Profile of Inuit Offenders in Custody and the Community: Implications for Programming
Why we did this study
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) requires information on the profile of Inuit offenders to contribute to culture-specific program development.
What we did
The study included a snap-shot profile of all male Inuit offenders in custody and under community supervision (N=217) on October 1, 2016. The profile includes data extracted from the Offender Management System (OMS) and the Computerized Mental Health Intake Screening System (CoMHISS).
What we found
Most Inuit offenders spoke Inuktitut as their home language but almost all stated that English was their preferred language. The majority (79%) of the Inuit offenders were single. About 30% of Inuit offenders in custody were serving an indeterminate sentence. The vast majority were serving a current sentence for a crime of violence with 36% serving a sentence for a sexual offence. Mean age of the custody and supervision samples was 36 and 38 years respectively.
|Average Sentence Lengtha||4.5||3.7|
|Current Offence Type|
a Determinate sentences only b Includes robbery drugs, other violent, property and other non-violent.
The group was highly criminalized with 88% having a previous offence as an adult. Most of these were violent offences including 41.5% for previous sexual offences. Regarding the current offence, 47% have a conviction that includes a sexual component and 29% are for homicide. These violent offences most commonly involved multiple victims. The majority of Inuit offenders were rated as high risk and high needs and low reintegration potential. All domains on the DFIA-R indicated a significant level of need. Domains with the highest need were Personal/Emotional, Substance Abuse and Marital/Family. Positively, 77% were moderately or highly motivated to change.
Offender Profile Variables: Risk and Need
|Overall Static Risk|
|Overall Dynamic Need|
|Moderate or high need||82||66|
|Moderate or high need||68||63|
|Moderate or high need||48||45|
|Substance Abuse domain|
|Moderate or high need||91||86|
|Community Function domain|
|Moderate or high need||35||19|
|Moderate or high need||97||99|
|Moderate or high need||71||46|
Most Inuit men were found to have a low level of education and 45% had an indication a significant cognitive deficit . Also of note, 40% of the custody sample had symptoms of ADHD. Family violence is also prevalent. Over 70% have a past incident of spousal violence. Over 50% were themselves abused or witnessed family violence as a child.
Alcohol and drug abuse is implicated in the offence pattern of 90% of Inuit offenders and in their acts of violence. Many have criminal and substance abusing associates and few have social or community supports and little involvement in structured activities.
Selected DFIA-R Indicator Endorsement
|Less than grade 10||79||75|
|Unstable job history||82||77|
|Abused during childhood||57||49|
|Witnessed family violence during childhood||54||57|
|Family members criminally active during childhood||34||25|
|Intimate relationship(s) problematic||82||65|
|Perpetrated spousal violence||70||61|
|Attitudes support spousal violence||43||37|
|Significant difficulties handling parenting responsibilities||45||35|
|Investigated for suspicion of child abuse/neglect||11||10|
|Associates with substance abusers||94||87|
|Many criminal acquaintances||57||48|
|Resides in high crime area||48||33|
|Prosocial support from intimate partner limited||67||69|
|Prosocial family support limited||38||36|
|Prosocial support from friends limited||77||63|
|Frequently engages in binge drinking||78||72|
|Alcohol or drug use has resulted in law violations||92||87|
|Becomes violent when drinking or using drugs||89||87|
|Alcohol and/or drug use is part of the offence cycle||93||86|
|Leisure activities limited||61||47|
|Community attachment limited||37||18|
|Problem recognition skills limited||82||77|
|Ability to generate choices limited||91||80|
|Ability to link actions to consequences limited||81||79|
|Difficulty coping with stress||75||66|
|Gives up easily when challenged||38||19|
|Difficulty setting long-term goals||64||60|
|Difficulty solving interpersonal problems||89||79|
|Frequently feels intense anger||67||51|
|Frequently acts aggressively||71||71|
|Low frustration tolerance||77||66|
|Deviant sexual preferences||44||36|
|Deviant sexual attitudes||35||42|
|Attitudes support instrumental/goal-oriented violence||57||44|
|Attitudes support expressive/ emotional violence||65||57|
|Denies crime or uses excuses to justify or minimize crime||69||61|
1 This measure may not have been a culture-fair estimate of cognitive function, but low scores would be associated with problems in an academic setting and have implications for program participation.
What it means
Interventions for Inuit men should focus on sexual deviance, general and family violence including child abuse, and substance abuse. Despite low levels of social support or involvement in structured prosocial activities, two-thirds report a link to their community, a protective factor that could be considered a strength. Program targets should include strategies to address deficits in problem solving, consequential thinking, emotion management, sexual deviance, criminal associates, and attitudes supporting violence.
For more information
Please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.
You can also visit the Research Publications section for a full list of reports and one-page summaries.
Prepared by: K. Wardrop, J. Thompson, & L. Stewart
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