Pre-Discharge Support to Federal Offenders
- Correctional Service Canada (CSC)
- Ontario Halfway House Association (OHHA)
2008/04/01 – 2009/09/30
This project tested whether providing identification documents to offenders prior to release could help reduce their chances of becoming homelessness and reduce recidivism.
Through this project, offenders about to be released from federal institutions in the Kingston area, received help in obtaining basic identification documents, such as a Birth Certificate and a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card. The Ontario Halfway House Association (OHHA) assisted offenders with the completion of application forms, establishing authentication procedures with the offenders’ provinces of birth, and managing funds to cover application fees. Of the initial 346 offenders identified as eligible for assistance, 142 were not able to be assisted due to the timing of their release.
The project provided 153 birth certificates and 46 SINs. Fifty-two participants were interviewed to determine the success of the project. Participants reported that in the majority of situations when applying for work or attempting to secure housing accommodations, identification was not required. Only 12 of the respondents reported being required to produce their SIN cards when applying for work and only one was asked to produce a Birth Certificate. Similarly, when offenders attempted to secure housing accommodations, only one was asked to produce his SIN card while 3 were asked to show their Birth Certificates. However, all 26 of the respondents that reported opening a bank account upon being released required a Birth Certificate and 23 of these also required a SIN card. Despite the relatively low number of identification documents requested by potential landlords and employers, the offenders rated the importance of having such documents as important or very important. Interviewees also indicated that identification documents other than Birth Certificates and SIN cards would have been useful in their reintegration, namely Ontario Works, Library Card, Ontario Disability Support and Driver’s License.
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