ARCHIVED - CSC Review Panel
Howard Sapers
Correctional Investigator
June 27, 2007
Ottawa, Ontario

Archived Content

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Overview

Canada's crime rate is decreasing

Canada's penitentiary population is increasing

Key trends in Corrections

  1. Aboriginal offenders
  2. Women offenders
  3. Offenders with mental health issues
  4. Conditional release and reintegration

Conclusion


Police-reported crime rate has decreased since 1991

Police-reported crime rate has decreased since 1991

Canada's penitentiary population is steadily increasing

Canada's penitentiary population is steadily increasing

Key Trends in Corrections

1. Aboriginal Offenders

The number of Aboriginal offenders is steadily increasing - now represents 19.6% of the federal incarcerated population
Aboriginal offender population is rising and now represents 19.6%
Patterns of conditional releases among
non-Aboriginal offenders
Patterns of conditional releases among non-Aboriginal offenders
Patterns of conditional releases among
Aboriginal offenders
Patterns of conditional releases among Aboriginal offenders
Aboriginal Offenders: Trends and Impacts

The gaps in correctional outcomes between Aboriginal and other offenders are widening, including:

  • The proportion of Aboriginal offenders under community supervision is significantly smaller than the proportion of non-Aboriginal offenders serving their sentences on conditional release.
  • Aboriginal inmates are released later in their sentences than other inmates.
  • Aboriginal offenders are consistently under-represented in minimum-security institutions.
  • Absence of Aboriginal programming in maximum-security institutions limits ability to be transferred to lower security institutions.

2. Women Offenders

Total number of women incarcerated in federal institutions is increasing
Total number of women incarcerated in federal institutions is increasing
The number of Aboriginal women incarcerated in federal institutions is increasing
Total Aboriginal women incarcerated in federal institutions is increasing
Women Offenders: Trends and Impacts

The number of incarcerated women in federal institutions is increasing, and the percentage of women offenders under community supervision is decreasing. This situation is impacting on already strained CSC programs and services, including:

  • Limited access to meaningful employment and employability programming.
  • Limited access to culturally sensitive programming and services for Aboriginal women in some CSC regions.
  • Lack of community accommodations and support services for women offenders in underserved areas.

3. Offenders with Mental Health Issues

The percentage of federal offenders with mental health diagnoses at admission has significantly increased over the last decade
Percent of federal offenders with a MH diagnoses increased over the decade
Offenders with Mental Health Issues: Trends and Impacts
  • The actual number of offenders with significant MH issues is likely underestimated as CSC's mental health screening and assessment on admission is inadequate.
  • Improving outcomes in this area is critical as offenders with mental illnesses continue to be segregated in response to displaying symptoms of their illnesses, and released later in their sentence.
  • The Correctional Service acknowledges that it needs to continue to build capacity to address the gaps in its MH care services continuum.

4. Conditional Release and Reintegration Patterns

The Statutory Release population has steadily increased over the last 14 years, from 23% to 36% of all releases
% increase in the statutory release
Although NPB continues to release offenders from CSC medium-security institutions, minimum-security institutions are underutilized
Minimum security population
Conditional Release and Reintegration: Trends and Impacts

More offenders are released later in their sentence, especially Aboriginal offenders, women offenders and offenders with mental health issues. As the incarcerated population grows, further impacts on:

  • Already long waiting lists for programs.
  • Waivers, postponements and withdrawals of hearings of the National Parole Board related to program access.
  • Limited access to programs in the community, especially for women and Aboriginal offenders.
  • The chronic shortage of Aboriginal-specific core programming in maximum-security institutions.

Conclusion

  • Should these trends continue, Canada will see a significant increase in its federal incarcerated population.
  • This increase will be lead by higher numbers of Aboriginals, women, and individuals with mental health concerns.
  • These marginalized and vulnerable groups present an existing challenge which is not being effectively met by correctional officials.
  • A further increase in federal incarcerated population will only aggravate an already unenviable situation.