Electronic Publication for: --Feasibility of an Inuit specific violence risk assessment instrument, PS83-5/R206E-PDF - http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2011/scc-csc/PS83-5-R206-eng.pdf

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December 2009 | Number R-206
Research at a glance
Feasibility of an Inuit Specific Violence Risk Assessment Instrument
KEY WORDS: Inuit offenders, risk, violent recidivism
Why we did this study
The National Joint Board of Investigation (NJBOI) into
the Release and Supervision of an Offender on Full
Parole Convicted of First-degree Murder of his Parole
Officer on February 22, 2006 in Yellowknife,
Northwest Territories recommended that the
Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the
National Parole Board “develop an appropriate
statistical risk assessment instrument specifically for
Inuit offenders”. Within the CSC, risk assessment
instruments (RAI’s) are used each day to estimate
the risk posed by CSC offenders to public safety.
What we did
First, an analysis of the characteristics of Inuit
offenders was conducted. Subsequent to this, the
literature on the development of other RAI’s for other
aboriginal cultures such as the Maori of New Zealand
and the Aboriginals of Australia was reviewed and
various well researched risk assessment instruments
that have been shown to reliably predict re-offence
for First Nations offenders were examined. Finally,
an analysis was conducted to determine the
feasibility of developing a specialized risk
assessment instrument of Inuit offenders.
What we found
Inuit offenders are over-represented within the
Canadian federal correctional population at a rate
that is almost six times greater than their
representation in the Canadian population. Given
that approximately 41Inuit offenders are released per
year, we would expect less than one violent or
sexual re-offence each year by a male Inuit offender.
This low baseline of re-offence and the low number of
Inuit offenders makes actuarial prediction extremely
difficult. It would take in excess of 20 years to
develop a data set of Inuit recidivists with which to
test prediction calculations.
The review of existing research indicated that current
assessment tools should be effective with Inuit
offenders, as characteristics impacting violence are
consistent across different groups. In addition,
attempts by other researchers to develop culturally
specific instruments have not been very successful.
What it means
Current risk assessment instruments are most likely
effective in providing reasonably accurate risk
assessments of Inuit offenders. The use of
empirically-based risk assessment instruments, as
part of a culturally informed risk assessment process
that takes account of unique factors, is preferable to
relying solely on personal judgment.
While developing new actuarial risk assessment
methods may not be appropriate for Inuit offenders,
other actions are possible to improve treatment and
assessment. Improved cultural understanding would
make assessments more accurate and providing
culturally specific programming would better meet the
needs of Inuit offenders.
For more information
Harris, A. J. R., Cousineau, C., Pagé, C. A.,
Sonnichsen, P., & Varrette, S. (2009). Feasibility of
an Inuit specific violence risk assessment instrument.
Research Report R-206. Ottawa: Correctional
Service Canada.
To obtain a PDF version of the full report, contact the
following address: [email protected]
Prepared by: Andrew J. R. Harris
Research Branch
(613) 996-3287
[email protected]

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