day from one-sixth of the sentence to six months before parole eligibility date had a minimal effect. Only 8% of offenders were released more than six months before their full parole eligibility date. In fact, 55% of the day parole releases occurred after the full parole eligibility date and most occurred at a point where they would have been completed after the full parole eligibility date. This indicates that day parole is being used largely as preparation for full release.
Extensive family background data collected as part of the study indicated that half of the offenders did not live with both biological parents until the age of 16, and that 29% of the families showed evidence of alcohol or drug abuse. Mental health problems were evident in 15% of the cases and juvenile records were present in one-third of the cases. Substance abuse problems were present in two-thirds of the cases and alcohol was a factor in the commission of offences for half of the offenders. The living situation of half of the offenders was unstable, with unemployment and financial difficulties evident prior to the offence.
Risk and needs assessments provide good prediction of day parole outcome. The failure rate (revocation with or without a new offence) for low risk/needs offenders was about 10% while for high risk/needs the failure rate was about 30%. Substance abuse needs were frequently associated with higher failure rates. Risk/needs analyses were not able to discriminate failure with a new offence.
Motivation was shown to be highly correlated with day parole outcome, particularly for offenders in the high risk/needs group. The mere presence of special conditions imposed by the National Parole Board was not associated with day parole outcome, but where imposed conditions matched the identified needs, a reduction in the day parole failure rate was evident. More than 90% of offenders released on day parole attended some type of programming while in the institution and program participation was related to day parole outcome. For example, high risk offenders released early without any programming had a failure rate of 44% while those who had attended programs had a failure rate of 23%. Regional comparisons indicated that different risk/needs standards were being used for day parole and that day parole failure was highly variable across the regions.
Female offenders were more likely to have had serious problems in their family lives than males. For example, substance abuse was more prevalent. While they were less likely to have alcohol problems as adults, they were more likely to have problems with other drugs, than males. Female offenders are also more likely to have had emotional problems and to have required mental health treatment than males. While their level of exposure to the juvenile court system was similar to that of males, female offenders were generally convicted of less serious offences and received shorter sentences. However, they are equally likely to have offended against a person, and the number of victims and the rate of use of a weapon in the commission of an offence is similar to males. Female offenders are rated as being lower risk, but have similar levels of need. Females are equally likely to be successful on day parole as are males.
The results of the study indicate that Aboriginal offenders are less likely to receive day parole than would be expected. Overall, the study shows that they come from more disrupted backgrounds requiring more contact with alternative care agencies and that they have had more experience with the criminal justice system as juveniles. Their crimes are more likely to involve assaults on people and the use of a weapon, and they are more likely to be under the influence of alcohol. Substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, is an important contributor to their criminal problems. While they are more likely to be rated as higher risk offenders, their risk/needs ratings are more likely to be moderate rather than high or low. Aboriginal offenders are more likely to fail while on day parole, and to fail with a new offence.
The results of the study indicate that day parole is an effective program for permitting the early release of low risk offenders, and for providing a controlled release for offenders who are at a slightly higher risk. Day parole, with the higher level of supervision provided with residency conditions, helps to prepare the offender for release and creates an opportunity to determine if an offender is ready to be released into the community prior to release on full parole or statutory release.
The authors would like to thank the members of the Steering Committee for their guidance in establishing the terms of reference for this study. They also assisted by providing support and comment throughout the project. The Steering Committee included:
For the Correctional Service of Canada:
For the National Parole Board:
For the Solicitor General's Secretariat
Nine university students worked on coding the more than 1,000 files reviewed as part of this study. Without their patience and dedication to accurately recording the information from the files, this study would not have been possible.
Since this study was initiated changes to day parole have occurred as a result of the introduction of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act in late 1992. The main changes from this act for day parole include:
Given that the purpose of this study is to determine factors associated with success and failure on day parole, it is presumed that these changes will not impact on day parole sufficiently to change the results of the study. However, it is likely that the number of people released on day parole will be reduced because of the elimination of automatic review and changes to the eligibility date. While these changes may reduce the number of people on day parole, they will not change the type of people released. Therefore, the results of this study are applicable to current day parole releases.
However, declining use of day parole, as other options have become available, will make the trend data presented in Chapter 2 less applicable. An updated look at changes in day parole grant rates and day parole releases will be prepared as part of the evualation of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to be completed in 1997.
All results presented in the study are for federal offenders released on day parole.
Conditional release programs (temporary absence, day parole, full parole, statutory release [Statutory release replaced mandatory supervision in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act which came into effect on November 1, 1992. Statutory release allows an offender to be released to the community after serving two-thirds of a fixed term sentence (life sentences for first and second degree murder, and other crimes are not of a fixed length).] ) make it possible for offenders to be released from prison to serve a portion of their sentence in the community. During the conditional release period, legally binding conditions on residency and behaviour are imposed. These conditions, and the general condition of remaining law abiding, permit the correctional system to monitor and respond quickly to the offender's behaviour should it appear that conditions are not being adhered to. Throughout the period of conditional release, the offender may be returned to prison if there is a failure to meet conditions. Although every effort is made to ensure legal fairness and due process, an offender on conditional release can be returned to prison relatively quickly on the basis of suspicion or failure to meet release conditions. It is not necessary to wait until after a crime has been committed.
When full parole is granted, or the statutory release date is reached, offenders are released to the community until their sentence has expired. Day parole is unique in that it is granted for a relatively short period of time (generally six months) and its completion does not coincide with the expiry of the prison sentence. Day parole is also unique in that the offender must reside in a correctional facility (prison or halfway house), or must report to such a facility at regular intervals. These requirements further restrict the activities of the offenders in the community and ensure tighter control of their activities by the correctional system.
Day parole has been a release option for more than 25 years and there have been a number of changes in its use over that period. These changes are outlined in a later section of this chapter. With the exceptions of The Solicitor General's study on conditional release (1981) and the Evaluation of the automatic review provisions of Bill C-67 (1989), there have been few reviews of day parole. Given that there had not been a study of day parole designed specifically to meet ongoing program needs, it was decided to initiate a review which would address these issues.
A steering committee and working group were established to conduct the review of day parole and four objectives were established:
Results for Objective 2 were to be included in a separate report, but work on the report was discontinued by those responsible for its production.
Structure of the Report
The remainder of this chapter provides a description of the sources of information used for the review and an historical review of day parole in federal corrections. The remainder of the report is broadly organized into four sections based on the type of information presented. Chapter 2 presents the full parole and day parole grant and release data for a five-year period, as well as regional comparisons. Chapter 3 provides a description of the methodology used for the file review. Chapter 4 presents a detailed description of offenders who receive day parole. The fifth and sixth chapters present analyses that address operational issues related to day parole including factors associated with success and failure on day parole, relationships between risk and criminogenic needs and day parole outcome, effects of institutional and community based programming on outcome etc. Chapters 7 and 8 present analyses for female and native offenders, respectively. The final chapter presents a summary of the results and conclusions.
Sources of Information
The review uses data from two main sources: electronic administrative records and case files. The administrative records provide a national data base of all day parole grants for the fiscal years 1987-88 through to 1991-92. These data provide a numerical overview of the National Parole Board (NPB) day parole activity and include the number of day parole grants, type of completion and related information. They provide a background for the more detailed data which form the second source of information.
The case file data are from a sample of 1,000 day parole cases from 1990-91. These cases were selected on a random basis from all cases for that year and provide a sample of sufficient size to allow regional comparisons for some factors. The case files provided data on offender criminal and social history, institutional behaviour and programming, as well as release outcome.
The main issues addressed by the case file review are:
History of Day Parole in Canada
Day Parole was 25 years old on June 27, 1994. It was legislated in Bill C-150 and which, when proclaimed in 1969, provided the first legal definition of day parole:
"Day Parole" means the terms and conditions of which require the inmate to whom it is granted to return to prison from time to time during the duration of such parole or to return to prison after a specified period (Parole Act).
Day parole has increased in use over the years, accounting for one in six parole grants by the NPB in the early years to more than half of the parole grants provided by the NPB in 1992-93. The legal definition of day parole remained unchanged until November 1992 when the Correctional and Conditional Release Act came into force. The definition now reads:
"Day Parole" means the authority granted to an offender by the board or a provincial parole board to be at large during the offender's term of imprisonment in order to prepare the offender for a full parole or statutory release, the conditions of which require the offender to return to a penitentiary, a community-based residential facility or a provincial correctional facility each night, unless otherwise authorized in writing.
The new definition is clearly more restrictive than the original one. To understand the changes which have occurred, it is worthwhile to review the evolution of day parole through four distinct periods: (1) its beginning, (2) the middle years, (3) the last decade and (4) the present.
In the Beginning
The Parole Act, enacted in 1959, provided the Parole Board with the authority to grant full parole and various forms of gradual releases including Short Parole, Gradual Parole, Temporary Parole and Minimum Parole.
Short Parole allowed inmates to be released up to thirty days early for rehabilitation purposes or to look for work. There was no supervision. Gradual parole allowed inmates who were granted full parole to leave the institution for short periods before their final release date to help them readjust to society. Temporary parole, the predecessor of day parole, was defined in the Annual Reports as the same as gradual parole except that it was for inmates not granted full parole. Minimum Parole allowed the release of an inmate up to six months (one month per year served) before his possible release date as a result of remission. The various forms of gradual release disappeared with the introduction of mandatory supervision and day parole in 1969.
The 1970-71 Annual Report describes day parole as follows:
Day parole is granted by the Board and involves the offender in the community for longer than 15 days. The offender is required to return to the institution, though not necessarily on a daily basis. Day parole is granted to allow an inmate to attend school, to take training not available in the institution, or to continue employment where this is beneficial to his career and his dependents.
It was soon established that Temporary Absences were to be shorter than 15 days and day paroles were to be longer. Eligibility was defined at one year before full parole eligibility date (FPED), but this was reduced to one-sixth of the sentence or six months before FPED. The 1973-74 Annual Report shows the evolution in the purpose of day parole: "The Board has found that granting an inmate day parole before a full release is an effective way to find out how he may act on an ordinary parole." Community resources for day parole were a problem in the early years and it was not until the 1980s that a network of community based residential centers were established.
In the first decade of day parole, grants increased from 487 to 3109 and accounted for more than 50% of the paroles granted by the NPB.
The Middle Years
In 1981 a working group produced the Solicitor General's Study on Conditional Release which recognized the growth of day parole as an important form of release. The tone of their comments are at times harsh:
Day Parole is an extremely flexible power and an extremely fluid concept. To the extent that a day parole program may resemble full parole, day parole is a program where offenders are largely "out." To the extent that it encompasses temporary or irregular absences, day parole is also a program where offenders are almost entirely still "in" penitentiary. Unfortunately, less is known about day parole than any other release program other than remission...
The study identified seven "functions" of day parole:
The authors of the report identify the important issues for day parole in their concluding remarks:
The Working Group shares the view that the objectives of day parole need to be more precisely articulated, as do the criteria for granting. NPB also needs to come to grips with those regional disparities in the approach to and use of day parole which are not (as many are) a product of differences in available resources. In particular, a policy is needed as to whether day parole should be used in cases of relatively good risks or should be oriented more towards risky cases, and whether day parole prior to the expiration of one-third of the sentence is appropriate on grounds of justice and humanness. Our overall view is that day parole with CCC or CRC residence should be used more where there is a real need for resources or a perceived need for short-term extra structure or surveillance before full parole or MS. It is not necessary that day parole be used as a prerequisite for full parole, nor should it be permitted to delay full parole in large number of cases...
The Last Decade
The use of day parole increased as a result of the modifications to the Parole Act included in Bill C-67 which was enacted in July 1986. The new legislation required the Board to automatically review the case of every offender serving a sentence of two years or more, at the eligibility date for day parole (at one-sixth of the sentence for most inmates). This was done to decide whether to grant day parole, and to consider a release on full parole to be effective on the inmate's eligibility date in cases where the offender is serving a sentence of three years or less. Previously, all inmates had to apply for day parole. Automatic review led to an increase in day parole releases.
The Evaluation of the Automatic Day Parole Review Provisions of Bill C-67, completed in March 1989, states that:
the rationale for instituting automatic review at the first eligibility [was]:
Before the most recent legislation in 1992, the purpose or "functions" of day parole were widened and its use was significantly increased. During an interview conducted for the review, one senior manager summarized the evolution of day parole as follows:
Initially, day parole was granted for special cases under limited circumstances; it was seen as an extraordinary measure to deal with highly deserving cases. Now, day parole is used for highly deserving cases, very difficult cases and cases that are somewhere in the middle of these two parameters. Day parole is now used indiscriminately for a variety of reasons.
The Correctional and Conditional Release Act (1992) stops the trend of broadening the definition and use of day parole and provides a more precise definition as shown at the beginning of this section. Important changes to day parole use can be summarized as follows:
The automatic review provision was not maintained because the 1989 evaluation had shown that the spirit and the letter of C-67 could not be met.
The redefinition of these four parameters will influence the use of day parole and the ratio between it and full parole. Evaluations in the future will provide an indication of how seriously this will affect the use of day parole.
The eligibility criteria which was changed from one-sixth of the sentence to six months before full parole eligibility will not dramatically change the use of day parole. Data presented later in the report indicate that only 8% of those released on day parole were released prior to six months before their full parole eligibility date.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the size and complexity of the day parole program. The file review, to be presented in the following chapters, only covers the fiscal year 1990-91. Without the historical overview presented in this chapter it would be difficult to know whether the results for 1990-91 are unique to that year or are relevant to other years as well. In addition, if changes have been occurring in the use of day parole, these will be evident in the trend data over the five-year period. Failure to find changes will indicate that the day parole program has been stable and not subject to changes which could reduce our ability to generalize the results of the file review.
The information in the chapter provides:
Data on full parole and day parole decisions and grants were obtained from the National Parole Board (NPB) decision data base. Data on releases and outcomes were obtained from Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) administrative data bases. The two data sets were combined for the analyses.
National Grant Rates
Decisions by the National Parole Board on federal parole [ The National Parole Board also grants parole to offenders in provincial institutions in provinces which do not have a parole board.] have increased by 18% in the five-year period from fiscal year 1987-88 to 1991-92, from approximately 26,500 to 31,000. Decisions related to day parole have increased by 15%, from 10,500 to 12,000 over the same period. The changes in these numbers are shown in Figure 2-1 and in Table 2-1. These increases are higher than the 11% change observed in the average on-register population over the same time period. The difference between the increase in the on-register population and the increase in decisions made is most likely not significant. This is because the on-register population is the inmate population on any one given day and does not take into account the inmates moving in and out of the prison system whereas the decision data base includes all cases during the year.
Day parole has been granted to about 40% of those who have had their cases reviewed, as indicated in Table 2-1. The percentage of day parole grants has been relatively constant over the five-year period although there was a slight decline in the granting rate during the two-year period 1988-89 to 1989-90.
Table 2-1: Federal Day Parole Decisions, Grants and Releases: 1987-88 to 1991-92
|Number of decisions||26,338||26,055||27,401||29,767||30,979|
|Number of day parole decisions||10,637||10,419||10,535||12,020||12,230|
|Day parole decisions as a percentage of all decisions||40%||40%||38%||40%||39%|
|Number of grants||4,454||4,128||4,113||4,795||5,099|
|Grants as a percentage of decisions||42%||40%||39%||40%||42%|
|Day parole releases||4,218||3,787||3,892||4,579||5,114|
|Releases as a percentage of grants||95%||92%||95%||95%||100%|
|Day parole completions||4,208||3,776||3,749||3,846||3,595|
|Average on-register population||11,969||12,291||12,642||12,864||13,248|
Figure 2-1: Total Decisions and Day Parole Decisions by NPB: 1987-88 to 1991-92
Day parole decisions account for about 40% of the decisions made by the NPB. Figure 2-1 shows that this percentage has been relatively constant over the five-year period. In absolute numbers, day parole decisions accounted for about 12,000 of the 31,000 decisions made by the NPB in 1991-92.
Figure 2-2: Day Parole Grants and Releases: 1987-88 to 1991-92
Figure 2-2 presents the number of day parole grants and releases for the five-year period. Day parole grants declined from almost 4,500 in 1987-88 to approximately 4,100 in the following two years. Grants then increased in each of the following two years, reaching approximately 5,100 in 1991-92, a 14% increase over 1986-88. Day parole releases increased by 21% over the five-year period. Ideally the number of grants and releases would be the same, but a release on day parole may be delayed until a placement is found in a halfway house (Community Correctional Center or Community Residential Center), or other program. The data in the graph also indicate that the number of releases more closely matches the number of grants in 1991-92 than in previous years.
Types of Day Parole
There are four basic types of day parole which are defined in terms of the residency requirement imposed:
The number and percentage of each type of day parole are presented in Table 2-2. Ordinary day parole was granted in about 85% of all day parole releases. Partial residency, using five days in and two days out, was used in 2% to 4% of releases, while other combinations were used less frequently. Special projects accounted for 6% of all day parole releases in 1991-92, the first year in which this type of release was used. Overall there was minimal variation in the types of day parole used over the five-year period, except for special projects.
Table 2-2: Type of day parole release for 1987-88 to 1991-92
|Ordinary||85.2% (3,593)||85.0% (3,219)||85.1% (3,311)||83.9% (3,843)||83.2% (4,256)|
|Partial Residence||3.3% (139)||3.3% (125)||4.6% (180)||4.7% (211)||3.3% (159)|
|Special Projects||0.0% (0)||0.0% (0)||0.0% (0)||0.3% (14)||6.4% (325)|
|Other||11.5% (486)||11.7% (443)||10.3% (401)||11.2% (511)||7.3% (374)|
Day paroles may end in a number of different ways including:
Day parole releases ending in transfers to other forms of release and regular expiry are considered successful completions. Terminations occur for reasons outside the offenders control and are not failures. Revocations are true failures on the part of the offender. Revocations may occur because of a new offence or because parole supervisors feel that the offender is a risk to himself or to society. Revocations are reviewed and approved by the NPB. The historical data do not distinguish between the two types of revocations but data presented later for 1990-91 day parole releases do provide this information.
Table 2-3 presents the frequency of each type of day parole completion for the years 1987-88 to 1991-92. About 44%, or 1,500, of all day paroles cases are transferred to full parole or mandatory supervision. An additional 25% expire without incident and the offender is either returned to an institution, or granted another day parole. Terminations account for about 16% of day parole completions. Failures, through revocation, account for approximately 15% of completions, but it is not possible to distinguish between revocations with and without an offence. The most striking feature of these data is the consistency of the results from year to year.
Table 2-3: Day Parole Completion Types for 1987-88 to 1991-92
|Type of completion||Fiscal Year|
|To full parole or mandatory supervision||%||45.3||44.6||44.1||43.3||42.4|
|Other and not known (as a percentage of total cases)||%||9.0||8.2||7.5||8.5||7.7|
Source: Correctional Service Canada
Note: The percentage of completion type is expressed as a function of cases known.
The percentage of day parole grants by region for the years 1987-88 to 1991-92 are presented in Figure 2-3. Included in the figure is the distribution of inmates by region [The number of day parole grants and the number of inmates in the institutions are not directly comparable because the inmate count measures individuals on a specific day and the day parole numbers represent day parole grants, of which a person may have more than one in a year, and is also cumulative over the year. However, the number of inmates does provide a measure of the relative size of the inmate population in a region.] (averaged over the five years and as of March 31 of each year), which allows for comparisons of the relative percentage of the day parole grants and the relative percentage of inmates in each region.
Four of the five regions showed a decline in day parole use from 1987-88 to 1989-90; Quebec region did not and has continued to increase the number of offenders on day parole. Three of the regions (Atlantic, Ontario and Prairie) started to increase their day parole use after 1989-90, but day parole use in the Pacific region continued to decline. In the Pacific region day parole grants dropped from 614 to 506 over the five-year period.
The data in the figure indicate that Quebec has the highest percentage of day parole grants, and that day parole grants in Quebec have been increasing, from 33% of all grants in 1987-88 to 41% in 1991-92. In terms of numbers, day parole grants in Quebec have increased from 1,453 to 2,090, an increase of over 40%. The Quebec region accounts for only about 28% of all federal inmates.
Although the number of grants in the Atlantic region is small (approximately 600), they account for about 11% of all grants, which is high given that only about 8% of the inmate population is in the Atlantic region. Following the decline in day parole use during 1988-89 and 1989-90, it has increased significantly in the last two years.
Figure 2-3: Regional Distribution of Day Parole Grants
A preceding section defined four major types of day parole: ordinary, partial residence, special projects and other. Ordinary day parole (requiring residency at a CCC, CRC, or institution) is the most common, however, regional differences in the types of day parole used are evident. Figure 2-4 presents the percentage of ordinary day parole releases (percentage of all day paroles) in each region.
Quebec and Atlantic regions are most likely to use a variety of different types of day parole releases while the Prairie region uses ordinary day parole almost exclusively. Of the types of partial residence day paroles that can be identified, five days out and two days in is the most common, accounting for 4% or more in some years in Quebec, Ontario and Pacific regions.
The second most common day parole type in all regions is the "other" category, but details on these types of day paroles are not available. In some cases, it is likely that other types of day parole include short term work release projects which in 1990 became known as special projects. The data for Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario regions indicate that special projects accounted for between 4% and 11% of day parole releases in 1991-92.
Figure 2-4: Ordinary Day Parole Releases as a Percentage of All Day Parole Release for Each Region by Year: 1987-88 to 1991-92
Completion of day parole by transfer to full parole or mandatory supervision has been relatively constant over the five-year period in most regions. However, as can be seen in Figure 2-5, there are large regional differences in this type of completion. Day paroles in Ontario, the Prairies and the Pacific regions are completed with a transfer to full parole or mandatory supervision in about 50% of cases. Approximately 40% of day parole releases in the Atlantic region result in transfer to full parole and mandatory supervision, and in Quebec, about 30% of day paroles are completed this way.
The difference between the regions is largely due to a higher percentage of expiry cases. That is, 27% of cases in Atlantic and 35% in Quebec end in expiry, whereas only about 10% of cases in the other regions end this way. Expiry occurs when the day parole period is completed without incident and the offender is either transferred back to the institution or granted new day parole. These results may indicate that some regions are more likely to grant day parole to the offender to determine if he is suitable for release on other forms of conditional release.
Figure 2-5: Percentage of Day Paroles Ending in Release on Full Parole and Mandatory Supervision
Revocations occur because the offender has violated one of the conditions of the conditional release, committed another offence or because the supervising officer believes the offender poses a risk to the community. Detailed data presented later in this report divide revocations into two groups, those with a new offence and those without. However, this detail is not available in the historical data. Figure 2-6 presents the percentage of day parole releases ending in revocation by region and fiscal year for the period 1987-88 to 1991-92.
Figure 2-6: Percentage of Day Paroles Ending in Revocaiton
The highest percentage of day paroles ending in revocation was in the Prairie region where between 17% and 20% of releases ended in a revocation. The Pacific region has seen a steady increase in the revocation rate, from 10% to 18%, over the five-year period. Quebec's revocation rate has been consistent at about 14% of day paroles and the Atlantic region has had a rate of about 10%. Ontario's revocation rate has declined from about 12% to 6% in the last two years, a rather dramatic drop.
Summary and Discussion
Day parole accounts for about 40% of the decisions made by the National Parole Board. The absolute number of day paroles increased throughout the period from 1987-88 to 1991-92, and this increase is slightly higher than the increase in the inmate population. Most day paroles, 85%, are of the ordinary type, but recently there have been increases in the number of day paroles for special projects. Approximately 40% of day paroles end in transfer to another form of conditional release (full parole or mandatory supervision), while about 13% of day paroles are revoked.
The Quebec and the Atlantic regions tend to use day parole more than the other regions, but relative usage is fairly constant over the five-year period. The Prairie and Pacific regions are more likely to use ordinary day parole whereas the use of alternative release options are more frequent in other regions. Regional differences in the types of day parole releases are consistent from year to year. The Ontario, Prairie and Pacific regions are more likely to move offenders from day parole to other forms of conditional release than are the Atlantic and Quebec regions. Revocations of day parole are highest in the Prairie region, but have increased recently in the Pacific region. Ontario has seen a dramatic decline in the percentage of day paroles that end in revocation, down to 6% in fiscal year 1991-92. For both types of day paroles and completions, regional differences have remained relatively constant over the five-years of data reviewed.
Regional comparisons suggest that differences are consistent from year to year and therefore may reflect differences in the offender population, the policies of the regions or resources available to those seeking release on day parole. In the analyses which follow, particular attention will be directed at determining the reasons for the observed differences.
Basic demographic and criminal offence history data available through electronic data systems were not sufficient for a detailed review of the day parole program. The much richer narrative information in case files contains descriptions of the offenders previous criminal and social history, offence details, institutional behaviour and program participation. However, this type of information is not in a form that can be easily analysed. To make the file information available for analysis, it must be reviewed and then coded in a systematic manner.
Chapter 3 describes the coding process used in this study as well as the methods used to select a sample. File review and coding requires considerable resources so a sample, basically a subset of cases, was selected rather than using all cases. The sample is representative of the national and regional day parole populations.
Sampling and Samples
Data in the preceding chapter indicated that there were about 4,600 day parole releases in 1990-91 and about 3,800 day parole completions. The completed day paroles were taken by approximately 3300 offenders; many offenders receive more than one day parole in a year. From this population of offenders completing day parole, a one-third sample of 1100 cases was randomly [The sample was selected by randomly determining a start point within a list of the population and then taking every third case. When the end of the list was reached selection continued from the beginning until the required sample was obtained. ] selected. The full sample was used to create four analysis samples as described below.
Day parole sample. Female offenders were removed from this sample, leaving 1087 cases. These cases represent the male offender population who completed day parole in 1990-91. File reviews were then completed on 937 of these offenders, or 86% of the selected sample. In general, when file reviews could not be completed it was because files were unavailable during the visit of the coders to the site offices. The day parole sample is representative of males, both Aborignal and non-Aborignal, who completed day parole in 1990-91. All types of day parole are included in this sample, and it is from this sample that the descriptive statistics which follow in this chapter are based.
Ordinary day parole sample. The ordinary day parole sample is a subset of the day parole sample and is used for most of the analyses presented in the following chapter. Cases in this sample were on ordinary day parole where the offender must remain in residence at a CCC, CRC, or a prison. This sample consists of 747 cases. The frequency of other forms of day parole in the day parole sample is too low to allow valid analyses of success rates.
Aborignal offenders. Aborignal offenders account for between 11% and 12% of the inmate population. This percentage would produce a sample of about 100 offenders if they were equally represented amongst those receiving day parole. In fact, only about 6% of those receiving day parole were Aborignal offenders, reducing the sample to about 50 cases. It was decided that if a meaningful description of Aborignal offenders was to be obtained, it would be necessary to analyze the results for the entire population of Aborignal offenders. There were 98 Aborignal offenders (male and female), who completed day parole in 1990-91, and of these, 83 files were reviewed and coded.
Females. Females account for only 2% of the offender population, and therefore it was necessary to use the entire population of females who completed day parole in 1990-91 for the study. Of the 42 females who completed day parole, 39 files were reviewed. The female group includes Aborignal and non-Aborignal offenders.
A file review coding manual was developed in consultation with both NPB and CSC officials experienced in case management and community supervision. The file review was divided into three sections: background, NPB history, and CSC case management history. The contents of each of these areas are described below.
NPB decision history
CSC case management history
Coders. Nine Masters level university students were hired to code the files. One coder worked in the Atlantic region, three in the Quebec region, two in each of the Ontario and Prairie regions and one in the Pacific region.
Coders were trained on the use of the coding manual [A limited number of copies of the manual are available from the authors.] and on how to read both NPB decision files and CSC offender files. Practice coding was included in the training. The training took place over two days and then the coders were sent to the field to begin their work. During the first few weeks, adjustments were made to the coding manual as problems with its use were identified and corrected. A revised coding manual was produced in mid-June.
Timing. Coding began in late May 1992 and continued until the beginning of September.
File location. Coders worked from a master list which indicated which files to locate and the last institution or parole office where the offender was assigned. Files were sometimes at another location because files move with offenders whenthey change institutions or reporting locations. If the offenders file was not at the expected location, arrangements were made to review the file at the new location. If the new location had already been visited, or was difficult to visit, the case was dropped from the sample. National Parole Board files are kept at regional offices and were reviewed at those offices.
Recording the results. A coding manual provided descriptions and interpretation rules that were used while coding the files. The data were recorded on a coding form as the coders worked through the offenders files.
Processing of the data. Data from the coding forms were entered directly into SAS (a statistical analysis system) using data entry screens created specifically for the study. Some error checking was done automatically during the data entry phase and the data entry was performed by someone familiar with the coding system so inconsistencies could be corrected at this phase. Additional data cleaning was performed using frequency tables which allowed for screening of incorrect codes. Finally, offender identification numbers (FPS) and critical dates were checked for accuracy.
Consistency. Coders in different regions worked independently, so it is possible that unique coding strategies were developed that were not consistent. The centralized training reduced this to some extent, and problems were reported to a central point where they were resolved by the senior researcher. Results of problem resolutions were communicated back to all coders to ensure consistency.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a description of the characteristics of male offenders who completed, successfully or unsuccessfully, a day parole release in 1990-91. Factors presented include demographic characteristics, social, economic and educational background factors, and offence types and characteristics. Descriptions of female and aboriginal offenders released on day parole are presented in later chapters.
These analyses are also designed to determine if the day parole sample is similar to the day parole population, thereby demonstrating that the sampling process selected a representative sample. This provides confidence in generalizations made about the overall day parole population on the basis of the sample. Differences between offenders released on day parole and those in the general inmate population are also presented.
Age. The age distribution of offenders in the day parole sample is presented in Table 4-1 along with the distributions for the male day parole population in 1990-91 and for the male institutional population as of March 31, 1991. The data in the table indicate that about 25% of the sample are under 26 years of age, about 60% of the sample are between 26 and 40 years of age and about 20% of the sample are over 40 years old. These percentages are consistent with those for the day parole population and the institutional population suggesting that in terms of age, the day parole sample is representative of the day parole population. In addition, it would appear that in terms of age, there is no bias in the selection of day parole candidates.
Table 4-1: Age distribution in the day parole sample, 1990-91 day parole population and the institutional population on March 31, 1991
|Age group||Day Parole Sample||Day parole population 1990-91||Institutional population March 31, 1991|
|17 to 25 years||23.1||22.6||21.4|
|26 to 40 years||58.6||60.7||58.0|
|More than 40 years||18.3||16.7||20.6|
|Number of cases||934||3,671||13,493|
Race. The racial distribution of the sample cases is presented in Table 4-2 along with the racial distribution of the 1991-92 male day parole population and the male institutional population. The results in the table indicate that 88% of those receiving day parole are Caucasian, 7% are aboriginal peoples, and 2% are from other racial groups. Differences between the day parole sample and the day parole population are minimal which indicates that the sample is representative of the population in terms of race.
Table 4-2: Racial distribution in the day parole sample, the 1990-91 day population and the institutional population on March 31, 1991
|Race||Day parole sample||Day parole population 1990-91||Institutional population March 31, 1991|
|Number of cases||936||3,666||13,468|
Non-Caucasian racial groups, other than aboriginal peoples, receive day parole as frequently as would be expected given their representation in the institutional population. However, aboriginal peoples, who account for 11% of the institutional population, only account for 7% of the day parole population.
Education, employment, and financial status. Eighty-three percent of the sample completed at least some secondary school education and 17% had only elementary education. Approximately 6% of the sample were defined as being illiterate.
At the time of the current offence, 50% of offenders were unemployed and 45% were employed; others were students, retired, or incarcerated. Case information indicated that 56% of the sample was frequently unemployed during the year leading up to the offence. Semi-skilled jobs were the most frequent, with 48% listed for offenders. The lack of employment probably contributed to the 43% for whom financial problems were reported and the 39% who had relied on social assistance in the year prior to their current offence.
Marital and Family Status
The file review indicated that half of the day parole sample were married or in a common-law relationship. Another 36% were single and 15% were separated, divorced or widowed. As can be seen in Table 4-3 these percentages are different from the marital status reported in the official records (see column 2 of Table 4-3). The basic difference is that the file review indicates a higher percentage of married/common law and a lower percentage of single offenders. These differences are probably due to differences in definition used by offenders in reporting their marital status at the time they are admitted to an institution as compared to what was reported in the details of the offenders file.
The data in Table 4-3 also allow for a comparison of the day parole sample (for whom a file review was done), the day parole population and the institutional population. The results indicate that the day parole sample is representative of the day parole population as shown in a comparison of columns 2 and 3. When compared to the institutional population, the day parole population has a slightly higher percentage of offenders who are married or common law and a slightly lower percentage who are single. These results indicate that those who maintain an attachment in the community are more likely to receive day parole than those who are single.
Table 4-3: Marital status in the day parole sample, the 1990-91 day parole population and the institutional population on March 31, 1991
|Marital status||File review data:
Day parole sample
|Data from official records|
|Day parole sample a||Day parole population 1990-91||Institutional population March 31, 1991|
|Married or common-law||49.5||45.3||43.7||39.0|
|Other (separated, divorced or widowed)||14.8||12.2||11.1||11.8|
|Number of cases||910||910||3,667||13,463|
a Marital status as contained in official records.
Half or 49% of the those in the day parole sample were living with a spouse and 13% were living with parents at the time of the offence. The Other group accounted for 25% of offenders and they were living alone or in some other type of shared accommodation. Dissatisfaction with marital arrangements was reported in 13% of the cases.
Many of the offenders, 51%, had not lived with both biological parents during some period up to the age of 16. The most common reason for separation from parents was divorce or separation, accounting for 37% of cases. Death of a parent was reported in 19% of cases. Parental or guardian drug and alcohol abuse was reported in 29% of cases and 6% of cases reported psychiatric problems of primary care givers. Criminal history of a parent or guardian was reported in 4% of cases.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Information in the offenders files indicated that emotional problems interfered with offenders lives in 14% of cases and in 15% of the cases mental health treatment was required. A requirement for mental health treatment while on bail or remand was identified for 6% of cases. Finally, 7% of cases evidenced the need for hospitalization for psychiatric problems.
The reported incidence of alcohol and drug abuse problems are shown in Table 4-4. Over 10% of cases had an indication in the file that alcohol and drug use had been a serious problem for the offender as a teenager, and just over 35% had serious drug and alcohol problems as an adult.
The data in Table 4-4 indicate that approximately one-third of those who received day parole had no problem with alcohol or drugs, one-third had some problem and another one-third had problems with alcohol or drugs that were serious enough to interfere with their lives.
Table 4-4: Percentage of Sample with Alcohol and Drug Problems as Teenagers and Adults.
|Severity of problem||Alcohol problemsa||Drug problemsa|
|Day parole sample||Offender sampleb||Day parole sample||Offender Sampleb|
|As a teenager||No problems||51.6||n/a||54.4||n/a|
|Problems interfered with life||13.3||n/a||10.3||n/a|
|Total||100% N=852||100% N=844|
|As an adult||No problems||31.6||48.8||34.9||53.2|
|Problems interfered with life||38.2||17.7||36.6||27.4|
|Total||100% N=919||102% N=7503||100% N=900||100% N=7503|
aThose reporting they never drink alcohol are excluded.
bFrom a sample of 7,503 offenders who completed the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) and Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS) from the Computerized Lifestyle Assessment Instrument (see Robinson, Porporino & Millson, 1991).
Included in Table 4-4 are the percentages of drug and alcohol problems as determined by the Computerized Lifestyles Assessment Instrument (CLAI) which is routinely administered when offenders are admitted to a federal prison. A comparison of the numbers indicates that the file review identified a lower percentage of offenders with no alcohol or drug problems than was identified by the CLAI. In addition, the file review identified a higher number of offenders as having serious problems with alcohol and drugs.
Differences between the CLAI and the file review data are most likely due to differences in the determination of what constitutes a problem and the time span covered by the assessments. The CLAI is directed at current behaviours and those surrounding the last offence while the file review data covers the period from age 18 up to the current term of incarceration, a much longer period. It is unlikely that the observed differences are due to the day parole sample having more serious drug and alcohol problems than the general offender population.
Juvenile Criminal History
Offences while under the age of 16 were reported in 21% of the cases and 2% involved violent offences. Between the ages 16 to 18, 34% of the sample had an offence and 5% had a violent or sexual offence.
The types of offences that inmates were convicted of are reported in Table 4-5. The data indicate that 36% of the offenders on day parole had been convicted of robbery and 30% had been convicted of property offences. Twenty-seven percent of those in the sample were convicted of drug offences (as offenders frequently have multiple convictions, the percentages sum to more than 100). Table 4-5 also presents the distribution of most serious offences for the day parole sample and provides a comparison to the day parole population and the institutional population. These results indicate that the day parole sample is representative of the day parole population. Comparing the day parole sample to the institutional population indicates that those receiving day parole over-represent offenders convicted of less violent crimes. The data suggest that those convicted of homicide and sexual offences are much less likely to receive day parole, but this may be due to the longer sentences which result in their numbers accumulating in prison over time.
The file review information also indicated that 36% of the convictions (for the most serious offence) involved the use of a weapon and that some form of injury was inflicted in 54% of these cases. Serious injury and death were the result in 30% of cases. Moderate or serious psychological harm was inflicted in 42% of cases. It should be noted that only those cases in which the file information describing the level of violence and injury was present are included in these data. If the file information did not refer to these factors the cases are not included in the calculation of the percentages.
Table 4-5: Percentage of cases reporting each type of offencea
|Conviction||File Reviewa||Major Admitting Offenceb|
|Day Parole Sample||Day Parole Population 1990-91||Institutional Population March 31 1991|
|Number of cases||930||3,222||11,898|
aPercentages exceed 100% because multiple offences were frequently reported.
bIn most cases this is the offence with the longest sentence; only one offence is recorded for each offender.
cOn-register population as of March 31, 1991.
The information in the files indicated that 68% of the offenders had committed an offence against males and 64% had committed offences against females. Victims of the offences tended to be adults (85% of cases), but 20% of the offenders had committed a crime against children under the age of 18. Offences were committed under the influence of alcohol in 45% of cases and under the influence of drugs in 31% of cases.
Institutional behaviour. No changes in institutional security levels were reported for 44% of cases. Downward shifts were reported for 23% of cases, while 4% had their security level upgraded. Almost one-fifth (17%) of cases had their security levels increased and decreased during the period of incarceration. Involvement in misconducts was reported for 7% of cases and 12% had been placed in administrative segregation. About 90% of offenders in the day parole sample participated in some type of institutional program. The association between participation and day parole success is presented in the following chapter.
Release history. For almost all those in the sample (97%), the day parole release was the first release on the current term. A small percentage had been released on full parole or mandatory supervision prior to the day parole release. Most day parole releases (87%) were of the ordinary type with other types accounting for 7% of cases and work projects accounting for 6.2%.
Time of release. Overall, more than half (55%) of day parole releases occurred after the eligibility date for full parole release, as shown in Table 4-6. One of the purposes of the study was to determine the potential impact of changes in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) which changed eligibility from one-sixth of the sentence to six months before full parole eligibility. To study this issue, day parole releases occurring prior to full parole eligibility were divided into three groups, those occurring more than six months before full eligibility, those occurring around the six month period, and those between six months and the full parole eligibility date.
The data presented in Table 4-6 indicate that only 8% of the releases occurred more than six months before the full parole eligibility date. Therefore, the CCRA change in eligibility dates should only affect about 8% of the releases. If these offenders were released on day parole at the new eligibility date, then about 16% of releases would occur at the point six months prior to full parole eligibility. An additional group accounting for 28% of the cases would be released between the six month point and the full parole date.
Table 4-6: Time of day parole releases
|Time of Release|
|More than six months prior to full parole date||Approximately six months prior to full parole datea||Between six months prior and full parole date||After full parole eligibility date|
|Number of cases||75||76||264||514|
aTo account for possible inconsistencies in the dates, more than six months was actually defined as more than seven months and approximately six months was defined as between five and seven months.
Residence. Offenders released on day parole must reside at a location approved by the National Parole Board. The majority of offenders on day parole (65%) live in a community residential center (CRC) which is a privately run halfway house. One-quarter of those released on day parole live at a community correctional center (CCC) which is a residential facility operated by the Correctional Service. Some offenders must reside at a prison during their day parole, accounting for 8% of the cases.
Summary and Discussion
Comparisons between the day parole sample (a subset of cases) and the population (all cases) indicate that the sampling procedure was successful in selecting a representative sample of cases. Therefore, conclusions in the report, which are based on the sample data, may be generalized to all day parole releases completed in 1990-91.
Comparisons between the day parole group and all offenders were performed to determine if those offenders released on day parole are different from the general inmate population. These analyses indicate that aboriginal offenders are under-represented in the day parole population, that single offenders are less likely to receive day parole than are attached offenders (married or common law) and that offenders convicted of less violent crimes are more likely to be granted day parole.
Ninety-seven percent of those released on day parole were receiving their first release within the current sentence; others had previously been released on full parole or statutory release. While day parole releases can take a variety of forms, the majority of releases (87%) were for ordinary day parole which requires the offender to reside at a Community Residential Centre, Community Correctional Centre or correctional institution. They are permitted to attend work or school activities during the day, but must return to the residential facility in the evening.
An analysis of the point in the sentence when the day parole occurred indicates that the change in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (1992) to day parole eligibility at six months before full parole eligibility would affect about 8% of those released. The majority of offenders (55%) were actually released after their full parole eligibility date. In addition, given that most day paroles last for six months, less than 20% of releases occured at a point in the sentence that would result in their completion before the parole eligibility date. These results suggest that day parole was generally not used to release inmates in advance of full parole, except in a limited number of cases. Rather, it was used to test or prepare the offender for release on full parole or statutory release as is required by the CCRA which was implemented after these offenders had completed their day paroles.
The data indicate that offenders released on day parole (and these results are probably applicable to all offenders) have very poor work records, with half unemployed at the time of their offence and more than half experiencing employment problems in the year preceding their offences. The poor work experience would have contributed to financial problems experienced by two-fifths of offenders, with two-fifths relying on social assistance in the year before their offence.
Family life was difficult for these offenders, with half of them being separated from parents prior to the age of 16, and 29% having parents or guardians who abused alcohol or drugs. In addition, 15% of the sample required some form of mental health intervention in the past and over one-third of the sample had a juvenile record.
Substance abuse was reported as a serious problem for 10% of the cases when they were teenagers, and over one-third had serious drug and alcohol problems as adults. Only one-third reported no problems with drugs and alcohol. In addition, almost one-half of the offenders reported being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time of their offence.
Day parole was more likely to be granted to offenders who had committed property related offences and drug offences. Those who had committed more violent crimes, such as homicide and sexual offences, were less likely to have received day parole.
The overall picture that emerges from these results is a group of people with troubled backgrounds who became involved in criminal and substance abuse activities at an early age. Substance abuse appears to be strongly related to the criminal activity. These offenders have a large number of needs that should be addressed, but the less serious crimes they have committed suggest they may be a lower risk to the community than the general population of federal inmates.
One of the goals of the Day Parole Review Project was to determine if it is possible to better predict the outcome of day parole releases. The release of offenders into the community represents a risk to that community. This risk must be as low as possible while at the same time allowing offenders the opportunity to move gradually back into the community. One method of minimizing the risk that offenders pose to the community is to ensure that the offenders selected for release are the ones most likely to complete their day parole without incident. While the previous chapters described who was on day parole, this chapter and the next are concerned with the outcome of day parole. That is, the purpose of these next two chapters is to identify those variables which are the best predictors of success on day parole.
The results presented in the following sections are univariate, that is, only one variable is studied at a time. Although multivariate analyses, the use of multiple variables to predict outcome, are also appropriate for this type of work, these analyses are not included in this report. Mulivariate analyses are presented in a separate report to allow for disucssion of methodolgical issues surrounding their use.
There are various types of day parole, but the most common type, referred to as ordinary day parole, requires the offender to reside at a Community Correctional Center, a Community Residential Center or a correctional institution. The analyses presented in this chapter apply to ordinary day parole which accounts for almost 90% of all day parole releases.
The chapter presents results in six main areas, including improving selection using risk needs assessments, timeliness of release, effectiveness of programming, special conditions, regional comparisons, and other factors. A summary and discussion follow the presentation of the results.
As part of their job, case management officers must evaluate offenders to determine if they present a low enough risk to be released on day parole. For this evaluation, the case management officer takes into account a large number of factors including previous criminal history, current offence, institutional behaviour and program participation, and evidence of adjustment that would indicate a more pro-social orientation. A recommendation for day parole is made at a case conference and then sent to the National Parole Board where the final decision is made.
The case management officer and the NPB must take into account the risk the offender presents to society, the risk of reoffending and the need to provide opportunities for the offender to start the adjustment back to non-institutional life on the street. Predicting which offenders will reoffend or will be unsuccessful while on day parole is an inexact exercise at best. Case management officers must make decisions based on their personal evaluation of the offender, in addition to objective criteria. With experience, case management officers develop strategies for determining which offenders should be released and, in general, these strategies seem to be successful, given the relatively low incidence of failure of day parole. However, it may be possible to improve these predictions if case management officers have access to information that shows which types of offenders are most likely to fail while on day parole. The purpose of this part of the chapter is to review some of the factors which are most likely to be considered by case management officers in order to determine how these factors relate to day parole outcome.
Two levels of failure can be defined for day parole: when the day parole is revoked for any reason and when the day parole is revoked because the offender committed a new offence. When day parole is revoked for a technical violation it means that the offender has failed to live up to the conditions imposed, but it also means that the conditional release process is working as it should. That is, the offender was viewed as a reasonable risk and was released partly to confirm his ability to live within the conditions set by the parole board. A technical violation indicates that the day parole program has detected a problem with the offenders ability to live within established conditions and therefore had to be returned to the institution until ready to abide by conditions set by the National Parole Board. In the case of a technical violation, the offender has not increased the risk to society, only the potential for a problem. By early intervention, through revocation of the day parole, it is hoped that the commission of a new criminal offence has been avoided and the offenders ability to live within a set of conditions has shown to be lacking.
The second type of failure is when the offender commits another crime. In this case, the system has failed by releasing an offender who reoffends and by not detecting the offenders potential for reoffending while in the community. This latter type of failure is more serious for both the Correctional Service and the National Parole Board. However, data presented in the report suggest that it may be impossible to predict this type of failure.
For the purposes of the study two failure groups were created. The first combined all failures into one group, both those with and without new offences. These are referred to as general failures and account for 25% of day parole releases. Within this group are 17% (155) of releases who were revoked for a technical violation and 8% (79) who were revoked for a new offence. The second failure group includes only failures with new offence and these are analyzed separately.
Risk and Needs Assessments
The following section presents analyses using the risk and needs assessments from the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale and the Forcefield analysis. Risk and needs are first considered independently and are then combined to form a risk/needs measure. Results using the Forcefield analysis of needs are presented after those for the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale.
Shortly after an offender is admitted to an institution, a case management officer completes a Forcefield analysis. The Forcefield analysis identifies the offenders most important needs and these are then used to determine the types of programming in which offenders should participate. Since the Forcefield analysis is completed early in the sentence, and before any treatment programs have been completed, needs identified may have changed by the time of release.The Forcefield analysis does not provide an overall needs score nor does it provide a risk estimate.
In 1990, community supervision case preparation introduced the Community Risk /Needs Management Scale (CRNMS), a structured risk/needs assessment instrument. Both the Forcefield analysis and CRNMS were available for the study and are presented in the following analyses. However, since the CRNMS is completed shortly after the offender enters the community, it best reflects the offenders risk and needs at the time of the day parole release. Therefore, the analyses for this scale are presented first.
Community Risk/Needs Management Scale
Completion of the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale was lower than had been anticipated. Overall, there were 698 offenders released on ordinary day parole in the sample, but only 63% of the files included a completed Community Risk Needs/Management Scale. Completion of the scale was required after April 1, 1990, coinciding with the start date for the sample used in the day parole project. A month-by-month analysis of completions shown in Figure 5-1 indicates that the rate of completion increased from a low of 31% in April 1990 to a high of over 80% for the months of November and December 1990, and January 1991. The completion rate declined to just over 60% in the last two months of the fiscal year.
If the failure rate on day parole was not associated with the completion of the CRNMS, it would be possible to conclude that the sample where a CRNMS was completed is not all that different from the total sample, however, this was not the case. While 25% of those who received ordinary day parole were unable to complete their day parole successfully, the failure rate was 40% for offenders who were not assessed with the CRNMS and only 17% for those who had had the CRNMS completed. Offenders who were on day parole for less than 30 days were slightly less likely to have the CRNMS completed, suggesting that in some cases, failure occurred so quickly that there was not time to complete the scale. When failure with a new offence is used as the criterion, the difference in failure rates decreases, with a 12% failure rate for those without the CRNMS completed and 7% for those with the scale completed. Figure 5-1 results, based on the CRNMS must be viewed with some caution since they are representative of a less problematic group of day parole cases. However, results using the Forcefield analysis are presented later and they basically confirm the CRNMS analyses.
Figure 5-1 : Frequency of day parole releases and CRNMSs completed each month,
The Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) includes a risk rating which is based on the judgment of the community case management officer. The officer reviews the criminal history and may make use of the SIR scale (Statistical Information on Recidivism, Nuffield, 1982), which was completed in the institution. Risk ratings are classified as either high or low and were available for 444 (64%) of the releases on ordinary day parole. Of the offenders rated as low risk, 11% failed while on day parole, and of those rated as high risk, 25% failed. These results indicate that the risk assessment, conducted in the community, is a relatively good tool for predicting success on day parole. However, for the 7% of cases who had day parole revoked because of a new offence, there was no difference in the percentage who were rated as high or low risk.
Table 5-1: Twelve need areas for the CRNM
In order to complete the needs assessment, each of the 12 need areas of the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS), shown in Table 5-1, are evaluated on the four point scale shown below:
After rating each need individually, the case management officer provides a global needs rating. The global rating indicates whether the offender has a low, medium, or high needs level. Figure 5-2 shows the relationship between the level of needs and success on day parole. As the needs levels increase the failure rate increases, from 10% for low needs cases to 29% for high needs cases. However, for the 7% of cases that failed with a new offence, the failure rate was relatively constant (6% to 8%, n=33) across the needs levels.
Figure 5-2: Relationship between failure on day parole and needs level
The needs score (low, medium or high) is based on an evaluation after all needs have been rated. A more objective, way of determining the needs levels is to count the number of needs identified. In this way one can create a score ranging from 0 to 12, where a score of zero identifies an offender with no needs. Figure 5-3 shows the relationship between the number of needs identified and the failure rate on day parole. By grouping the number of needs into three categories, as is done for the overall needs rating, it is possible to compare the ability to predict failure using the overall rating provided by the case management officers and the rating obtained by summing the needs. Based on the results shown in Figure 5-4, those with 0 to 2 needs were classified as low, those with 3 needs were classified as medium and those with 4 or more needs were classified as high needs cases. This method of determining need level does not account for the individual differential effect of needs on outcome.
Figure 5-3: Relationship between the number of needs and failure on day parole
Figure 5-4 shows the comparison of the global ratings by the case management officers and the classification based on the number of needs. Results in the figure indicate that the two methods of rating needs show approximately the same relationship to failure on day parole. This result indicates that the global rating of needs assigned by parole supervisors are consistent with the more objective measure created by simply counting the needs.
Figure 5-4: Comparison of case management officers global ratings and groups based on the sum of needs
Are there individual needs that are associated with success and failure on day parole? Table 5-2 presents the general and new offence failure rates for each of the 12 needs for offenders whose needs were identified. In addition, the table indicates the frequency with which each of the needs were identified. The results are also presented graphically in Figure 5-5, where they are ordered by general failure rate, Figure 5-6 where they are ordered by failure with a new offence and Figure 5-7 where they are ordered by the frequency with which they were identified.
Figure 5-5 presents the failure rates for offenders who had each of the needs identified. Substance abuse needs, both alcohol and other drugs, are associated with the highest general failure rates. The failure rate for those with substance abuse needs are almost as high as those found for the highest risk groups, showing that these two need areas are indicative of high day parole failure rates. Recall that within this group, ordinary day parole cases with a CRNMS completed had an overall failure rate of only 17%. Clearly, the presence of certain needs is indicative of a likelihood of failure significantly above the average.
The failure rate across needs varies by 11 percentage points, from 17% for financial management to 28% for alcohol problems. The need areas are not exclusive and an inmate is likely to have more than one need area identified. Of those who had no needs identified, the failure rate was 10%.
Figure 5-5: Failure with a new offence associated with individual needs (CRNMS)
Figure 5-6: Failure with a new offence associated with individual needs (CRNMS)
Table 5-2: Day parole failure rates for identified needs (N=440)
|Identified need||Number with each need identified||Percentage with need identified||Percentage with general failure||Percentage who failed with new offence|
|Academic and vocational skills||160||36.4%||19.4||6.3|
|Marital and family relationships||147||33.4%||22.5||5.4|
|Companions and significant others||164||37.3%||23.2||9.2|
|Behavioural and emotional stability||154||35.0%||23.4||7.8|
|No needs identified||76||17.3%||10.5||8.0|
The failure rates for each need, for those convicted of a new offence, are shown in Figure 5-6. These failure rates range from 2% for those with health needs to 9% for those with needs identified in the area of employment, and companions and significant others. However, 8% of those with no need identified failed with a new offence, while substance abuse needs, which were highly correlated with general failure, had relatively low failure rates with a new offence. The percentages in the table need to be considered in light of the overall failure rate with a new offence, which is about 8%.
It is interesting to note the different patterns of identified needs for those who fail for any reason, compared to those who fail with a new offence. When comparing Figure 5-5 and Figure 5-6, it is evident that those with substance abuse needs (alcohol and drugs) are most likely to fail for any reason, although these needs are not as important for failure with a new offence. Alcohol and drug problems are easily identified in a residential setting and therefore revocations are more likely. Those who fail with a new offence are likely to have needs in social relations areas such as companions and significant others, employment patterns and living arrangements, which may be more difficult to monitor. In addition, the data indicate that offenders with no identified needs are more likely to fail with a new offence, which suggests that their lower reporting rates make it more difficult to identify minor problems before they result in new offences. Needs in the area of health are associated with a relatively high general failure rate, but a relatively low failure rate for those who fail with a new offence.
Figure 5-7: Frequency with which each need was identified (from the CRNMS)
The results in Figure 5-7 indicate that employment pattern and financial management are the two most frequently identified needs, while needs in the areas of companions and significant others, academic and vocational skills, behavioural and emotional stability, and marital and family relationships are identified at almost the same level. Needs in the area of substance abuse, both alcohol and other drugs, are the next most frequent. Needs less frequently identified include attitude, mental ability, health, and living arrangements. About 17% of those released on day parole had no needs identified.
The relatively low rate at which alcohol and drugs were identified as a problem area is at first surprising given the high level of substance abuse in the inmate population. It would be comforting to believe that the treatment programs received in the institutions reduced the seriousness of substance abuse needs. A more reasonable explanation is that given the problems of getting along in the community substance abuse needs may be less salient. However, while substance abuse may have contributed to the commission of earlier offences, it may be viewed as less important within the context of a halfway house where greater control is exercised. Other need areas, such as employment, finances and companions may be viewed as more immediately important.
Combining the risk and needs ratings into one scale provides better discrimination between success and failure on day parole. In Figure 5-8 it can be seen that as both the risks and the needs increase, the likelihood of failure on day parole increases. Day parole failure was about 8% for offenders with low needs and low risk, but increased to 32% for offenders with both high risk and high needs. The results show a clear relationship between the level of risk and needs and success on day parole. The bars in Figure 5-8 indicate that risk/needs levels can be divided into three groups. Those offenders with low risk and either low or medium needs are in the first group and have about a 10% failure rate. There is a middle group that consists of those with low risk, but high needs and the high risk groups which have low or moderate needs; this group has a failure rate of about 20%. The third group, those with high needs and high risk, has a failure rate of 30%.
Failure rates are constant across the risk/needs levels when failure is defined as committing a new offence. The risk/needs levels are not predictive of failure with a new offence.
Figure 5-8: Risk/needs level and failure on day parole
The Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) improves the prediction of success and failure while on day parole. Additionally, the presence of certain needs is associated with higher failure rates. In particular, substance abuse problems seem to be related to failure. However, these factors are not associated with failure which results from a new offence.
The Forcefield analysis which is completed shortly after admission to the prison is used to identify factors which need to be addressed in the correctional plan. The correctional plan provides direction to the offender and correctional staff in determining which programs and activities are best suited to the needs of the offender. The Forcefield analysis is completed shortly after entry into the prison system and at critical points while the offender is in prison. It uses a list of 12 need areas which are the same as those in the Community Risk/Needs Management scale (CRNMS). However, the scoring is different from the CRNMS and the completion of the form relies on a narrative rather than a numerical score. The narrative, provided by the case management officer, describes how the need will affect the correctional plan and what the offender must do to address the need.
In addition to the 12 need areas, the scale includes three items which relate to the current offence. Specifically, these items are concerned with the impact of the current offence and how it will impact on the success of the correctional program, and whether the offender is likely to respond negatively to supervision and incarceration. Results from these analyses are presented in the next chapter.
The Forcefield analysis was available in the file for 571, or 76% of the offenders in the ordinary day parole sample and therefore provides a larger number of cases than are available for the CRNMS.
Number of needs
The Forcefield analysis is designed to identify needs which require attention, but not to provide an overall rating of needs as is done with the CRNMS. However, there is a clear relationship between the number of needs identified in the Forcefield analysis and the failure rate while on day parole as is shown in Figure 5-9. The correlation between the number of needs and the failure rate is 0.88 (p.<.001). The data presented in Figure 5-9 suggest that three levels of needs can be identified for the Forcefield analysis in relation to day parole. Those with 1 to 4 needs have the lowest failure rate, those with 5 to 10 needs have a moderate failure rate and those with 11 or 12 needs have the highest failure rate.
Figure 5-9: Relationship between number of needs identified in the Forcefield
Table 5-3 presents the general failure rates and the percentage of cases for each of the three levels of needs. Among those inmates with 11 or 12 needs identified, 42% failed while on day parole. The majority of offenders, or 69%, had between 5 and 10 needs identified. The failure rate within this group varied from 25% to 34%, with an average for the entire group of 29%.
Table 5-3: Relationship between number of needs and failure rate
|Number of needs||Number of cases||Percentage of cases||Percentage Failure|
|0 to 4||143||25.0||13|
|5 to 10||392||68.6||29|
|11 to 12||36||6.3||42|
Figure 5-10: General failure rate for needs identified in the Forcefield Analysis
Figure 5-10 shows the general failure rates for offenders on day parole who had each of the needs identified. The failure rates across the needs vary by only nine percentage points, from 24% for those with sexual behaviour identified as a need to 33% for those with health problems identified as a need. These results suggest that the presence of any one need does not clearly distinguish between successful and unsuccessful day parole releases. The results also indicate that the needs identified early in the sentence by the Forcefield analysis are not as predictive of behaviour in the community as are needs identified at the time of release.
Figure 5-11: Percentage of failures with a new offence for needs identified in the Forcefield analysis
A similar pattern of limited variability is evident for those offenders who committed a new offence while on day parole, as is shown in Figure 5-11. Using a new offence as the measure, the failure rate ranges from 9% to 11%. The lack of variability across the need areas is consistent with that found for the CRNMS needs and failure with a new offence.
Figure 5-12: Percentage of offenders identified with a specific Forcefield need
Figure 5-12 presents the percentage of offenders identified as requiring help in each of the need areas. The most frequently identified need areas, identified for over 70% of the sample, were values and attitudes, and companions and significant others. The need areas which were least frequently identified were sexual behaviour, mental ability, and health, with between 20% to 30% of the sample being identified as having these needs. The remaining needs were identified for 55% to 68% of the sample. Substance abuse needs were identified for between 50% and 60% of the sample, somewhat higher than what was identified just after release to the community.
Summary and Discussion
The results presented in the preceeding sections indicate that there is a strong relationship between failure on day parole and the risk and needs assessments conducted after release to the community. The relationship is weaker for needs identified at the beginning of the sentence. Of those offenders who have the highest levels of needs, using either the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) or the Forcefield analysis, 30% or more failed while on day parole. This failure rate can be compared to those in the low needs groups where only about 10% failed while on day parole. Risk level was also shown to be a predictor of day parole outcome and when combined with needs, produced the best overall prediction of outcome.
An analysis of the individual needs indicated that from the CRNMS, problems with substance abuse were most commonly associated with failure on day parole. However, when failure with a new offence was analyzed, problems in the areas of companions and employment had higher rates of failures. Also, the companions and employment need areas were the most common. These results suggest that issues surrounding re-integration into the community are the most basic in terms of achieving success on day parole, while substance abuse acts as a mediating factor which worsens existing problems.
Both the CRNMS (risk and needs) and the Forcefield analysis produced results that indicated there was a problem in identifying those offenders who were going to commit a new offence while on day parole. This is unfortunate because failures with a new offence are the most serious for the management of risk in the community. Additional work may be needed to identify the characteristics of offenders who are likely to commit an offence while on day parole.
The analyses using the CRNMS suffer from a selection bias in that the highest risk cases did not have the CRNMS completed. The effect of this might be to reduce the ability of the analysis to identify the factors associated with failure with a new offence. It would likely also have the effect of enhancing the discrimination of success and failure for those who were unsuccessful for either a technical violation or new offence (general failure). This finding also suggests that completing risk/needs analyses as early as possible after release could identify problem cases before a failure occurs.
While the preceeding chapter concentrated on the relationship between day parole outcome, risk and needs, the current chapter covers a wider variety of topics. Specifically, the following issues are addressed in terms of their effect on day parole outcome:
Timeliness of Release
Day parole eligibility was defined as follows [Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (1992) day parole eligibility was changed. Inmates are now eligible for release on day parole six months prior to their parole eligibility date.] under the laws which existed at the time of the study:
In theory, the lowest risk offenders would be released earliest in their sentences and higher risk offenders would be released later in their sentences. Results presented in Table 6-1 indicate that this is in fact what is done. Overall, those released before their parole eligibility date have a failure rate on day parole less than those released after that date. Specifically, 30% of those released after the full parole eligibility date are not successful on day parole, while only 20% of those released before this date are unsuccessful. The failure rate for those released later is 50% greater than for those released early.
Table 6-1 breaks out the success/failure rate for those released on day parole at the earliest possible date, their day parole eligibility date. The number of cases is relatively small, only 39, but 26% of these were unable to complete their day parole. This result suggests that those released at one-sixth of their sentence may not have been ready for release.
Table 6-1: Success and failure on day parole by timeliness of release
|Day Parole Completion||Time of Release|
|On day parole date||Between day parole and full parole date||After full parole eligibility date|
|Number of cases||39||283||376|
The three release groups shown in Table 6-1 were collapsed and the results combined with the risk/needs measures from the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) to determine if the failure rate was the result of risk/needs or time of release. The results of these analyses are presented in Figure 6-1 and they suggest that the risk/needs level is more critical to predicting failure than the timeliness of release. For offenders in the high risk/needs group, the time of release does not affect outcome (the two points on the graph overlap), but there is a large increase in the failure rate for these offenders relative to offenders in the lower risk/need groups.
However, for those who were rated as low risk and low needs, time of release is associated with differences in outcome. Specifically, for offenders rated as low risk/needs the failure rate for those released after their parole eligibility was almost double that of those released before this date. A smaller difference, but in the same direction, is evident for those rated as moderate risk/needs (low risk, moderate needs). In addition, the release data also indicate that some low risk/needs offenders are not suitable for early release given the higher failure rate observed for some low-low risk/needs offenders when they were released after their parole eligibility date.
The results in Figure 6-1 also show that some high risk/needs offenders were released early on day parole. While the risk/needs results from the CRNMS assessment were not available when the decision to release was made, other information was. However, it appears that the other information was insufficient and the observed result suggest the importance of a systematic risk/needs assessments prior to release decisions being made.
It should be noted that the failure rates shown in this graph are not the same as shown in Table 6-1 as fewer cases had the CRNMS completed, and those who did have the scale completed were less likely to fail. While this affects the percentage of failures (in fact lowering them), it should not affect the relationship between time of release and risk/needs.
Figure 6-1: Risk/needs level, timeliness of release and general failure rates
A similar analysis is presented in Figure 6-2, using failure with an offence as the outcome measure. The graph shows almost no difference in the failure rates between those released before and after their full parole eligibility dates, and almost no difference across the three risk/needs levels. These results are inconsistent with those presented for general failure and timeliness of release, but are consistent with results presented in other sections which suggest that failure with a new offence cannot be differentiated using the variables studied.
Figure 6-2: Risk/needs, timeliness of release and failure with a new offence
Effectiveness of Programs
Need areas defined in the correctional plan, following completion of the Forcefield analysis, should be addressed through programs offered in the institution. Needs may also be addressed in the community where they are identified by the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale. Programming may include drug and alcohol abuse treatment, educational and employment training, cognitive skills training and psychological counselling.
Three important factors about program participation should be considered in interpreting the following results. First, participation in a program does not ensure success in achieving the goals of the program. A person may participate and be unable or unwilling to integrate the program results into their daily lives. Second, the motivation for program participation may be to increase the likelihood of a conditional release and therefore there may be little or no motivation to be influenced by the program results. Third, relative to the length of time that behaviours have been incorporated into an individuals lifestyle, programs of relatively short duration are likely to achieve only modest changes in behaviour.
The results are presented in two sections. The first section examines whether program participation of any type is related to risk and needs and whether participation in any type of program is associated with day parole outcome. These general analyses are followed by more specific analyses that look at the relationship between identified need areas, participation in programs to meet the needs, and day parole outcome.
Any Program Participation
Program participation should increase the likelihood of successful releases. However, given that over 90% of those released on ordinary day parole participated in some type of program, it is difficult to show the effect that programming has on day parole since the level of participation in programs does not vary across offenders. For example, 90% of those who were successful on day parole participated in a program and 93% of those who failed participated in a program (the difference between these numbers is not statistically reliable).
Offenders with higher levels of needs should have the highest involvement with programs (see for example Andrews & Bonta, 1995). Table 6-2 shows that, in fact, almost all (93% to 94%) of those with medium and high levels of needs (as identified in Community Risk/Needs Management Scale) participated in at least one program. However, overall, program participation is quite high, with 85% of those in the low risk/need group having participated in at least one institutional program. These results suggest that selection for program participation may not be based on analysis of needs since those in the low needs group have very few needs and therefore would not be expected to have participated in institutional programs to the level shown here.
Table 6-2: Percentage of offenders at each need level who participated in institutional programs
|Program participation||Need level (CRNMS)|
|Number of cases
There is no difference in program participation across risk levels, with 89% of low risk offenders participating in some type of program and 92% of high risk offenders participating in a program. In addition, when risk and needs are combined there is no statistically reliable association between risk/needs levels and program participation. The data indicate that 83% of low need/low risk offenders and 87%, of low need/high risk offenders participated in programs, while 93% or more of medium or high risk offenders participated in at least one program. These results suggest that need is a more important determinant of program participation than risk level. This is not surprising given that needs can be addressed most effectively with programming while risk factors are static and are not affected by programming.
Program participation should increase the likelihood of release on day parole, however, low risk/low need offenders who do not need programs are also the ones most likely to be released earlier on day parole. Results presented in Table 6-3 show that, of those released on day parole at the earliest possible date, only 72% had participated in a program. This percentage jumps to 88% for those who were released on day parole prior to their full parole eligibility date. These two groups make up about 46% of the day parole sample.
When day parole is granted after the full parole eligibility date, it indicates that the offender has been viewed as too great a risk for full parole and therefore a more gradual release to the community is needed. Of those granted day parole after their full parole eligibility date, 95% had participated in some type of programming in the institution. Although it cannot be demonstrated conclusively, there is evidence that the group released after their full parole eligibility date were required to take some form of programming to increase their likelihood of parole release.
Table 6-3: Percentage of offenders by time of release and program participation
|Program participation||Timing of release||Number of cases|
|On day parole date||On or before full parole date||After full parole date|
|Number of cases||40||286||379||705|
|% of cases||5.7||40.6||53.8|
An analysis was performed to determine the relationship between risk/needs level, timeliness of release and program participation. The results from this analysis are presented in Table 6-4. Within the group who were rated as having low risk/needs, the failure rate was low, 8% or less, and there was little difference between those released early or late, and between those who did or did not participate in programs. These results raise the question of why some of these low risk/low need offenders were released on day parole after their full parole eligibility date rather than before.
Among those who were rated as having medium risk/needs and who were released on day parole early, the failure rate was low, less than 11% for those who had participated in programs. The failure rate was also low (12%) for those released late. Comparisons between those who participated in programs and those who did not are not possible because the number of cases is too small (five or less).
The highest failure rate (44%) was for the high risk/needs group who were released early (before full parole eligibility) and who had no programming. Those who had programming still had a high failure rate (23%), but a rate almost half of the no program group. This result supports the notion that high risk/needs offenders can benefit the most from programming and that release of these offenders without programming may result in unnecessary risks to the community.
Among those who were high risk/high needs and who were released late, the failure rate was 25% for those who participated in some type of program, while for those who had not participated in any program the failure rate was only 14%. This latter finding is curious because one would expect a lower failure rate for those with programming. It is possible that some of these offenders attended programs simply to increase their likelihood of release, and may not have obtained the potential benefits of the programs. If this is true, there is a need to ensure that programming includes a measure of successful completion.
There are two groups within the following analysis that raise questions about the methods used to determine release on day parole. First is the group identified as low risk/needs who had programming, but were released after their full parole eligibility date and secondly the group, identified as having high risk/needs who were released early. Most offenders in the early release, high risk/needs group had participated in programming, and the program participation may have been considered as sufficient to reduce the risk of reoffending. However, 12% of these early release, high risk/needs offenders had particpated in no programs, and the results indicate that these offenders had the highest failure rate.
The following analyses is concerned only with the participation in any type of program. More detailed analyses follow that consider participation in specific programs.
Table 6-4: Relationship between risk/needs, time of release, program participation
|Risk/Needsa||Time of Releaseb||Program Participation||% Failure||Number of casesc|
|Total number of cases||443|
a From the community risk needs management scale.
b Early - before full parole eligibility date; Late - after full parole eligibility date.
c Total number of cases in the group, not the number of failures.
Programming that Meets Needs
The research literature suggests that programs directed at identified needs will be most successful in reducing recidivism (see for example Andrews & Bonta, 1995). Therefore, the following analyses compare failure rates for those who received programs designed to meet their needs with failure rates for those who did not participate in such programming. Need areas identified in the Forcefield analysis were matched, where possible, to programming, even though there is not an exact match between the two. Table 6-5 presents each need and the type of programs that were available to meet them, along with the failure rate on day parole, both general failure and failure with a new offence.
Table 6-5: Effect of program participation for identified needs (Forcefield analysis) on day parole failure
|Need identified in Forcefield analysis||Program Available||Participated||Percentage failed on day parole||Percentage failed with new offence||N||Neg. impact of program when need not identified1|
|Academic/vocational||Adult basic education & vocational skills||Yes||31.2||10.3||253||ns|
|Employment||Employment skills training||Yes||28.4||14.7+||102||ns||No||30.2||8.7||288||ns|
|Emotional stability||Psychological/psychiatric counselling||Yes||21.7+||8.1||198||ns|
|Alcohol usage||Substance abuse- alcohol||Yes||31.4||9.7||258||c2 =9.8,***|
|Drug abuse||Substance abuse - other drugs||Yes||28.5||11.5||235||ns|
|No||29.1||8.7||127||c2 = 3.5, +|
|Sexual behaviour||Sex offender treatment||Yes||15.2||8.7||46||ns|
|Values and attitudes||Cognitive skills||Yes||27.9||11.5||61||c2 =6.0,*|
|No||27.1||8.5||365||c2 = 8.7**|
*p.<.05; **p.<.01; ***p.<.001; (+ indicates differences approaches statistical reliability p.<.1)
1The data in the rest of the table are for those for whom a need was identified. Some people attended programs even when no need was identified in the assessment. Attending a programming when there is no need identified can result in negative consequences (see for example Andrews & Bonta, 1995). These c2 values are from these 2 by 2 analysis, although the percentages are not shown in the table. The upper result is for revocation without an offence and the lower one is for revocation with an offence.
The results in Table 6-5 suggest that for those who had specific needs identified in the Forcefield analysis, participation in a program did not affect the outcome on day parole. The results are similar for both general failure and failure with a new offence. Two exceptions, which approached statistical reliability, were counselling and employment skills. That is, for those who had emotional stability identified as a need, participation in psychological or psychiatric counselling improved the likelihood of success on day parole. However, those who had employment needs identified had a higher rate of failure with a new offence even if they participated in employment skills training. The effect of program participation for sexual behaviour problems is good (15% failure with program participation and 28% without program participation), although the observed differences are not statistically reliable.
The failure to demonstrate an effect of treatment may be the result of a number of factors. First, the length of time on day parole, generally six months, is relatively short and this may not be sufficient time for program effects to be apparent. Second, while an offender may attend programming in one need area, he may not attend programming in other areas, and these other need areas may be associated with the day parole failure. Third, simply participating in a program does not mean that the program will have an effect on post-release behaviour. These results suggest that there may be a need to evaluate program success, rather than program completion. Finally, the effectiveness of program participation may be associated with the timeliness of release. Offenders released early in their sentence may have been more motivated to take programs.
The final column in Table 6-5 indicates those programs which had a negative impact on offenders who did not have a need identified, but who participated in a program anyway. Participation in a substance abuse program (alcohol or drugs) or cognitive skills program when no such needs were identified appear to negatively influence day parole outcome. For example, the general failure rate was 13% for those who did not have alcohol identified as a need and who did not attend a treatment program, but it was 29% for those who did attend a program. Similar results for values and attitudes were 18% without participation and 40% failure with participation in the Cognitive Skills program when the need was not identified. These results suggest that only offenders who have a need area identified should participate in programs designed to address that need.
In addition to offering programming while offenders are in the institution, CSC offers programs to offenders who have been released to community supervision, including day parole. Ideally, offenders released on day parole would reside at a Community Residential Centre (CRC) or a Community Correctional Centre (CCC) which could provide all the types of programs they need. However, due to various factors, this is not always possible. In addition, no community centre could provide all types of programs.
The results in Table 6-6 shows the percentage of time offenders with specific needs were released to a community facility which offered programs in that need area and the percentage of time offenders were referred to that type of program. The results indicate that substance abuse needs are most likely to be associated with release to a facility with appropriate programming. Those with needs in the areas of emotional stability and sexual behaviour are the next most likely to be released to a facility with appropriate programming. The remaining need areas are not well served by programming, with 15% or less of the cases with those needs released to a facility with appropriate programming.
The third column in the table shows whether the files indicated that offenders with a need identified were actually referred to a program. The results indicate that where sex offender programs were available, offenders were referred to them. However, the referral rate for those with substance abuse needs was only slightly more than half of those who had access to a program at the facility they were released.
These results suggest that many offenders are released to facilities which do not have programs to meet their needs. Even when programs are available offenders may not be referred to them. These shortcomings may be due in part to the multiple needs of offenders and the need for most offenders in residential facilities to participate in educational and work activities, leaving fewer hours for treatment activities. Given that offenders have multiple needs, it is likely that the need judged most important is addressed first, and referral to programs in other need areas may be delayed, or may not occur at all if release on full parole follows the day parole period.
Table 6-6: Availability of community based programs and frequency of referral
|Need identified in the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale||Percentage with the need who had a program available in the CRC or CCC||Percentage referred to community program||Number identified with need|
|Values and attitudes||3.5||no programs||73|
Unfortunately, actual program participation was not recorded in the data so it is impossible to know how many of those referred for a program actually participated. It is hypothesized that this percentage would be somewhat lower than the referral percentage.
Special conditions, such as refrain from the consumption of alcohol, no association with known offenders etc., are imposed by the National Parole Board at the time a day parole decision is made. Ideally, these conditions would reduce the risk of reoffending, and would assist the offender in successfully completing the time on day parole. Although special conditions are imposed by the NPB, their use may be recommended by CSC when it is felt that an offender needs additional control. One potential negative impact of special conditions for the offender is that a violation may lead to revocation even though no new criminal offence has occurred. Such conditions may in fact increase the likelihood of failure on day parole, while assisting to reduce the likelihood of failure with a new offence.
Overall, 85% of offenders had one or more conditions imposed on them by the NPB. In addition, CSC recommendations for conditions and NPB imposition of conditions were consistent more than 86% of the time, based on a review of selected conditions.
Table 6-7 shows the frequency with which selected special conditions are imposed. Almost three out of five (58%) offenders released on ordinary day parole have a condition requiring them to abstain from alcohol or drugs. This is the most common condition imposed. Approximately one-quarter of those released are required, as a special condition, to attend psychological counselling (27%) and/or not associate with known criminals (22.6)%. Psychiatric counselling was a condition of release for only 6% of those released.
The effect of imposing a condition on the failure rate is inconsistent across the various special conditions, as shown in Table 6-7. For psychiatric counselling and associates, the imposition of a condition is associated with a lower failure rate, while for the other conditions, imposition of a condition is associated with a higher failure rate.
Table 6-7 also shows the failure rate with a new offence. These results suggest that the imposition of conditions did not generally have an effect on the failure rate with a new offence. However, in the case of a condition imposed for psychiatric counselling, only 4% of offenders with this condition imposed committed a new offence, while 9% of those without the condition imposed committed a new offence.
Determining whether or not the imposition of a special condition reduced the likelihood of failure on day parole is problematic. A condition may increase the probability of a failure as the parole supervisor is more vigilant about monitoring that aspect of the offenders behaviour, and is more likely to recommend revocation when the condition is breached. Therefore, an increase in the failure rate following the imposition of a condition may be the result of offender behaviour, or it may be the result of increased vigilance on the part of the parole supervisor in detecting and acting on behaviours which might otherwise be of lesser concern, requiring only a warning and not a revocation. On the other hand, if the failure rate is lower with a condition imposed, then it is likely safe to conclude that the condition had its intended effect.
Table 6-7: Conditions imposed by NPB and day parole outcome
|Condition||Condition imposed?||Percentage (number)||Failure rate (general)||Failure rate (new offence)|
|Abstain from alcohol||yes||57.6% (430)||27.9%||9.7%|
|Abstain from drugs||yes||57.2% (427)||26.9%||9.3%|
|Follow psychiatric counselling||yes||6.3% (47)||17.4%||4.4%|
|Follow psychological counselling||yes||27.3% (204)||27.1%||8.9%|
|Not associate with known criminals||yes||22.6% (169)||17.2%||7.1%|
To determine if the imposition of conditions affected the failure rate, an analysis was conducted in which a set of four need areas (alcohol, drugs, associates and counselling) and the conditions associated with these, were identified and failure rates calculated. If the imposition of conditions have an effect on day parole outcome, then for those who have a need identified, a difference in the outcome with and without the condition should indicate whether the condition had a positive effect on outcome. Results of these analyses are presented in Table 6-8.
Identification of needs is done in the institution using the Forcefield analysis before the day parole decision, and after release to the community using the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS). Results presented in Table 6-8 include outcomes for both need scales, although parole board members who impose special conditions do not know the results of CRNMS at the time of their decision. The purpose of presenting results for the CRNMS is to provide a second source of information on the needs of the offender.
If one examines the cases where a need has been identified in either the CRNMS or the Forcefield analysis, it is clear from the data that the imposition of a condition resulted in a lower failure rate than when the condition was not imposed. For example, only 13% of those who were identified as having problems with criminal associates in the CRNMS and who had a condition imposed restricting their association with known criminals failed while on day parole, while 27% who did not have the condition imposed failed. That is, the failure rate was twice as high when the condition was not imposed. In the eight such comparisons made, seven show a positive effect of imposing a condition. The one exception is abstaining from drugs when the need was identified in the CRNMS. In this case, those with the condition imposed had a 29% failure rate, and those without the condition imposed had a 24% failure rate.
Table 6-8: Relationship between needs identified, conditions imposed, and failure on day parole
|Condition||Identified in needs analysis||Condition||Percentage Failure
(General failure - with or without offence)
|Identified in CRNMS1||Identified in Forcefield analysis|
|Abstain from alcohol||yes||yes||24.6||30.6|
|Abstain from drugs||yes||yes||28.4||27.7|
|Not associate with known criminals||yes||yes||13.0||20.3|
|Participate in psycho-logical or psychiatric counselling||yes||yes||16.7||14.7|
1The CRNMS (Community Risk Needs Management Scale) is not available at the time a day parole decision is made because it is completed in the community after release. However, it may be completed closer to the decision date than the Forcefield Analysis.
2The Forcefield Analysis is available in CSC files at the time day parole decisions are made.
The other question which can be answered from Table 6-8 is whether imposing a condition when no need has been identified has any effect on outcome. The results indicate that, in general, imposing an unnecessary condition (no need identified) has either no effect on outcome or had a negative effect. For example, when the Forcefield analysis indicated no problems in the area of drugs, but a drug condition was imposed, the failure rate was 28%, while in those cases where no condition was imposed the failure rate was only 16%. The magnitude of these negative effects are less with the CRNMS, probably because it is completed closer to the time of the day parole decision and better reflects the offenders needs at that time.
The major exception to the above noted pattern is associating with known criminals. Even when criminal associates were not identified as a need area, the imposition of a condition restricting contact resulted in significantly lower failure rates. Restrictions on contact with criminal associates seem to have a positive effect on outcome whether a need in this area is identified or not.
If special conditions are designed to reduce the likelihood of a new offence, then it should be possible to demonstrate that failure with a new offence is lower for those who had conditions imposed. The results of these analyses are presented in Table 6-9.
Table 6-9: Relationship between needs identified, conditions imposed and failure with a new offence
|Condition||Identified in needs analysis||Condition||Percentage failure revocation with new offence|
|Identified in CRNMS1||Identified in Forcefield analysis2|
|Abstain from alcohol||yes||yes||5.9||9.9|
|Abstain from drugs||yes||yes||4.5||10.6|
|Not associate with known criminals||yes||yes||6.5||8.9|
|Participate in psycho-logical or psychiatric counselling||yes||yes||8.3||2.9|
1The CRNMS (Community Risk Needs Management Scale) is not available at the time a day parole decision is made because it is completed in the community after release. However, it may be completed closer to the decision date than the Forcefield analysis.
2The Forcefield analysis is available in CSC files at the time day parole decisions are made.
For those who had a need identified, the imposition of a condition did not reduce the likelihood of a revocation with a new offence. There is some evidence that imposing a condition in relation to associates reduced the failure rate with a new offence from 10% to 6%. Further, imposing a condition when no need was identified had little effect on the failure rate with a new offence, except in the case of criminal associates.
Taken together, the results in the two preceding tables (Table 6-8 and Table 6-9) suggest that, in some cases, imposing conditions may reduce the likelihood of revocation, but it does not reduce the likelihood of failure with a new offence. The exception to this is the condition requiring an offender not to associate with known criminals; the imposition of this condition reduces revocation with and without a new offence.
Overall, these results seem to indicate that the imposition of special conditions has a positive effect of day parole outcome. Although the general analysis, which looked at the relationship between the imposition of conditions and outcome did not show a positive effect, the more detailed analyses indicated that when conditions are consistent with identified needs their presence has a positive effect, and that the absence of the condition may result in an increase in the failure rate for day parole. In addition, restrictions on contact with criminal associates appear to have a positive impact, whether or not the needs analyses indicate that this is a problem. The rate of failure with a new offence was not affected by the imposition of conditions.
Comparing Performance Across Regions
Differences in the success and failure rates of day parole across regions are shown in Figure 6-3. The highest failure rate was in the Prairie region with almost one-quarter (24%) of day paroles ending in failure. The next highest failure rate was in the Atlantic region with 18% of releases resulting in failure. The lowest failure rate was in Ontario region (13%).
Figure 6-3: Day parole failure rates across regions
The differences in the failure rates could be associated with differences in the risk/needs levels of the inmates in each region. Figure 6-4 shows the failure rate for each region by the risk/needs level. Recall that there are three levels of risk/needs used: low, defined as those with low needs and low risk; medium, defined as those with low risk and medium needs; and high risk/needs defined as those with low risk and high needs and all others with high risk.
While Ontario has an overall low failure rate, the results in Figure 6-4 indicate that it has the second highest rate of failure for those in the high risk/needs category. However, Ontario also has the lowest failure rates for those in the low and medium risk/needs groups. In most regions, the high risk/needs group is clearly the most at risk for failure on day parole, except in the Pacific region where the failure rate is close to 15% for offenders in the three risk/needs groups. Another unusual characteristic in the results is that the Prairie region has the highest failure rate for those classified as medium risk/needs.
The risk/needs results suggest that regions are employing different standards for the release of inmates on day parole, and that the failure rate is highly variable. It should be noted that the risk/needs rating used in these comparisons is determined after release to the community, and not before. However, risk/needs analyses are performed in the institution prior to making recommendations to the parole board.
Figure 6-4: Failure rate by region and risk/needs level
Motivation has frequently been cited as an important factor in the outcome of programs and two measures of motivation were available in the study. The first measure was an evaluation of the offenders motivation by the coders based on the file information they read. The second measure was taken from the Forcefield analysis which was completed upon entry to the prison system. When the Forcefield analysis is completed, the case management officer must determine if the offence pattern and the offenders adjustment to incarceration and supervision are strengths or weaknesses. For the purposes of these analyses, these rating are used as indicators of motivation.
As part of the file review, an assessment was made to determine whether the documentation indicated that the offender was motivated to participate in activities at the CCC or CRC. Failure rates associated with this variable are shown in Table 6-10. The results clearly show a strong association between level of motivation and failure rate, and although the relationship is not statistically reliable for failure with an offence, the percentages follow the same trend. For example, 74% of offenders who were unmotivated failed, while only 8% of those who were highly motivated failed. The data in the table also indicate that 20% of those who were released on day parole did not demonstrate a great deal of motivation towards participating in activities. These results suggest that level of motivation may be an important indicator of potential success on day parole, and possibly should be considered in the decision making process.
Table 6-10: Relationships between failure rate and level of motivation (percentage of failures)
|Motivation level||General failure||Failure with offence||Number of cases|
|Number of cases||144||47||630|
|c2(3, N=630)=79.0, p<.001||c2(3, N=630)=1.7, ns|
Two additional analyses were conducted using the motivation results. Comparisons in motivation level were made for early and late release on day parole, and the relationship between motivation and the risk/needs level was studied.
Table 6-11 presents the relationship between timeliness of release, level of motivation and failure on day parole. For both the early and late release groups, almost half of those who showed a lack of motivation to participate in activities failed while on day parole, compared to a failure rate of less than 20% for those who were motivated. There is also a slightly lower failure rate for those released early in their sentence when compared to those released late in their sentence, given that both groups were motivated to participate in activities.
Table 6-11: Failure rate on day parole by level of motivation and timeliness of release
|Timeliness of release||Motivated1||Statistical reliability|
|Before Full Parole eligibility date||14.0% (271)||47.7% (44)||p.<.001|
|After Full Parole eligibility date||19.4% (263)||44.4% (90)||p.<.001|
1Numbers in brackets are the total number of cases used to calculate the percentage.
The results in Table 6-12 indicate that for offenders in the low and medium risk/needs groups, there are minimal differences in the failure rates, whether the offender is motivated or not. However, for those in the high risk/needs group who are not motivated to participate in activities, there is a failure rate of 50%. This can be compared to the 16% failure rate for those who are motivated, but in the high risk/needs group. The failure rate for offenders who are rated as high risk/needs, but who are described as being motivated, is only slightly higher than for those in the low and medium risk/needs groups. This suggests that level of motivation, the desire to make it work, is an overriding factor for those who would otherwise be considered high risk.
Table 6-12: Failure rate on day parole and its relationship with risk/needs level and motivation
|Risk/Needs level||Motivated||Statistical reliability|
|Low||8.1% (99)||14.3% (7)||ns|
|Medium||12.3% (114)||10.5% (19)||ns|
|High||16.5% (170)||50.0% (50)||p.<.001|
These results suggest that motivation is an important factor in predicting success on day parole. However, there are no objective instruments currently in use that measure motivation to participate in programs and activities as part of a day parole release.
Non-need Items from the Forcefield Analysis
In addition to determining the relevance of 12 need areas to the correctional plan, the Forcefield analysis contains three items which relate to offence history and responsiveness to supervision and incarceration. Specifically, the case management officer who completes the Forcefield analysis indicates whether or not the present offence, the offence pattern, and the offenders responsiveness to incarceration and supervision represent strengths or resources which will assist with treatment, or whether these are problems or weaknesses that will have a negative impact on the outcome of the sentence.
Table 6-13 provides a comparison of failure rates associated with these items. The data indicate that for the present offence, there is little difference in the general failure rate between those offenders for whom it was a problem and those for whom it is not a problem. However, for offenders who had their offence pattern identified as a problem, the failure rate was 30%, compared to 12% for those who did not. In addition, offenders who had incarceration and supervision identified as a problem 33% failed while only 18% of offenders who did not have incarceration and supervision problems failed on day parole.
The differences observed for the general failure rate disappear when one looks at the failure rate with a new offence. These results are consistent with earlier results which indicate that predicting failure with a new offence is very difficult.
Table 6-13: Failure rates for non-need items in the Forcefield Analysis
|Item||General failure rate||Failed with new offence|
|Identified as a problem||Not identified as a problem||Identified as a problem||Not identified as a problem|
|Response to supervision/incarceration||33.3||18.4||10.0||8.1|
Case Management Strategy
The Case Management Manual identifies four case management strategies. Which strategy is employed is determined by the case management officer after a file review and an interview with the inmate. The details of the types of offenders appropriate for each supervision strategy is described in Appendix E of the Case Management Manual along with the goals and treatment strategies appropriate for working with each type of offender. The four strategies and a brief description of offenders who would be supervised using the strategy is presented below:
The predominant characteristic of this group is a lack of social and vocational skills. Offenders have little foresight into the consequences of their behaviour and may be impulsive. The goal of treatment is to help them to develop survival skills [Descriptions taken from the Case Management Manual.].
Offenders are comfortable with the criminal life-style and have as one of their life goals being a successful criminal. They want to beat the system. Treatment involves creating prosocial attitudes and reducing manipulative activities.
This group has a generally unstable life situation indicated by an inability to maintain a job, family and living situation. Emotional problems are an issue and the criminal career pattern is one of many less serious offences with a few serious offences. The goal of treatment is to stabilize the life situation.
These offenders are probably the least serious group. Their offence may be uncharacteristic in a relatively stable life pattern. Treatment involves helping them to understand their offence and the consequences of the offence.
The failure rate on day parole is very similar for those classified as requiring the case management strategies of environmental structure, limit setting and casework control. As the descriptions for each of these types of offenders indicates, they are the ones most in need of assistance to ensure a successful correctional outcome. As can be seen in Figure 6-5, 30% to 35% of the offendersclassified in these groups fail while on day parole. The group requiring the fourth type of supervision, selective intervention, has a failure rate of only 14%, half of that of the other groups.
Figure 6-5 also shows that the percentage of offenders who received day parole is lowest for the group with the highest failure rate. However, while 40% of offenders are classified as requiring casework control as their case management strategy, 30% of these cases result in failure on day parole. The most successful group on day parole, those requiring selective intervention, represent about 36% of the day parole population.
Figure 6-5: Relationship between case management strategy and failures on day parole
Table 6-14 presents the failure rates for those called in for disciplinary interviews during their time on day parole. For those requiring no disciplinary interviews, the general failure rate is 18%, but for those requiring one or two interviews the failure rate is 42.5%. Offenders requiring three or more disciplinary interviews had a failure rate of 29%. The association between failure rate and number of disciplinary interviews is statistically reliable. Failure on day parole with a new offence presents a similar pattern as that seen for general failure, with the group having one or two interviews having the highest failure rate at 16%, while the group with no interviews or more than two had failure rates of 10% or less.
Table 6-14: Failure on day parole and frequency of disciplinary interviews
|Number of disciplinary interviews||General failure||Failure with offence||Number of cases|
|One or two||42.5||15.8||146|
|Three or more||28.8||10.1||59|
|Number of cases||164||60||667|
|c2(2, N=667)=35.3 p.<<001||c2(2, N=667)=11.2, p.<.01|
Summary and Discussion
The results indicate that motivation, special conditions, programming and time of release are all associated with the success of a day parole release. In addition, regional variations are identified which suggest differences in the use of day parole and differences in the risk/needs ratings used across the five regions of the Correctional Service.
Motivation to participate in community treatment activities was the variable most highly associated with day parole outcome. Those who were rated as highly motivated had a failure rate of only 8%, while those who were rated as unmotivated had a failure rate of 74%. In addition, while motivation level did not seem to be related to outcome for low and medium risk/needs offenders, high risk/needs offenders who were unmotivated had a failure rate three times that of offenders who were motivated. While risk/needs is a good predictor of release outcome, it suffers (at the present time) from being somewhat static, or unchangable, because risk is measured using criminal history variables. Motivation may be a mediating variable which would be useful in determining if less weight should be given to static risk measures for conditional release decisions.
The imposition of special conditions by the National Parole Board for day parole release seems to be associated with more favourable outcomes when the conditions apply to identified needs. Overall, applying special conditions does not affect day parole outcome, but when special conditions are studied on the basis of identified needs there is evidence that the presence of special conditions decreases the likelihood of failure on day parole. While, in general, the imposition of conditions not associated with identified needs seems to have no effect on outcome, for the special condition of no contact with criminal associates, its presence has an effect whether or not this was a need area identified.
Program participation was associated with success on day parole, however, when programming was studied in relation to identified needs, it seemed to have little effect on outcome. Most offenders have multiple needs and participation in one or two programs is not likely to reveal problems associated with all needs resolved. Therefore, the lack of association between a need, a relevant program, and day parole outcome could be the result of the failure of the system to assist the offender to deal with other needs, which ultimately result in a failure of the conditional release.
Participation in programming may indicate motivation to deal with problems, and this might explain the overall relationship between day parole success and program participation which was identified. For example, there was a 44% failure rate for the high risk/needs offenders who were released early and did not participate in any programming, while the failure rate dropped to 23% for those who had participated in some type of programming.
There was some evidence in the results that participation in programs that were not needed had a detrimental effect on outcome. That is, in a number of cases where offenders participated in a program for which they did not have an identified need, their failure rate on day parole was higher than expected. This result suggests that efforts are needed to ensure that programs are provided to those who need them, and are not used to simply build up points that can be counted by the National Parole Board when making a release decision.
Not surprisingly, those offenders who were released on day parole early had a lower failure rate than those released after their full parole eligibility date. This result suggests that the selection process for early day parole release results in only the lowest risk offenders being released, although this is not always the case. Through the data it was also possible to identify a number of low risk/need cases who were not released early even though their subsequent failure rate was quite low. An interesting finding within these analyses was that at the time of the study, the group of offenders released at the earliest possible date, at one-sixth of their sentence, had a failure rate higher than those released later than this. It may be that releases at one-sixth of the sentence are too early in some cases.
In these analyses, failure on day parole was measured using any type of failure and using failure with a new offence. Fairly consistently throughout the analyses, variables which showed differential general failure rates, did not show the same pattern for failure with a new offence. This result seems to indicate that failure with a new offence is conceptually different from other types of failure, such as having the day parole revoked. The result also seems to suggest that it is very difficult to predict who will fail by committing a new offence, thus making risk assessment very difficult. The current study looked at antecedent factors and it is possible that the commission of a new offence is associated with more environmental factors that exist during the release period. Additional work may be needed to identify these factors, although it is likely these types of failures are associated with work, criminal associates, and other life-style factors.
Regional differences were clearly identified in the results. These differences suggest that different uses are being made of day parole across the regions. In addition, there is some evidence that determining risk/needs classifications may be somewhat variable across regions, and these may be associated with the differential failure rates that were observed.
Females account for only 3% of the federal inmate population in Canada and are a very unique group in the prison system because of their relatively small numbers and their low rate of imprisonment, as compared to males.
Frequently, analyses of prison programs are forced to ignore differences between male and female inmates because the small number of females makes analyses impossible. Although the types of analyses that can be performed with results from females who have been released on day parole are limited, it is possible to provide a description of them, and compare their characteristics with those of the female inmate population and the male day parole population [ The day parole sample represents the male offenders released on day parole] . More complex analyses, such as those presented in Chapters 5 and 6 cannot be performed with the results for females because of the small number of cases.
Results for background variables, institutional variables, and pre- and post- release factors are presented in this chapter. More specifically, descriptions are provided of family history, marital status, and educational and employment background. A description of pre-release needs, risk levels and program participation is also presented. Finally, post- release needs and risk are evaluated along with the overall level of success and failure.
Description of the Sample
The entire population of 39 female offenders who completed a day parole release in the fiscal year 1990-91 is included in the analysis. Comparisons will be made with the population of male offenders on day parole, and for certain variables, with the female institutional population.
Background Race and Age
Three categories of race were identified: Caucasian, Aboriginal and other. Of the females released on day parole, 70% were Caucasians, 13% were Aboriginal and 18% were from other racial groups (Blacks, Asians, etc.), as shown in Table 7-1. A similar distribution is found for the institutional female population, which is composed of 70% Caucasians and 15% for both the Aboriginals and other groups. Therefore, females are granted day parole equitably with respect to their racial representation in the institutional population. Evidence presented earlier in this document suggests that this is not the case for males, with Aboriginal offenders less likely to receive day parole than would be expected given their numbers in the inmate population.
The average age at release on day parole for females was 31 years. This is younger than the females in institutions, with an average age of 35 years. Females are also released at an earlier age than males who are on average, 33 years old when released on day parole. The average age of the institutional male population was the same as the males on day parole.
Table 7-1: Racial distribution of females released on day parole and selected comparison groups
|Race||Females on day parole (%)||Female inmates (%)||Day parole sample (%)||Male inmates (%)|
Employment and Education
At the time of their current offence, only 45% of the females released on day parole were employed. Moreover, during the year prior to their current offence, about 70% were frequently unemployed, 65% had financial problems and 40% relied on social assistance. Only 20% of the females had any type of vocational training (see Table 7-2).
Likewise, only 45% of the male offenders in the day parole sample were employed at the time of the offence. However, males were less likely (56%) to have been frequently unemployed in the year prior to their offence and to have had financial problems (43%). Males relied on social assistance in the same proportions (39%) as females. Differences in employment stability may have been, in part, the result of differences in the level of vocational training: 34% of the day parole sample had some type of vocational training but only 20% of the females had training.
Table 7-2: Education and employment characteristics of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Employment Status at the time of the current offence||Employed||44.7||44.9|
|During year prior to current offence:||Frequently unemployed||69.4||55.5|
|Reliance on social assistance||39.4||38.9|
Marital and Family Status
Slightly more than half of the females released on day parole were married or in a common-law relationship at the time of their current offence (see Table 7-3). In comparison, one-third of the females in institutions reported being married. This suggests that females in a steady relationship might have a better chance of getting released on day parole.
As well, half of the males in the day parole sample were married or in a common-law relationship, as were 40% of the males in the institutional population. Therefore, females and males released on day parole have comparable marital status at the time of their offence, and the data reveal that being in a steady relationship is associated with an increased likelihood of release on day parole.
Table 7-3: Marital status of females and males released on day parole and inmate groups
|Marital status||Females on day parole (%)||Female inmates (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)||Male inmates (%)|
|Married or common-law||52.8||31.5||49.5||38.7|
|Not married (single, divorced, etc.)||47.2||68.5||50.5||61.3|
As shown in Table 7-4, close to 60% of the females on day parole did not live with their biological parents to the age of 16. In 44% of the cases, the separation was due to death or divorce of the parents. On average, the females were eight years old when they were first separated from their parents. Furthermore, close to 40% had parents with drug or alcohol problems.
In comparison, males from the day parole sample were less likely to be separated from their biological parents before the age of 16 (50%). However, a higher proportion (55%) were separated from their parents due to death or divorce. As with females, males were separated from their parents for the first time at an average age of eight years, but only 30% had parents with drug or alcohol problems. Since this rate of parental alcohol and drug problems is higher among females, it might explain, in part, their higher rate of separation from the parents before the age of 16.
Table 7-4: Family characteristics of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Did not live with parents up to age 16||57.9||51.4|
|Reasons for separation from parents||Death or divorce of parents||43.5||55.4|
|Average age at first separation from parents||8.2||7.6|
|Parents had drug/alcohol problems||38.9||29.2|
Mental Health History
As described in the offenders files, more than 40% of the females released on day parole evidenced severe emotional problems, and one-fifth received mental health treatment prior to the current offence. Close to one-quarter were treated while on remand or bail and 14% were admitted (once on average), to a psychiatric hospital (see Table 7-5).
In contrast, offenders in the day parole sample did not present the same level of emotional and mental health problems. Indeed, only 14% of them had severe emotional problems and 15% received mental health treatment prior to the current offence. A relatively small percentage received mental health treatment while on remand or bail or were ever admitted to a psychiatric hospital (6% for both categories). Of those who were admitted to a psychiatric hospital, there was an average of 1.7 admissions, which is slightly higher than admissions for females.
It seems that females on day parole are more likely to have had mental health problems than males. However, without information on the institutional population, it is impossible to know whether the difference exists in the general female inmate population, or just within the day parole population.
Table 7-5: Mental health characteristics of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Severe emotional problems prior to current offence||43.6||13.5|
|Received mental health treatment prior to current offence||19.4||14.7|
|Mental health treatment while on remand or bail||23.1||6.2|
|Ever admitted to psychiatric hospital||13.5||6.6|
|Average number of admissions in psychiatric facilities||1.0||1.7|
Substance Abuse History
This section describes the offenders substance abuse problems during adolescence and adulthood (see Table 7-6). The results indicate that close to 60% of the females had alcohol abuse problems as adolescents and that this rate remained constant into adulthood. However, drug abuse problems increased in time, with 54% of the females having a problem during adolescence and more than 75% having a problem as adults.
Table 7-6: Substance abuse history of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Alcohol abuse problems as a teenager||57.6||48.4|
|Alcohol abuse problems as an adult||56.8||68.4|
|Drug abuse problems as a teenager||54.3||45.6|
|Drug abuse problems as an adult||76.3||65.1|
Young Offender History
Approximately 30% of the females on day parole, as shown in Table 7-7, were young offenders. Of those who had young offender convictions, 50% were arrested under the age of 16, at an average age of 13 years. Moreover, more than 80% were arrested between the age of 16 and 18 years old, at an average age of 16. Those females who were convicted in a youth court had an average of three convictions each.
Similarly, close to 40% of males on day parole had problems with the justice system in their youth, with 46% being arrested under the age of 16, at an average age of 13 years. Close to 75% were arrested between the age of 16 and 18 years, at an average age of 16. An average of three convictions per offender was found for those who were convicted in a youth court. From these results, it seems that females and males released on day parole have a very similar young offender history.
Table 7-7: Young offender history of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Had a young offender history||30.8||38.7|
|Arrested under the age of 16||15.4||17.5|
|If arrested, average age at arrest under 16||13.4||13.2|
|Arrested between 16 and 18||25.6||27.0|
|If arrested, average age at arrest between 16 and 18||16.4||16.4|
|Average number of youth convictions||3.2||3.3|
Current Offence History
The data shown in Table 7-8 show that the major admitting offences (the offences for which they are serving the longest sentence in the current term), for females released on day parole were robbery (28%), drug offences (26%), homicide (15%) and property-related offences (15%). For their current term, females had an average of five convictions and were sentenced for an average of 25 months of imprisonment.
In comparison to male inmates, the data show that female day parolees have less severe major admitting offences and shorter sentences. The major admitting offences for female inmates are homicide (30%), drug-related offences (23%) and robbery (16%), and the average sentence is 57 months.
As with females, males released on day parole have shorter sentences then the general inmate population, although still more severe than females. Males from the day parole sample had an average sentence of 58 months. The major admitting offences were property-related (25%), robbery (21%), drug offences (17%) and other type of offences (17%). As for females, they were convicted of an average of five offences. Male inmates serve the longest sentences, an average of 67 months, mainly for robbery (20%), property offences (20%) and for homicide (18%).
These results indicate that females commit less severe offences and are serving shorter sentences than males. However, for both males and females, offenders released on day parole are more likely to have been convicted of less serious offences and are, on average, serving shorter sentences than the general inmate population.
Table 7-8: Current offence history for females and males released on day parole and inmate groups
|Major offence on current term||Females on day parole (%)||Female inmates (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)||Male inmates (%)|
|Average sentence length on current term, in months||24.9||56.7||57.9||66.7|
Approximately 20% of the female offenders used a weapon in their most serious current offence and close to 65% offended against a person, with an average of two victims, as shown in Table 7-9. Moreover, 41% were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their offences and 31% were under the influence of drugs.
Of the males in the day parole sample, 35% had used a weapon and more than 60% committed a crime against a person, with an average of 2.5 victims. Close to half were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offence and close to a third were under the influence of drugs. Comparison of offence characteristics suggest minimal differences between males and females.
Table 7-9: Offence characteristics of females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Use of a weapon in major offence of current term||39.5||35.5|
|Offended against a person||64.2||61.3|
|Average number of victims||2.4||2.5|
|Under influence of alcohol at time of offence||41.0||45.5|
|Under influence of drugs at time of offence||31.6||31.2|
NPB Decision History
Current Day Parole Decision
The National Parole Board determines whether an offender can be released on day parole, but it relies on recommendations from the Correctional Service of Canada. Of the females released on day parole, 90% had been recommended by CSC for a day parole program and in 95% of the cases, CSC recommended regular day parole. Special conditions for females were recommended in 75% of the cases. The most common conditions included abstaining from alcohol (60%), abstaining from drug use (60%), and a requirement to undergo psychological counselling (40%). In addition, CSC recommended participation in drug abuse (37%), alcohol abuse (29%) programs and psychological counselling (26%). Data related to NPB decisions are presented in Table 7-10.
Similarly for males in the day parole sample, 87% had been recommended by CSC for a day parole program with 95% recommended for a regular day parole program. Special conditions were recommended in 75% of the cases. CSC recommended similar conditions and programs for males on day parole, although not as frequently. The most common conditions for males included abstaining from alcohol (52%), abstaining from drug use (51%) and other types of conditions (42%). CSC recommended participation in alcohol abuse programs in 27% of cases and drug abuse programs in 21% of cases.
Table 7-10: Characteristics of the day parole decision for females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Positive CSC recommendation||Ordinary day parole||89.8||87.0|
|Special conditions recommended by CSC||94.2||89.4|
|Type of conditions proposed by CSC||74.4||73.5|
|Abstain from alcohol||57.9||51.7|
|Abstain from drugs||60.5||51.4|
|Follow psychological counselling||18.4||22.1|
|Follow psychiatric counselling||39.5||4.7|
|Specific programs proposed by CSC||Substance abuse - alcohol||29.0||26.5|
|Substance abuse - drugs||36.8||21.3|
|Special conditions imposed by NPB||Abstain from alcohol||56.4||57.1|
|Abstain from drugs||59.0||56.0|
|Follow psychological counselling||41.0||27.7|
|Follow psychiatric counselling||23.1||6.6|
|Special programs imposed by NPB||Substance abuse - alcohol||25.0||23.5|
|Substance abuse - drugs||33.3||18.5|
For both females and males released on day parole, special conditions and program participation recommended by CSC were generally imposed by NPB, although program requirements were sometimes dropped.
As was previously noted, the higher level of substance abuse needs for females might explain the fact that more conditions and programs for substance abuse problems are recommended or imposed on females than on males on day parole.
CSC Case Management History
Institutional Case Management History
While offenders are in the institution, program needs are identified using the Forcefield Analysis of Needs. The needs identified most frequently for female offenders were emotional stability (90%), employment (86%), drug usage (72%) and financial management (72%), as shown in Table 7-11. Each female had an average of nine needs.
In comparison, the needs most often identified for males in the day parole sample were companions (74%), values and attitudes (73%) and emotional stability (70%). As with females, each male offender had an average of nine needs. These data show that females and males have different needs while in the institution even though they have the same number of needs identified.
Table 7-11: Forcefield Analysis of needs for females and males released on day parole
|Forcefield analysis of needs||Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Values and attitudes||48.3||73.0|
To address the needs identified by the Forcefield analysis, programs are recommended for the offenders while in the institution. In particular, 87% of the females were recommended for psychological counselling, 60% were referred for substance abuse treatment (alcohol and drugs) and 44% were recommended for adult basic education programs. The female offenders actually participated in an average of four programs prior to day parole. The most frequent ones were: psychological counselling (72%), alcohol abuse programs (62%), adult basic education (56%) and drug abuse programs (54%). Program information is summarized in Table 7-12.
Similarly, males in the day parole sample were recommended for alcohol abuse programs (54%), drug abuse programs (50%), psychological counselling (44%) and adult basic education (42%). They participated in an average of three programs including alcohol abuse (55%), drug abuse (48%), adult basic education (41%) and psychological counselling (39%). The data indicate that females and males are recommended for the same programs, but females are referred more frequently and they are more likely to participate in programs than males.
Table 7-12: Case management characteristics for females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Proposed programs||Substance abuse - alcohol||61.5||53.9|
|Substance abuse - drugs||64.1||49.8|
|Cognitive skills training||18.0||13.2|
|Vocational skills training||30.8||28.9|
|Employment skills training||38.5||23.7|
|Adult basic education||43.6||42.0|
|Other personal developmental||21.1||20.2|
|Program participation||Substance abuse - alcohol||61.5||55.2|
|Substance abuse - drugs||53.9||48.3|
|Cognitive skills training||15.4||12.9|
|Vocational skills training||18.0||22.4|
|Employment skills training||18.0||21.9|
|Adult basic education||56.4||41.4|
|Other personal developmental||20.5||24.9|
Community Case Needs
While in the community, offenders are assessed for their needs using the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS). The most frequently identified needs for females in the community were behavioural and emotional stability (62.5%), academic and vocational needs, employment pattern, and marital and family relationships. Each of these needs were identified for approximately 45% of the cases (see Table 7-13). In comparison, males in the day parole sample had somewhat different needs. The most frequently identified needs were employment patterns (40%), emotional stability (37%), financial management (37%) and companions (37%).
Table 7-13: Community Risk/Needs Management Scale for females and males released on day parole
|CRNMS||Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
Half of the females on day parole had a medium overall case need rating and a quarter had a low case need rating. Risk/need results are presented in Table 7-14. One-third had a high overall criminal history risk rating. However, males were considered a higher risk since 44% of them were rated as high risk on the overall criminal history risk scale. These results indicate that females are considered a lower risk to the community than males.
Table 7-14: Risk and needs rating for females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Overall Case Needs rating: Low||25.0||30.3|
|Overall Case Needs rating: Medium||50.0||51.1|
|Overall Case Needs rating: High||25.0||18.6|
|Overall Criminal History Risk rating: Low||66.7||55.8|
|Overall Criminal History Risk rating: High;||33.3||44.2|
|Level of supervision; post-assessment: Once a month||0.0||10.8|
|Level of supervision; post-assessment: Twice a month||77.3||56.7|
|Level of supervision; post-assessment: Four times a month||22.7||32.5|
1 Males only.
Performance on Day Parole
Approximately 71% of females successfully completed their day parole (see Table 7-15), which is the same rate observed for males. Also, only 9% of females failed while on day parole as a result of a new offence, a rate similar to that of the day parole sample. As an indicator of their motivation level, more than 62% of females on day parole were willing to participate in their assigned programs. That rate was higher for males in the day parole sample, with 80% willing to participate in their assigned programs. Therefore, these data suggest that females and males on day parole have similar outcomes, although males seem more motivated in participating in the programs while on day parole.
Table 7-15: Performance on day parole for females and males released on day parole
|Females on day parole (%)||Day parole sample1 (%)|
|Outcome of current day parole: Success2||71.1||74.|
|Outcome of current day parole: Failure3||28.9||25.2|
|Failure with a new offence||8.0||8.5|
|Motivation level: Positive||62.5||80.3|
|Motivation level: Negative||37.5||19.7|
2Day Parole continued, Full Parole, Mandatory Supervision.
3Breach of conditions, revocation with or without a new offence.
Summary and Discussion
The results indicate that female offenders released on day parole tend to be younger than the female inmate population, and younger than males released on day parole. There is no evidence of racial differences in the granting of day parole to females. Their work history is to that of males, but they are less likely to have undergone vocational training.
Problems in the lives of female offenders released on day parole seem to be greater than for males. They are more likely to have had alcohol and drug problems in their childhood families, and while they are less likely to have alcohol problems as adults, they are more likely to have had problems with other types of drugs. In addition, females are more likely to have severe emotional problems and to have required mental health treatment in the past.
Both female and male offenders released on day parole have similar juvenile offender experiences (31% of females have had some experince with the juvenile court system), but generally, females have been convicted of less serious offences and are serving shorter sentences. However, the crime characteristics are similar in that both males and females are equally likely to have committed a crime against a person, they both have a similar number of victims, their use of weapons is comparable, and the percentage of male and females who had consumed alcohol prior to the commission of an offence was also similar.
Females have similar levels of needs identified as males, but are more likely to be rated as a lower risk. However, they are much more likely to be recommended for and to receive psychological and psychiatric counselling, and they are more likely to be required to participate in counselling as one of their release conditions. This result is consistent with the increased evidence of mental health problems in their past. Females are more likely than males to be referred to programs and more likely to participate in programs. The failure rate on day parole is similar for both males and females, but females are less likely to require intensive supervision. Interestingly, they are rated as having less motivation in deal with their problems.
Most of the comparisons presented are for males and females released on day parole. The data indicate that these offenders are generally low risk offenders and committed less serious offences than offenders in the general inmate population. While the differences and similarities identified in this chapter may be similar for males and females in the general inmate population, these cannot be confirmed with the present data, and genalizations about differences between males and females in the inmate population should be made with caution.
Race and Age
The entire population of 78 male Aboriginal offenders who had completed a day parole program in the fiscal year 1990-91 is included in this analysis. Comparisons will be made with the sample of male offenders on day parole, and where possible, with the Aboriginal institutional population. Racial background is self-reported by offenders and the results which follow are based on those cases where the individual identified himself as Aboriginal.
Race and Age
Male Aboriginal offenders represent 8% of the total male day parole group and approximately 11% of the inmate population. The Aboriginal group includes 58% with a recognized status, 29% Metis and 13% other Aboriginal groups, such as Inuit, Non-status Aboriginals, etc.
The average age at release on day parole for Aboriginal offenders is 30 years, which is the same as the average age of Aboriginal offenders in institution. It is, however, younger than the day parole sample [ Day parole sample: sample of all male offenders (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) released on day parole.] and the general inmate population, both of which have an average release age of 33 years.
Employment and Education
At the time of their current offence, only 27% of the Aboriginal offenders released on day parole were employed. Moreover, during the year prior to their current offence, about 74% were frequently unemployed, 56% had financial problems and 49% relied on social assistance. Only 18% of the Aboriginal offenders had any type of vocational training. Results for employment and education are summarized in Table 8-1.
Table 8-1: Educational and employment characteristics for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Employment Status at time of offence: Employed||27.3||44.9|
|Employment Status at time of offence: Unemployed||72.7||55.1|
|During year prior to current offence: Frequently unemployed||74.2||55.5|
|During year prior to current offence: Financial problems||56.3||42.8|
|During year prior to current offence: Reliance on social assistance||49.2||38.9|
|Number of cases||60||907|
Conversely, 45% of those in the day parole sample were employed at the time of the offence. In addition, those in the day parole sample were less likely to have been frequently unemployed (56%) in the year prior to their offence, to have had financial problems (43%), and to rely on social assistance (39%) than Aboriginal offenders. Differences in employment stability may have been, in part, the result of differences in the level of vocational training, with 34% of the day parole sample but only 18% of the aboriginal sample having some type of vocational training.
Marital and Family Status
While slightly more than half (56%) of the Aboriginal offenders on day parole were married or in a common-law relationship at the time of their current offence, 86% of the incarcerated Aboriginal offenders reported being in a relationship. Similarly, half of those in the day parole sample were married or in a common-law relationship, but only 40% of the males in the institutional population reported being in a relationship. The difference in reported marital status between Aboriginal inmates in general, and those who were released on day parole suggests that self reported maritial status may not be a reliable measure. Results for marital status are summarized in Table 8-2.
Table 8-2: Marital status for the Aboriginal and day parole samples and inmate groups
|Marital status||Aboriginal sample (%)||Aboriginal Inmates (%)||Day parole sample (%)||Male inmates (%)|
|Married or common-law||55.6||85.6||49.5||38.7|
|Not married (single, divorced, etc.)||44.4||14.4||50.5||61.3|
|Number of cases||72||1406||910||11921|
Table 8-3 summarizes the family status of the Aboriginal and day parole samples. The data indicate that close to 76% of the Aboriginal offenders on day parole did not live with their biological parents up to the age of 16. In 40% of the cases, the separation was due to divorce or death of one of the parents. On average, the Aboriginal offenders were eight years old when they were first separated from their parents. Furthermore, more than 40% had parents with drug or alcohol problems.
Table 8-3: Family characteristics for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Offender did not live with parents up to 16||76.1||51.4|
|Reasons for separation from parents: Death or divorce of parents||40.0||55.4|
|Reasons for separation from parents: Other reasons||60.0||44.6|
|Average age at first separation from parents||8.1||7.6|
|Placements before the age of 16: Child welfare||31.2||9.3|
|Placements before the age of 16: Probation||21.7||9.0|
|Placements before the age of 16: Training school||19.1||10.5|
|Parents had drug/alcohol problems||44.3||29.2|
|Number of cases||60||903|
By comparison, only 50% of the males from the day parole sample were separated from their biological parents before the age of 16, and a higher proportion (55%) were separated from their parents due to death or divorce. As with Aboriginal offenders, those in the day parole sample were separated from their parents for the first time at an average age of eight years. Of those in the day parole sample, only 30% had parents with drug or alcohol problems. The higher substance abuse problems among parents might explain, in part, the higher rate of separation from parents before the Aboriginal offenders were 16 years old.
Close to 40% of the Aboriginal offenders had institutional placements before the age of 16, and some had more than one such placement. More than 30% had placements under child welfare custody, while others were on probation (22%) or in training school (19%). In comparison, only 22% of males in the day parole sample had placements before the age of 16. They were less likely to have placements under child welfare (19%), on probation (9%) or in training school (11%). Therefore, the data indicate that Aboriginal offenders on day parole were more likely to have had placements than those in the day parole sample.
Substance Abuse History
The data indicate that close to 80% of the Aboriginal offenders released on day parole had alcohol abuse problems as adolescents, and nearly all of them (96%) evidenced problems as adults. Drug abuse problems are less frequent, with 45% of the Aboriginal offenders having problems during adolescence and 60% having problems as adults. In comparison, males in the day parole sample were less likely to have alcohol abuse problems than Aboriginal offenders, but they had similar rates of drug abuse during both adolescence and adulthood. Detailed results are presented in Table 8-4.
Table 8-4: Substance abuse history for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Alcohol abuse problems as a teenager||78.6||48.4|
|Alcohol abuse problems as an adult||96.2||68.4|
|Drug abuse problems as a teenager||45.2||45.6|
|Drug abuse problems as an adult||60.0||65.1|
|Number of cases||75||900|
Young Offender History
Approximately 55% of the Aboriginal offenders on day parole had young offenders records. Of those who had been young offenders, 60% were arrested under the age of 16, at an average age of 13 years. Moreover, close to 70% who had been young offenders were arrested between the age of 16 and 18 years old, at an average age of 16. Aboriginal offenders who were convicted in a youth court each had an average of five convictions. As a result of the convictions, two-thirds served at least one sentence under community supervision, one-third served at least one sentence in open custody and close to 40% spent some time in secure custody as shown in Table 8-5.
In comparison, close to 40% of males on day parole had problems with the justice system in their youth, with 46% being arrested under the age of 16, at an average age of 13 years. Close to 75% who were young offenders were arrested between the age of 16 and 18 years, at an average age of 16. An average of three convictions per offender was found for those who were convicted in a youth court. These results indicate that Aboriginal offenders on day parole were more likely to have problems with the justice system in their youth than offenders in the day parole sample.
Table 8-5: Young offender history for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Has a young offender history||54.6||38.7|
|Arrested under the age of 16||30.8||17.5|
|If arrested, average age at arrest under 16||13.4||13.2|
|Arrested between 16 and 18||35.9||27.0|
|If arrested, average age at arrest between 16 and 18||16.4||16.4|
|Average number of youth convictions||4.8||3.3|
|Youth court dispositions: Community supervision||64.5||65.8|
|Youth court dispositions: Open custody||32.3||25.5|
|Youth court dispositions: Secure custody||38.7||33.0|
|Number of cases||70||896|
Current Offence History
Characteristics of the current offence (the one that preceded the day parole release) are presented in Table 8-6. The major admitting offences for Aboriginal offenders released on day parole were robbery (22%), property related offences (18%) and homicide (18%). Aboriginal offenders had an average of four convictions. Consequently, they were sentenced to an average of 50 months of imprisonment. In comparison to Aboriginal inmates, the data show that Aboriginal day parolees have slightly less severe major admitting offences and slightly shorter sentences. The major admitting offences for Aboriginal inmates are homicide (21%), sexual offences (20%) and robbery (19%), and the average sentence is 53 months.
As with Aboriginal offenders, males in the day parole sample have shorter sentences than those in institutions, but longer than Aboriginal offenders. Males in the day parole sample had an average sentence of 58 months. The major admitting offences were property-related (25%), robbery (21%), drug offences (17%) and other types of offences (17%). They were convicted of an average of five offences, which is slightly more than Aboriginal offenders. Male inmates served the longest sentences, an average of 67 months, mainly for robbery (20%), property offences (20%) and homicide (18%).
Compared to those in the day parole sample, male Aboriginal offenders are more likely to have been convicted of a homicide or an assault, but are less likely to have been convicted of a drug offence, and slightly less likely to have been convicted of a property offence. The two groups are relatively similar in terms of the proportion convicted of sexual offences. These similarities and differences are consistent for both the day parole sample and the general inmate population.
Although the results suggest that Aboriginal offenders are more likely to serve sentences for violent offences, they receive, on average, shorter sentences. Specifically, the Aboriginal day parole sample had an average sentence length of 49 months while the day parole sample had an average sentence of 58 months. In addition, the differences between the day parole samples and the inmate population indicate that Aboriginal offenders on day parole had an average sentence that was only four months shorter than the Aboriginal inmate population; offenders in the day parole sample had an average sentence that was nine months shorter than the general inmate population.
Table 8-6: Current offence history for the Aboriginal and day parole samples and inmate groups
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Aboriginal inmates (%)||Day parole sample (%)||Male inmates (%)|
|Major offence on current term: Homicide||8.4||21.4||6.2||17.7|
|Major offence on current term: Attempted murder||0.0||1.5||1.3||1.9|
|Major offence on current term: Sexual offence||7.9||19.7||8.4||13.4|
|Major offence on current term: Robbery||22.4||18.6||21.3||22.8|
|Major offence on current term: Assault||10.5||10.9||4.0||5.2|
|Major offence on current term: Drug||6.6||1.8||17.6||8.1|
|Major offence on current term: Property||18.4||17.2||24.6||20.0|
|Major offence on current term: Other||15.8||8.9||16.6||10.9|
|Average sentence length on current term, in months||49.4||52.8||57.9||66.7|
|Number of cases||76||1411||930||11989|
Compared to Aboriginal offenders on day parole, offenders in the day parole sample were less likely to have used a weapon (35%) and less likely to have committed a crime against a person (60%). Both groups however, had a similar average number of victims (2.5). Offenders in the day parole sample were less likely to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offence than Aboriginal offenders (46%), but more likely to be under the influence of drugs (31%). Comparison of offence characteristics suggest that Aboriginal offenders are more violent in their offending and more likely to be under the influence of alcohol than the day parole sample of males.
Table 8-7: Offence characteristics for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Use of a weapon in major offence of current term||44.2||35.5|
|Offended against a person||78.2||61.3|
|Average number of victims||2.5||2.5|
|Under influence of alcohol at time of offence||82.4||45.5|
|Under influence of drugs at time of offence||22.2||31.2|
|Number of cases||75||860|
Institutional history reveals that approximately 9% of the Aboriginal offenders released on day parole were involved in misconduct, 14% were placed in administrative custody, and 8% were placed in protective custody, as shown in Table 8-8. Similarly, 7% of offenders in the day parole sample were involved in institutional misconduct, 12% were placed in administrative segregation and 11% were placed in protective custody. The data show that Aboriginal offenders released on day parole and offenders in the day parole sample have similar institutional histories.
Table 8-8: Institutional history characteristics for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Involved in a misconduct||9.1||7.2|
|Placed in administrative segregation||14.1||11.9|
|Placed in protective custody||7.7||11.4|
|Number of visits: None||26.0||10.7|
|Number of visits: Irregular||41.1||37.3|
|Number of visits: Regular||26.0||42.5|
|Number of visits: Frequent||6.9||9.5|
|Number of cases||75||885|
The frequency of visits an offender receives can be viewed as an indicator of the quality of contact he has with his family or other people in the community. The data show that 33% of Aboriginal offenders released on day parole received regular or frequent visits. In comparison, 52% of males in the day parole sample received regular or frequent visits. The results suggest that Aboriginal offenders were less likely to maintain external contact (family and friends) while in prison although this may be the result of greater distances that family members must travel.
NPB Decision History
Current Day Parole Decision
Of the Aboriginal offenders released on day parole, 90% had been recommended by CSC for a day parole program and in 97% of the cases, CSC recommended regular day parole. The most common conditions imposed included abstaining from alcohol (86%) and abstaining from drug use (78%). In addition, CSC recommended participation in alcohol abuse (66%) and drug abuse (28%) programs. The type of conditions imposed are presented in Table 8-9.
Similarly for males in the day parole sample, 87% had been recommended by CSC for a day parole program and 95% were recommended for a regular day parole program. Special conditions, however, were recommended less frequently (75%). CSC recommended similar conditions and programs for offenders in the day parole sample as for Aboriginal offenders, although not as frequently. The most common conditions imposed for offenders in the day parole sample included abstaining from alcohol (52%), abstaining from drug use (51%) and other types of conditions (42%). CSC recommended participation in alcohol abuse (27%) and drug abuse (21%) programs. Aboriginal offenders are more likely to have conditions recommended and are much more likely to be required to abstain from alcohol.
Table 8-9: Characteristics of the Day Parole decision for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Positive CSC recommendation||89.6||87.0|
|Ordinary day parole||97.3||89.4|
|Special conditions recommended by CSC||91.0||73.5|
|Type of conditions proposed by CSC||Abstain from alcohol||85.5||51.7|
|Abstain from drugs||77.6||51.4|
|Follow psychological counselling||15.8||22.1|
|Specific programs proposed by CSC||Substance abuse - alcohol||65.8||26.5|
|Substance abuse - drugs||28.0||21.3|
|Special conditions imposed by NPB||Abstain from alcohol||87.2||57.1|
|Abstain from drugs||80.8||56.0|
|Follow psychological counselling||19.2||27.7|
|Special programs imposed by NPB||Substance abuse - alcohol||57.7||23.5|
|Substance abuse - drugs||28.2||18.5|
|Number of cases||76||937|
CSC Case Management History
Institutional Case Management History
While offenders are in the institution, program needs are identified using the Forcefield Analysis of Needs. The needs identified the most frequently for Aboriginal offenders were alcohol use (89%), employment (86%) and academic and vocational skills (82%). Each Aboriginal offender had an average of ten needs. The percentage of cases with each need identified is presented in Table 8-10.
In comparison, the needs most often identified for the day parole sample were companions (74%), values and attitudes (73%) and emotional stability (70%). They had an average of nine needs. These data suggest that Aboriginal offenders have different needs identified at admission.
In order to address the needs identified by the Forcefield Analysis of Needs, CSC proposed programs for offenders to take while serving their sentence in the institution. In particular, 94% of the Aboriginal offenders were recommended for alcohol abuse treatment, 75% were referred for adult basic education and 60% each were recommended for drug abuse treatment and vocational and employment skills training. The Aboriginal offenders actually participated in an average of five programs prior to day parole. The most frequent programs were alcohol abuse programs (85%), adult basic education and drug abuse programs (approximately 65% for each). These results are summarized in Table 8-11.
Table 8-10: Forcefield analysis of needs for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Forcefield analysis of needs||Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|alues and attitudes||76.8||73.0|
|Number of cases||56||767|
Similarly, males in the day parole sample were recommended for alcohol abuse programs (54%), drug abuse programs (50%), psychological counselling (44%) and adult basic education (42%). They participated in an average of three programs some of which were alcohol abuse (55%), drug abuse (48%), adult basic education (41%) and psychological counselling (39%). The data indicate that Aboriginal offenders and males are recommended for similar programs but Aboriginal offenders are referred more frequently and they are more likely to participate in programs than those in the day parole sample.
Table 8-11: Case management characteristics for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Programs proposed to address needs||Substance abuse - alcohol||93.6||53.9|
|Substance abuse - drugs||60.3||49.8|
|Cognitive skills training||32.1||13.2|
|Vocational skills training||61.5||28.9|
|Employment skills training||59.0||23.7|
|Adult basic education||74.4||42.0|
|Other personal developmental||41.0||20.2|
|Programs participated in:||Substance abuse - alcohol||84.6||55.2|
|Substance abuse - drugs||61.5||48.3|
|Cognitive skills training||34.6||12.9|
|Vocational skills training||30.8||22.4|
|Employment skills training||43.6||21.9|
|Adult basic education||64.1||41.4|
|Other personal developmental||48.7||24.9|
|Number of cases||78||934|
Community Case Needs
While in the community, offenders are assessed for their needs using the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS). A summary of needs identified for Aboriginal offenders and those in the day parole sample is presented in Table 8-12. The most frequently identified needs for Aboriginal offenders in the community were academic and vocational needs (52%), employment pattern (51%) and companions (41%). Approximately 11% of the Aboriginal offenders had special needs for sex offender treatment and 16% had other types of special needs.
Table 8-12: Community Risk/Needs Management Scale for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|CRNMS||Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Number of cases||44||573|
In comparison, the most frequently identified needs for males in the day parole sample were employment patterns (40%), emotional stability (37%), financial management (37%) and companions (37%). Offenders in the day parole sample were less likely to have special needs, with 9% having sexual offending as a need and 12% having other types of special needs. While Aboriginal offenders and those in the day parole sample both had employment and companions identified as important needs, Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have academic needs rated high.
More than 70% of the Aboriginal offenders on day parole had a medium overall case need rating and close to 11% had a high needs rating. Offenders in the day parole sample were more likely to have high needs rating (19%), but were less likely to be in the medium category. These results are summarized in Table 8-13.
Close to two-thirds of Aboriginal offenders had a high overall criminal history risk rating, while only 44% of those in the day parole sample were rated as high risk on the overall criminal history risk scale. When risk and needs are combined, Aboriginal offenders are less likely to be in the low category (0% vs. 11% for the day parole sample), but approximately 30% of both the Aboriginal sample and the day parole sample are in the highest risk/needs category. A higher risk/needs rating normally requires increased contact with the parole supervisor.
Table 8-13: Risk and needs rating for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Overall case needs rating: Low||18.2||30.3|
|Overall case needs rating: Medium||70.5||51.1|
|Overall case needs rating: High||11.4||18.6|
|Overall criminal history risk: Low||32.7||55.8|
|Overall criminal history risk: High||62.8||44.2|
|Risk/Needs assessment: Low||0.0||10.8|
|Risk/Needs assessment: Medium||66.7||56.7|
|Risk/Needs assessment: High||31.0||32.5|
|Number of cases||43||572|
Performance on Day Parole
As an indicator of motivation level, close to 80% of Aboriginal offenders on day parole were willing to participate in their assigned programs, the same level as for offenders in the day parole sample. However, only 62% of Aboriginal offenders successfully completed their day parole, which is less than for offenders in the day parole sample (75%). Also, 20% of Aboriginal offenders failed while on day parole as a result of a new offence, a rate higher than that of the day parole sample (9%). Therefore, these data reveal that Aboriginal offenders do not perform as well as offenders in the day parole sample, although they display similar motivation levels for participating in the programs while on day parole. These results are summarized in Table 8-14.
Table 8-14: Outcome of day parole for the Aboriginal and day parole samples
|Aboriginal sample (%)||Day parole sample (%)|
|Outcome of current day parole: Success1||62.2||74.8|
|Outcome of current day parole: Failure2||37.8||25.2|
Motivation level: Positive
|Motivation level: Negative||21.1||19.7|
|Number of cases||76||929|
1Day Parole continued, Full Parole, Mandatory Supervision.
2Breach of conditions, Revocation with or without a new offence.
Summary and Discussion
The results of this study indicate that Aboriginal offenders are less likely to receive day parole than would be expected. Overall, they come from more disrupted backgrounds requiring more contact with alternative care agencies, and they have had more experience with the criminal justice system as juveniles. Their crimes are more likely to involve assaults on people, the use of a weapon and they are more likely to commit offences while under the influence of alcohol. Substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, seems to be an important contributor to their criminal problems. While they are more likely to be rated as higher risk offenders, their risk/needs ratings are more likely to be moderate rather than high or low. Aboriginal offenders are more likely to fail while on day parole, and to fail with a new offence. These problems are discussed in more detail below.
The data indicate that Aboriginal offenders are more likely to have been separated from one of their parents (through divorce, death, etc.), although the average age at separation, eight years, is similar to other offenders released on day parole. A higher percentage of Aboriginal offenders were placed in an alternative form of child care (child welfare, probation or training school) more frequently than other offenders. There was also evidence that alcohol and other drug abuse was higher in the Aboriginal offenders families. These factors may have contributed to the higher rate of juvenile offending which was observed. While the age at which they appeared in juvenile court was not different from other offenders, Aboriginal offenders were slightly more likely to have served a sentence in secure custody.
Aboriginal offenders were equally as likely as other offenders to have had a drug problem as teenagers, but they were much more likely to have had an alcohol problem, with as many as 80% showing evidence of teenage alcohol problems. As adults, 96% had a problem with alcohol, compared to 68% of other offenders on day parole.
Alcohol problems were more likely to be identified as need areas for Aboriginal offenders, along with academic and vocational skills and employment. Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have been recommended for treatment programs and to have participated in them than non-Aboriginal offenders. For their release, Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have special conditions attached. In particular, 87% of Aboriginal offenders released on day parole had a condition to abstain from alcohol, while only 57% of the non-Aboriginal offenders had this condition attached to their release. Community treatment plans stressed academic and vocational needs along with employment problems.
The academic and employment needs identified above were probably partly responsible for the higher rate of unemployment, frequency of unemployment, and financial problems identified for Aboriginal offenders prior to their last offence. Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have used a weapon, committed a crime against a person, and were more likely to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of their last offence. More specifically, 82% of Aboriginal offenders had been drinking alcohol at the time of their offence while only 46% of non-Aboriginal offenders had been drinking. However, Aboriginal offenders were less likely to have been under the influence of other drugs at the time of their last offence. Aboriginal offenders were more likely to have committed an assault, but were less likely to have committed a drug offence. The rate of sex offences for those released on day parole was similar for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders. Aboriginal offenders, on average, were serving shorter sentences than non-Aboriginal offenders.
Aboriginal offenders were more likely to be rated as having moderate needs and were more likely to be rated as a high risk. However, when risk and needs were combined, Aboriginal offenders were less likely to be classified as either low or high risk/needs, falling, most frequently, into the moderate group.
Failure of the day parole release was higher for Aboriginal offenders, with 38% failing, while only 25% of the non-Aboriginal offenders failed. In addition, 20% of the Aboriginal offenders committed a new offence while on day parole, while only 9% of the non-Aboriginal offenders committed a new offence.
These results suggest that Aboriginal offenders have suffered seriously disrupted early lives which were influenced to a large extent by alcohol abuse. While criminal offences appeared more violent, Aboriginal offenders received shorter sentences, suggesting that judges may have considered more mitigating circumstances for these offenders. Problems with substance abuse, and in particular alcohol, seem to be related to the problems of these offenders.
The study was initiated just prior to the implementation of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) of 1992. The study was designed to estimate the impact of the CCRA on day parole and to provide a basis for comparisons after the CCRA had been in place for a number of years. While it was not possible to evaluate all the impacts of te CCRA on day parole, it does appear that some of the operational changes (eligibility dates and purpose of release) were common practise before the CCRA.
For example, the change in eligibility dates from one-sixth of the sentence to six months before parole eligibility was designed, in part, to ensure offenders were not released excessively early in their sentence. However, only 8% of those released on day parole were released earlier than six months before their full parole eligibility date. The CCRA also changed the purpose for which day parole could be used requiring it be used as preparation for parole or statutory release. However, in about 80% of the day parole releases, the day parole ends after the the full parole eligibility date, suggesting that the functions of day parole, even before CCRA, was to prepare the offender for eventual release on either full parole or statutory release.
Overall, the results indicate that offenders released prior to their full parole eligibility date are less likely to fail than those released after this date. However, offenders released at one-sixth of their sentence showed a slightly higher failure rate than those released between one-sixth of their sentence and one-third of their sentence (full parole eligiblity date). Time of release was not associated with failure rate for high risk/needs offenders; both early and late releases of high risk offenders resulted in the highest rates of failure. For low and medium risk/needs offenders, those released early had the lowest failure rates while those released after their full parole eligibility date had higher failure rates. These results suggest that the selection criteria for day parole are ensuring that those least likely to fail on day parole are getting out earlier, and that higher risk cases have day parole releases that are delayed.
Day parole decisions represent a major element of the work of the National Parole Board, with 40% of the conditional release decisions relating to day parole. While the absolute number of day parole releases increased from 1987-88 to 1991-92, the rate of increase was only slightly higher than the rate of increase for the inmate population. These results suggest that the day parole program was relatively stable during this period, probably because there were few changes to the legislation.
Trend analyses indicate different rates of day parole use across regions over the five-year period from 1987-88 to 1991-92, with the Quebec and Atlantic regions using day parole more than other regions. Revocations tended to be higher in the Prairie and Pacific regions. Ontario has shown a dramatic drop in the revocation rate, to only 6% of releases. Risk/needs analyses of failures in 1990/91 indicate that the Prairie region has relatively high failure rates for moderate and high risk/needs offenders, while the Ontario region has very low failure rates for the low and moderate risk needs groups. While there are differences in failure rates for high risk/needs offenders, they consistently fail at the highest rate.
Day parole is the first conditional release for most offenders in the sample, and ordinary day parole requiring residency (halfway house or other institution) and daily reporting, is the most common form of release. Alternative arrangements are used with reduced residency and reporting requirements in some cases.
The overall picture of the day parole group is that they have disrupted family backgrounds and they became involved in criminal and substance abuse activities at an early age. Substance abuse is a problem in their normal activities, and is frequently associated with their criminal activity. These offenders have multiple needs which should be addressed through programming. Participation in programming seems to be associated with a greater likelihood of success on day parole.
While substance abuse is associated with failure on day parole, limiting exposure to alcohol and other drugs through special conditions seems to reduce the likelihood of failure. In general, special conditions which address identified need areas seem to be effective, but for most offenders, the condition which limits contact with criminal associates results in a lower failure rate, even if this was not identified as a need area.
Risk and needs were shown to be associated with failure on day parole such that those who are high risk and have a large number of needs are most likely to fail while on day parole. While programs which address specific needs do not seem to reduce failure, the fact that offenders participated in any programming is associated with lower failure rates. Addressing one or two needs may not have much of an effect on reducing the likelihood of failure if other need areas are not addressed. It is difficult to determine which need will have the greatest impact on future criminality, and it is likely that with multiple needs, each need area must be addressed prior to release in order to actually have a meaningful effect on outcome.
Offender motivation to participate in programs and to deal with problems associated with the current crime and supervision are associated with day parole outcome, such that increased motivation leads to lower failure rates. The result in itself is not surprising, but this has been an area which has received very little research activity. The most serious problem in using a measure of motivation to assist with making release decisions is to ensure that it is not affected by offenders knowledge of its existence, nor by their attempts to manipulate the potential for their release by responding to either a questionnaire or an interview in a manner that inflates their true motivation to deal with problems. Most striking in the data is the finding that even offenders who were rated as having high risk/needs were more likely to succeed on day parole if they were motivated. Motivation may be a powerful mediating factor in reducing recidivism.
The results indicate that release on day parole is about equally likely for female offenders as for males, and that females are equally likely to successfully complete a day parole release. The family background of females, offenders is more disrupted than of males, but juvenile criminal history patterns are similar, as are current crime characteristics (victim, use of weapon etc). However, females are more likely to have been convicted of a less
serious offence than males and are serving shorter sentences. They are rated as lower risk, but have about the same level of needs identified. Female offenders are more likely to be recommended for programs, and are more likely to participate in them.
Aboriginal offenders are less likely to have an opportunity to be released on day parole. Overall, they are more likely to come from disrupted families and alcohol abuse is a frequent problem in the homes they were raised in, and in their lives. Aboriginal offenders had higher rates of unemployment at the time of their offence, were frequently unemployed in the year prior to the offence and were shown to have needs in the areas of academic level and employment skills. Alcohol is likely to have been a factor in their crimes and they are more likely to have been convicted of an assault and to have used a weapon in the commission of their offence. Risk is more likely to be rated high for Aboriginal offenders, but when combined with need level, these offenders are more likely to be rated as moderate risk/needs offenders than either low or high.
The data suggest that day parole is an effective program for encouraging the early release of offenders where appropriate, and the data on day parole failure indicate that day parole decisions for early release effectively select those offenders most likely to successfully complete the day parole period. Offenders released on day parole after their full parole eligibility date have higher failure rates. This can be interpreted as meaning that these offenders are viewed as higher risk, and that the day parole period provides an opportunity to test their ability to function outside a prison setting, but within a controlled environment.
For cases where the indicators of risk are unclear or inconsistent, day parole may be used to determine if it is safe to release the offender on full parole. Failure to successfully complete a day parole suggests that the offender is not ready for release on full parole and the greater freedom that full parole allows.
While the selection criteria used for day parole are quite effective, the data suggest that risk/needs information can further assist the selection process. In addition, information on program participation and offender motivation to deal with problems provides more insight on the potential success of a day parole release. The imposition of day parole conditions which address identified needs can also serve to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
One of the important research problems in this study was that many of the offenders in the sample did not have the Community Risk/Needs Management Scale (CRNMS) completed during their release. This limited the number of cases that could be analysed using the risk/needs information, but it also resulted in a bias in the data. There was a higher rate of failure for those who did not have the CRNMS completed, suggesting that the sample used for a number of the analyses were actually lower risk than the population of day parole cases. However, how did this affect the results? Very likely it made it less probable that the obtained results would be found since many of the failures were excluded
from the analyses. If all cases had had the CRNMS completed, there would have been a larger number of failures and it is likely that the risk/needs analyses would have shown even greater discrimination between the high and low risk/needs groups.
The current study looked only at success on day parole. More important to the correctional process is success after release, either on full parole or statutory release. While it was not possible to look at post-day parole outcome within this report, a study examining post-day parole outcome is being conducted. The study will take account of day parole outcome, post-day parole success, and where possible, the recidivism of offenders after they have reached the end of their sentence.
The analyses presented included only a few variables at a time. Additional research is needed which will look at the ability of the variables to predict day parole and post-day parole outcome when mulitple variables can be considered at one time. These analyses are also currently underway.
The study looked at day parole prior to the CCRA which instituted some changes to day parole and other forms of conditional release. A future study will look at day parole after the CCRA, and determine how day parole has changed as a result. The results presented in this study will provide the background for future research.
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