Carmine Spadafora Discusses Re-entry

Carmine Spadafora Discusses Re-entry

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Re-entry][What is the value in learning about re entryand special populations?How can students benefit from having an understandingof these topics in their studies or future career?]

    • 00:17

      CARMINE SPADAFORA: The value of learning about re-entryis critical, because the offender populationsthat we serve all will eventuallyget out into the community.And I think it's going to be imperativethat the students understand the barriers to re-entrythat special populations face.In Canada, where I'm from, special populations

    • 00:38

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: are defined as Aboriginal.They're defined as youth and women.So these are the special populations in our demographic.We learn and we know that each of those populationsexperience their own subtle barriers to re-entry,so it's going to be really important for studentsto understand what those barriers are

    • 00:59

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: and how they can effectively assist themwhen they do eventually get out.What I tell my students that I teachis what's going to be important for themin their career choices as professionalsis to define what population they ultimatelywant to work with, because each of themexperience different barriers to re-entry.And the more they learn about the populations

    • 01:20

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: they want to work with, the better and more effectivethey will be as criminal justice professionalsin helping them reduce or actually eliminate any barriersto re-entry.[How do special populations differ from other typesof populations?]As I said before, so in Canada, the special populations

    • 01:41

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: consist of-- let's define them first,so Aboriginal populations, the youth population, and the womenpopulation.Each of these populations experience whatwe call pains of incarceration.So there is unique reasons why each of these populationsresorted to crime to begin with, some root cause issues.

    • 02:03

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: When they are within the criminal justice system,they experience their own pain, so for example, women,one of the big pains they experienceis separation from their children if they're mothers.Women also experience pains around the anxietyof being in a confined secure environment.Youth experience different pains.

    • 02:24

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: They're subjugated to potential abusewhen they're incarcerated, so theycan be victims of sexual violence, for example.The Aboriginal, they're overrepresentedin our criminal justice system, so there'sa lot of them in the justice system,and the pains that they experienceare more around their inability to eventually reintegrate

    • 02:44

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: into society.So each of these populations, we understand the painsthat they go through and the root causes that ledto them being incarcerated.Once you know that, you're in a better positionto ultimately impact their re-entry.[How has the re entry process changed in recent years,and what developments do you consider most significant?]

    • 03:07

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: Two primary changes, from my perspective,over the years with special populationsis the actual offender themselveshas changed to a more complicated and more highrisk type of offender.And legislation has changed in Canada.So together, those have changed.Let me speak about the special populations.So we have a group of individuals

    • 03:30

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: in our country called the statutory release offender.They're the offender that are the highest need, highest risk,and they usually get sent back into societyafter serving a statutory amount of time.So they would serve 2/3 of their sentence,and then the system basically just sends them outinto the community.And usually, when these individualsare into the community, sent into the community

    • 03:51

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: without supports and without benefit of a halfway house,they find it very difficult to reestablish connections.So some of the barriers they faceare employment, so they're unemployable or underemployed.Some of them experience mental health issues and addictionissues, and if they don't have the supports with that,then they find it very difficult to re-enter and re-establish

    • 04:15

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: themselves.And a lot of individuals don't have adequate housingin the communities, so because the populationhas become really complex, it's beenreally difficult for the system to sort of catch upto that change.And what needs to happen, I think from my perspective,is more work at the front end while the individualsare in the correctional system.More work has to be done to transition them

    • 04:35

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: more appropriately into the community,rather than just send them out without the supportsthat they need.The other significant change from my perspectiveis our former government has had a tough on crime agenda.So they introduced legislation that wecall mandatory minimums, and I know in the United States,they have that, where individuals now

    • 04:56

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: are serving a minimum amount of time for a certain crime.And what that has done, inevitably,is crimes that were not consideredto be high risk now have been falling under these umbrellas.So you get convicted of a certain crime.You automatically serve that time,so for example, you automatically serve five years,

    • 05:17

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: for example, if you're caught and convictedof a fraud offense.And before, that wasn't there, so the mandatory minimums now,what it does is it removes the discretion from judges to usetheir good sense in saying, wait a minute.Maybe an individual shouldn't just do all this time.Maybe there's some alternative measurethat we can use to help them reintegrate.

    • 05:37

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: Another thing that mandatory minimums don't dois the logic is that when you say to an individual,I'm going to sentence you to this amount of time,you're implying that there's a deterrent effect.And the research hasn't shown that deterrent effectreally matters with a mandatory minimum.So what happens is you're actually contributing

    • 05:57

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: to mass incarceration, so the more people you convictunder this legislation, you're causing more peopleto build up in the institutions.And then eventually, they're all going to come out,and they're going to come out, and they'regoing to end up being the same type of offenderas a statutory release offender, where they'regoing to need a lot of supports when they come out,but they won't exist.So from my perspective, the two major things that have changed

    • 06:19

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: is the offender population has become very complex,and some changes in legislation hasforced more of an incapacitation routeto dealing with these offenders, rather than a rehabilitationroute.[What do you think the future holds in terms of re entry,and what do you feel are the reasons for these changes?]

    • 06:40

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: From my perspective, what I thinkthe future holds for re-entry is in Canada,our correctional services of Canada,which is the federal government thatmanages the correctional system for those convicted of offensesof two years and more, one of the things that they're doingis they realize, so they've come to understand that there'sissues with the system, that individuals

    • 07:01

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: are being released into the communitywithout proper support.So what they've done internally, and Ithink the future is pretty bright,is that the first thing is they're aware of it.The second thing is they're changingsome of their internal working policies.So some of the policies include tryingto connect with these offenders sooner in their period of time,

    • 07:22

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: in period of sentence, rather than wait until they haveto get out, working with them while they're incarceratedsooner, and training the staff, sotraining, typically, the traditional staff thatare correctional officers, security type of staff,changing their discipline and helpingthem become more strategic in how they work with offenders.So that may change their discipline, so for example,

    • 07:44

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: having specialized staff to be more caseworkers or casemanagement staff or psychotherapy staff,more staff that are involved in providing treatmentprograms like substance abuse counseling or violenceprevention counseling.So I think CAC is recognizing that theyhave to make some policy changes and haveto train their staff in a way that allows them to be more

    • 08:05

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: proactive in how they work to reintegrate this high riskpopulation.So I think, even though we're aware of thator Correctional Services of Canada is aware of it,I think they're still relatively young in the stages of that.So my hope is that the future is bright by virtue of them beingaware of it and that they're alreadymaking some internal changes with the staffing

    • 08:26

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: and the ability of the staff to workmore effectively with the offenders that they're serving.[What new research directions do you find most exciting,and where would you like to take your own research?]The new research that I find really excitingis research conducted by Correctional Services of Canadaand one particular project or research project

    • 08:47

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: that came out in 2015 regarding work releases.The Americas use the word "furloughs,"and work releases and temporary absenceare a program that allows offenders,while they're incarcerated, to have access into the community.So they'll be able to leave the penitentiary, for example,three days, up to 10 days, up to 30 days, up to 60 days

    • 09:10

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: for good reason.And it starts slow, and usually, theyleave the institutions to go into the communitylocally to work.And they're supervised by correctional staff,and usually, they now start establishing in the communityexperience before they get out.So it allows an offender to have, already,

    • 09:31

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: an ability to transition from the jail systeminto the community and start establishing connectionsin the employment field.My research specifically talks about the barriersthat the high risk offender faces upon re-entry findingand maintaining employment.And the research has said for a long period of timethat when offenders have barriers

    • 09:51

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: to finding really suitable employment, they're at risk,and they usually recidivate or return to a life of crime.So I'm excited about the research thatallows offenders to have work releases into the community,to start transitioning and establishing connectionsin the community before they get out, so when they do get out,

    • 10:12

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: they already have these connections.And the transition will be a lot more seamless and less sort ofshocking for the offenders, and when that happens,their ability to re-integrate is more effective,and ultimately, they will not recidivate,meaning they will not return to a life of crimeif they have gainful stable employment when they're

    • 10:32

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: in the community.So that excites me.[How important is research methodology and methodsfor a rigorous analysis of special populations and reentry?What are the key research methods that you employ?]Research methodology is key, ensuringthat all research really conforms to research ethics.So that's the big thing for me.When we deal with a vulnerable population like offenders,

    • 10:55

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: we want to make sure that there are no risks posedto the offenders.So the research should not be deceptive in any nature.So all the participants in the researchshould understand exactly what they're agreeing to get into.They need to have full consent, and if they'rea young offender, they need to provide assent,so through a guardian, a legal guardian.

    • 11:17

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: It's really important, I think, also that we don't provideincentive to this population group,where they're doing the research,because they have something to gain.With this vulnerable population, if you say,participate in this research, and we'llgive you early parole, or we'll give you monetary reward,that's a little bit unethical.So we want to stay away from that.And my research certainly stays away from that.

    • 11:40

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: We also want to make sure that the confidentialityof the participants is maintained.So if these offenders are using or providingsome personal information that we use pseudonyms,we don't use their actual names and the actual locationsof where they're situated.These are the methodologies that I've employed.

    • 12:00

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: My particular research wasn't a total random sampling.It was non-probability, meaning that the participants choseto participate.So we call it an exploratory type of cross-sectional study.It's not longitudinal, and it's notfull on random sampling representativeof the full population.

    • 12:20

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: That's ideal, by the way.Mine was more exploratory, so we wantto make sure that it's ethical, that it has ethics boardapproval, and that the participants are totallyprotected of the risks, and their identitiesare maintained total anonymous, total anonymity.[How do you think about the public impact of your ownresearch, and how do you assess the contribution of specialpopulation research to society?]

    • 12:46

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: With public impact of research thatstrives to reduce recidivism, everyone is a stakeholder.So if we know that offenders are ultimatelygoing to be released into our communities,we want to make sure that we can assure our communitiesthat the work that's been done in the criminal justice systemis striving to reduce recidivism,

    • 13:07

      CARMINE SPADAFORA [continued]: because when offenders re-offend,they're re-offending in our communities.They're victimizing our neighbors and our communities.So good research that is ethically soundreally impacts communities in a positive way whenwe know that the research will ultimatelystrive to reduce recidivism.And my research hopefully strives to do that as well.

Carmine Spadafora Discusses Re-entry

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Abstract

Carmine Spadafora discusses the challenges of re-entry for special populations, in particular youth, women and aboriginal people. He describes the problems that may lead to recidivism and highlights issues in the criminal justice system that lead to high incarceration rates.

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Carmine Spadafora Discusses Re-entry

Carmine Spadafora discusses the challenges of re-entry for special populations, in particular youth, women and aboriginal people. He describes the problems that may lead to recidivism and highlights issues in the criminal justice system that lead to high incarceration rates.

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