This paper is a response to a case study dealing with Sam, a twenty year old with Aboriginal ancestry, and taking an analytical view at correctional methods that could be utilized assuming he has been convicted of breaking and entering, theft under $5000 and possession of a controlled substance. This paper will include the development of a risk/need assessment for Sam and application of various programs within an institution and community settings to decide which one should be used in this particular case.
Before we can decide which correctional programs apply to Sam we must first develop a risk/needs assessment for him; this is called classification. "Classification is a continuous process through which the treatment needs of the inmate are identified (along with the risks they present) and assessments are made regarding the inmate's progress in altering his or her behaviour. The objective of the classification process is to place offenders in the correctional setting most appropriate to their individual needs, while ensuring that the risks they pose are recognized and addressed.
" (Griffiths and Cunningham, pg 237) Sam's initial classification would have occurred when he was sentenced but could be altered after that while he was in the remand center or when he arrives at the initial correctional facility. In British Columbia an assessment such as the LSI-R or Level of Service – Revised would be used to assess Sam's risk/needs. "The General Risk/Need factors consist of 43 items that cover the offender's history and personal characteristics. Items are scored dichotomously from file reviews and client interviews.
This section is made up of eight risk/need subscales: Criminal History (8 items), Education/Employment (9 items), Family/Marital (4 items), Leisure/Recreation (2 items), Companions (4 items), Substance Abuse (8 items), Procriminal Attitude/Orientation (4 items), and Antisocial Pattern (4 items). Preliminary research, based on a reanalysis of LSI-R data indicated that the LSI-OR has predictive validity for male and female offender groups, for general and violent recidivism, reincarceration, and new offenses. (GIRARD & WORMITH, pg 155) The lower the score on the LSI-R the less risk the individual poses.
Based on Sam's prior history, his given situation and due to the fact it requires a professional criminologist to administer a test like the LSI-R, we will assume that Sam received a low to medium score on this assessment. Another way we could come to this assumption is by considering static and dynamic factors. Static factors are, "inmate characteristics that cannot be altered through intervention" while Dynamic factors are, "Inmate characteristics that can be altered through intervention. Dynamic factors are criminogenic, which means that future criminal behaviour may occur if they are not addressed.
" (Griffiths and Cunningham, pg 238-9). What are Sam's dynamic factors? One such factor could be that he does not appear to be getting an education, which is a characteristic of Sam that could be changed. Another factor could be his apparent drug problem. Yet another dynamic factor could be his distance from his family which could be rooted in his step-father's death. Basically what we have done partially is Sam's case management. Case management is: "a continuous process that extends from initial entry into the system, through the period of confinement, to supervision upon release.
The core of the case management process is the correctional plan. Based on the offender's initial institutional placement, training or work opportunities, and conditions of release. " (Griffiths and Cunningham, pg 239) Based on Sam's background and his risk/needs assessment, I as a member of the case management team must assess the best correctional plan for him. In order to ensure that Sam does not re-offend again we must deal with his dynamic factors and then chose a correctional institution that could deal with Sam's needs.
Education: Sam seems to appear to be not going to school and would be an important issue to address Drugs: Seems to have a drug problem that needs to be addressed Role Model: Sam's problems started when his stepfather passed away. Given Sam's situation I believe that the most appropriate sentence for Sam would be a Conditional Sentence of imprisonment in a community setting. WHY? I believe that Sam's real problem is his loss of role model when he lost his step-father. He needs to be reminded of the importance of school, culture and hard work just like his step-father taught him.
In addition, Sam hasn't shown any sign of violence towards another person and therefore would not put the community in any real danger. Incarceration would almost definitely lead Sam to the point of no return. Here are the arguments in favour of community corrections: 1) Community correctional programs are at least as effective as incarceration 2) Community programs help maintain social integration of offenders 3) Community programs reduce the collateral social cost of incarceration 4) Community programs are comparatively inexpensive (Criminal Justice in Canada: A reader, pg 280)
How does the Conditional Sentence of imprisonment work? Sam would have to serve his sentence in the community and treatment for his problems will be ordered without his consent. As I am a member of his case management team, I would recommend the compulsory conditions to be that he attends school, abstain from any drug abuse and attend sessions or a wilderness camp specifically designed by aboriginal leaders to deal with his step-fathers loss and heal. This would allow him to learn about his culture and find other role models in his community that he could look up to.
Additionally, he would have to pay the pharmacy in the form of labour or money to pay back for what he stole from them. Research on restorative community justice has found that it resulted in lower rates of re-offending than did traditional correctional approaches such as probation (Griffiths and Cunningham, pg 214). This demonstrates how I would assess and decide on Sam's correctional plan. First by assessing his risk and needs and then by implementing a correctional plan that incorporates his needs without putting the community in danger.