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Friday, December 16, 2005

Adult correctional services


Canada's incarceration rate in 2003/04, including individuals held in federal, provincial and territorial systems, was at its lowest level since 1981/82.

For every 100,000 adults in the population in 2003/04, 130 were incarcerated, a 3% decline from the previous year. It was the first decrease since 2000/01 when the incarceration rate became stable at 134 adults.

Composition of average count of the adult correctional population
  2002/03 2003/04 2002/03 to 2003/04
Correctional services Number % of total Number % of total % change
Custodial supervision:          
Provincial/territorial custody, sentenced 10,607r 6.7 9,844 6.4 -7.2
Remand 8,727r 5.5 9,160 5.9 5.0
Other temporary detention, provincial/territorial 351r 0.2 361 0.2 3.1
Total provincial/territorial custody 19,685r 12.4 19,366 12.5 -1.6
Federal custody, sentenced 12,838 8.1 12,641 8.2 -1.5
Total custodial supervision 32,523r 20.5 32,007 20.7 -1.6
Community supervision:          
Probation 105,061r 66.1 100,993 65.3 -3.9
Provincial parole 1,014 0.6 885 0.6 -12.7
Conditional sentences 13,193r 8.3 13,632 8.8 3.3
Total provincial community supervision 119,268r 75.0 115,510 74.7 -3.2
Community releases (CSC)1 7,222 4.5 7,089 4.6 -1.8
Total community supervision 126,490r 79.5 122,599 79.3 -3.1
Total correctional services 159,013r 100.0 154,606 100.0 -2.8
1.This category represents movement from custody to federal conditional release and includes provincial/territorial and federal offenders on day parole and full parole, and federal offenders on statutory release. Offenders released on warrant expiry and other release types are excluded. CSC denotes Correctional Service of Canada.
Note:Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding. Totals may not add due to rounding. Percentage change has been calculated using unrounded numbers.

Findings on Canada's adult correctional system show a continuing decline in the number of adults in sentenced custody, as well as a continuing increase in the number of adults in remand.

Note to readers

This release is based on the annual Juristat "Adult Correctional Services in Canada," which provides data on the characteristics of the adult correctional population and the delivery of correctional services.

Two basic indicators describe the use of correctional services: the average count of offenders imprisoned or serving a sentence in the community at a given point in time, and the number of annual admissions to correctional facilities or to community supervision programs.

Counts of inmates in custody or serving a sentence in the community provide a snapshot of the correctional population on any given day and are used to calculate an annual average count. Managers in correctional services use average counts as a key operational measure for the utilization of services, such as bed space in institutions.

Admissions data are collected when an offender enters an institution or community supervision program, and describe and measure the caseflow in correctional agencies over time. While aggregate admissions include all persons passing through the correctional system, they do not indicate the number of unique individuals in the correctional system. The same person can be included several times in the admission counts where the individual moves from one type of correctional service to another (e.g., from remand to sentenced custody) or re-enters the system in the same year.

Although there has been a substantial increase in the average count of adults awaiting trial or sentencing over the past decade, the incarceration rate has been affected to a larger degree by the decrease in sentenced custody.

On an average day in 2003/04, 154,600 adults were under the supervision of correctional service agencies in Canada, down 3% from the previous year.

Four out of five of these adults, or just under 122,600, were being supervised in the community. The vast majority, 82%, were on probation, 11% were on conditional sentences and 7% were on parole or statutory release.

The remaining one in five adults, about 32,000, were in a federal penitentiary or in a provincial or territorial jail. This total (i.e., includes sentenced, remand and other temporary detention) was 2% lower than it was in 2002/03, and more than 5% below the level a decade earlier.

Number of adults in remand continues to rise

On an average day in 2003/04, 9,200 adults were being held on remand awaiting trial or sentencing in the provinces and territories, 5% higher than in the previous year.

The use of remand continues to grow, continuing a trend dating back to the mid-1980s. Remand counts in 2003/04 were 37% higher than they were in 1999/2000, and 72% higher than in 1994/95.

In contrast, the number of sentenced offenders in a provincial/territorial jail continues to fall. In 2003/04, about 9,800 sentenced offenders were in provincial/territorial custody on any given day, down 7% from 10,600 a year earlier.

The level in 2003/04 was nearly 14% below what it was in 1999/2000, and more than 31% below the level a decade earlier.

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Offenders sentenced to custody accounted for 31% of all individuals in custody in 2003/04, down from 42% in 1994/95. In contrast, individuals who had been remanded accounted for 29% of all adults in custody in 2003/04, nearly double the proportion of 16% a decade earlier.

In the federal penitentiary system, just over 12,600 adults were in custody, down 2% from 2002/03, and down 9% from 1994/95.

Several factors contributed to the trends of the increasing use of remand and the decreasing use of sentenced custody. The drop in police-reported crime during the 1990s and the decline in the number of adults charged has reduced the number of persons in court and who have received a prison sentence. The implementation of the conditional sentence in 1996 provided the courts with a community-based alternative to imprisonment, and has had a direct impact on the decline in the number of sentenced prison admissions.

A third factor is the crediting of time served on remand during sentencing. Judges may, at their discretion, credit an offender with the time spent on remand when determining a sentence. As a result, the number of offenders in sentenced custody relative to those individuals serving time in remand may be reduced.

Substantial decline in use of parole during past decade

On an average day in 2003/04, almost 900 adults were on provincial parole and about 7,100 were on federal day parole, full parole or statutory release.

The 900 adults being supervised on provincial parole was down 13% from the previous year, and was less than half the level of 1,900 in 1999/2000. Since 1994/95, this number has declined by 76%.

Federal releases to day parole, full parole and statutory release declined 2% in 2003/04 from the previous year. Federal community releases have also declined by 25% during the last decade, from 9,400 to 7,100 adults.

Admissions to correctional services: Other temporary detention rises

Overall in 2003/04, there were 358,400 admissions to correctional services in Canada, down 2% from a year earlier.

Approximately 7 out of every 10 admissions were to some form of custody, while the remaining 30% were to community supervision.

In 2003/04, almost half of the total admissions to correctional service, or around 161,800, were for remand or other temporary detention in the provincial/territorial correctional system.

While the number of remand admissions remained relatively unchanged from the previous year, admissions to other forms of temporary detention increased 9% from 35,200 adults to 38,400.

Total admissions to other temporary detention and remand have been climbing steadily since 1994/95. Admissions to remand rose 7% while admissions to other temporary detention increased 76%.

Composition of admissions to the adult correctional population
  2002/03 2003/04 2002/03 to 2003/04
Correctional services Number % of total Number % of total  % change
Custodial supervision:          
Provincial/territorial custody, sentenced 84,660r 23.3 81,138 22.6 -4.2
Remand 124,346r 34.2 123,401 34.4 -0.8
Other temporary detention, provincial/territorial 35,163r 9.7 38,376 10.7 9.1
Total provincial/territorial custody 244,169r 67.1 242,915 67.8 -0.5
Federal custody, sentenced 7,737 2.1 7,577 2.1 -2.1
Total custodial supervision 251,906r 69.2 250,492 69.9 -0.6
Community supervision:          
Probation 83,394r 22.9 79,626 22.2 -4.5
Provincial parole 2,024 0.6 1,860 0.5 -8.1
Conditional sentences 19,221r 5.3 18,857 5.3 -1.9
Total provincial community supervision 104,639r 28.8 100,343 28.0 -4.1
Community releases (CSC)1 7,377r 2.0 7,515 2.1 1.9
Total community supervision 112,016r 30.8 107,858  30.1 -3.7
Total correctional services 363,922r 100.0 358,350  100.0 -1.5
1.This category represents movement from custody to federal conditional release and includes provincial/territorial and federal offenders on day parole and full parole, and federal offenders on statutory release. Offenders released on warrant expiry and other release types are excluded. CSC denotes Correctional Service of Canada.

The only other increase in admissions in 2003/04 was to federal parole and statutory release, which rose 2%.

Admissions to conditional sentences down for first time

For the first time since conditional sentences were introduced in 1996, the total number of offenders admitted to a conditional sentence dropped, falling 2% in 2003/04 from 19,200 to 18,900 offenders.

In spite of this drop from the previous year, the number of conditional sentence admissions was 17% higher than in 1999/2000. These admissions have been the largest contributing factor to the 4% increase in community supervision admissions during this period.

Changes in the number of admissions to conditional sentences from the previous year varied substantially among the provinces and territories. They ranged from a 57% increase in Prince Edward Island to an 11% decline in British Columbia.

Nearly one-third of women in provincial/territorial sentenced custody were Aboriginal

In 2003/04, there were 81,100 admissions to sentenced custody in the provinces and territories, 10% of whom were women.

Among the women sentenced to custody in 2003/04, nearly one-third were Aboriginal people, while Aboriginal men represented one-fifth of all men sentenced to custody.

Overall, the proportion of Aboriginal people among provincial/territorial sentenced custody admissions has remained stable at 21% since 2001/02. The proportion of Aboriginal people among sentenced admissions to federal facilities also remained stable at 18%.

Decline in spending on correctional services

Spending on correctional services totalled $2.7 billion in 2003/04. Taking inflation into account, total expenditures were down 3% from the previous year.

The federal system accounted for just over half (53%) of expenditures, with the remaining 47% in provincial/territorial systems. Custodial services accounted for just over $1.9 billion or 72% of total spending, while close to $3.7 million, or 14% of the total, went to community supervision services.

The average daily cost to house an inmate in a federal penitentiary in 2003/04 was $240.18, compared with an average of $141.75 per inmate at the provincial/territorial level.

At the provincial/territorial level, spending on custodial services rose 3% since 1999/2000. In contrast, the cost of delivering community corrections in the provinces and territories rose by more than 13% during the same period.

This increase can be attributed, in part, to an increase in the population of community supervision offenders with a conditional sentence who require more intensive supervision.

Juristat: Adult Correctional Services in Canada, 2003/04, Vol. 25, no. 8 (85-002-XIE, $9/$75; 85-002-XPE, $11/$100) and the Internet publication, Adult Correctional Services in Canada, Data Tables, 2003/04 (85-211-XIE, $30) are now available.

Available on CANSIM: tables 251-0001 to 251-0007.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3306.

For more information or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023; fax: 613-951-6615), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

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Date Modified: 2005-12-16 Important Notices