Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Department

Social Work

Supervisor

Patricia Daenzer

Language

English

Abstract

Legislated through the Corrections Services Canada's Corrections and Conditional Release Act (2002), individuals who receive a federal sentence are eligible to complete their sentence at the community level under the auspices of conditional release. The goal is to assist in the rehabilitation of the offender, facilitate his or her reintegration into the community and protect society by managing re-offence risk. Yet the instrument used to determine risk and reintegration needs and outcomes is an actuarial scale based on a homogeneous white Eurocentric male population which does not take into consideration differences based on race, ethnicity, gender or social disadvantage (Webster and Doob, 2004).

Research into the particular conditions experienced by Federally Sentenced Women (FSW) in Canada is a relatively new phenomenon, with the bulk emerging in the last 15 years. Research on the policy impact on service providers, namely parole officers and halfway house workers, appears to be minimal. Yet it is these workers who interpret and implement the policy. This paper contributes to this discourse through critical examination of Corrections Services Canada's (CSC) policy The Standard Operating Procedures for Community Based Supervision (SOP). The stated intent of this policy is managing risk and assisting in the reintegration into the community of all individuals under conditional release. This paper examines the impact of globalization and neo-liberal politics has on crime, fear of crime and risk. It explores how the SOP, as well as other CSC policies, is embedded in racial, cultural and gendered biases. Interviews with parole officers and halfway house workers who provide service to federally sentenced women offer insight onto their understanding of risk and reintegration for FSW as well as their perceptions of how the policy helps or hinders their role in risk management and reintegration for FSW. This paper concludes with a discussion of how these findings can impact Social Work practice and policy.

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