Introduction

Sex offenders represent a large and growing segment of the offender population. As of June 1996 there were approximately 4500 sex offenders, who comprised approximately 25% of the incarcerated population and 14% of the conditionally supervised population. There has been an estimated increase of 50% in this population from January 1990 to January 1995.

A sex offender is defined as anyone who has been convicted of a sexual offence; convicted of a sexually motivated crime; or has admitted to a sexual offence which has not resulted in conviction.

In Canada, the division between federal and provincial offenders is by length of sentence. Offenders sentenced to 2 years or more are a federal responsibility, although some may be housed in provincial facilities through exchange of services agreements. Federal corrections also has responsibility for community supervision of federal offenders. In some provinces where the National Parole, Board is responsible for release decisions involving provincial offenders, the Correctional Service of Canada is also responsible for supervision of provincial offenders.

Female Sex Offenders

Female sex offenders make up a relatively small proportion of the total number of federally sentenced and conditionally released women. There were only 19 cases identifiable by offence-based criteria as of July 1995, which comprised 3% of the total number. In contrast there were 622 federally sentenced females, 322 incarcerated and the remaining 300 on conditional release. Sixty-two of the incarcerated female offenders were of Aboriginal origin.

Previous Research in CSC

A literature review was recently undertaken by Dr. J. Atkinson (1995). This critical analysis of the literature pertaining to female sex offenders concludes that women are much less likely to commit sexual offences than men and that treatment must be specific to individual cases of offending. Prior to this, CSC's Corporate Advisor prepared a brief report on female sex offenders as an addendum to her Risk Assessment Training Manual (Williams, 1995).