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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2012JAG0012-000242

March 6, 2012

Ministry of Justice

 

 

Budget 2012 funds new probation officers,
innovative approach

 

VICTORIA – As a result of funding increases in Budget 2012, the provincial government is hiring 36 additional probation officers to support the implementation of a new supervision approach that has been proven to reduce the rate of reoffending.

 

Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, made the announcement as part of government’s commitment to support safe communities and healthy families.

 

The approach, known as the Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS), was used in a pilot program implemented in B.C. in partnership with Public Safety Canada. The 18-month pilot showed the rate of reoffending dropped 38 per cent for medium- and high-risk offenders.

 

Officers are being trained in specific interviewing techniques and approaches that have been shown to have a positive impact on medium- and high-risk offenders, resulting in greater responsiveness to programs and making future criminal behaviour less likely.

 

There are currently 375 probation officers in the province. The 36 new hires will allow more experienced probation officers to provide coaching and mentorship in this approach to probation officers in 49 offices throughout the province.

 

Budget 2012 provides $237 million over three years to the justice sector. The probation officers are being hired as part of an additional $9.5 million going to community corrections programs.

 

Budget 2012 also allows government to hire a total of 180 new corrections officers between the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and Surrey Pretrial Services Centre and to increase the number of cells, services and corrections programs.

 

BC Corrections is receiving an additional $81.2 million over three years:

 

·         $41.4 million for operating costs for the new Surrey Pre-trial Centre (216 cells). This amount includes Shared Services BC’s portion of $16.2 million.

·         $30.3 million for adult custody (corrections centres).

·         $9.5 million for community corrections (including the hiring of new probation officers).

 

 

Through the Justice Review, the Province is asking all justice partners to help find long-term, fiscally responsible solutions that will help make our justice system more efficient, transparent and accessible for all British Columbians.  

 

 

Quotes:

 

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond –

 

“Budget 2012 confirms our government’s focus on keeping families and communities safe. The funding increases are helping to provide expanded services to build capacity and provide timelier, effective services.”

 

Dr. Jim Bonta, director, Corrections Research, Public Safety Canada –

 

“The addition of probation officers to build on the success of the STICS pilot project is an important development for public safety in B.C. The resources added over the next four years will help to move a proven approach into effective, everyday practice. In turn, the training will make probation officers more effective in their work, building both capacity and public safety going forward.”

 

 

A backgrounder follows.

 

Contact:

 

Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Justice

250 356-6961

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

 


 

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2012JAG0012-000242

March 6, 2012

Ministry of Justice

 

 

The Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS)

 

In 2007, 55 probation officers in British Columbia participated in a national STICS pilot project headed by Dr. James Bonta of Public Safety Canada. Fifteen probation officers from Saskatchewan and 10 from Prince Edward Island also participated in the 18-month pilot program.

 

·         The emphasis with STICS is on the application of various one-on-one techniques, such as rapport-building, collaborative goal-setting, and modelling the link between thought and behaviour with the offender.

·         Research results confirmed that offenders, whose probation officers effectively used these structured interview techniques – focusing on collaborative goal-setting and pro-social thinking – saw a dramatic decrease in recidivism compared to those whose probation officers relied on more traditional interview techniques.

·         When the research concluded, Bonta’s team found a 38 per cent reduction in recidivism for offenders supervised by STICS-trained probation officers.

 

The 36 additional probation officers will be hired incrementally over the next four years and will take over caseload responsibilities of existing officers so they are able to coach and mentor their colleagues in the STICS technique and ongoing skill development.

 

·         The initial training of the first 72 probation officers will be completed by the end of March 2012. Training for the next 54 officers will commence this April.

·         The initial training is four days augmented by probation officer attendance at clinical support meetings, provision of ongoing feedback from audio-recorded sessions with clients, and participation in refresher training sessions over a 12-month period.

·         An additional position will be hired to support research and extensive evaluation of the STICS program.

 

 

Contact:

 

Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Justice

250 356-6961

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect