Summary of the 2016-2017 Evaluation of the National Flagging System Program (NFS)
What We Examined
- National Flagging System (NSF) is a database as well as a network of provincial/territorial (P/T) coordinators responsible for identifying high-risk offenders for flagging purposes.
- Coordinators work closely with Crown prosecutors, police, and corrections officials to ensure either Dangerous or Long-Term Offenders, should they re-offend, are flagged and tracked in a national database housed within the Canadian Police Information Centre.
- Government provides $500,000 per year in grants to the provinces with base funding of $25,000 per year to each province and the remainder divided among the provinces on a population basis.
- The evaluation examined the relevance and performance of the program over the period 2012-13 to 2016-17.
Why is this important?
- Many high-risk offenders spend time in the federal penitentiary system and may be moved around the country. After their incarceration, there is high incentive for them to relocate as they are often known in their community.
- There is a continued need for the NFS:
- High risk offenders tend to be mobile and have long criminal career. There is a need to maintain their files for a longer period of time.
- Inter-provincial co-operation and information sharing is needed so that prosecutors have the necessary information to ensure that flagged offenders are treated appropriately.
- There is a continued need for federal funding to facilitate inter-provincial co-operation and to maintain a national system.
- Program is aligned with the Government of Canada's roles and responsibilities and Public Safety's objective of a safe and secure Canada.
- NFS has helped P/Ts maintain or increase their capacity to identify and track high risk offenders.
- Although high risk offenders are being identified, flagged and tracked, it appears that flagging criteria may be inconsistent across jurisdictions.
- This inconsistency may have resulted in under or over flagging of cases in some jurisdictions.
- Information sharing with Correctional Services Canada and delays in updating the National Repository of Criminal Records were identified as hindrances to tracking flagged offenders.
Efficiency and Economy
- Program administration ratio increased from 4.5% to 8%. The administration ratio remains in line with that of other PS grant programs.
The ADM of the Community Safety Countering Crime Branch should:
- In collaboration with the provinces, develop more structured flagging criteria and guidelines to improve consistency in the application of these criteria by NFS coordinators and across jurisdictions.
- Work with NFS coordinators and Correctional Service Canada (CSC) to improve consistency, timeliness and ease of access to CSC information by NFS coordinators and across jurisdictions.
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