Paper Title

[1.1] Reputational Risk Management and Other Barriers to Evaluating the Policy and Implementation of Substance Use Programs in Federal Corrections

Location

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Ginny Ratsoy

Start Date

18-1-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

18-1-2019 3:15 PM

Disciplines

Political Science | Social Work

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This paper assesses the adequacy of policy and its implementation in regards to substance use programs in men’s federal penitentiaries. Around three quarters of men in Canadian federal custody have a substance use problem that has affected their criminal behavior. As such, it is crucial that substance use programs in federal prisons are effective. The Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which places the responsibility for the design, provision, and evaluation of rehabilitative programs on Correctional Service Canada (CSC), gives CSC considerable freedom in how it constructs and delivers services. As such, an investigation into CSC’s institutional policy and implementation surrounding substance use services is warranted. Using the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics as an ethical framework, academic and government literature was analyzed to attempt to determine the overall adequacy of CSC’s men's substance use services. However, due to recent funding cuts to CSC’s addictions research department, and their insular research climate, a thorough evaluation was not possible. While funding cuts disguised as “consolidation” are common in the public service sector, reports of censorship and hostile attitudes towards researchers emerging from a federally funded institution are cause for concern, and deserving of increased public awareness. Political and practical implications of these results are considered. This paper argues that, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of CSC’s substance use programs, and to increase CSC’s accountability to stakeholders and the public, policy changes are needed.

Comments

Keywords: Public Policy, Federal Corrections, Censorship, Research Access, Substance Use

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[1.1] Reputational Risk Management and Other Barriers to Evaluating the Policy and Implementation of Substance Use Programs in Federal Corrections

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Ginny Ratsoy

This paper assesses the adequacy of policy and its implementation in regards to substance use programs in men’s federal penitentiaries. Around three quarters of men in Canadian federal custody have a substance use problem that has affected their criminal behavior. As such, it is crucial that substance use programs in federal prisons are effective. The Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which places the responsibility for the design, provision, and evaluation of rehabilitative programs on Correctional Service Canada (CSC), gives CSC considerable freedom in how it constructs and delivers services. As such, an investigation into CSC’s institutional policy and implementation surrounding substance use services is warranted. Using the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics as an ethical framework, academic and government literature was analyzed to attempt to determine the overall adequacy of CSC’s men's substance use services. However, due to recent funding cuts to CSC’s addictions research department, and their insular research climate, a thorough evaluation was not possible. While funding cuts disguised as “consolidation” are common in the public service sector, reports of censorship and hostile attitudes towards researchers emerging from a federally funded institution are cause for concern, and deserving of increased public awareness. Political and practical implications of these results are considered. This paper argues that, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of CSC’s substance use programs, and to increase CSC’s accountability to stakeholders and the public, policy changes are needed.