Useful Information

Social and community (re)integration

What is social and community (re)integration?

Socio-community reintegration is defined as an individualized, multidimensional and long-term adaptation process which is only completed when the reintegrated person participates in the whole of the life of the society and the community in which he evolves and that he has developed a sense of belonging towards them [1].

It is therefore a process of adaptation to a given environment which is unique to each person. This process has three dimensions:

1. The organizational dimension (accommodation, food, clothing, etc.),

2. The occupational dimension (training, work, volunteering, etc.)

3. The relational dimension (family, peers, involvement in the community, etc.).

It is also important to be aware that it may take some time to complete.

In addition, it is the base that allows to initiate the process of social rehabilitation of offenders who integrate or who are in the process of reintegrating into society and the community as worthy, free and responsible people who live in peace with themselves and their social and community environments.

Finally, to proceed with the socio-community integration or reintegration of a person, it is to put him in relation not only with the various social circuits specific to a given society, but also with the various types of links which can be established in the within the human community.


For a better understanding

  • (Re)integrate :

The ASRSQ now uses the concepts of socio-community integration or reintegration rather than that of social reintegration. First of all, this allows us to recognize that some offenders will have to reintegrate socially after their passage through the justice system, but also that others will have to carry out a real process of social integration because they had never been previously integrated. In addition, the term integration has a greater scope than that of insertion. Integration only aims to introduce a person into a given social environment, while integration goes further by also seeking to create greater interdependence between them and other members of a community.

  • Rehabilitate :

According to Le Petit Robert: "To restore in a state, in rights, lost privileges" or "To restore in esteem, in the consideration of others".

For the ASRSQ, fully rehabilitating an offender means acting on the social, community and personal dimensions of their human condition.

  • Social dimensions:

In Introduction à la sociologie générale (1969), Guy Rocher notes that, in society, "relations between people are established on the basis of individual interests; they are relations of competition, competition or at the very least social relations marked at the corner of indifference for everything that concerns others. The "social" relation is therefore a "cold" relation. It covers, for example, business, government, law, science and public opinion.

  • Community dimensions :

In Introduction à la sociologie générale (1969), Guy Rocher notes that the community is made up "of people who unite natural or spontaneous ties, as well as common objectives that transcend the particular interests of each individual. » Thus, the “community” relationship is a “warm” relationship that covers the links between parents, neighbors, work mates, people from the same ethnic group, members of the same political party, and so on. In fact, this relationship cuts across everything that has to do with what people may have in common: "Community of blood", "Community of place", "Community of interest", "Community of identity" ou "Community of spirit"

  • The perspective of the Law

    The Act respecting the Québec correctional system’s objective is to create a unified vision for all stakeholders participating in the social reintegration of offenders, according to Public Safety Québec.

    As early as the first sentence of Chapter 1, it is said that “The correctional services of the Ministère de la Sécurité publique, the Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles and the community-based organizations which are their partners, as well as all society’s stakeholders having an interest in the correctional system shall facilitate the reintegration of offenders into the community.”

    Chapter 1 defines the paramount considerations of the Act by adding two other missions: the protection of society and compliance with court decisions.

    The Criminal Code was established in 1892 and contains the crimes that can become object to criminal proceedings in Canada. In Article 718, the Criminal Code defines the purpose and principles of sentencing as follows: “The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to protect society and to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:

    (a) to denounce unlawful conduct and the harm done to victims or to the community that is caused by unlawful conduct;

    (b) to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences;

    (c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary;

    (d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders;

    (e) to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community; and

    (f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgment of the harm done to victims or to the community.”

    To facilitate social reintegration of offenders therefore is one of the objectives of sentencing according to the Criminal Code.

  • The road to social reintegration

    • Employment

    Equal employment opportunities is a crucial element in the social reintegration process. It implies that there is a willingness from both the individual and the community to achieve reintegration.

    Being employed:

    • Entails an important time investment on a daily basis;
    • Develops positive self-esteem;
    • Consolidates a social network;
    • Represents a source of revenue, which is essential to living in society;
    • Contributes to the growth of said society.

    It is clear that being employed contributes to satisfying the needs of individuals, as represented by the Maslow pyramid. Psychologist Abraham Maslow established in the 1940s a hierarchical classification of human needs. According to him, these needs create motivation. Once the fundamental needs are satisfied, the individual develops secondary needs. However, employment opportunities are denied to those with criminal records for lack of training and strong discrimination from employers.

    To facilitate social reintegration, different programs were put in place by Correctional Service Canada (CSC). These programs include sociocultural, recreational and sports activities, along with work (paid or not) and training sessions. There are also programs for the family of offenders, the victims, and also for the specific needs of substance abusers, women offenders, First Nations, or anger management. CORCAN is a program that provides offenders with employment and employability skills training while incarcerated in federal penitentiaries, and for brief periods of time, after they are released into the community. This initiative improves employment opportunities and puts the individual in real-life situations in a work environment.

    Social reintegration does not stop at the release of an individual, a sense of belonging to a community must gradually be instilled. There are organizations and programs that can facilitate this transition.

    • Parole

    The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) demonstrates that release on parole is effective: “From April 1994 to March 2016, 70% of the 14,792 offenders who were granted full parole successfully completed their sentence. In a little over 17% of cases, the release on parole was revoked because the offender did not comply with the imposed conditions and, in 13% of cases, because they committed another crime. During the same period, the Board granted day parole to 2,236 individuals. Close to 82% of offenders successfully completed their parole. It was revoked due to non-compliance of conditions in less than 13% of cases and a new infraction was committed in 5.8% of cases.”

    In 2012–2013, according to the PBC, the release rate on day parole on the federal level was 68% and the full parole rate on the federal level was 29%. During the same period of time, the completion rate of releases on parole on a federal level for day parole was 89.3%, 85.2% for full parole, and 60.6% for statutory release.

    • Community support

    Halfway houses are organizations acting as a pied-a-terre within a community for individuals with a criminal record going through the process of social integration or reintegration. They are part of a gradual release process and allow individuals to fulfill their basic needs (shelter, food, etc.) so they can continue their social reintegration through job search and personal development. These houses provide different programs depending on the resource, such as drug abuse, sexual offences, anger management, etc.

    The Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) are formed of four to seven volunteers who are committed to support individuals who have committed serious sexual offences to reintegrate society after a sentence. According to the CSC, The CoSA’s mission is “to substantially reduce the risk of future sexual victimization of community members by assisting and supporting released individuals in integrating with the community and leading a responsible, productive, and accountable life.”

    The 2008 R-185 Research Report Circles of Support & Accountability: A National Replication of Outcome Findings mentions that “the offenders who participated in CoSA had significantly lower rates of any type of reoffending than did the matched comparison offenders who did not participate in CoSA. Specifically, offenders who participated in CoSA had an 83% reduction in sexual recidivism in contrast to the matched comparison group (2.1% vs. 12.8%), a 73% reduction in all types of violent recidivism (including sexual—8.5% vs. 31.9%), and an overall reduction of 72% in all types of recidivism (including violent and sexual—10.6% vs. 38.3%).”

    According to the 2007 doctoral thesis of J. Bigras Prediction of recidivism among sex offenders, the recidivism rate for sexual offences committed on a child (intra and extra familial) is 2.8%, on a teenager (13 to 16 years old) is 6.2% and on an adult is 5.2%. Finally, for mixed sexual offences (adult and minor victims), the recidivism rate is 7.8%. In the case of offences committed on children, the wide majority (89%) of sex offenders knew their victim. This number goes down to 74% for offences committed on adults.

  • Recidivism Rate

    The recidivism rate is defined as “the percentage of released offenders readmitted to federal custody during a particular period of study”, according to the CSC. It is extremely difficult to provide an overall recidivism rate, as many questions need to be asked: Do we round up the different rates in an average number? Do we treat every type of recidivism the same way? What is the reference period?

    Two examples are given in Volume 5 of FORUM (on Corrections Research), a publication by the CSC on recidivism. “For example, a fraud offender who was told to abstain from alcohol and drugs while on release decides to celebrate the new-found freedom by getting drunk at a party. The police are called by angry neighbours and find out that the offender is on parole. Is this recidivism?”

    “Let’s focus on the most serious technical violations. Consider the case of a sex offender whose conditional release conditions stipulate that he or she stay away from school yards where he or she was known to scout for potential victims. If we find out that this sex offender is in fact loitering in school yards, is this recidivism? It is serious, but is it recidivism?”

    Social reintegration programs as well as the means implemented to help rehabilitate people who have been put on trial, such as parole, also have an influence on recidivism. According to a research report submitted to the Center Interuniversitaire de Recherche en Analyze des Organizations (CIRANO) by the Ministry of Public Security in 2019, the measures promoting the social reintegration of people who have received a sentence of less than two years in provincial institutions in Quebec are effective because they considerably decrease the recurrence. In fact, it has been observed that people who have taken part in these measures have significantly lower recidivism rates than non-participants. Depending on the institution, the recidivism rate for non-participants is between 35% and a little over 50%, while for program participants this rate is between 6% and a little over 10%. It has also been observed that the probability of recidivism tends to decrease depending on the number of programs in which the person sentenced is involved during the same sentence [1].

    To this we can add that in 2018-2019 [2]:

    • 0.9% of federal day parole ended following the commission of a non-violent offense and 0.1% following a recidivism accompanied by violence.
    • 2% of total federal parole was terminated following the commission of a non-violent offense and 0.4% following a violent recidivism.
    • 7.4% of statutory releases ended for a non-violent offense and 1.1% for a violent offense.

    Since the implementation of the pardon / record suspension process in 1970, 535,615 pardons / record suspensions have been granted / issued and ordered. Of that number, about 95% remain in effect, showing that the vast majority of people who have been granted a pardon or record suspension continue to be law-abiding citizens in the community.

    The ASRSQ remains convinced that social and community reintegration is the best way to protect the community in the long term.


    [2] https://www.securitepublique.g...