Chilliwack/Columbia Valley – The rollout of a supportive program that greatly reduces reoffending by high-risk offenders on their release from custody has now been completed.
Six correctional facilities that were suitable for the program now have it in place, with the final centre – Ford Mountain Correctional Centre (FMCC) – becoming operational on Dec. 1, 2015. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton toured FMCC Monday morning to see this program first-hand.
Through Integrated Offender Management (IOM), both correctional centre and community corrections staff collaborate to plan for offenders’ release and success in living crime-free throughout their return to the community. Inmates are actively engaged in the process, which can help them connect with appropriate living arrangements, consider job opportunities and access various supports in the community. The goal is to promote their stability and address known “triggers” of their past crimes in order to successfully reintegrate inmates into the community.
The program has shown it can reduce reoffending behaviour by up to 49% for women and 43% for men. For participants, IOM’s benefits include a greater sense of accountability and independence, and more positive self-regard. The program also offers custodial and community corrections staff opportunities to work closely together, engage one-on-one with participants and pursue clear goals with their buy-in, focusing on their individual strengths.
Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton –
“Being tough on crime includes taking steps to curb the underlying behaviours that fuel it. The helping hands that the Integrated Offender Management program offers are proven to promote safer communities. When these people complete their in-custody sentence and move on to probation, having access to some of the necessities that most of us take for granted – plus supports that address their offending patterns – can mean the difference between successful reintegration and a return to custody.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections Laurie Throness –
“When I conducted my safety review of BC Corrections, I was impressed with the effective approach taken by the Integrated Offender Management program. By providing the basic necessities while helping inmates to prepare for release to the community, we’re ultimately supporting long-term change in behaviour. Given the high-risk focus of this intensive approach and the success that studies have quantified, the public safety benefits are clear and significant.”
- To participate in the program, inmates must be willing to work with correctional staff to develop a transition plan for release, and have a prior sentence and a minimum of six months’ probation after release.
- Since 2011, the program has become operational at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge, and the provincial correctional centres in Prince George, Kamloops and Victoria.
- Because IOM focuses on transitioning sentenced inmates back into the community, it is not used at BC Corrections’ two remand centres, Surrey Pretrial Services Centre and North Fraser Pretrial Centre. Also, IOM will not be introduced at Nanaimo Correctional Centre, where the award-winning Guthrie House therapeutic community works to achieve many of the same rehabilitative goals.
- Studies at BC Corrections facilities have shown that IOM clients remain offence-free longer following their release from custody, with four of five participants saying they thought IOM would reduce their likelihood of returning to jail.
- The IOM program won a Premier’s Award for Organizational Excellence in fall 2014.
Results of a 2006-10 Integrated Offender Management pilot program are summarized at: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/corrections/docs/issue-5.pdf
BC Corrections protects communities through the safe control and rehabilitation of adult offenders: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/corrections