Profile of Aboriginal Men Offenders: Custody and Supervision Snapshots

To obtain a PDF version of the full report, contact the following address:

Key Words

First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Aboriginal offenders, profile, in-custody, supervision, snapshot

What it means

Although Aboriginal offenders are often examined as one ethnic group, First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders have distinct traditions, cultures and world views. In addition, they have unique characteristics that need to be understood and taken into account by decision and policy makers. Correctional staff could also benefit from a deeper understanding of the unique challenges faced by each of these groups.

What we found

Aboriginal offenders accounted for 22% of the in-custody offender population and 15% of the community population. First Nations were the largest Aboriginal group followed by Métis and Inuit offenders (in-custody: 70% First Nations, 25% Métis and 5% Inuit; supervision: 66% First Nations, 30% Métis, and 4% Inuit). First Nations and Métis offenders were more likely to be incarcerated and supervised in the Prairie Region compared to the Ontario and Quebec Regions for Inuit offenders.

Both First Nations and Métis offenders had lengthy criminal histories. A large majority of Aboriginal offenders had committed violent offences, but Inuit offenders were most likely to commit a sex-related offence.

First Nations offenders were more likely to participate in Aboriginal-Centred interventions and to be referred to Aboriginal-Centred programming. Regardless of Aboriginal group, however, a similar proportion of referred offenders participated and completed Aboriginal-Centred programming.

Inuit offenders had the most stable institutional behaviour of the three Aboriginal groups, while First Nations experienced the most difficulties. Métis and Non-Aboriginal offenders had similar institutional behaviour patterns.

Post-release outcomes were examined for the sample. Métis offenders were more likely to be released on discretionary release, while Inuit offenders had a greater number of supervision conditions imposed.

About one-third of Aboriginal offenders in the sample returned to custody compared to 16% of Non-Aboriginal offenders. However, the overall return to custody rate for the general offender population in 2012 was 29%.

Why we did this study

In collaboration with the Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate (AID) of Correctional Service Canada (CSC), the Research Branch undertook this study to provide an updated profile of First Nations, Métis and Inuit men offenders. In addition, examination of institutional behaviour and post-release success provides a better understanding of the Aboriginal men offender's correctional experience under federal jurisdiction.

What we did

Two snapshots populations were extracted from CSC's operational database ’ one representing all federal men offenders incarcerated and one representing all federal men offenders under community supervision on April 1, 2012. Socio-demographic, sentence, offence, and criminogenic factors were examined as well as measures of institutional behavior and post-release success.

For more information

Farrell MacDonald, S. (2014). Profile of Aboriginal men offenders: Custody and supervision snapshots (Research Report R-321). Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service of Canada.

To obtain a PDF version of the full report, or for other inquiries, please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the website for a full list of research publications.