Stride (Community Justice Initiatives)
Gender: Female only
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention
The Stride program is a women-centered crime prevention program based on community and relationship building between women involved in the justice system and volunteers to better prepare for and support the reintegration process of women offenders. The Stride program is underscored by the basic assumption that it is beneficial to provide positive social interactions for vulnerable people. By providing positive social interaction, the possibility for participants to build their own social networks with volunteers (in Stride Circles) provides a basic sense of social connection that leads to a variety of protective factors (including greater sense of self, decreased sense of stigma, etc.) that confront the barriers that exist for women returning to community after incarceration.
The program is centered on employment preparation; community reintegration; conflict management; and skills training.
The main goals of the Stride program are to:
- Reduce recidivism in federally sentenced women;
- Facilitate successful community reintegration; and
- Improve relationships between federally sentenced women and service providers (and increase community collaboration)
The appropriate clientele for the Stride program are federally sentenced women (including Aboriginal and other ethnocultural women) currently incarcerated in Canada.
The Stride program consists of the following components:
- Stride Night: Weekly shared activities within the prison (2 hours/night) where volunteers and women involved in the justice system have the opportunity to meet and greet one another. Stride staff help provide a safe space with healthy activities, geared towards facilitating relationships between the community (volunteers) and participating women offenders;
- Stride Circles: Trained volunteers work with the participant in the community to provide practical and emotional support, and facilitate successful community reintegration through: skills development in problem-solving, decision-making, and crisis-management; the provision of employment preparation support; and the provision of linkages to community support services and various training opportunities, such as employment preparation;
- Stride on the Outside: Stride on the outside replicates the Stride night program, but is meant for participants on parole or who have settled in the community. This program helps the participant re-establish relationships with the community, family and others that have been negatively impacted because of the incarceration;
- Fresh Start Creations: Federally sentenced women contribute to the community through the creation and sale of handcrafted goods, where proceeds are donated to local women’s/children’s charities. Transferrable skills are taught here through local retail partnerships; and
- Community Education: Community presentations are delivered to raise awareness about reintegration supports; developing organizational capacity; and facilitating program implementation in national pilot locations.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
- Partnerships: Important partnerships for the Stride program must include correctional facilities, organizations providing training opportunities, as well as other community support services that may help the participant learn transferrable skills or help them reintegrate into society.
- Training and technical assistance: All staff should complete the appropriate trainings provided by the Stride program, including (but not limited to) night program training, circle program training, conflict management training, community safety training, etc.
- Risk assessment tools: The Stride program actively uses the Assessment for the Re-integration into Community for Women research tool (ARC-W) (Fortune et al., 2010; Pedlar, 2005; Pedlar et al., 2008).
- Materials & resources: Organizations should have adequate financial, human, and material resources, as outlined in the Stride Operations Manual and Stride Fidelity Tool for a fully-functioning Stride program.
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
Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) to implement the Stride program from 2014-2019 in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of Stride was completed by Silk, Moore, Mair, Kalbfleisch, and Mock. A mixed methods design was used to evaluate the program.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- The positive impact of Circles on participants’ other relationships in life was a consistently shared theme. Participants referred to impacts such as building confidence, trust, and healthier relationships. Women described how communicating with their Circles helped them with developing healthier relationships and lifestyles.
- Compared with control group participants, Circle group participants reported lower levels of stress and had a higher a positive association with purpose in life, self-acceptance, personal growth and environmental mastery
- Qualitative data provided by participants suggest that Circles provided them with a clearer sense of desistance and reintegration by helping them build confidence, trust and healthier relationships.
For more information, refer to Silk et al.’s (2019) publication.
In 2019, as part of Silk et al.’s outcome evaluation study, it was found that the average cost per participant in the Stride program was $27,783 (CAD).
Silk, E, M., Moore, K., Mair, H., Kalbfleisch, L., & Mock, S. (2019). PSC Process & Impact Evaluation Stride Program. Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to Public Safety Canada. (Unpublished report).
For more information on this program, contact:
Community Justice Initiatives (CJI)
49 Queen Street North, 3rd Floor
Kitchener, Ontario N2H 2G9
Telephone: (519) 744-6549
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
- Date modified: