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The Transformation of Federal Corrections for Women

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Facts and Figures

Number of Women under Federal Sentence3

There are very few women offenders under federal sentence in Canada. As of September 5, 1999, they numbered 855, or about four per cent of the total federal offender population (21, 969). Of these women, 354 (41%) were incarcerated and 501 (59%) were on conditional release in the community.

The Changing Profile of Incarcerated Women Offenders4

The incarcerated women offender population profile changed somewhat between 1997 and 1999. Highlights are as follows:

    The population is gradually getting younger. Women aged 20 to 34 increased from 48% in 1997 to 53.1% in 1999.
  • The proportion of women serving sentences for committing first- and second-degree murder decreased from 21% in 1997 to 18% in 1999.
  • The proportion of women serving sentences for committing Schedule 1 offences5 decreased from 53% in 1997 to 43% in 1999.
  • The proportion of women serving sentences for non-Scheduled offences6 increased from 11% in 1997 to 15.5% in 1999.
  • The proportion of women serving sentences less than three years in length increased from 25% in 1997 to 37.3% in 1999.
  • The proportion of women serving sentences between three and six years decreased from 34% in 1997 to 29.4% in 1999.

Incarcerated and Community Population Comparisons7

  • 65.8% of the incarcerated population is single, compared to 68.3% of the population being supervised in the community on conditional release.
  • Caucasian women comprise 57.7% of the incarcerated population, compared to 58.5% of the community population. Aboriginal women, on the other hand, comprise 21.1% of the incarcerated population and 12.1% of the community population.
  • 18.3% of the incarcerated population is serving a life sentence, compared to 12.6% of the population being supervised in the community on conditional release.