The incarceration of Aboriginal people in adult correctional services: Highlights

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  • In 2007/2008, there were about 369,200 admissions to correctional services, unchanged from 2006/2007. Most admissions (42%) were to remand, followed by provincial and territorial sentenced custody (23%), and probation (22%).

  • In 2007/2008, Aboriginal adults accounted for 22% of admissions to sentenced custody, while representing 3% of the Canadian population.

  • From 1998/1999 to 2007/2008, there has been a slower decrease in the number of Aboriginal people admitted to provincial and territorial sentenced custody compared to non-Aboriginal persons, according to jurisdictions that consistently reported data during this period. Consequently, their proportion increased from 13% to 18%. Among females, the increase in representation was even greater, moving from 17% to 24%.

  • Among the provinces, the representation of Aboriginal adults in custody was higher in the west. For example, in Saskatchewan, Aboriginal adults represented 81% of the admissions to provincial sentenced custody while they represent 11% of the general population in this province.

  • The demographic profile of the Aboriginal population only partially explains the representation of Aboriginal adults in custody. Even when taking age into account, Aboriginal adults remain more represented in custody than non-Aboriginal adults.

  • Employment and education characteristics of young Aboriginal adults explain about half of their over-representation in custody.

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