Va­lid­ity of prison tests called into ques­tion

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - Alex Mckeen Read more at thes­

A Métis man who has been in­car­cer­ated in Canada for more than 30 years feels he may fi­nally have a fair shot at pa­role and es­corted tem­po­rary ab­sences from prison af­ter a Supreme Court of Canada de­ci­sion Wed­nes­day threw a wrench in Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Canada’s use of sta­tis­ti­cal risk as­sess­ment tools, con­clud­ing the prac­tice may dis­crim­i­nate against In­dige­nous in­mates.

Jeffrey Ew­ert, who was raised in Sur­rey, is serv­ing two con­cur­rent life sen­tences for sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and es­cape from cus­tody.

As is pro­ce­dure for Cana­dian in­mates, he par­tic­i­pated in a num­ber of “risk as­sess­ment” tests ad­min­is­tered by Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Canada when his in­car­cer­a­tion be­gan.

Those tests in­cluded the Hare Psy­chopa­thy Check­list (PCLR) and the Static-99 test for sex of­fend­ers, which are de­signed to pre­dict an in­mate’s risk to pub­lic safety based on per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics and crime his­tory.

The tests are used to help Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices de­ter­mine things like whether the in­mate should go to min­i­mum, medium or max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison, and when they are el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.

But the va­lid­ity of us­ing those tools to pre­dict risk for In­dige­nous of­fend­ers has been in ques­tion for decades, largely be­cause of a lack of re­search test­ing their ap­pli­ca­bil­ity among In­dige­nous in­mates, whose rep­re­sen­ta­tion in adult fed­eral pris­ons was nine times that of their rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the pub­lic in 2014-2015.

With files from

The Cana­dian Press


The high court ac­cepts Jeffrey Ew­ert’s chal­lenge of as­sess­ment tech­niques.

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