The Learning Resources Program (LRP) was initially operationalized in 1994 with the advent of the provincial Electronic Monitoring Program as a strategy to provide community-based multi-faceted group psychotherapy to individuals subject to a conditional sentence (house arrest) as well as those who were released from custody under the conditions of a Rehabilitative Temporary Absence. LRP was established with a goal to reduce recidivism rates through the delivery of various psychoeducational programs. The programs were designed to provide support, education and new coping strategies to participants referred within the criminal justice program. There are eight programs under the umbrella of the LRP that address various learning needs including intimate partner violence, addictions and trauma, positive parenting, emotional regulation, positive non-criminogenic behavior, impaired driving awareness and sexual offending.
The LRP continues to be focused on best practice and therefore all programs are under constant review and evaluation. Research has shown that there is a link between childhood exposure to trauma (physical, emotional and/or sexual) and adult psychological wellness including but not limited to, increased experiences of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, interpersonal struggles and self-regulation problems. In addition, research has also demonstrated a correlation between childhood trauma and adult criminal behavior. The various programs offered by the LRP are designed and delivered to support participants in lowering the recidivism rates by helping participants feel safe, build trust, and assist them to make healthy choices in their relationships with others. Further, the programs support participants in empowering them to align themselves with their values. Facilitators are able to work within the four R’s of trauma informed practice, realizing that trauma can have vast affects on people and communities, resisting re-traumatization, recognizing trauma symptoms, and responding appropriately to individuals experiencing trauma symptoms.
A program designed by Lisa M. Najavits and is for people with a history of trauma and/or addiction. Seeking Safety has been successfully used for over 20 years across genders and with people struggling with various barriers. Seeking Safety provides cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal treatment strategies that prioritize safety as the first stage of the recovery process. Seeking Safety helps people manage trauma symptoms, develop healthy coping strategies, prevent self-destructive acts, identify positive and safe people, free oneself from unhealthy relationships, and find new ways to enjoy life. This program is present and future oriented, participants are not asked to participate in exposure therapy or retelling of their trauma or substance use histories; rather they will develop strategies and skills to create a healthy pro-social lifestyle. Offered in Community as well as HMP.
Safety and Repair (S&R)
A gender-based violence program that addresses the needs of individuals and groups who have been abusive in their current relationship. This program is trauma informed and draws on the theories of Social Justice and Narrative Therapy to produce conversations to repair harm. The program recognizes that everyone experiences harm. Safety and Repair is individualized to a person’s values and experiences and therefore is respectfully adapted to any gender, race, ethnicity, or spirituality. Participants move through the program at their own pace. Participants are required to complete all nine topics of Phase 1 and 2 to receive a successful completion of the program, regardless of their risk assessment level. Offered in Community as well as HMP.
Referrals for the Safety and Repair program are accepted through:
- Department of Justice – Some participants serving a Probation Order, Conditional Sentence Order or Temporary Absence Permit are referred to the program as a condition to their order.
- Imitate Partner Violence Intervention Court – Some participants are referred by a special court dealing with family violence offenses. Participants must agree to plead guilty but sentencing is delayed until the participant completes the IPV – Safety and Repair.
Journey to Transformation
A program, which deals with moderate-risk, and high-risk participant who have difficulty in managing their anger in non-domestic situations. The Journey to Transformation program utilizes a cognitive behavioral approach to support participants with skill development for managing and effectively expressing intense emotions. Over a period of 10 sessions, program participants are provided opportunities to explore the process of change while also learning how thought distortion impacts feelings and behaviors. Offered in Community as well as HMP.
A 10-session program offered once a week for 10 weeks in a group setting. Dads focuses on helping fathers understand the realistic expectations for their children’s different developmental stages and helps navigate discipline and parenting approaches for children who have experienced trauma. This program teaches skills of positive communication and co-parenting, assists fathers in processing their own guilt and shame, and teaches fathers about how to avoid common pitfalls in parenting and discipline.
Pathways to Acceptance and Recovery (PAR)
A program for participants who present a risk to reoffend sexually as assessed using the STABLE 2007 & ACUTE 2007, Static 99 and LS-CMI. The program utilizes multiple theories and approaches including, strength-based approach, good lives model, dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The program is divided using a good lives model to guide the participants in the adoption of healthy and prosocial lifestyles. The aim of this program is to reduce recidivism by building awareness around personal relationships, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The participant will learn how to take individual accountability for their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how to use healthy prosocial coping skills.
Criminal Behaviour Awareness
A continuous intake program often offered in conjunction with anger management, and designed to target dynamic risk factors such as anti-social attitudes and values, pro-criminal associations, substance abuse and anti-social behaviour patterns.
Impaired Driving Awareness
A two-day weekend psycho-educational workshop targeting impaired drivers and delivered periodically at the Learning Resources Program (LRP). The LRP and Her Majesty’s Penitentiary personnel coordinate the workshop jointly.
While not a program in itself, supplements the group therapy by requiring high-risk participants to attend up to six additional sessions with a program facilitator either during, or following, completion of a specific program. The objective of the maintenance phase, in essence a relapse prevention strategy, is to reinforce the knowledge, skills and positive changes in attitudes and behaviours which participants have achieved through the group therapy process.
- Referral from either an adult probation officer or a classification officer.
- Intake interview conducted by a group facilitator at the LRP to gain a better understanding of the participant’s background and needs; in the case of sex offenders, a comprehensive assessment tool called STABLE is administered.
- Program assignment is determined as well as the program intensity level.
- The participant is provided with a schedule of sessions for the program ranging from 10-24, 2 hour sessions.
- In some cases, it may be more appropriate to provide individual counselling rather than group therapy.
- Upon completion of the group therapy or individual counselling, a report is prepared by the program facilitator and forwarded to the referring agency; this report will provide a summary of the participant’s progress in the program, the areas which still need to be addressed as well as recommendations regarding other programs which may be considered.
- Participants who fail to participate appropriately may be dismissed from the program.
Benefits to the Participant
- It is an opportunity to discuss personal problems with highly qualified facilitators in a private and confidential setting.
- Participants will also be able to share similar experiences with others in a positive, respectful group learning process.
- It is an opportunity to learn new ways of thinking and acting by being exposed to new ideas, effective coping skills, problem-solving abilities and other techniques in areas such as anger management, family violence and sexual offending.
- Participants will gain new insights, not only about themselves, but also about the impact that their behaviour has had on others.
- The LRP will assist in making referrals to other support services such as employment preparation, addictions services, housing, educational upgrading, etc.