Pandemic Era Impacts on Federal Day Parole Releases

Research Highlights: Pandemic era declines in day parole releases were observed across men, women and Indigenous offenders.


No RIB-22-13


Research in Brief - PDF

Pandemic Era Impacts on Federal Day Parole Releases

Why we are doing this study

Over the course of five fiscal years, marked by the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 and 2021-22, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) experienced an overall decline during 2020-21 (-577 or 23%) in federal day parole releases from 2,541 in 2019-20 down to 1,964 in 2021-22. Exploring the differential impacts of the pandemic era on various subpopulations with respect to early release helps to better inform and improve population management strategies.

What we did

Historical federal day parole releases counts are recorded as standardized reports in CSC's Corporate Reporting System-Modernized (CRS-M). Data were extracted (May 6, 2022) to establish a five-year trend (2017-18 to 2021-22) of the day parole releases from custody for federally sentenced (two years or more) men, women and whether they were Indigenous. 

What we found

Overall, official counts of the federal day parole release population dropped during the two years of the pandemic era. Men day parole releases declined by 536 inmates or 24% from 2,248 in 2019-20 to 1,712 in 2021-22. Federal women day parole releases declined by 41 inmates or 14% from 293 in 2019-20 to 252 in 2021-22.

As reflected in Table 1, when unpacking day parole release by Indigenous and gender representation, it is notable that day parole releases for Indigenous men decreased by 75 inmates or 18% from 423 in 2019-20 to 348 in 2021-22. In 2021-22, Indigenous men represented 20.3% of men day parole released from federal custody up from 17.8% in 2017-18.

Indigenous women released on day parole had declined very slightly by five inmates or 5% from 93 in 2019-20 to 88 in 2021-22. In 2021-22 Indigenous women represented 35% of women released from federal custody up from 30% in 2017-18.

Table 1. Federal Day Parole Releases
  All Indigenous All Men Indigenous Men All Women Indigenous Women
17-18 2,622 504 2,301 409 321 95
18-19 2,683 554 2,368 452 315 102
19-20 2,541 516 2,248 423 293 93
20-21 2,313 489 2,076 413 237 76
21-22 1,964 436 1,712 348 252 88
Source: CRS-M

What it means

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period, it is clear that there had been an overall downward trend in federal day parole releases with a more pronounced trend break in year two of the pandemic (-228 and -349, respectively). However, the day parole release decline was experienced more by all men (-172 and -364, respectively) and less so for Indigenous men (-10 and -65, respectively). On the other hand, it appears that day parole releases for Indigenous women had actually increased in year two of the pandemic era (-17 and +12, respectively). The net effect of sustained day parole releases combined with fewer admissionsFootnote 1 to federal custody have contributed to a substantially reduced carceral populationFootnote 2.

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 and Leslie Anne Keown

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