Aboriginal Courtwork Program Evaluation

Appendix D: Judicial and Court Officials Interview Guide

Judicial and Court Officials Interview Guide

Good morning/afternoon/evening. My name is ______________________ and I am calling from Ference Weicker, a management consulting firm.

On behalf of the Department of Justice Canada, we are conducting a telephone survey of judicial and court officials to obtain feedback on your involvement with the Aboriginal (Criminal) Courtwork Program. As part of this process, we are conducting interviews with judges, defence counsel, crown counsel, judicial assistants/court clerks and probation officers who have been directly involved in activities associated with the Program. We would appreciate the time you take to provide responses to the questions.

The results from the survey will provide important information that will be used to support the national evaluation and renewal of the Aboriginal Courtwork Program. Please note that the information we collect from you will be held confidential and will only be reported in summary format with the responses obtained from the other people whom we interview. The interview will take approximately 45 minutes.

Do you have time now to answer the questions?

Contact Information

Name:

Province/Territory:

Telephone Number:

City/town based in:

A. Perceptions of the Aboriginal Courtwork Program

1. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all familiar, 3 is somewhat familiar, and 5 is very familiar, how familiar would you say you are with the Aboriginal Courtwork Program?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Very Familiar
  • N/A

If Not at All Familiar, Please Stop the Interview.

2. How long have you been aware of Aboriginal Courtworkers?

  • Less than 1 year
  • 1 to 2 years
  • 2 to 5 years
  • 5 to 10 years
  • Over 10 years

3a. One objective of the Aboriginal Courtwork Program is to help Aboriginal people who are in conflict with the criminal justice system to obtain fair, just, equitable, and culturally sensitive treatment. In your opinion, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all successful, 3 is somewhat successful, and 5 is very successful, how successful do you believe the Program is in achieving this objective?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Very Successful
  • N/A

3b. Another objective of the Aboriginal Courtwork Program is to serve as a bridge between criminal justice officials and Aboriginal people and communities, by providing a liaison function and facilitating communication and promoting understanding, thereby providing culturally sensitive treatment. In your opinion, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all successful, 3 is somewhat successful, and 5 is very successful, how successful do you believe the Program is in achieving this objective?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Very Successful
  • N/A

4a. In what ways or areas has the Aboriginal Courtwork Program been successful? Please provide examples.

4b. In what areas or respects would you say that the Program has been less successful? Please provide examples.

B. Services of the Courtworkers

Question B1 is Only for Judges, Defence Counsel, Crown Counsel, Probation Officers

All Other Participants - Please Proceed to Question B2

One of the services of Aboriginal Courtworkers is to provide information to representatives of the justice system such as you.

1a. How important is the information provided by the Aboriginal Courtworkers regarding:

(On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all important, 3 is somewhat important, and 5 is very important)

1b. How satisfied have you been with the information provided by the Aboriginal Courtworkers regarding:

(On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all satisfied, 3 is somewhat satisfied, and 5 is very satisfied)

Information Regarding

A1 The circumstances of Aboriginal persons before the court as they pertain to the decision-making process in court? (e.g., concerning bail, sentencing, etc.)

Importance Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Satisfaction Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Have not Received Information

A2 (if 3 or more) In what way is this information important?

A3 How does the Courtworker provide you with this information? (e.g., in written or verbal format?)

B1 The legal and social resources available in the community?

Importance Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Satisfaction Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Have not Received Information

B2 (if 3 or more) In what way is this information important?

B3 How does the Courtworker provide you with this information? (e.g., in written or verbal format?)

C1 Identifying alternative/restorative justice programs and services (where they exist)?

Importance Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Satisfaction Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Have not Received Information

C2 (if 3 or more) In what way is this information important?

C3 How does the Courtworker provide you with this information? (e.g., in written or verbal format?)

D1 Information regarding cultural and social considerations that are relevant to the decision-making process

Importance Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Satisfaction Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Have not Received Information

D2 (if 3 or more) In what way is this information important?

D3 How does the Courtworker provide you with this information? (e.g., in written or verbal format?)

E1 Considerations regarding sentencing (i.e., Aboriginal persons before the court’s reply to circumstances, information on the range of appropriate sentences available)

Importance Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Satisfaction Rating

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • N/A

Have not Received Information

E2 (if 3 or more) In what way is this information important?

E3 How does the Courtworker provide you with this information? (e.g., in written or verbal format?)

F1 Other information relevant to the court process?

Please specify

2. We have developed a series of statements regarding Aboriginal Courtworkers. For each statement, please indicate whether you strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat agree or strongly agree, on a scale of 1 to 5.

2a. Aboriginal Courtworkers are available when I need them

  • 1. Strongly Disagree
  • 2. Somewhat Disagree
  • 3. Neither
  • 4. Somewhat Agree
  • 5. Strongly Agree
  • N/A

(If disagree, why do you say that?)

2b. Aboriginal Courtworkers expedite legal matters (or process) of Aboriginal persons before the court

  • 1. Strongly Disagree
  • 2. Somewhat Disagree
  • 3. Neither
  • 4. Somewhat Agree
  • 5. Strongly Agree
  • N/A

2c. Aboriginal Courtworkers provide valuable services to the court

  • 1. Strongly Disagree
  • 2. Somewhat Disagree
  • 3. Neither
  • 4. Somewhat Agree
  • 5. Strongly Agree
  • N/A

2d. Aboriginal Courtworkers provide valuable services to other justice personnel and their clients (i.e., sheriffs, court registry, court clerks, etc.)

  • 1. Strongly Disagree
  • 2. Somewhat Disagree
  • 3. Neither
  • 4. Somewhat Agree
  • 5. Strongly Agree
  • N/A

3. What suggestions do you have for improving the services provided by Aboriginal Courtworkers?

4. In your experience, where is the greatest demand for Aboriginal Courtworker services: (check all that apply)

  • On circuit
  • In the "base" court
  • Out of court and/or in the communities?
  • Other (please specify)

C. Resulting Impacts and Effects

1. The Aboriginal Courtwork Program is designed to achieve a wide variety of impacts. Based on your experience, on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is no impact at all, 3 is somewhat of an impact, and 5 is major impact, what impact do you think that the Program has had in:

1a. Contributing to Aboriginal persons to receive fair and equitable treatment before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

1b. Helping Aboriginal persons to make better informed decisions regarding their charges before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

1c. Helping Aboriginal persons before the court to make better informed decisions about pursuing alternative measures as a result of the information provided by the Aboriginal Courtworkers (e.g., diversion programs, community justice processes)?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

2. Based on your experience, on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is no impact at all, 3 is somewhat of an impact, and 5 is a major impact, what impact do you think that the Aboriginal Courtwork Program has had in:

2a. Helping justice and court officials to be more aware of cultural considerations and social issues (i.e. Residential Schools) when dealing with or sentencing Aboriginal persons before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

2b. Helping to relay information to justice officials of the availability and capacity of alternative justice processes/options in a given community and the potential benefit to Aboriginal persons before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

2c. Helping to relay information about the justice system to the community and other service providers?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

2d. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the court dealing with Aboriginal persons before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

2e. Strengthening communication and understanding between justice system professionals and Aboriginal persons before the court by supporting language and literacy challenges?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Major
  • N/A

(if 3 or more) In what way? (obtain concrete examples)

3. What other impacts, whether intended or not, do you think the Aboriginal Courtwork Program has had?

D. Roles of the Courtworkers

1. Since you were first introduced to Aboriginal Courtworker services, in your opinion, have the challenges faced by Aboriginal persons before the courts changed?

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. Somewhat
  • 3. No

1a. (if yes or somewhat) In what way have the challenges changed?

Based on your observations of the services being provided by the Aboriginal Courtworkers, to what extent have their services been able to meet the needs of Aboriginal persons before the court? On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all, 3 is partially meet, and 5 is fully meet.

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Partially Meet
  • 4.
  • 5. Fully Meet
  • N/A

3. Are there any gaps in the current services for Aboriginal persons before the court that could be filled by the Aboriginal Courtworkers?

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No
  • 3. Don’t know/No response

3a. (if yes) What are the gaps?

3b. What new or additional services would you propose to address the current gaps?

3c. In your view, do you think the Aboriginal Courtworkers need any additional skills and knowledge to provide those new/additional services to address the current gaps?

4. Are there any other enhanced or different services that you would like the Aboriginal Courtworkers to provide?

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No
  • 3. Don’t know/No response

4a. (if yes) Please list those services.

5. What type of training would you recommend to enhance the skills of the Aboriginal Courtworkers to better provide services to the courts?

6. In your opinion, what are the factors that are contributing/affecting the retention rates among the Aboriginal Courtworkers?

  • Job satisfaction
  • Access to training
  • Compensation (salary and benefits)
  • Workplace stress
  • Workplace conditions (physical)
  • Work-life balance
  • Lack of recognition
  • Discrimination
  • Don’t know
  • Not applicable
  • Other (please specify)

E. Relationship to Other Initiatives

1. In your jurisdiction, are there any other Aboriginal-specific services available to Aboriginal persons before the court?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know/No response

If No, Skip to Section I.

1a. (if yes) Please list the other Aboriginal-specific services available to Aboriginal persons before the court.

1b. In your opinion, have the Aboriginal Courtworkers demonstrated knowledge of these other Aboriginal-specific services within the community by suggesting or referring Aboriginal persons before the court to them?

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No
  • 3. Don’t know/No response

1c. (If yes or no) Why do you say that?

2. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all, 3 is somewhat, and 5 is significantly, to what extent do the Aboriginal Courtworkers contribute to the success of other Aboriginal-specific services available to Aboriginal persons before the court?

  • 1. Not at All
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat
  • 4.
  • 5. Significantly
  • N/A

F. Need for and Satisfaction with Program

1. Do Aboriginal people appearing in court continue to need the services provided by the Aboriginal Courtwork Program?

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No
  • 3. Don’t know/No response

2. Based on your experience, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not satisfied, 3 is somewhat satisfied and 5 is very satisfied, how would you rate your overall satisfaction with the Aboriginal Courtwork Program?

  • 1. Not Satisfied
  • 2.
  • 3. Somewhat Satisfied
  • 4.
  • 5. Very Satisfied
  • N/A

3. Do you have any other comments about the Aboriginal Courtwork Program?

G. Position

1. Are you:

  • Presiding Judge
  • Provincial Court Judge
    • base point
    • circuit point
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Queen’s Bench Justice
  • Supreme Court Justice
  • Defence Counsel
  • Crown Counsel
  • Judicial Assistant /Court Clerk
  • Probation Officer
  • Other (please specify)

Thank You for Your Participation

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