Performance Assurance

Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

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

Objective 5: Continued Relevancy:

The extent to which a policy, program or initiative remains consistent with departmental and government-wide priorities, and realistically addresses an actual need.

FINDING 10: The decreasing proportion of Aboriginal residents at the Centre over time has resulted in a divergence from the underpinnings of Section 81 of the CCRA.

As reported by staff members, residents and community partners, the main intention of the Stan Daniels Healing center is to assist in the safe reintegration of male Aboriginal offenders into the community. In fact, 71% of the staff and 59% of residents spontaneously indicated reintegration as the main priority. In effect, the residents almost unanimously considered the center important for Aboriginal reintegration (16 of 17) and the programs and activities offered through the Centre essential in achieving this goal (22 of 29). Similarly, most CSC staff members interviewed (7/8) stated they perceived a clear link between Stan Daniels Healing Centre and Aboriginal reintegration. Interestingly, some CSC staff members also listed healing and accommodation as the main themes of the Center.

Most sources interviewed considered the Healing Center to be relevant with correctional strategies. Although the CSC staff members interviewed agreed that the Center was relevant to the mission and the mandate of CSC, they equally mentioned that it focused on approaches specific to meeting the healing, spiritual and cultural needs of the residents. This was also mentioned by the staff members at the Center, as one staff member stated that although “the healing lodge approach and correctional approach are two different things”, the Centre's method is relevant to correctional strategies “in the sense of [being] safe, secure and supportive”.

Despite the consensus that the Centre appropriately provides alternatives to incarceration for Aboriginal offenders, over time, the resident profile has changed such that the proportion of Aboriginal residents is decreasing. This trend generally begins one year after the Centre began accepting Section 81 transfers. The implication of this trend is that the relevancy of providing holistic Aboriginal programs to residents diminishes as the proportion of those who are responsive to this approach decreases. In fact, analyses of correctional program data revealed that Aboriginal residents were significantly more likely to have participated in an Aboriginal initiative[69] on their current sentence than non-Aboriginal residents [17.9% versus 2.2% respectively, Χ2(1, n=1,049)=58.153, p<.001). One key source interviewed indicated that the “reality is they water down [the Centre's] purpose by dumping non-Aboriginal [residents to the Centre]”. The same source inferred that “the bed utilization rate plays a large part [in this] as they need to fill beds”.

Both the CCRA and the Section 81 Agreement concede that the transfer of offenders to an Aboriginal community and provision of correctional services by that community may apply to non-Aboriginal offenders. However, both the legislation and the Agreement target the reduction of Aboriginal peoples in the correctional system through appropriate alternative measures as a primary goal. As fewer Aboriginal offenders and inmates are transferred under the Agreement over time, the Centre's approach towards holistic healing becomes less relevant to its residents as well as to the original intentions of the legislation.

Figure 11: Average Number of Aboriginal Residents

[69] Aboriginal initiatives are comprised of Cultural Activities and Interventions, Elder Services, Aboriginal Gang Services, and Native Liaison Services.