Pandemic Era Impacts on Conditional Release Outcomes

Research Highlights: Pandemic era decrease in revocations were observed for both men and women offenders.


No RIB-22-14


Research in Brief - PDF

Pandemic Era Impacts on Conditional Release Outcomes

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 decrease during 2020-21 (-273 or 12%) in revocations of conditional release from 2,297 in 2019-20 down to 2,024 in 2020-21. However, there was a sizable increase (+222 or 11%) of revocations to 2,246 in 2021-22. Similarly, the number of Indigenous revocations declined in 2020-21 (-68 or 8%) from 894 in 2019-20 to 826 in 2020-21. As well, there was a notable increase in Indigenous revocations (+157 or 19%) in 2021-22.

What we did

Historical federal conditional release revocation 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 revocations on conditional release for federally sentenced (two years or more) men, women and whether they were Indigenous. 

What we found

Overall, official counts of the federal revocations population dropped during the two years of the pandemic era. Revocations of men on conditional release declined very slightly by 15 offenders or less than 1% from 2,120 in 2019-20 to 2,105 in 2021-22. Federal women revocations declined by 38 offenders or 21% from 179 in 2019-20 to 141 in 2021-22.

As reflected in Table 1, when unpacking conditional release by Indigenous and gender representation, it is notable that revocations for Indigenous men increased by 98 offenders or 9.4% from 794 in 2019-20 to 892 in 2021-22. In 2021-22, Indigenous men represented 42.4% of men who were revoked of conditional release up from 37.1% in 2017-18.

Indigenous women revocations had declined slightly by nine offenders or 9% from 100 in 2019-20 to 91 in 2021-22. In 2021-22, Indigenous women represented 64.5% of women revocations up from 54.4% in 2017-18.

Table 1. Conditional Release Revocations
  All Indigenous All Men Indigenous Men All Women Indigenous Women
17-18 2,131 816 1,982 735 149 81
18-19 2,255 840 2,110 759 145 81
19-20 2,297 894 2,120 794 179 100
20-21 2,024 826 1,880 759 144 67
21-22 2,246 983 2,105 892 141 91

Source: CRS-M

What it means

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period, it is clear that there had been an overall downward trend in revocations of conditional release with a more pronounced reduction in year one of the pandemic. However, the revocation decline was experienced more by women than men and less so for Indigenous men and women. The net effect of a slight decline in re-admissions due to revocations of conditional release combined with fewer overall admissionsFootnote 1 to and sustained releaseFootnote 2 from federal custody have contributed to a substantially reduced carceral populationFootnote 3 during the pandemic period.

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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