Despite the clear legislative language and intent, as well as the checks and balances of CSC and NPB assessments, CSC's own research tracking the results of the application of the provisions reveal that, on the whole, the individuals who are targeted for detention because they are apparently assessed as the prisoners who pose the greatest risk to the public, are not, in fact, the ones who are most likely to go out and commit violent offences after they are released from prison. In fact, Grant's research shows that those who are so assessed and thus detained in prison until their warrant expiry dates actually have a lower recidivism rate than those who are granted conditional release at some earlier stage of their sentence.
Moreover, the CSC research concludes that prisoner motivation is the best predictor of who will successfully integrate themselves in the community without recidivating. Conversely, their research also reveals that those prisoners who are targeted and referred for detention because they are assessed as so violent that they will likely cause serious bodily harm or death before the end of their sentence, do not, in fact, generally go out and recidivate violently. Indeed, the research actually shows that the assessment process for detention ends up targeting those prisoners who have characteristics that are judged as least appealing to staff, not those who are actually then returning to the community and committing violent offences. Not surprisingly, Aboriginal and other racialized prisoners are over-represented amongst the group of prisoners referred for detention. These results alone create significant questions regarding the reliability and validity of the risk assessment process which definitely shapes, and arguably dictates, key correctional and paroling decisions for prisoners.
Mental and Cognitive Disabilities
Although not specifically related to prisoners with mental and cognitive disabilities, the following comments of one prisoner regarding current correctional assessment and programming initiatives summarizes the views of a number of those both before and following their releases from prison and provides a very clear and succinct articulation of the manner in which prisoners experience these processes:
I agree with what [she] and the other guy said.... We used to come in and get training and help so that we wouldn't be such fuck-ups out there.... Now, we get mind games and cog[nitive] skills and groups.... they seem to be more into making sure we don't feel so bad about being fuck-ups now, but we still need jobs and somewhere to live... We won't feel good for long if we're just back into the same old same old when we finally get out... How will cog skills help me support myself and my kids?
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