University of Alberta Prison Project

If you have been interviewed by a CCR / Prison Project researcher and you want to contact us for a follow up please call or text (587) 206-1701.

The UAPP is a multi-year, multi-method study of life experiences inside Western Canadian prisons, consisting of qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys, and ethnographic observation. The goal of the University of Alberta Prison Project is to collect base-line data on life experiences of Canadian prisoners and staff and utilize our findings for evidence-based changes.

Currently, our research in provincial prisons (remand and sentenced up to 2 years) consists of interviews and surveys with current prisoners (currently close to 800 participants) and prison staff (about 200 participants) inside four provincial prisons in Western Canada.

Our research in the provincial setting asks several important questions related to prisons as spaces for radicalization, and explores issues around gender, gangs, drugs, race-relations, administrative segregation, the opioid crisis behind bars, and topics relating to daily life in prison and the challenges of being incarcerated. For staff, we are concerned to understand their experiences on the job, best practices, and possibilities for beneficial reforms. Please see our publications stemming from these data here.

The University of Alberta Prison Project has recently expanded its research efforts into the federal prison system pursuing two main research objectives: (1) creating baseline data about the realities of the victim-offender overlap for male and female inmates held in Canadian prisons, as part of an effort to encourage organizations working at multiple levels of the criminal justice system to implement trauma-informed programming; (2) developing an empirical understanding of the consequences of the opioid crisis on prison life, prisoner relations, and how correctional officers perform their duties, while creating a knowledge base for best practices and advocating for harm reduction measures within the prison system. So far, we have interviewed prisoners and staff at one federal institution, and are visiting two more in the coming months.

With its emphasis on utilizing findings for positive change, we are looking forward to expanding our efforts into the area of reintegration in the future, exploring if and why the system fails and how it can be improved.

For the latest updates on the University of Alberta Prison Project, follow us on Twitter at: @theUAPP