ARCHIVE - ACCOUNTABILITY—MEASURING PERFORMANCE
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In this section, we encourage CSC to be more rigorous in developing and monitoring results and performance standards. The chart that follows summarizes the four key recommendations made by the Panel.
The result that CSC measures to assess the effectiveness of its correctional interventions, both while the offender is incarcerated and then under supervision in the community, is the level of reoffending committed by offenders. This is measured in a variety of ways (see Appendix E):
- reoffending with any conviction while on supervision;
- return to custody for a violent offence 2 years post-WED; and
- return to custody for a violent offence 5 years post-WED.
The above categories are also broken down by men offenders, women offenders, Aboriginal offenders, non-Aboriginal offenders, and offenders with mental heath issues, and are published yearly in CSC's Departmental Performance Report.
While the Panel acknowledges that CSC tracks the reoffending of offenders under its supervision, we are concerned that there is a breakdown in the subsequent tracking of all crimes committed by offenders. For example, if a former federal offender commits a crime that results in a sentence of less than two years, then that offender is not returned to federal custody and CSC's data does not capture this offence. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the reoffending data put forth by CSC regarding former offenders is probably understated, but by how much is not known.
The Panel was briefed by Statistics Canada, which is working with CSC and all provincial Heads of Corrections to create a seamless repository, but Statistics Canada informed the Panel that this would not be finalized for quite some time given the different methods of storing information, incompatible technology, etc. The Panel believes that this work is important and should continue as it provides Canadians with a true portrait of crime in Canada.
The Panel also encourages CSC to become more rigorous in developing and monitoring performance standards. One of the best examples that the panel has seen is that utilized by HM Prison Service in the United Kingdom. It sets out the standard to be achieved, lists performance indicators, and links the required outcomes to policies and procedures. Furthermore, it also includes key audit baselines.
Other gaps in performance measurement appear to be in the area of employability and the elimination of drugs from penitentiaries. The Panel encourages CSC to continue working to establish a baseline of the current situations, establish targets and develop an evaluation strategy that clearly measures results.
The Corrections and Conditional Release Act requires that the Service be:
5.(e) maintaining a program of public education about the operations of the Service.
The Panel was often struck by the enormity of CSC's operations and how little members of the public knew about the workings of the system. Across the country, the Panel repeatedly heard that communities were unaware of the vast contributions to public safety that were being made by the Service, through initiatives such as giving back to communities through the volunteer contributions of both staff and inmates, the provision of free inmate labour to assist in community restoration, etc.
Although the Panel recognizes the work that CSC puts into tracking recidivism, we feel that the Service's contribution to public safety is not recognized or understood locally. Public education and engagement appeared to be inconsistent across the country—in some sites, a great deal was being done, in other sites, very little. It is important that the Service reach out to engage communities and provide meaningful explanations of the potential contribution of rehabilitated offenders to local communities. Furthermore, perhaps it would be useful to drill down or "translate" the national or regional reoffending statistics to the local community so that citizens, city council and police can understand CSC's contribution to public safety.
- The Panel recommends that federal and provincial partners in the criminal justice system work together to develop a comprehensive integrated reporting system that effectively measures reoffending by offenders and clearly communicates this information to Canadians.
- CSC should strengthen its performance measures and look to other correctional jurisdictions to improve its capability to develop 'targets for results'.
- The Panel recommends that CSC strengthen its performance measurement in the areas of offender employability and the elimination of drugs from penitentiaries.
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