Study: Trends in the use of remand in Canada

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1999/2000 to 2009/2010

The number of adults in remand in Canada on any given day has been steadily increasing over the past decade. Remand is the temporary detention of a person while awaiting trial, sentencing or the commencement of a custodial disposition. This increase has coincided with a gradual decline in the number of adults in sentenced custody.

As a result, the number of adults in remand has outnumbered those in sentenced custody since 2005/2006.

On any given day in 2009/2010, an average of about 13,600 adults were in remand in Canada (excluding Nunavut). This was up 1% from the previous year.

In 2009/2010, adults in remand accounted for 58% of the custodial population, while those in sentenced custody comprised the remaining 42%. A decade earlier, the proportions were reversed, at 40% and 60%, respectively.

There were two factors that drove the overall increase in the adult remand population: higher numbers of annual admissions and longer periods of time spent in remand.

Annual adult admissions to remand rose 30% from 1999/2000 to 2008/2009. Increases in the length of time adults spent in remand were reported for all provinces and territories that provided data, except Ontario, where the median length remained unchanged.

As was the case with adults, in 2009/2010, youth aged 12 to 17 who were in remand accounted for 53% of the custodial population while those in sentenced custody comprised the remaining 47%.

The higher number of youth in remand was driven by a 25% decline in admissions to sentenced custody since 2004/2005, the earliest year of comparable data. In contrast to adults, the number of admissions to remand and the length of time spent in remand remained stable for youth since 2004/2005.

Note: This release is based on a Juristat article that presents information on recent trends in the use of remand at the national and provincial/territorial levels for adults and youth. Remand is the temporary detention of a person while awaiting trial, sentencing or the commencement of a custodial disposition. Average counts for remand include those held in custody on dual status (remand and sentenced custody). In some cases, not all jurisdictions were able to report complete data. For full information on coverage, consult the Juristat article.

Available on CANSIM: tables 251-0002, 251-0004, 251-0008 and 251-0010.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3306, 3313 and 3323.

The Juristat article "Trends in the use of remand in Canada" (85-002-X, free), is now available. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Crime and Justice, and Juristat.

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