Women offenders are a small and unique part of the total Canadian federal offender population. To meet their needs, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) takes a holistic, women-centred approach that prioritizes public safety.
- CSC operates six women's institutions across Canada, including a healing lodge.
- All women's institutions are multi-level. Most house women offenders classified at minimum, medium and maximum security levels. However, the healing lodge is only for women at the minimum or medium security level.
- CSC's safe and supportive environment provides opportunities to women offenders that empower them to live with dignity and respect.
- We help them to rebuild their lives as law-abiding citizens, which creates safer communities for all.
- Staff that work with women offenders receive women-centred training. This helps them to be sensitive to issues that face federally sentenced women and be responsive to their needs.
- Five per cent of Canadian federal offenders are women.
- On average, there were 678 women in custody in CSC facilities in 2015-16.
- Indigenous women are over-represented in the federal correctional system. They represent almost 36 per cent of incarcerated women offenders, and 22 per cent of women offenders under supervision in the community.
- Compared to the average Canadian, women offenders:
- have a higher incidence of substance abuse and mental health problems
- are more likely to have a history of physical and/or sexual abuse.
- Most women offenders are serving a sentence of less than five years.
- In 2014-15, there were 123 women serving a life or indeterminate sentence.
- Women offenders in CSC facilities are offered a variety of correctional, social, employment and educational programs.
In the community
- On average, there were 546 women under CSC supervision in the community in 2015-16.
- Between 2005 and 2015, women offenders were more likely to be granted day and full parole than men.
- Women offenders in the community have access to CSC self-management programs delivered by qualified and trained facilitators.
- Women offenders in the community have access to community employment services to help them to find meaningful work.
Correctional programs for women
- CSC offers a variety of programs for women offenders, including programs for Aboriginal women. They are designed to address problems that are specific to women and use a modern, holistic approach.
- Women offenders have diverse needs that affect the way they respond to correctional programs. As a result, our programs for women offenders consider:
- their social, economic, and cultural situation in society
- the importance of relationships in their lives
- their unique pathways into crime
- the fact that they are more likely than men to experience trauma, victimization, mental health problems, low self-esteem, and have parenting responsibilities.
Updated January 2017
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