How Do Community Assessments Work?

NOTE:  This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog belong solely to the FedPhoneLine staff.  WE ARE NOT Psychologists or Therapy Professionals, all data and information on these blogs is for informational purposes ONLY.

According to Corrections Canada there are many reasons why a Community Assessment (known as a CA) is required for an inmate:

  1. If there is a new significant source of community information and/or support which needs to be assessed for release planning, including a temporary absence and work release location, or when the offender is in the community.
  2. Existing file information needs to be updated
  3. Day parole to an other location is being considered
  4. Cancellation of the suspension is being considered and the offender’s release plan is in another area
    information is required for an international transfer
  5. A victim wishes to provide information which would impact on the management of the case and it is agreed a Community Assessment is required.

Community Assessment

The 2 main types of Community Assessment (CA):

  1. CA done on inmates to determine risks and suitability if the inmate is applying to be released on parole to a halfway-house.
  2. CA done on members of the community who may be seeking participate in PFV’s with their loved one. These CA’s are done to verify the relationship the inmate has with the visitor and to determine if there are any risks with allowing the visitor to participate in the PFV’s.

1. CA for Inmates Applying for Parole:

Once the inmate identifies the halfway house he/she is interested in attending, an application must be sent to that halfway house. When the application is received, the halfway house coordinates with the inmate’s institutional parole officer, and a Community Assessment begins.

CA’s are done by a team made up 3 members:

  1. An individual from the local police department
  2. The halfway house manager
  3. A community parole officer.

They will look into the inmate’s criminal history, speak to any family contacts and support networks that the inmate provides. The team will determine the inmate;s suitability to the halfway house and provide a written report to the institutional parole officer on their recommendations.

Questions Usually Asked During This Type of CA:

  1. Does the inmate have any victim’s in the area?
  2. Why does the inmate want to move to the specific area?
  3. Are there any risks for the community, should the inmate be released there?
  4. Does the inmate have any family member, friends or support in the area?
  5. Has the inmate made contacts in the area, and would he/she be able to get a job if released to the area?

2.  CA for Visitors Trying to Have PFV’s with their Loved Ones

An inmate must submit a PFV application and must list the person who will be visiting him/her.  That individual will be contacted and be informed that a CA will be required. Additionally, the person will be told that they must participate in a CA (failure to participate in a CA is automatic denial).

For this CA, a parole officer (PO) from the local community will contact the visitor and may ask to meet and discuss the PFV application. Depending on the PO, they may meet at a coffee shop or at the visitor’s residence.

The PO will go over the application, and ask for documentary proof of the relationship. They may even get into the details of the inmate’s crimes and criminal record.

Questions Usually Asked During This Type of CA:

  1. How long have you known the inmate and what was the relationship with him/her like before their incarceration?
  2. What are the charges the inmate is currently serving time for?
  3. If the inmate asks you to bring him/her contraband into the institution, what would you do?
  4. Why do you want to participate in PFV’s with the inmate? How will it benefit the inmate?
  5. How do you plan on getting to and from the PFV and are you willing to stay in a trailer for 3 days without being able to leave or having access to your telephone?


Commissioner’s Directive 715-3:  Community Assessments: