Family Violence Initiative
COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
Healing and Reintegration of Offenders
- Program name:
Buffalo Sage Wellness House (BSWH) Section 81 Healing Lodge
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
- Target Group:
- Contact Name:
Stephanie Poitras - Assistant Director
The program began many decades ago as a vision of the Elders. The first residents were welcomed to the facility on September 6, 2010.
- Goals & Objectives:
To effect change within each woman to enable them to make different choices after their release.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
The Elders are the program's way of involving the spirituality of Aboriginal peoples. The vision of the program is based upon the direction and vision of the Elders. The women are told that their healing is between them and the Creator and that it is a very personal journey. The staff does not interfere with this process. The program offers access to ceremonies; the women choose for themselves whether or not to participate in them but are encouraged to attend; and most do. The Elders do not believe in trying, they believe in doing. And if a client is meant to be there, that ceremony is meant for them.
- Components of program:
Each interaction with the women is carefully handled as the women are learning, from the day they arrive, how their own power is developed and nurtured. From each conversation with a staff member to how they share information and feelings with each other, they are encouraged to be consciously aware of how they affect themselves and others. From this, they practice interactions with each other and staff to apply when they are ready to go out into the community. They begin their reintegration gradually, working toward a possible expanded release such as day parole.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the facility or at various locations in the community.
Funding is provided by the Correctional Service of Canada; and clients' self-advocating for funds.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
Correctional Service of Canada; Edmonton and Area Parole; Edmonton Institution for Women; Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge; Catholic Social Services; Elizabeth Fry Society; Bent Arrow; Bissell Center; Boyle Street Community Services; Canadian Native Friendship Center; Women Building Futures; YouCan; BGS; Lifeline Society of Alberta; YMCA; and the City of Edmonton libraries.
- Other relationships:
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by clients having positive escorted and unescorted community time; how successfully clients integrate into the community; and clients self-reporting of changes in behaviour.
Successfully transferring First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women to BSWH from Correctional Services of Canada institutions.
Waiting for Security Reclassification of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women in Correctional Services of Canada institutions.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. First Nations, Métis Settlements, and Inuit communities would need to know how to set up a Section 81 Healing Facility (budget for Elders and ceremony, infrastructure, staff - the right people for the heart/hard work that needs to be done, etc.).
Adequate staffing, funding and operational space are necessary for the program to be successful.
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