Madam Chair, hello again.
I'm Anne Kelly. I'm the senior deputy commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, or CSC, a position that includes responsibility for indigenous corrections. I'm pleased to be joined by Dr. Kelley Blanchette, the deputy commissioner for women, who is responsible for the development and oversight of programs for all federally sentenced women.
I would like to thank you and the honourable members of this committee for the opportunity to appear before you again to resume the discussion we began on November 28 with regard to this committee's study on indigenous women in the justice system. Given that I provided my opening remarks when we appeared in November, today I would like to take just a few minutes to share some recent highlights from CSC's mid-year performance results for 2017-18.
As I noted at the November meeting, indigenous women represent a significant and growing proportion of the incarcerated population, representing 39% of all incarcerated women offenders.
I would also reiterate that CSC cannot control the number of indigenous Canadians receiving federal sentences. However, our work and interventions can ultimately have an impact on the length of time offenders remain in custody, their security level, and when they go before the Parole Board of Canada to seek decisions regarding their release to the community.
It is this latter part that is CSC's raison d'être: to encourage and assist offenders in the work of preparing for release so that they safely and successfully return to society. In this regard, I am pleased to note that CSC's mid-year results show that the number of offenders who are managed in the community is continuing to increase for both indigenous and non-indigenous offenders.
In terms of discretionary releases—that is, releases on day and full parole—women have the best results, with about 81% of their releases being discretionary to date. Moreover, increased reintegration success is being achieved, with more indigenous women successfully reaching the end of their sentence in the community. This positive result reflects the concerted efforts by the women and the case management team to ensure risk factors and needs are addressed through appropriate interventions in preparation for a safe and successful return to the community.
I would also like to highlight the results of two studies completed last year.
The first one looked at whether the aboriginal women offender correctional program (AWOCP) met its objectives. The results suggested that AWOCP is successful in improving the women's skills and attitudes and significantly decreases their rates of return to custody.
The second study focused on indigenous women who have participated in section 84 releases, which is a legislative provision that applies to offenders who express an interest in having an indigenous community collaborate in their release planning. The study found that 41% participated in section 84 releases over the course of the last five years. It also found, among other things, that women who participate in section 84 releases are more likely to be released on discretionary release and to be classified as minimum security prior to release.
While much progress has been made, CSC continues to address gaps and implement initiatives that best meet the needs of offenders and contribute to our mandate of keeping Canadians safe.
At this point we would be pleased to respond to your questions on the various aspects of CSC's work and on our progress.