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 five women's institutions across Canada, as well as a healing lodge.
- All women's institutions are multi-level. These institutions house women offenders classified at minimum, medium and maximum security levels. The healing lodge is only for women at the minimum or medium security level.
- CSC's safe and supportive environment provides women with opportunities that empower them to live with dignity and respect.
- We provide the necessary programs and interventions so they can become law-abiding citizens, which creates safer communities for all.
- Staff working 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.
- Approximately six per cent of Canadian federal offenders are women.
- At the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year, there were 676 women in custody in CSC facilities and 721 women under supervision in the community.
- Indigenous women are over-represented in the federal correctional system. They represent almost 40 per cent of incarcerated women offenders.
- 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 2017-18, there were 133women serving a life or indeterminate sentence.
- CSC facilities offer women offenders a variety of correctional, social, employment, and educational programs that are delivered by qualified and trained facilitators.
In the community
- In 2017-18, more than half of women offenders were under CSC supervision in the community.
- Women offenders are more likely to be granted day and full parole than their male counterparts.
- 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 2019
- Date modified: