Pandemic Era Impacts on the Federal Supervision Populations
Research Highlights: Substantial pandemic era declines in federal supervision populations were experienced by men, women and across regions.
Research in Brief- PDF
Why we are doing this study
Over the course of two fiscal years, marked by the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) experienced a substantial decline (-1,392 or 10.1 %) in the federal in-custody population from 13,720 at year-end in 2019-20 to 12,328 in 2021-22. Similarly, there was also a sizable decline (-903 or 9.6%) in the community supervision population from 9,382 at year-end in 2019-20 to 8,479 in 2021-22.
What we did
Historical federal institutional and community supervision counts are recorded as standardized reports in CSC's Corporate Reporting System-Modernized (CRS-M). Data were extracted (April 14, 2022) to establish a three-year trend (2019-20 to 2021-22) of the in-custody and community supervision counts for federally sentenced (two years or more) men, women and across the five different administrative regions of CSC: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and Pacific.
What we found
Overall, official counts of the federal in-custody population dropped significantly during the pandemic era. In-custody menFootnote 1 declined by 1,295 inmates or 10% from 13,035 in 2019-20 to 11,740 in 2021-22. In-custody women declined by 97 inmates or 14% from 685 in 2019-20 to 588 in 2021-22.
As reflected in Table 1, when unpacking the custodial decline by region, it is notable that there is wide variation from a high of 18.9% in the Pacific region to a low of 2.8% in the Quebec region.
As well, the official counts of the federal community supervision fell significantly during the pandemic era. MenFootnote 2 under community supervision men declined by 815 inmates or 9.4% from 8,651 in 2019-20 to 7,836 in 2021-22. Community supervision women declined by 88 offenders or 12% from 731 in 2019-20 to 643 in 2021-22.
In Table 2, for those under community supervision the Quebec region had the greatest decline of 19.4% whereas the Ontario region actually experienced a slight increase.
What it means
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period, it is clear that there had been a sustained downward trend in the federal supervision population. It appears that with co-occurring reductions in federal admissions and returns, ongoing and targeted efforts at case preparation for safe release, and effective case management in the community when taken together resulted in a pronounced reduction in the number of federal inmates during the pandemic period. Moreover, this effect has translated over time into more successful expiration of sentences for those conditionally released and therefore under community supervision.
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: Larry Motiuk
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