Serious Violent Offender Response (SVOR)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Adult offenders
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention
The Serious Violent Offender Response (SVOR) is a comprehensive, targeted, and evidence-based approach intended to reduce the threat posed by high-risk violent offenders in the province of Saskatchewan. The response is part of the Ministry of Justice’s larger Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime (BPRC) InitiativeFootnote1 and the expressed priority to reduce violent crime in the province by 30 percent. The SVOR was formally implemented in May 2013 and is currently operational in two geographic regions of the province of Saskatchewan: Saskatoon and North Battleford.
The main goals of the SVOR program are to:
- Reduce the recidivism of high-risk offenders in Saskatchewan;
- Reduce offence severity (harm reduction);
- Strengthen the identification and surveillance of high-risk offenders;
- Provide access to a continuum of program resources involving community partners to high-risk offenders, including those with mental illness; and
- Provide a better return on investment.
In order to be considered for involvement in the SVOR program offenders must be:
- Eighteen years of age and over, serving an adult sentence or under bail supervision;
- Have either a serious violence offense as an index offense or have a history of violent offending; and
- An evaluation to indicate they are “High” or “Very High” risk to reoffend as assessed by a validated risk assessment tool.
Any individual with an 810 Supervision Order is also eligible as are any offenders who have committed kidnapping or sexual offenses involving child victims. Eligible cases are reviewed by local case management review committees with representation by all involved partners. This committee documents the rationale for accepting or declining cases, and also reviews the status of all clients accepted into the response, provides partner updates, and makes recommendations for discharge.
The program components of the SVOR include the following:
Service Delivery Model - Community Safety Planning
- Within the SVOR, service delivery occurs within a case management framework called Community Safety Planning. While each partner agency comes with its own area of expertise and skills, specialized workshops were created for all SVOR partners to ensure understanding of the Community Safety Planning framework and introduce skills identified as important in research in promoting positive behavior change for offenders.
Workshops - Specialized SVOR workshops include the following:
- Community Safety Planning: An introduction to evidence-based principles when working with offenders and an overview of Community Safety Planning including identification of roles and responsibilities of all SVOR partners;
- Interactive Behavior Change Skills: A skills-based workshop including an overview of relapse prevention and the roles of the SVOR partners as well as introducing specific interaction and intervention techniques to promote prosocial behavior change in offenders;
- Integrated Training: The target audience for the workshops is interdisciplinary; all SVOR partners attend the workshops together. This integrated training provides an opportunity for relationship building amongst partners and clarification of roles and responsibilities as all partners are receiving the same message;
- Competency: Key to the integrity of the SVOR is ensuring competency of skill acquisition. The level of competency is dependent on the responsibility of the individual, with front-line service delivery individuals requiring basic competency while supervisors are required to achieve a higher level of understanding and competency in order to supervise and support their staff in the use of the skills; and
- Communication and Collaboration: There are multiple structures built into the SVOR in order to foster communication regarding case management activities amongst partners. SVOR partners work closely together and in some instances share office space which fosters informal communication. Weekly case management meetings are held in both locations with SVOR partners attending in order to provide updates on case management activities and plan upcoming events. SVOR partners will also strategically coordinate joint contact with the offender in order to discuss topics and activities where there is overlap between programs. Furthermore, formal case conferences are held to address specific case management issues for an individual offender which may also include additional stakeholders.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The lead organization should have a strong and stable leadership team. An environmental scan and analysis of community needs, existing services and resources should be completed to ensure a unique response to community characteristics. The lead organization should manage program implementation, program delivery, and post-program follow-up. Written policies regarding legal and ethical sharing of information and evaluation criteria are required.
- Partnerships: Current service delivery partners include Public Prosecutions, Adult Corrections, Federal and Municipal Police Services (RCMP and Saskatoon Police Service) and the Canadian Mental Health Association - Saskatchewan Division (CMHA-SK). The CMHA-SK has developed a new and specialized program, entitled the Justice Community Support Program (JCSP), for SVOR clients with mental health concerns. This program is best described as a daily living support program where JCSP staff provides direct services to assist in the stabilization of offenders with emotional and behavioral concerns, as well as promote the development of important mental health and life skills (e.g., medication management).
- Training and technical assistance: Integrated training and case planning and a secure data management system are required within the SVOR. Integrated training requirements include Partnership Training, Interactive Behavior Change Skills, Integrated Case Plan Training, and Database Training.
- Risk assessment tools: Offender risk is assessed using the Saskatchewan Primary Risk Assessment, Primary Risk Assessment and secondary assessments, as needed (i.e. Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment, Static-99R, etc.).
- Materials & resources: The SVOR has a built-in evaluation structure which has representation from all partners and is ongoing.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
The SVOR was formally implemented in May, 2013 and is currently operational in two geographic regions of the province of Saskatchewan: Saskatoon and North Battleford.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
The SVOR has a built-in evaluation structure which has representation from all partners and is ongoing. Initial evaluation based on file reviews and provincial data are promising and demonstrate the following:
- 37.5% program efficiency: The high-risk, serious violent offenders in the SVOR, based on their previous incarceration history, had a 46.5% likelihood of incarceration over a 12 month period before the program. After the SVOR program, the same offender group had a 9% likelihood of incarceration over the same time period; (i.e. 37.5% program efficiency); and
- Significantly reduced offense severity: While in the SVOR program, the severity of re-offending is very low in comparison to severity of offending relative to their previous offense (index) offence. In other words, significant harm reduction has occurred.
The Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing invested $1.9 million to launch the initiative, which included the hiring of four new police officers, six new probation officers, two support staff and one Clinical Psychologist of Policing.
An independent and expert level cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that for every CA$100 invested in SVOR results in approximately CA$1400 in total cost savings. These savings include justice system expenditures on prevented crimes as well as those associated with costs that victims and society would have incurred had the projected crimes not been prevented.
When the cost-benefit analysis is restricted to direct justice costs, for each CA$100 invested in the SVOR program we should expect roughly CA$300 in immediate annual savings in terms of avoided policing, judicial, and incarceration costs.
There is no Canadian reference available at this time.
For more information on this program, contact:
Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing
700-1874 Scarth Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4B3
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-12
For more information about the BPRC initiative, consult the program descriptive sheet entitled The Hub - Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime (BPRC) Initiative.
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