The Canadian Correctional System and Aboriginal Risk Assessment: A Systemic Failure


  • Mariam Khalid


Correctional Service Canada (CSC) operates within the framework of the risk-need-responsivity model (RNR). The RNR model suggests that a reduction of recidivism is possible, if the treatment provided is proportionate to the overall risk of reoffending. This approach utilizes empirical measures, developed through data collection and a statistical analysis of outcomes. These outcomes are associated with specific predictor variables or risk factors that are known to be correlated with recidivism. In addition to risk prediction, these measures also provide a means to monitor the effectiveness of correctional interventions. However, a review of Canadian case law shows that insufficient training often results in the inappropriate application of risk assessment measures. This finding is even more disturbing when considering its impact on marginalized populations such as Indigenous offenders. CSC policy requires the inclusion of Gladue Principles, which take into consideration the unique circumstances of Indigenous history. However, correctional staff frequently fail to understand or document an offender’s social history when conducting risk assessments. The undifferentiated application of what are intended to be objective risk assessment tools have serious implications. Indigenous offenders are frequently classified as higher risk and this influences eligibility for parole. In addition, an extensive literature review shows that, despite similar predictive validity across various risk assessment measures, Indigenous offenders consistently presented with higher baseline scores. These findings contradict the utility of risk assessment measures and require further research, as current approaches to risk assessment are not appropriate for use with Indigenous offenders.




How to Cite

Khalid, M. (2022). The Canadian Correctional System and Aboriginal Risk Assessment: A Systemic Failure. Revue YOUR Review (York Online Undergraduate Research), 7. Retrieved from



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