The federal offender population profile 2018

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. CSC continues to manage a more diverse offender population than ever before.

Population size

As of 2017-18, CSC was responsible for 23,223 federal offenders, 14,092 of whom were in custody (including temporary detainees) and 9,131 who were supervised in the community.

Current offender population profile

  • The median age of the offender population is 42 years old.
  • The proportion of Caucasian offenders decreased by four per cent in the last five years.
  • The proportion of Indigenous offenders increased by just over 17 per cent in the same time period.
  • Indigenous offenders continued to be disproportionately represented in the offender population. Twenty-seven per cent of offenders are of Indigenous ancestry; however, Indigenous Peoples comprise only four percent of the Canadian population.
  • Indigenous women are over-represented in the federal correctional system. They represent almost 40 per cent of incarcerated women offenders.
  • The majority of offenders identified as Catholic or Protestant; however, their proportion decreased by just over eight per cent in the lastfive years.
  • Approximately two-thirds of offenders are classified as medium-security risk.
  • Approximately six per cent of Canadian federal offenders are women.
  • Indigenous offenders were more likely to be serving a sentence for a violent offence.

Length of sentences

  • At the end of fiscal year 2017-18, 39 per cent of offenders were serving a sentence of less than four years, with almost 30 per cent serving a sentence between four and 10 years.
  • Twenty-four per cent of offenders were serving a life/indeterminate sentence.

Meeting challenges

To better respond to the current offender population, CSC has made changes to how it operates by:

  • enhancing our intelligence and information systems
  • implementing population management and mental health strategies
  • regularly reviewing and modernizing penitentiary operations and rehabilitation programs

Updated January 2019

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