Aboriginal Justice Strategy Mid-Term Evaluation, Final Report

1. Introduction

The Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) was created as a pilot project in 1991 and has since been renewed three times, in 1996; 2002; and most recently in 2007 for another five years with enhanced funding. As part of its current mandate, the AJS enables Aboriginal communities to have increased involvement in the local administration of justice, providing timely and effective alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances. AJS programs are also aimed at reducing the rates of victimization, crime and incarceration among Aboriginal people in participating communities, as well as assisting the mainstream justice system to become more responsive and sensitive to the needs and culture of Aboriginal people. The objectives of the AJS, as stated in its 2007 Terms and Conditions, are:

  • to contribute to decreasing rates of victimization, crime and incarceration among Aboriginal people in Aboriginal communities operating AJS programs;
  • to assist Aboriginal people to assume greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities;
  • to provide better and more timely information about community justice programs funded by the AJS; and
  • to reflect and include Aboriginal values within the justice system.

Community-based Justice Programs provide support to culturally relevant community-based justice programs in partnership with Aboriginal communities and provincial and territorial governments. The Capacity Building Fund supports capacity-building efforts in Aboriginal communities in relation to building increased knowledge and skills for the establishment and management of community-based justice programs. The enhanced funding, resulting from the last renewal, allowed the AJS to expand the reach of existing AJS program services, to fund new Community-based Justice Programs and to implement the Capacity Building Fund.

The Department of Justice's Aboriginal Justice Directorate (AJD) is responsible for managing the AJS and co-chairing the AJS Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) working group, which consists of representatives from the Department of Justice, provinces and territories.

1.1. Context for the Evaluation

To meet the federal government's commitment to results-based management and accountability, the Department of Justice conducted a mid-term evaluation of the AJS in 2009/10. The evaluation covered the first two years of the renewed Strategy, for the 2007/08 and 2008/09 fiscal years. Although the AJS has been in place for almost 20 years, the focus of the evaluation was to assess the implementation of the expansion, as well as outcomes associated with providing existing programs with additional funding. This report presents the findings from the mid-term evaluation.

1.2. Objectives of the Evaluation

The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to:

  • follow up on the recommendations from the 2007 AJS Summative Evaluation;
  • assess the design and implementation of the expanded mandate of the AJS;
  • examine results for selected short-term outcomes; and,
  • explore the adequacy of data to support an impact evaluation of the AJS.

1.3. Structure of the Report

This evaluation report contains six sections, including this introduction. Section 2 provides an overview of the AJS, and Section 3 describes the methodology used to complete this evaluation. Section 4 summarizes the findings from the evaluation, while Section 5 presents the conclusions. Section 6 presents the recommendations and management response.

Date modified: