Trends in Administrative Segregation 2014 to 2016

Improved administrative segregation management in federal corrections has led to substantial reductions.

Why we did this study

Over the last few years, the number of federal inmates in administrative segregation has continued to decline. In April 2014, there were 780 inmates in administrative segregation in federal institutions. By April 2015 there were 663 inmates, in September 2015 there were 550 inmates and by March 2016 there were 454 inmates in administrative segregation. We can describe this as a consistently improving correctional performance trajectory, one where the number in administrative segregation has declined.

The increased focus and public interest in the use of administrative segregation has led to a need for unravelling Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC) recent experience of a significant downward trend.

What we did

Since April 2014, the mid-month administrative segregation count and monthly average actual “physically-in” population (does not include offenders on Temporary Absences, Exchange of Service Agreements, in outside hospitals, provincial custody) counts have been reported using CSC’s Corporate Reporting System.

Systematically recording population counts and exploring time-series analyses across the five administrative regions of CSC added important information by taking into account variations that occur over time with these regions.

What we found

The federal population in administrative segregation showed a substantial decrease in March 2016 relative to April 2014 and an overall net decrease of 326 (or -41.8%) from 780 to 454 since April 2014.

On the other hand, the monthly average federal population in-custody also showed a decrease in March 2016 relative to April 2014 of 604 (or -4.1%) from 15,241 to 14,637. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, a monthly rate of administrative segregation based on average in-custody population was calculated. The national rate fell from 5.1% to 3.1% for a net percentage reduction of 39.2%. Regionally, since 2014 the Prairies has proportionally declined the most from 6.6% to 2.0% (or 177 inmates) followed by Quebec from 5.5% to 4.0% (or 63 inmates) and Ontario from 3.9% to 2.8% (or 46 inmates). As well, both Atlantic (6.4% to 5.1%) and Pacific (3.3% to 3.2%) have declined (or 32 and 8 inmates, respectively).

What it means

The recent month-on-month downward movement in administrative segregation counts may not only be reflective of operational shifts in placement and duration but also of high impact leadership at the site level. Beyond a reduction in the overall federal in-custody population it appears that lower placement rates and shorter periods of stay have resulted in a substantial decrease in administrative segregation. Analysis on how CSC performs over time will assist to better understand the factors affecting improvements in the use of administrative segregation

For more information

Please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the Research Publications section for a full list of reports and one-page summaries.

Prepared by: Larry Motiuk and Mike Hayden