Youth custody and community services in Canada, 2008/2009

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by Donna Calverley, Adam Cotter and Ed Halla

The rate of youth admitted to remand declined in most jurisdictions
Just over half of all youth held in remand were released within one week
Rate of youth admitted to sentenced custody also down
Most youth spent less than 6 months in sentenced custody
Overall, youth admitted due a violation against the person accounted for the largest proportion of admissions to remand and sentenced custody
The rate of youth admitted to community supervision declined
Females continue to account for a minority of youth admitted to correctional services
Incarceration rate for male youth is seven times the rate for female youth
Aboriginal youth in correctional services
The Aboriginal population in Canada is growing and is young
Levels of education, employment and income are lower among Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal youth highly represented in custody and community services
Aboriginal youth were incarcerated on Census Day at a greater rate than non-Aboriginal youth, among reporting jurisdictions
Aboriginal youth account for a notable proportion of female youth entering correctional services
The representation of female Aboriginal youth in remand and sentenced custody has grown
The median number of days served in remand greater for Aboriginal youth than non-Aboriginal youth
Type of violations for which youth were admitted to remand and sentenced custody differed somewhat between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth as did time served
Summary
Detailed data tables
References
Notes

In 1998, the Department of Justice Canada introduced a "Strategy for Youth Justice" which approached youth justice with a framework that included crime prevention, education, child welfare, child mental health, family and the community. One component of the strategy was the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), implemented in 2003. The YCJA has several objectives: to improve decision-making in the youth justice system through the application of clear and coherent principles; to make more appropriate use of the courts; to achieve fairness in sentencing and reduce the use of custody so that the most serious interventions are reserved for the most serious crimes; to make clear distinctions between serious violent offences and less serious offences; and to effectively reintegrate youth into the community (Department of Justice Canada, 2005; Taylor-Butts and Bressan, 2008). 

Coinciding with the introduction of the Strategy for Youth Justice, a gradual decline in the number of youth aged 12 to 17 admitted to sentenced custody began in 1999 (Calverley, 2006). In 2003, the year the YCJA was implemented, there were substantial decreases in the number of youth charged by police, appearing before youth courts and entering correctional services. Declines continued in the subsequent years (Thomas, 2008; Taylor-Butts and Bressan, 2008; Kong, 2009; Wallace, 2009).

This Juristat article provides a statistical overview of youth admitted to and released from custody and community services in 2008/2009, and examines trends in admissions and releases from 2004/2005 to 2008/2009. Information presented includes types of admissions, length of stays, and characteristics of youth such as the type of violation for which they are admitted to correctional supervision and gender. Furthermore, this article provides an analysis of the characteristics of Aboriginal youth under correctional supervision. Among selected jurisdictions1 the representation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth under correctional supervision is analyzed in comparison to their representation in the general population. The violation profiles of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth and the median number of days served in remand and sentenced custody are also compared. As well, this article provides analysis of the rate of incarceration as of Census Day (i.e., May 16, 2006) in four jurisdictions.2

Text Box 1

Information about survey coverage

The analyses are based on administrative data collected through the Youth Custody and Community Services Survey, which is conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Not all provinces and territories reported complete data for every reference year. Jurisdictions excluded from particular analyses due to non-reporting are noted throughout the article. Within the period of 2004/2005 through to 2008/2009, the following data are not available:

  • All data for Prince Edward Island for 2005/2006 through to 2008/2009.
  • All data for Nunavut for 2007/2008.
  • Admissions to remand in Saskatchewan for all years.
  • Admissions to probation in Nova Scotia for 2005/2006 through to 2008/2009; in the Northwest Territories for 2004/2005.
  • Lengths of time served in custody and in the community in Quebec for all years.
  • All data on characteristics of youth in Quebec and Nunavut for all years.
  • Data on the "most serious violation" in Saskatchewan for all years.

Of just over 40,300 admissions to youth correctional services in the eight jurisdictions that provided data for 2008/2009, 41% of youth were admitted to probation, followed by remand (meaning custody while awaiting trial or sentencing) (39%), sentenced custody (9%), the community portion of a custody and supervision order (6%), deferred custody (4%) and the intensive support and supervision program (1%) (Table 1) (see Text Box 2).

The rate of youth admitted to remand declined in most jurisdictions

In 2008/2009, there were 168 youth admitted to correctional services for every 10,000 youth aged 12 to 17 years in the general population. This rate3 represents a decline of 3% from the previous year and 6% from 2004/2005. Declines in the overall rate in 2008/2009 were driven by decreases in the rate of admissions to remand (-6%), the community portion of a custody and supervision order (-10%), and probation (-1%) (Table 1). 

In 2008/2009, the rate at which youth were admitted to remand declined in 8 of the 10 reporting jurisdictions4 when compared to the previous year. Decreases ranged from -29% in Newfoundland and Labrador to -2% in Manitoba and British Columbia. Meanwhile, rates grew in New Brunswick (5%), Alberta5 (1%) and the Northwest Territories (1%) (Table 2).

Under the YCJA, there are restrictions around the use of remand for youth that are based on the Judicial Interim Release provisions of the Criminal Code (s.515 (10)). These provisions state that remand can only be used for the following reasons: to ensure court attendance, for the protection of society, or for any other just cause being shown, and; to maintain confidence in the administration of justice. As well, two noteworthy guidelines are contained in the YCJA. A young person shall not be detained in custody prior to sentencing as a social measure (e.g., child protection, mental health (s.29 (1)), and a youth justice court shall not presume that detention is necessary if, after considering detention for the purpose of public safety or protection (s.515 (10)(b), CCC), the young person could not be committed to custody if found guilty.

Just over half of all youth held in remand were released within one week

In 2008/2009, 54% of youth released from remand6 were released within a week. An additional 26% were released after having spent anywhere from more than a week to a month in remand, and 18% of releases occurred between more than a month and 6 months. A very small proportion (1%) spent more than 6 months in remand. The median number of days youth spent in remand ranged from 3 days in Newfoundland and Labrador to 22 days in the Northwest Territories (Table 3).

A decrease in the number of youth admitted to remand, as well as a general decrease in median days served means that on any given day in 2008/2009, there were 981 youth in remand,7 3% less than the previous year (see Text Box 2).

Text Box 2

Admissions and average counts: Two ways of counting the use of correctional services

This Juristat makes use of two basic indicators that describe the use of correctional services: the average number, or count, of individuals under correctional supervision and the number of annual admissions to correctional facilities or to community supervision programs.

Counts of the number of persons in custody or serving a sentence in the community at a given point in time provide a snapshot of the daily correctional population and are used to calculate an annual average count. Typically, correctional officials perform daily counts in their facilities and monthly counts of offenders under community supervision. Average counts are more likely to be driven by the length of time under correctional supervision. Average count statistics therefore are more representative of longer term inmates and offenders serving longer term community supervision orders compared to admissions.

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 number of admissions. This occurs when 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.

Rate of youth admitted to sentenced custody also down

The rate of youth admitted to sentenced custody also decreased in 2008/2009, down 3% from the previous year. Nova Scotia reported the largest annual decline of -16%, although Ontario and British Columbia also reported declines. In contrast, 8 of the 11 reporting jurisdictions reported increases,8 most notably in the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and the Yukon (Table 4).

Under the YCJA a young person can be sentenced to custody only under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: commission of a serious violent offence; failure to comply with the conditions of community sentences; commission of an offence for which an adult would be liable to imprisonment for more than two years; have a history that indicates a pattern of findings of guilt; or, when it is an exceptional case where the young person has committed an indictable offence and the aggravating circumstances of which are such that a non-custodial sentence would be inconsistent with the purposes and principles of sentencing (s.39,YCJA).

Most youth spent less than 6 months in sentenced custody

Of those released from sentenced custody in 2008/2009, 43% of youth released were released after spending one month or less in sentenced custody, while almost half (47%) of young offenders released from sentenced custody had served a period anywhere from more than one month up to six months (Table 3). Nine percent of youth released from sentenced custody had spent more than six months when released. Detailed micro data from four jurisdictions9 indicate that two-thirds (67%) of youth who served more than a month to six months spent between one and three months in sentenced custody.

Youth in Nova Scotia and Manitoba tended to spend longer periods of time in sentenced custody than youth in other reporting jurisdictions,10 as 18% of youth released from sentenced custody in Nova Scotia and 15% released in Manitoba served more than six months (Table 3).

Text Box 3

What is Canada's youth incarceration rate?

In 2008/2009, on any given day, there were seven youth aged 12 to 17 in custody for every 10,000 youth in the general population. This represents a decline of 4% from the previous year's incarceration rate and a 15% decrease from 2004/2005 (Table 5). The incarceration rate decreased from the prior year in five of the 12 reporting jurisdictions, ranging from a 3% decrease in Alberta to -14% in Nova Scotia. Two jurisdictions, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories remained stable. In contrast, five jurisdictions reported increases from 2007/2008, ranging from 2% in Saskatchewan and British Columbia to 13% in the Yukon.

Overall, there were substantial decreases upon implementation of the YCJA in 2003/2004, but the decrease in the youth incarceration rate preceded the implementation of the YCJA. The youth incarceration rate had been decreasing since 1994/1995.    

For the second consecutive year, there were more youth in remand than serving a custodial sentence (Chart 1). On any given day, in 2008/2009, 52% of all youth in custody11 were in remand. Four jurisdictions reported having more than half of their custodial population in remand: Manitoba with 68% of youth in custody in remand, Ontario (59%), Alberta (55%), and British Columbia (53%).

Chart 1
Average daily count of youth in remand and sentenced custody, 2004/2005 to 2008/2009

Description

Chart 1 Average daily count of youth in remand and sentenced custody, 2004/2005 to 2008/2009

Note: Excludes Nunavut.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Youth Key Indicator Reports.

Overall, youth admitted due a violation against the person accounted for the largest proportion of admissions to remand and sentenced custody

Overall, more than one third (35%) of youth admitted to remand in 2008/2009 were remanded for a violation against the person.12 Among the nine reporting jurisdictions,13 the Northwest Territories (69%), Manitoba (60%), British Columbia (33%) and Nova Scotia (28%) reported the largest proportion of admissions to remand for a violation against the person (Table 6).

Youth remanded for a violation against property14 accounted for 25% of remand admissions overall. However, levels across the jurisdictions ranged from 20% in British Columbia to 54% in the Yukon. Other Criminal Code violations15accounted for 29% of youth admitted to remand, ranging from 10% in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories to 42% in Newfoundland and Labrador. Other Criminal Code violations include violationssuch as breach of probation and failure to appear in court.

Overall, 39% of all youth who entered sentenced custody were admitted due to a violation against the person, followed by a violation against property (27%), other violations16 (21%) and other Criminal Code violations (13%). There was also jurisdictional variability in the violation profiles of youth admitted to sentenced custody. In Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick youth admitted to sentenced custody due to a violation against property accounted for a greater percentage of admissions than did youth admitted due to a violation against the person (Table 6). Other violations accounted for the highest proportion of youth admitted to sentenced custody in British Columbia (37%), and most of these were offences against the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The rate of youth admitted to community supervision declined

In 2008/2009, the rate of youth entering community supervision programs declined 2% from the previous year. This was largely due to a decline in the rate of youth entering probation and the community portion of a custody and supervision order (Table 1).

The rate of youth admitted to probation decreased from the previous year in 4 of the 10 reporting jurisdictions.17 The decline in Ontario drove the 1% decrease overall (Table 1 and Table 7).

At the end of any given month in 2008/2009, community supervision workers were supervising an average of 17,771 youth on probation, compared to 20,418 in 2004/2005, a decline of 13%.

Females continue to account for a minority of youth admitted to correctional services

Female youth in the justice system are a minority.18 Among reporting jurisdictions, female youth accounted for 21% of youth admitted to remand, 17% admitted to sentenced custody and 24% admitted to supervised probation in 2008/2009 (Table 8).19 These proportions have remained relatively stable since 2004/2005. Generally, females account for a greater percentage of admissions in the youth system than in the adult system. For example, in 2007/2008 in the adult system, females accounted for 13% of adults admitted to remand, 12% of adults admitted to provincial and territorial sentenced custody and 18% of adults admitted to probation.20

Incarceration rate for male youth is seven times the rate for female youth

On any given day in 2008/2009, there were 15 male youth incarcerated for every 10,000 male youth in the general population. This is seven times higher than the incarceration rate of female youth (2 for every 10,000 female youth in the population).

The incarceration rates for male and female youth have both remained relatively stable since gender statistics became available in 2005/2006 (Table 9). This is due to an increase in the rate of youth in remand and a decline in the sentenced custody rate. 

Since 2005/2006, the rate of male youth in remand has grown 17%. For females, the rate has also increased 17%.While the rate of male and female youth in sentenced custody on any given day has decreased over this time period, declines have been larger for males (-22%) than females (-14%). 

Aboriginal youth in correctional services

The representation of Aboriginal peoples within the Canadian justice system has been the focus of research, public inquiries and policy amendments over the last several decades. The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), in particular, recognizes and includes provisions that are intended to respond to Aboriginal representation in the justice system. The YCJA acknowledges the need to respect cultural and linguistic differences of Aboriginal persons and to respond to their specific needs. In this regard, Part 4 of the YCJA states that, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal young persons, all available sanctions other than custody should be considered, (s.38 (2)(d), YCJA).

While studies have varied in scope, there has been a collective understanding among researchers that Aboriginal peoples generally live under different historic, social and economic conditions than other components of Canadian society. This unique social context has been found to play a part in an increased likelihood of contact with the criminal justice system.21

The Aboriginal population in Canada is growing and is young

According to the 2006 Census, over one million Canadians, or 3.8%, identified themselves as Aboriginal, that is, as a North American Indian, Métis or Inuit and the Aboriginal population in Canada is growing at a notable pace. As a result of higher birth rates and increased life expectancy among Canada's Aboriginal population, the Aboriginal population is expected to grow annually at twice the rate of the non-Aboriginal population. 

The Aboriginal population, as a result, is younger than the non-Aboriginal population, and being young has been identified as one of the strongest risk factors for delinquent or criminal behaviour.22 Almost half (48%) of the Aboriginal population consists of children and youth aged 24 or younger, compared to 31% of the non-Aboriginal population. The number of Aboriginal youth aged 10 to 19 is expected to grow 10% between 2001 to 201723 compared to a decline of 8% for non-Aboriginal young persons. This is a trend that may impact the youth justice system and correctional services.

Levels of education, employment and income are lower among Aboriginal peoples

Research has shown that levels of education, employment and income may be risk factors associated with delinquency and criminal behaviour.24 Disparities in these areas continue to exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations.

While the overall educational attainment of Aboriginal people has increased in recent years, there remain substantial disparities in levels of education between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. For example, according to data from the 2006 Census, Aboriginal peoples were less likely to have a university degree than non-Aboriginal peoples (8% compared with 23%).25 

Unemployment rates tend to be significantly higher and incomes to be lower among Aboriginal peoples. In 2006, the rate of unemployment was 13% for the Aboriginal population, as compared to a rate of 5% for the non-Aboriginal population.26 In 2006, the average income from all sources of Aboriginal peoples was $25,900, which was 70% of the non-Aboriginal population's average income ($36,600).27

These are factors to consider when examining the representation of Aboriginal youth under correctional supervision. The following section examines the representation of Aboriginal youth in correctional services by using data from the Youth Custody and Community Services Survey as well as detailed micro data from the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (see Text Box 4).

Text Box 4

The Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS)

Jurisdictions reporting youth data to the ICSS include Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The ICSS is a person-based survey that collects detailed data pertaining to the delivery of youth correctional services in Canada. Data collected include: information on the individual's socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, Aboriginal status), information on the individual's correctional programs (e.g., pre-trial custody, sentence type, community release, aggregate time served, admitting and releasing facilities) and information on different events that occur while under supervision (e.g., escapes, temporary absences).

Defining and collecting information on Aboriginal identity

The definition of Aboriginal Identity used in the ICSS is modeled after the definition within the Census. The concept of Aboriginal Identity within the Census refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group (i.e., North American Indian, Métis, or Inuit). Also included are individuals who did not report an Aboriginal identity, but did report themselves as a Registered or Treaty Indian, and/or Band or First Nation membership.

The ICSS receives Aboriginal identity information collected at admission to correctional services through self-identification. At admission, each person is asked to self-identify as Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal. Each Aboriginal person is then asked to identify with at least one Aboriginal classification (including, Non-Aboriginal, Non-Status Indian, North American Indian, Aboriginal—Aboriginal identity unknown, Métis, or Inuit).

Overall, the percentage of admissions to youth correctional services in 2008/2009 where the Aboriginal Identity was not reported or was reported as unknown is less than 2% for all jurisdictions that report youth data to the ICSS.

The Aboriginal population in Canada comprises many different nations. Due to the high proportion of records submitted to the ICSS as 'Aboriginal-Status unknown', Aboriginal peoples will be analyzed as a whole for the purpose of this Juristat article.

Aboriginal youth highly represented in custody and community services

According to the 2006 Census, 6% of all youth 12 to 17 years old in Canada self-identified as Aboriginal.28 In comparison, the representation of Aboriginal youth in custody and community services has traditionally been higher. In 2008/2009, Aboriginal youth accounted for 27% of youth admitted to remand, 36% of youth admitted to sentenced custody, and 24% of youth admitted to probation29 (Table 8). Among the various programs within the provinces and the territories, the representation of Aboriginal youth varies.

The representation of Aboriginal youth admitted to remand ranged from 1.4 times their representation within the general population in the Northwest Territories to 5.6 times their representation in the general population in British Columbia. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province which had less Aboriginal youth representation among those admitted to remand than in the general population.

The gap between the representation of Aboriginal youth in corrections and in the general population was largest in sentenced custody, where the representation of Aboriginal youth in sentenced custody was 5.5 times their representation in the general population. All jurisdictions reported a higher representation of Aboriginal youth in sentenced custody than their representation in the general population, most notably in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Compared to custody, the representation of Aboriginal youth in correctional services was lower in probation, where their representation was just over 3 times their representation in the general population (Table 8). All jurisdictions also reported a higher representation of Aboriginal youth in probation than their representation in the general population. 

Text Box 5 

Census Day rates

In this article, the term "Census Day incarceration rate" refers to the rate of youth incarcerated30 for every 10,000 youth in the population on Census Day, meaning May 16, 2006. The rate is calculated using the number of youth incarcerated on May 16, 2006 based on data from the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS), and the population estimates of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth from the 2006 Census.

The Census Day incarceration rate is not an official indicator of the use of incarceration in Canada. The official rate is determined by using the average daily number of youth in custody in a given year, for every 10,000 youth in the general population. This information is collected through the Corrections Key Indicator Report, which does not collect average counts based on Aboriginal identity. The analysis presented in this section of the article is a way of estimating the incarceration rate of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth for the purpose of this article only.

Ratio of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal incarceration rates

The ratio between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal incarceration rates represents how many times higher the Aboriginal rate is over the non-Aboriginal rate. It is calculated by dividing the Aboriginal rate by the non-Aboriginal rate. For example, if the Aboriginal rate is 6 per 10,000 youth population and the non-Aboriginal rate is 2 per 10,000 youth population, then the ratio is 3 to 1, indicating that the Aboriginal rate is 3 times higher than the non-Aboriginal rate.

Aboriginal youth were incarcerated on Census Day at a greater rate than non-Aboriginal youth, among reporting jurisdictions

Incarceration rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth are the best method by which to determine the extent to which Aboriginal youth are over-represented in custody. A special analysis has been conducted using micro data available from four jurisdictions in order to calculate the incarceration rate for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth as of Census Day 2006 (see Text Box 5).  

The Census Day incarceration rate for Aboriginal youth was higher than for non-Aboriginal youth in all reporting jurisdictions.31 Differences in rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth were greatest in Alberta where the incarceration rate for Aboriginal youth was seven times greater. In Ontario, the rate was four times higher, and in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick combined,32 the rate was twice that of non-Aboriginal youth (Table 10).

Female Aboriginal youth in Ontario and Alberta were incarcerated on Census Day at about the same rate as non-Aboriginal males (Table 10). For example, in Alberta, 9.1 Aboriginal female youth were in custody for every 10,000 population and the rate for non-Aboriginal males was 8.5. On the whole, however, incarceration rates for Aboriginal male youth were well above their female and non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Aboriginal youth account for a notable proportion of female youth entering correctional services

Aboriginal youth account for a larger proportion of females entering correctional services than males. In 2008/2009, 34% of females admitted to remand, 44% admitted to sentenced custody and 31% admitted to probation were Aboriginal. In comparison, 25% of males remanded, 34% of males admitted to sentenced custody and 22% admitted to probation were Aboriginal33 (Table 11).

The representation of female Aboriginal youth in remand and sentenced custody has grown

The representation of Aboriginal youth among females admitted to remand has increased in recent years. Among the reporting jurisdictions,34 the representation of Aboriginal female youth admitted to remand increased from 27% in 2004/2005 to 34% in 2008/2009 (Table 12). The increase is due to a 26% increase in the number of Aboriginal female youth admitted to remand, compared to an 8% decrease in the number of non-Aboriginal female youth.

The representation of Aboriginal female youth in sentenced custody also increased between 2004/2005 and 2008/2009, from 37% to 44% (Table 13). Although the number of Aboriginal female and non-Aboriginal female youth entering sentenced custody has decreased over this period, the decline was smaller for Aboriginal female youth.35 

These trends for remand and sentenced custody are also seen among male Aboriginal youth admitted to correctional services, although to a lesser degree (Table 12 and Table 13).

The median number of days served in remand greater for Aboriginal youth than non-Aboriginal youth

With data from the micro data survey, differences in the profiles of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth entering custody can be examined in order to better understand their characteristics. Micro data from the five jurisdictions36 indicate that overall, Aboriginal youth tend to spend more time in remand than non-Aboriginal youth (median of 9 days versus 6 days). This was the case in all reporting jurisdictions (Table 14).

Although there were differences among jurisdictions, overall, the median number of days served in sentenced custody was higher among non-Aboriginal youth than Aboriginal youth in 2008/2009. In Ontario, and in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick combined, the median number of days served in sentenced custody among Aboriginal youth was about 1.3 times higher than among non-Aboriginal youth. In British Columbia, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth served about the same number of days (38 days versus 37). In contrast, median days served among non-Aboriginal youth in Alberta was 26, compared to 24 days among Aboriginal youth (Table 14).

Type of violations for which youth were admitted to remand and sentenced custody differed somewhat between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth as did time served

Data for select jurisdictions reporting to the ICSS37 indicate that in 2008/2009, the proportion of Aboriginal youth admitted to remand for serious violent violations and break and enter was higher than for their non-Aboriginal counterparts,38 yet was lower for robbery and offences against the administration of justice (Table 15).

The median number of days served in remand was greater for Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal youth regardless of violation type (Table 15).

In 2008/2009, Aboriginal youth were admitted to sentenced custody in higher proportions than non-Aboriginal youth for serious violent violations and break and enter. In contrast, the proportion of Aboriginal youth admitted for common assault and theft was lower than for non-Aboriginal youth.

With the exception of robbery and theft, the median number of days served in sentenced custody was higher among non-Aboriginal than Aboriginal youth (Table 15).

Summary

In 2008/2009, the number and rate of youth admitted to correctional supervision programs declined, continuing the downward trend that has been occurring for several years and that was accelerated in 2003 when the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was implemented. During this same period, the police-reported youth crime rate has also generally declined, and, although youth court statistics are currently only available up to 2006/2007, these data also indicate declines in youth court appearances since the implementation of the YCJA. Despite the overall declines witnessed in admissions to youth correctional programs, trends in the use of remand are of note. Although the number of admissions to remand decreased in 2008/2009, admissions had grown in prior years and data indicate that, on any given day in 2008/2009, youth in remand outnumbered those in sentenced custody for the second year in a row. 

In addition to providing overall trends in youth corrections, this article has provided a special analysis of Aboriginal youth in correctional programs. Aboriginal youth continue to be highly represented in correctional services. While data are available for only four jurisdictions and one point in time, data show that Census Day incarceration rates are notably higher among Aboriginal youth when compared to non-Aboriginal youth, regardless of gender or age. The Aboriginal population is young and growing. Moreover, Census data indicate, that, on the whole, socio-economic conditions among the Aboriginal population continue to be lower than among the non-Aboriginal population. Monitoring such demographic, social and economic information may assist those working to secure positive outcomes for Aboriginal youth and prevent their involvement in the criminal justice system.

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Number and rate of youth admitted to correctional services, 2004/2005, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009

Table 2 Number and rate of youth admitted to remand, by jurisdiction, 2004/2005, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009

Table 3 Releases from remand and sentenced custody, by time spent in custody and jurisdiction, 2008/2009

Table 4 Number and rate of youth admitted to sentenced custody, by jurisdiction, 2004/2005, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009

Table 5 Average daily count and rate of youth incarcerated, by jurisdiction, 2004/2005, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009

Table 6 Distribution of young persons admitted to remand, sentenced custody and probation, by most serious violation, 2008/2009

Table 7 Number and rate of youth admitted to probation, by jurisdiction, 2004/2005, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009

Table 8 Characteristics of young persons admitted to correctional services, 2008/2009

Table 9 Average count and rate of youth under correctional supervision, by gender, 2005/2006 to 2008/2009

Table 10 Number and rate of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth incarcerated, by age group and gender, selected jurisdictions, May 16, 2006

Table 11 Proportion of male and female youth admitted to correctional services who were Aboriginal, 2008/2009

Table 12 Proportion of male and female youth admitted to remand, by Aboriginal identity, 2004/2005 to 2008/2009

Table 13 Proportion of male and female youth admitted to sentenced custody, by Aboriginal identity, 2004/2005 to 2008/2009

Table 14 Median days served in remand and sentenced custody, by Aboriginal identity and jurisdiction, 2008/2009

Table 15 Admissions to remand and sentenced custody and median days served, by Aboriginal identity and most serious violation, 2008/2009

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Taylor-Butts, A and Angela Bresson, 2008. Youth Crime in Canada, 2006. Juristat. Catalogue no. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 28, no. 3. Ottawa, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008003/article/10566-eng.htm (accessed March 12, 2010).

Thomas, J. 2008. Youth Court Statistics, 2006/2007. Juristat. Catalogue no. 85-002, Vol. 28, no. 4. Ottawa, Statistics Canada. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008004/article/10568-eng.htm (accessed March 12, 2010).

Wallace, M. 2009. Police reported Crime Statistics in Canada, 2008. Juristat Article. Catalogue no. 85-002, Vol. 29, no. 3. Ottawa, Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2009003/article/10902-eng.htm (accessed March 12, 2010).

Notes

  1. Jurisdictions include Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
  2. Includes Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick combined, Ontario and Alberta.
  3. The rate of youth admitted to correctional services has been used in order to control for differences in the number of youth in the general population.
  4. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
  5. Admission and release counts presented in this report comply with the nationally recognized definitions developed to provide comparability across jurisdictions. Alberta uses a different counting methodology which makes it difficult to compare its official counts to those produced by the Youth Custody and Community Services survey.
  6. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
  7. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Nunavut. For more information on average counts see The Daily, Adult and youth correctional services: Key Indicators, 2008/2009, December 8, 2009.
  8. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island and Nunavut.
  9. Includes Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta.
  10. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
  11. Includes sentenced custody and remand.
  12. Violations against the person include offences such as murder, attempted murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, common assault, robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.
  13. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
  14. Violations against property include offences such as break and enter, theft, arson, motor vehicle theft, fraud, possession of stolen property and mischief.
  15. Other Criminal Code violations include offences such as failure to appear and disorderly conduct.
  16. Other violations include drug related offences, Young Offenders Act (YOA)/YCJAand other federal offences as well as provincial and municipal offences.
  17. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Nunavut.
  18. See Wallace, 2009 for the representation of female youth among persons charged by the police and Thomas, 2008 for the representation of females appearing in youth court.
  19. Remand excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut. Sentenced custody excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nunavut. Probation excludes Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Nunavut.
  20. See Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table number 251-002, Adult correctional services, admissions to provincial and territorial programs.
  21. See Johnson, 2005; Brzozowski, Taylor-Butts and Johnson, 2006; Boe, 2000, and; Boe, 2002.
  22. See Brzozowski, Taylor-Butts and Johnson, 2006.
  23. See Statistics Canada, 2005.
  24. See Laprairie, 2002.
  25. See Statistics Canada, 2008(b).
  26. See Statistics Canada, 2008(a).
  27. 2006 Census, Catalogue no. 97-564-XWE2006002.
  28. Demography Division, 2006 Census Population.
  29. Remand excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut. Sentenced custody excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nunavut. Probation excludes Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Nunavut.
  30. Incarcerated youth include those serving a custodial sentence and those in detention while awaiting trial or sentencing (also known as remand).
  31. Includes Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick combined, Ontario and Alberta.
  32. Due to small counts, data for Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick were combined.
  33. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nunavut. Remand also excludes Saskatchewan. Probation also excludes Nova Scotia.
  34. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
  35. Due to missing data, the analysis excludes Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nunavut.
  36. Includes Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick combined, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
  37. Includes Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
  38. Serious violent violations include murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and negligence causing bodily harm.
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