Profile of Inuit Offenders in Custody and the Community: Implications for Programming

Research Highlights

Inuit men require interventions to address sexual deviance, substance abuse, and emotion management problems.

Why we did this study

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) requires information on the profile of Inuit offenders to contribute to culture-specific program development.

What we did

The study included a snap-shot profile of all male Inuit offenders in custody and under community supervision (N=217) on October 1, 2016. The profile includes data extracted from the Offender Management System (OMS) and the Computerized Mental Health Intake Screening System (CoMHISS).

What we found

Most Inuit offenders spoke Inuktitut as their home language but almost all stated that English was their preferred language. The majority (79%) of the Inuit offenders were single. About 30% of Inuit offenders in custody were serving an indeterminate sentence. The vast majority were serving a current sentence for a crime of violence with 36% serving a sentence for a sexual offence. Mean age of the custody and supervision samples was 36 and 38 years respectively.

Tabel 1

Factor Custody Supervision



Determinate Sentence 71 94
Average Sentence Lengtha 4.5 3.7
Current Offence Type    
Homicide 31 14
Sexual 36 41


19 27
Otherb 14 18

a Determinate sentences only b Includes robbery drugs, other violent, property and other non-violent.

The group was highly criminalized with 88% having a previous offence as an adult. Most of these were violent offences including 41.5% for previous sexual offences. Regarding the current offence, 47% have a conviction that includes a sexual component and 29% are for homicide. These violent offences most commonly involved multiple victims. The majority of Inuit offenders were rated as high risk and high needs and low reintegration potential. All domains on the DFIA-R indicated a significant level of need. Domains with the highest need were Personal/Emotional, Substance Abuse and Marital/Family. Positively, 77% were moderately or highly motivated to change.

Tabel 2

Offender Profile Variables: Risk and Need

  Custody Supervision



Overall Static Risk    
Medium 15 25
High 84 72
Overall Dynamic Need    
Medium 10 16
High 90 83
Reintegration Level    


74 32
Medium 24 62
Motivation Level    
Medium 74 80
High 4 t
DFIA-R Domains    
Employment/Education domain    
Moderate or high need 82 66
Marital/Family domain    
Moderate or high need 68 63
Associates domain    
Moderate or high need 48 45
Substance Abuse domain    
Moderate or high need 91 86
Community Function domain    
Moderate or high need 35 19
Personal/Emotional domain    
Moderate or high need 97 99
Attitudes domain    
Moderate or high need 71 46

Most Inuit men were found to have a low level of education and 45% had an indication a significant cognitive deficit . Also of note, 40% of the custody sample had symptoms of ADHD. Family violence is also prevalent. Over 70% have a past incident of spousal violence. Over 50% were themselves abused or witnessed family violence as a child.

Alcohol and drug abuse is implicated in the offence pattern of 90% of Inuit offenders and in their acts of violence. Many have criminal and substance abusing associates and few have social or community supports and little involvement in structured activities.

Tabel 3

Selected DFIA-R Indicator Endorsement

  Custody Supervision
DFIA-R Indicator



Less than grade 10 79 75
Unstable job history 82 77
Abused during childhood 57 49
Witnessed family violence during childhood 54 57
Family members criminally active during childhood 34 25
Intimate relationship(s) problematic 82 65
Perpetrated spousal violence 70 61
Attitudes support spousal violence 43 37
Significant difficulties handling parenting responsibilities 45 35
Investigated for suspicion of child abuse/neglect 11 10
Associates with substance abusers 94 87
Many criminal acquaintances 57 48
Resides in high crime area 48 33
Prosocial support from intimate partner limited 67 69
Prosocial family support limited 38 36
Prosocial support from friends  limited 77 63
Substance Abuse    
Frequently engages in binge drinking 78 72
Alcohol or drug use has resulted in law violations 92 87
Becomes violent when drinking or using drugs 89 87
Alcohol and/or drug use is part of the offence cycle 93 86
Community Function    
Unstable accommodation 30 14
Financial instability 59 50
Leisure activities limited 61 47
Community attachment limited 37 18
Problem recognition skills limited 82 77
Ability to generate choices limited 91 80
Ability to link actions to consequences limited 81 79
Difficulty coping with stress 75 66
Gives up easily when challenged 38 19
Impulsive 92 90
Difficulty setting long-term goals 64 60
Difficulty solving interpersonal problems 89 79
Frequently feels intense anger 67 51
Frequently acts aggressively 71 71
Low frustration tolerance 77 66
Deviant sexual preferences 44 36
Deviant sexual attitudes 35 42
Attitudes support instrumental/goal-oriented violence 57 44
Attitudes support expressive/ emotional violence 65 57
Denies crime or uses excuses to justify or minimize crime 69 61

1 This measure may not have been a culture-fair estimate of cognitive function, but low scores would be associated with problems in an academic setting and have implications for program participation.

What it means

Interventions for Inuit men should focus on sexual deviance, general and family violence including child abuse, and substance abuse. Despite low levels of social support or involvement in structured prosocial activities, two-thirds report a link to their community, a protective factor that could be considered a strength. Program targets should include strategies to address deficits in problem solving, consequential thinking, emotion management, sexual deviance, criminal associates, and attitudes supporting violence.

For more information

Please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

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

Prepared by: K. Wardrop, J. Thompson, & L. Stewart