A Quantitative Examination of Factors Available in the Offender Management System Associated with Successful Release

Research Highlights: With positive factors being relevant to risk prediction, additional consideration could further benefit case management.

Why we did this study

The identification and assessment of factors related to successful release is an important area of research. The purpose of the current study was (1) to identify what information within the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Offender Management System (OMS) measures offenders’ strengths, and (2) determine if these factors are associated with success in the community.

What we did

All federal offenders admitted and released between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2017 who experienced at least six months of follow-up time in the community, and who were rated as medium or high risk and need at the time of release were included in this study. This resulted in a final cohort of 17,213 men (24% Indigenous) and 932 women (39% Indigenous). Success in the community was defined as having at least six months in the community without any suspensions or revocations.

What we found

A review of the data collected in OMS highlighted that some information pertaining to offender strengths is collected, as well as the potential to expand this area of data collection.

Results suggest that several ratings on offender intake assessments (e.g., being rated as having high reintegration potential or higher ratings on the Accountability, Motivation and Engagement measure) were associated with success for men, although fewer assessments were significantly related to success for women.

Furthermore, the absence of endorsement on many DFIA-R risk indicators was also significantly related to community success, but the items that had the strongest associations differed by the group. For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men, not associating with substance abusers, not having an unstable job history, and not being impulsive were all strongly related to community success.

Substance abuse-related indicators were particularly predictive of community success for non-Indigenous women. Non-endorsement of indicators related to education level and criminal associates were strongly significant for Indigenous women.

For both men and women, receiving institutional visits from friends and family were associated with community success. Notably, however, having a significant other was only protective for men.

Being employed, both within the institution and on community supervision, was significantly related to community success. The impact of community employment was particularly strong for Indigenous men and women.

While a residency condition provides stable accommodation, this was not significantly associated with community success likely due to the risk profile of the offenders for whom the condition is imposed.

Finally, involvement in Indigenous initiatives and services (e.g., pathways, healing lodge) was consistently significantly associated with community success for Indigenous men, and trended but did not reach statistical significance for women.

What it means

Overall, the current research highlights the benefits of considering protective factors. However, additional benefits in case management and risk prediction could be realized through the development of a more comprehensive measurement and assessment of offender strengths. This research reinforces the value of focusing on interventions and strategies that shore up these factors.

For more information

Wardrop, K., Sheahan, C., & Stewart, L. A. (2019). A Quantitative Examination of Factors Available in the Offender Management System Associated with Successful Release (Research Report R-429). Ottawa, Ontario: Correctional Service of Canada.

To obtain a PDF version of the full report, or for other inquiries, please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the Research Publications section for a full list of reports and one-page summaries.

Date modified: