Admission profile of ethnocultural offenders: Emerging research results

Research Highlights: Level of reintegration potential and engagement in correctional plans vary among ethnocultural groups and by gender.


No ERR-19-11

July 2019

Emerging Research Results - PDF

Why we are doing this study

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has a diverse offender population, underscoring the importance of exploring the correctional experiences of offenders from various ethnocultural backgrounds. These results are part of a larger study examining the correctional experience of ethnocultural offenders in CSC.

What we are doing

One component of the larger study examined the profile of a recent admission cohort of offenders focusing on patterns of risk and need levels, offence history and demographic information by self-identified ethnocultural group. The sample included 10,461 men and 971 women admitted into federal custody between April 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018. Ethnocultural groups with over 20 individuals were examined. Among women, Black offenders were the only non-White, non-Indigenous ethnocultural group with 20 or more individuals. The remaining ethnocultural groups were categorized as “other”.

What we have found so far

Table 1 presents the profile of men offenders in the sample with respect to their type of needs, the presence of a responsivity flag and their assessed level of engagement in their correctional plans.

Indigenous, Black, White and Arab/West Asian men and those in the ‘other’ ethnocultural category commonly had high static risk estimates. Similar trends were noted on the dynamic need factors. For Black, Chinese, South Asian and South East Asian men, the Attitude domain was the area most frequently endorsed as high or moderate need; for the remaining groups, the Personal/Emotional domain was the area of highest need. Chinese men were most likely of all groups to have a responsivity flag, possibly related to the likelihood that their first language was not English or French.

In contrast to the profile of ethnocultural men, Black women and women from other ethnocultural groups were rated as having lower static risk, lower criminogenic needs, higher reintegration level, and higher motivation than White or Indigenous women. Black women and women from other ethnocultural groups were less likely to have a moderate or high need in all domains assessed by the Dynamic Factors Intake Assessment – Revised. Over a third of ethnocultural women spoke a language other than English or French at home, although they had similar prevalence of responsivity flags as White women, suggesting that responsivity issues did not tend to reduce their capacity to benefit from interventions more than it did for other groups.

Table 1. Profile of Men Offenders Admitted to CSC between April 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018, by Group.
White Indigenous Arab/West Asian Black Chinese Filipino Latin American South Asian South East Asian Other
Age (Average) 40 34 34 33 41 37 35 35 37 32
Need Domain* %
Empl/Edu 42 72 48 54 55 37 34 44 49 44
Mar/Fam 30 50 22 24 13 16 25 24 17 32
Assoc. 57 70 61 73 61 37 52 65 64 64
Sub. Abu 62 85 44 33 29 28 36 34 36 53
Com Func 21 39 15 22 13 12 12 17 18 22
Pers/Emo 74 88 67 67 55 56 69 70 58 74
Attitude 67 72 66 79 71 51 55 72 66 71
High Risk 45 59 41 48 18 23 23 32 24 47
Resp. Flag 14 30 12 9 32 16 14 18 22 16
Engagement 80 79 74 71 90 81 79 76 81 86
*Note. Need domain indicates percentage of those assessed at moderate or high need. Need domains are as follows: Employment/Education, Marital/Family, Associates, Substance Abuse, Community Functioning, Personal/Emotional, and Attitude. High Risk indicates percentage of those with high static risk. Resp. Flag indicates percentage of those with responsivity flag indicating the presence of factors that could affect offenders’ ability to participate in interventions. Engagement is the parole officers’ rating of the extent to which offenders are willing to actively fulfill the requirements on their correctional plans.

What it means

These results suggest that the majority of ethnocultural women have higher reintegration potential than Indigenous and White women. Although most Black and Arab/West Asian men are rated as engaged in their correctional plans, rates of engagement are lower than for men in all other groups. These men may therefore benefit from additional or more tailored correctional services during their sentence. Men from Chinese, Filipino, Latin American, South and South East Asian ethnocultural groups tend to be rated as lower risk and need, suggesting good reintegration potential following their release.

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: Laura Gamwell and Kaitlyn Wardrop

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