There are a few more trophies to add to the mantle of the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Research Branch, after two members received recent international accolades.
In October, former branch director Andrea Moser was honoured by the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) for her work in the research field, while Senior Research Manager Lynn Stewart received the David Dillingham Public Service Award from the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA).
“I was speechless, which is unusual for me,” says Andrea. “It’s such an honour to receive an award like that from an international organization that’s as well-regarded as the ICPA … it’s a recognition of the excellent research that is done by the Research Branch, and the contribution that we not only make to the organization but to the broader field of correctional knowledge.”
Lynn was equally surprised to hear about her win, which was made all the more meaningful given that it was an ICCA presentation by the late psychologist Don Andrews that helped to inspire the beginning of her career.
“I do remember being so struck by Don at the beginning of my career [after seeing him at the ICCA conference], and thought, ‘this is what I want to do,” she says. “I want to be able to be that confident that the work you’re doing has some legitimacy and an application that can help improve the way we implement our programs.”
Both conferences were an opportunity to continue showcasing the work CSC is doing in the field of correctional research, Andrea and Lynn say, and to find out more about the research being done by other correctional organizations around the world.
Andrea travelled to Bucharest, Romania to receive her award, and was able to join Larry Motiuk, Assistant Commissioner for Policy, in presenting on CSC’s research to the rest of the international participants. Similar to their interactive presentation at the Executive Strategic Leadership Symposium (ESLS) in February 2016, posters highlighting CSC’s research projects were displayed around the room and ICPA delegates were able to learn about a range of topics and ask questions firsthand.
“It really showcased the diversity of research that we do, and the practical implications,” Andrea says. “I had a lot of conversations with people from African countries, from the U.K., from Romania and other places in Europe, Japan. I think these kinds of conferences really raise the profile of [the work we’re doing]. It helps you connect with other people.”
“It speaks to the role that CSC has played for more than a few generations in providing some international leadership in the area of evidence-based practice,” Lynn adds. “It’s very validating to have that acknowledged at an international conference.”
This kind of international networking can also be useful for developing countries whose correctional organizations are setting up a research branch or starting evidence-based practice, Lynn says. While CSC’s Research Branch is well-supported, Andrea continues, that’s not necessarily common across all other jurisdictions. The fact that CSC’s research is done on a national level is also extremely unique, Lynn says, rather than localized projects that may not have impacts across the organization.
“It does increase awareness of the research, and the work being done, where there are these international awards that are given,” says Andrea. “I think it increases interest in what’s going on, and recognition of the contribution that we make. It also reinforces the great work our staff has done, and everyone at CSC can feel proud of that.”