Source: (2000) Forum on Corrections Research. 12(1): 53-56.

Specific study objectives were to identify community-based correctional initiatives; to examine perceptions, attitudes, and values of First Nation community people toward offenders and their release; to evaluate the possibility of using community-based initiatives to monitor, facilitate, and sustain release; to identify healing initiatives within correctional institutions and community-based restorative justice initiatives for Aboriginals; and to analyze the return of Federal offenders in the community context. Interviews were conducted with 62 persons from the five communities using individual household questionnaires; 69 percent of respondents were between 30 and 50 years of age, and 77 percent were females. Needs identified for offenders who had been released from prisons were elder counseling, traditional cultural guidance and healing circles, and structural transition programs for both offenders and the community. Most respondents also mentioned emotional support as an important need. Programs and services that were coordinated, integrative, and holistic were identified by many respondents. Interviews with 34 key informants indicated offenders who had been released from prison faced barriers and competition for employment, education, and training in their communities. Interviews with 15 elders showed elders saw their role as providing services for Aboriginal offenders who were released from prison and wanted to reintegrate into the community. Participants in community circles and focus groups supported offender reintegration efforts and initiatives to restore balance in the community, with the exception of violent and dangerous sex offenders. Released offenders said the transitional phase of release was the most difficult, and most offenders currently in prison recommended various support systems to keep Aboriginal people out of prison. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,