Age Structure of Women in Federal Custody: 2009-10 and 2019-20
Research Highlights: Proportionally, there are more younger and fewer older Indigenous women in federal custody than non-Indigenous.
Research in Brief- PDF
Why we did this study
A previous examination found that there is an increasing representation of younger Indigenous women in federal custody relative to their non-Indigenous counterparts.Footnote 1 While changes in the age structure of a carceral population can signal potential for future growth, it also provides an indication of the type and amount of interventions required to address the treatment needs of younger versus older inmates. This study unpacks the age structure for women in federal custody.
What we did
Ten years of age data reflected in Correctional Service of Canada’s Corporate Reporting System-Modernized were extracted at year-end for both Indigenous (168 in 2009-10 and 279 in 2019-20) and non-Indigenous (355 in 2009-10 and 406 in 2019-20) women inmates.
What we found
Data for 2009-10 reveals that Indigenous women present a higher representation across the younger age groups of under 35 years of age than non-Indigenous women (62% and 45%, respectively). Within the older age groups (55+), Indigenous women inmates show a lower representation than non-Indigenous women (1% and 8%, respectively).
In 2019-20, results reveal that the Indigenous women inmates continue to present a higher representation across the younger age groups of under 35 years of age than non-Indigenous women (61% and 42%, respectively). Within the older age groups (55+), Indigenous women inmates continue to show a substantially lower representation than non-Indigenous women (3% and 13%, respectively).
What it means
The disproportionate representation of Indigenous women (41%) in federal custody may be partly attributed to age disparity, and therefore sustained intervention efforts and effective partnerships that consider this aspect of the Indigenous women population profile are required for the safe return of these offenders to the community.
For more information
Prepared by: Larry Motiuk and Andre Arnet-Zargarian
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