Adult correctional statistics in Canada, 2015/2016

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by Julie Reitano

This Juristat article provides an overview of adult correctional services in Canada for 2015/2016. It presents three indicators that describe the use of correctional services: average daily counts, admissions and initial entry. Average counts provide a snapshot of the adult corrections population on any given day; initial entry provides an indication of the number of adults entering the corrections system during the year; and admissions measure the flow of adults through the system by counting adults each time they begin or move to a new type of custody or community supervision (see Text box 1).

The information for this Juristat article comes from three correctional services surveys. The Adult Correctional Services Survey and the Integrated Correctional Services Survey are the sources of admissions data. The Adult Corrections Key Indicator Report provides information on average daily counts. Data coverage for these surveys for some years is incomplete. Exclusions are noted where applicable.

In Canada, the administration of adult correctional services is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial and territorial governments. The federal system has jurisdiction over adult offenders (18 years and older) serving custodial sentences of two years or more and is responsible for supervising offenders on conditional release in the community (such as parole or statutory release). The provincial and territorial system is responsible for adults serving custodial sentences that are less than two years, those who are being held while awaiting trial or sentencing (remand), as well as offenders serving community sentences, such as probation.

Rate of adults being supervised by the correctional system continues to decline

Adult incarceration rate remains stable

Remand continues to exceed sentenced population

Most adults under community supervision are on probation

Remand is the first point of contact for many adults entering adult corrections

Admissions to adult correctional services have remained stable

Women account for a small proportion of admissions to adult correctional services

Younger adults account for the majority of admissions

Aboriginal adults account for one in four admissions to provincial/territorial correctional services

Time spent in provincial/territorial custody continues to be short

Operating expenditures totalled more than $4 billion in 2015/2016

Chart 1

Data table for Chart 1
Chart 1
Average daily rate of adults in custody, 2005/2006 to 2015/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average daily rate of adults in custody. The information is grouped by Custody type (appearing as row headers), 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, calculated using rate per 100,000 adult population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Custody type 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016
rate per 100,000 adult population
Sentenced custody (federal)Chart 1 Note 1 50 51 51 51 50 51 52 52 54 53 51
Sentenced custody (provincial/territorial)Chart 1 Note 2 37 38 38 37 37 40 40 40 39 36 35
Remand (provincial/territorial)Chart 1 Note 3 43 47 49 50 50 47 48 48 46 46 49

Chart 2

Data table for Chart 2
Chart 2
Percentage of adult admissions to custody by age group, 2015/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of adult admissions to custody by age group Age group (years), 18 and 19, 20 to 24, 25 to 29, 30 to 34, 35 to 39, 40 to 44, 45 to 49 and 50 and older, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Age group (years)
18 and 19 20 to 24 25 to 29 30 to 34 35 to 39 40 to 44 45 to 49 50 and older
percent
Federal 2 14 18 18 13 9 9 16
Provincial/territorial 5 18 19 17 13 10 8 11

Chart 3

Data table for Chart 3
Chart 3
Percentage of releases from adult provincial/territorial custody, by time served, 2015/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of releases from adult provincial/territorial custody. The information is grouped by Time served (appearing as row headers), Sentence custody and Remand, calculated using percent of releases units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Time served Sentence custody Remand
percent of releases
1 week or less 30 51
Greater than 1 week
to 1 month
30 25
Greater than 1 month
to 6 months
31 20
More than 6 months 10 4

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Average daily counts of adults in correctional services, by jurisdiction, 2015/2016

Table 2 Average daily counts of adults under correctional supervision, by type of supervision and jurisdiction, 2015/2016

Table 3 Initial entry of adults into correctional services, by type of supervision and by province, 2015/2016

Table 4 Admissions to adult correctional services, by type of supervision and jurisdiction, 2015/2016

Table 5 Admissions to adult correctional services, by characteristic of persons admitted, type of supervision and jurisdiction, 2015/2016

Table 6 Operating expenditures of the adult correctional system, by jurisdiction, 2015/2016

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Text box 1
Adult corrections surveys concepts and coverage

Average counts provide a snapshot of the adult correctional population and represent the number of adults in custody or under community supervision on a typical day. Corrections officials typically perform daily counts of adults in their facilities and monthly counts of adults under community supervision. These are used to calculate the annual average daily custody and community counts as well as average daily inmate costs.

Initial entry represents the first point at which an adult commences an uninterrupted period of supervision within the adult corrections system. Each person is counted only once during his or her period of involvement with correctional services, regardless of subsequent changes in legal hold status.

Admissions for Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics surveys are counted each time a person begins any period of supervision in a correctional institution or in the community. These data describe and measure the number of times an adult moves from one type of correctional supervision to another. The same person may be included several times in the admission counts where he/she moves from one correctional program to another (for example, from remand to sentenced custody) or re-enters the system later in the same year. Admissions therefore represent the number of entries of persons, during a fiscal year, to remand, sentenced custody or a community supervision program, regardless of the previous legal hold status.

Not all provinces and territories reported complete data for 2015/2016. Jurisdictions excluded from particular analyses due to non-reporting are noted throughout the article. The following data are not available:

  • Average counts data for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (community supervision and total correctional services).
  • Average counts data for Alberta for 2014/2015 (community supervision and total correctional services).
  • Admissions data for Alberta.
  • Initial entry data for Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The information presented in this report is based on administrative data. Although the correctional services surveys use nationally agreed upon, standardized concepts and definitions, limitations in jurisdictional comparability may exist due to differences in corrections operations that can affect the uniform application of the standard definitions. Therefore, caution is required when making comparisons between jurisdictions.

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Text box 2
Canada’s incarceration rate is lower than the majority of G20 countries

In 2015/2016, there were on average 41,145 offenders, both adult and youth,Note 30 in custody on any given day in Canada, representing an incarceration rate of 115 persons in custody per 100,000 population. This was unchanged from the previous year.

Among the 19 countries of the G20 (excludes the European Union), Canada’s incarceration rate ranked 12th highest. The United States had the highest incarceration rate (698 persons in custody per 100,000 population) while India reported the lowest incarceration rate (33 persons in custody per 100,000 population).

Textbox 2 chart

Data table textbox 2 chart
Text box 2 chart
International incarceration rates, G20 countries
Table summary
This table displays the results of International incarceration rates. The information is grouped by Country (appearing as row headers), rate per 100,000 population (appearing as column headers).
Country rate per 100,000 population
India 33
Japan 48
Indonesia 64
Germany 78
Italy 86
France 95
Korea (Rep. of) 101
Canada 115
ChinaText box Note 1 119
England and Wales (UK) 148
Australia 151
Argentina 160
Saudi Arabia 161
Mexico 212
Turkey 220
South Africa 292
Brazil 301
Russia 445
United States 698

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Survey description

The Adult Correctional Services Survey (ACS) collects aggregate data on the number and case characteristics (e.g., sex, age group, Aboriginal identity, length of time served) of admissions to and releases from adult correctional services. The following jurisdictions responded to the ACS in 2015/2016: Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS) collects microdata on adults and youth under the responsibility of the federal and provincial/territorial correctional systems. Data include socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, Aboriginal identity) as well as information pertaining to correctional supervision, including admissions and releases by legal hold status (e.g. remand, sentenced, probation). The following jurisdictions responded to the ICSS in 2015/2016: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Correctional Service Canada.

The Adult Corrections Key Indicator Report collects aggregate data on average daily custody counts and month-end supervised community corrections counts in the provincial/territorial and federal adult systems.

Notes

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