Ethnocultural offenders’ risk, need, reintegration potential, and engagement


  • No RS 14-25
  • September 2014

Key Words

ethnocultural offender, reintegration potential, needs, risk, engagement, correctional plan

What it means

The current research shows that ethnocultural offendersFootnote 1 are not a homogeneous group, varying in terms of their risk, need, reintegration potential, and correctional plan engagement. Moreover, in addition to differing from one another, ethnocultural offenders also differ from White and Aboriginal offenders. This pattern supports the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) approach of developing a variety of programs and services for offenders with specific needs based on race, language, culture, and/or belief system.

What we found

In 2013-14, 18% of offenders admitted to CSC were ethnocultural offenders. Similar to the overall population, approximately 4% of ethnocultural offenders admitted during this period were women.

Overall, fewer ethnocultural offenders were assessed as presenting high levels of risk and need, and low levels of reintegration potential, than White and Aboriginal offenders. Among ethnocultural groups, Asian offenders, especially East and Southeast Asians, were least likely to be rated as having high risk and need, and also least likely to be rated as having low levels of reintegration potential.

A lower rate of engagement in correctional plans was found among Black offenders. Other ethnocultural groups showed levels of engagement comparable to those of White and Aboriginal offenders.

Risk, Need, and Engagement of Ethnocultural, White, and Aboriginal Offenders (N = 4,806)
Indicator Ethnocultural Offenders Comparison Groups
(N = 858)
(N = 283)
(N = 433)
Hispanic/ Latin
(N = 64)
(N = 78)
(N = 2,958)
(N = 990)
High Need 47% 36% 54% 52% 49% 61% 74%
High Risk 39% 27% 44% 47% 40% 47% 56%
Low Reintegration Potential 36% 47% 32% 22% 28% 24% 10%
Engaged 70% 77% 64% 77% 74% 76% 76%

Why we did this study

Recognizing the differences among offenders from diverse ethnic backgrounds on key correctional variables may allow the Correctional Service of Canada to better tailor services and interventions. Therefore, an examination of the needs, risk, reintegration potential, and correctional plan engagement of White, Aboriginal, and ethnocultural offenders was conducted to contribute to a better understanding of each group.

What we did

Computerized offender files were obtained for 4,806 offenders newly admitted in 2013-14 for whom a correctional plan was available. Of these, 858 were ethnocultural offenders. Risk, need, and engagement indicators were compared by group.

For more information

Please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the website for a full list of research publications.

Prepared by: Mary B. Ritchie, Renée Gobeil, & Leslie-Anne Keown


Footnote 1

An ethnocultural offender has specific needs based on race, language, or culture and has a desire to preserve his or her cultural identity and practices. For the purposes of analyses, offenders who were neither White nor Aboriginal were considered.

Return to footnote 1

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