The federal offender population profile 2015

During the past decade, the offender population profile at Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions has changed significantly. This change has put new pressures on CSC and its operations. While the rate of change has slowed in recent years, CSC continues to manage a more diverse offender population than ever before.

Population size  

  • On a typical day during 2014-15, CSC was responsible for 22,958 offenders.
    • 15,043 of them were in federal custody (including temporary detainees).
    • 7,915 were supervised in the community.

2015 offender population profile

In 2014-15:

  • The median age of the offender population upon admission was 33.
  • The proportion of Caucasian offenders decreased by four per cent over the previous five years.
  • The proportion of Indigenous offenders increased by just over 17 per cent in the same time period.
  • The majority of offenders identified as Catholic or Protestant; however, their proportion decreased by just over eight per cent over the previous five years.
  • Approximately two-thirds of offenders were classified as medium security risk.
  • Indigenous offenders were more likely to be placed in a medium or maximum security institution.
  • Indigenous offenders continued to be disproportionately represented in the offender population. While Indigenous people represent approximately four per cent of the Canadian adult population, almost 23 per cent of federally sentenced offenders were Indigenous.
  • Indigenous offenders were more likely to be serving a sentence for a violent offence.

Length of sentences

  • At the end of fiscal year 2014-15, 50 per cent of offenders were serving a sentence of less than five years, with almost 23 per cent serving a sentence between two and three years.
  • 23 per cent of offenders were serving a life/indeterminate sentence.

Meeting challenges

  • CSC has made changes to how it operates to better respond to the current offender profile. These changes include:
    • enhancing our intelligence and information systems
    • implementing population management and mental health strategies
    • regularly reviewing and modernizing penitentiary operations and rehabilitation programs.

Updated January 2017