JustFacts

Indigenous overrepresentation in provincial/territorial corrections

November 2016

Research and Statistics Division

This fact sheet is based on data from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) on Indigenous adults and youth in the correctional system.Footnote 1 Indigenous adults and youth are overrepresented in Canada’s correctional system. Despite the Gladue decision in 1999, the proportion of Indigenous offenders in the correctional system has increased over the past 15 years.

Indigenous adults overrepresented in custody

One in four (25%) adults (18 years and older) admitted to provincial/territorial correctional services in 2014/2015 were Indigenous, including community sentences (24%), sentenced custody (26%), remand (25%), and other custody (34%).Footnote 2

The proportion of Indigenous adults admitted to provincial/territorial custody in 2014/2015 (26%) was almost 9 times higher than their representation in the population (3%).

The proportion of Indigenous adults admitted to correctional services has increased for every type of correctional supervision since 2007/2008 (Table 1).

Indigenous youth overrepresented in custody

One in three (33%) youth (aged 12-17) admitted to provincial/territorial correctional services in 2014/2015 were Indigenous, including community sentences (29%), open custody (39%), secure custody (40%), pre-trial detention (36%), and provincial director remand (63%).Footnote 3

The proportion of Indigenous youth admitted to provincial/territorial custody in 2014/2015 (37%) was about 5 times higher than their representation in the population (7%).

The proportion of Indigenous youth admitted to correctional services has increased for every type of correctional supervision since 2007/2008 (Table 2).

Overrepresentation in custody more pronounced for Indigenous females

The degree of Indigenous overrepresentation in the correctional system is greater for Indigenous females than Indigenous males.

In 2014/2015, Indigenous men accounted for 24% of adult male custody admissions (25% sentenced custody, 23% remand, 30% other custody) and Indigenous women accounted for 38% of adult female custody admissions (36% sentenced custody, 35% remand, 55% other custody).

In 2014/2015, male Indigenous youth accounted for 34% of male youth custody admissions (35% open custody, 38% secure custody, 32% pre-trial detention, 62% provincial director remand) and female Indigenous youth accounted for 49% of female youth custody admissions (53% open custody, 51% secure custody, 47% pre-trial detention, 67% provincial director remand).

Table 1. Percentage of admissions of Indigenous adults to provincial/territorial correctional services, 2007/2008-2014/2015
  2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015
Total correctional services 20 21 23 24 25 24 25 25
Community sentence 19 19 20 21 22 23 23 24
Custody (total) 21 23 24 26 27 25 26 26
Sentenced custody 23 25 26 28 28 26 26 26
Remand 20 21 23 24 25 24 24 25
Other custody 26 27 29 30 30 33 34 34

Note: Analysis excludes cases where Indigenous identity was unknown. Data does not represent all provinces/territories as there are variations in the availability of data.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 251-0022 - Adult correctional services, custodial admissions to provincial and territorial programs by aboriginal identity, annual (number), CANSIM (database); Table 251-0026 - Adult correctional services, community admissions to provincial and territorial programs by aboriginal identity, annual (number), CANSIM (database). Custom tabulation prepared by the Department of Justice Canada.

Table 2. Percentage of admissions of Indigenous youth to provincial/territorial correctional services, 2007/2008-2014/2015
  2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015
Total correctional services 27 28 28 29 32 32 33 33
Community sentence 26 27 26 27 29 28 29 29
Custody (total) 28 29 31 32 35 37 39 37
Secure custody 32 34 32 34 39 34 35 40
Open custody 35 36 31 32 33 39 42 39
Pre-trial detention 26 27 30 30 34 35 37 36
Provincial director remand 54 50 56 63 60 71 66 63

Note: Analysis excludes cases where Indigenous identity was unknown. Data does not represent all provinces/territories as there are variations in the availability of data.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 251-0012 - Youth custody and community services (YCCS), admissions to correctional services, by aboriginal identity and sex, annual (number), CANSIM (database). Custom tabulation prepared by the Department of Justice Canada.

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