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Nunavut can't measure repeat criminal behaviour, program effectiveness

Nunavut's correctional system does not have the capacity to evaluate the rate of repeat criminal behaviour or measure the effectiveness of rehabilitation, according to answers to a written question in the legislature.
The Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit. Nunavut's correctional system does not have the capacity to evaluate the rate of repeat criminal behaviour or measure the effectiveness of rehabilitation, according to answers to a written question in the legislature. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)

Nunavut's correctional system does not have the capacity to evaluate the rate of repeat criminal behaviour, according to answers to a written question in the legislature.

In his answers, Justice Minister Paul Okalik says the division does keep track of previous admissions, but says "this does not directly translate to recidivism." 

Okalik was responding to a written question submitted by Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak in November.

The answer goes on to say, "It is notable that there are varying definitions of what 'recidivism' constitutes. Other jurisdictions have faced similar difficulties in defining recidivism and accurately reporting rates. Some Canadian jurisdictions have begun to look at replacing the term 'recidivism' with 're-contact.'" 

Data included with the written answer indicate as of Nov. 1, 2014, 75 people were serving sentences in Nunavut correctional facilities, nine were serving sentences in Yellowknife or Ottawa, and 89 Nunavummiut were serving time in federal penitentiaries. Seventy-eight Nunavummiut were in custody awaiting trial.

Number and location of Nunavut prisoners as of Nov. 1, 2014.:

Location# serving sentences# in remand
Baffin Correctional Centre2646
Rankin Inlet Healing Facility2713
Kugluktuk Ilavut Centre50
Young Offenders Facility52
Uttaqivik90
Nunavut Women's Correctional Centre32
RCMP cells02
Hospital02
North Slave Correctional Centre (Yellowknife)610
Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre31

Angnakak also asked how the Department of Justice evaluates the effectiveness of rehabilitation, counselling and education for adult offenders. 

Okalik said the department is not able to measure the programs' effectiveness, but that quality assurance evaluation meetings happen each year to make sure programs are consistent.

Programs vary at Nunavut's five correctional facilities. At the Baffin Correctional Centre, inmates can work on their high school diploma, receive mental health support, take part in the Inuit Cultural Skills Program. At the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility, programs include spousal abuse and anger management programming, carpentry and soap stone carving.

The Kugluktuk Ilavut Centre is different from other correctional centres with its focus on traditional ties and community re-integration. It's a minimum security centre. In order to go to Ilavut in Kugluktuk, inmates need to take part in the programs. 

Progams at the Nunavut Women's Correctional Centre include elders counselling, an art program and public health sessions with a nurse.

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