Federal offenders affiliated with Security Threat Groups (STG)

Research Highlights: Among in-custody offenders, STG affiliated offenders account for 13% of in-custody men and 6% of in-custody women offenders.


No RIB-20-09


Research in Brief- PDF

Federal offenders affiliated with Security Threat Groups (STG)

Why we did this study

Security Threat Groups (STGs) Footnote 1 impact the safety and security of correctional institutions in Canada and create operational management challenges for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). CSC restricts the influence and power exercised by STGs and encourages offenders to disaffiliate. Understanding the prevalence and composition of STGs within the federal offender population assists CSC in the management of these offenders.

What we did

This study analyzed data from federal offenders in custody or under community supervision on May 24, 2020 (N = 22,791). Specifically, STG affiliation, Footnote 2 region, and ethnocultural group were extracted. Footnote 3 Women (n = 1,404) and men (n = 21,387) were examined separately.

What we found

This study revealed that STG affiliated offenders account for 4% of the entire women’s population compared to 11% for men. In-custody and Indigenous offenders accounted for a greater proportion of the STG- affiliated population (see Table).

Table. Distribution of STGs in the Correctional Population
Ethnicity Gender by Incarceration Status
Women Men
(N = 639)
(N = 765)
(N = 12,715)
(N = 8,672)
% (n) % (n) % (n) % (n)
Indigenous 13 (34) 6 (13) 22 (857) 13 (219)
Non-Indigenous 1 (2) 1 (5) 9 (813) 6 (432)
All Offenders 6 (36) 2 (18) 13 (1,670) 8 (651)

Half of STG-affiliated women were in the Prairie region and about one-fifth in the Pacific region during the study period, regardless of incarceration status. In-custody, 67% of STG-affiliated women were associated with Indigenous gangs, while 25% were associated with street gangs, and 8% with other STGs. Footnote 4 In the community, 39% of STG-affiliated women were associated with street gangs, 33% with other STGs Footnote 4 and 28% with Indigenous gangs.

Among STG-affiliated men in-custody, almost half (46%) were incarcerated in the Prairie region during the study period, followed by the Ontario (20%), Pacific (17%), Quebec (12%), and Atlantic (5%) regions. Among STG-affiliated men in the community, one-third (32%) were under supervision in the Ontario region, followed by 29% in the Prairies, 18% in the Pacific, 17% in the Quebec, and 3% in the Atlantic regions.

STG-affiliated men offenders in-custody were more often affiliated with street gangs (57%) or Indigenous gangs (24%), while fewer offenders were affiliated with outlaw motorcycle gangs (9%), prison gangs (4%), traditional crime organizations (2%), and all other STGs (4%). Footnote 5 In the community, street gang (47%) and outlaw motorcycle gang (21%) were the most common STG affiliation, followed by Indigenous gangs (17%), traditional organized crime (7%), prison gangs (4%), and all other STGs (4%).

What it means

STG-affiliated offenders are more prevalent in CSC institutions, particularly in the Prairie, Ontario, and Pacific regions. Street and Indigenous gangs, in particular, account for the majority of STG-affiliated offenders. Current research is underway to examine the descriptive and behavioural differences between STG- and non-STG-affiliated offenders, as well as across types of STGs.

For more information

Please e-mail the Research Branch.

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

Prepared by: Shanna Farrell MacDonald

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