Performance Assurance

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Evaluation Report: The Section 81 Agreement between the Native Counselling Services of Alberta and the Correctional Services of Canada; The Stan Daniels Healing Centre

File #394-2-30

Evaluation Branch
Performance Assurance Sector
October 7, 2005


Limitations of this evaluation are associated with the nature of selection and placement of residents to the Centre. Specifically, since random placement to the Centre is neither possible, nor practical, the current evaluation report used a quasi-experimental design for quantitative analyses. This research design used matching techniques to compare and assess effectiveness across a number of outcome measures. Ideally, a true experimental design would yield the strongest comparisons for quantitative analyses. This type of research design would randomly assign residents to the Centre from a pool of appropriate candidates. Those not selected would comprise the comparison group. The current placement process does not facilitate the identification of appropriate residents. As such, those cases were not explicitly included in the quasi-experimental design. Similarly, while qualitative analyses included a sample of current and former residents of the Centre, they excluded those who were potential cases yet did not reside at the Centre over the period of analyses.

The evaluation is also limited in its precision regarding financial comparisons. The process of calculating the cost of maintaining an offender varies between CSC and the Centre. Specifically, comparison of certain fixed costs such as heating do not account for economies of scale, while operating costs such as transportation is dependent on geographic location. Where possible, the evaluation team constructed these types of calculations such that those differences were mitigated. For example, resident's medical costs that are covered by CSC and thus excluded from the financial information obtained for the Centre. Since these medical costs are included in CSC's cost of maintaining an offender, they were estimated and included in the Centre's costs to facilitate equal cost-comparisons.