Exploring “Inside-to-Outside” Ratios in Federal Corrections

Research Highlights: Lower ratios of federal offenders in custody compared to community supervision is the result of effective case management.

Publication

No RIB-18-18

October 2018

Research in Brief- PDF

Exploring “Inside-to-Outside” Ratios in Federal Corrections

Why we did this study

Over recent years, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has seen a very slight increase (+35 or <.2%) in offenders under federal jurisdiction [from 23,099 at year-end in 2013-14 to 23,134 in 2017-18]. While it appears that federal offenders in custody had peaked in 2013-14, it has been in decline (1,271 or 8.3%) since then. On the other hand, there has been steady growth (+1,306 or 16.6%) in the conditional release supervision population from 7,861 at year-end in 2013-14 to 9,167 in 2017-18. It is also noteworthy that these changes have shifted the “inside-to-outside” ratio. The “inside-to-outside” ratio refers to how many offenders are in custody compared to how many are out under community supervision. Recognizing shifts over time in ratios at national and regional levels can facilitate the allocation of programming and operational resources.

What we did

Year-end federal in custody and out under community supervision counts are recorded as standardized reports in CSC’s Corporate Reporting System-Modernized (CRS-M). Similarly, historical counts of federal admissions and releases are also recorded in CRS-M.

Data was extracted from CRS-M (August 15, 2018) capacity module to establish trends (2013-14 to 2017-18) of the custody and under community supervision population counts. Then, a closer examination of the regional “inside-to-outside” ratios was undertaken.

What we found

Overall, the ratio of federal offenders in custody relative to being out under community supervision has lowered from 66:34 in 2013-14 to 60:40 in 2017-18; a substantial percentage differential of -6% inside to +6% outside. As displayed in the tables, when unpacking this decrease by regions it is notable that “inside-to-outside” ratios have lowered over time across all regions.

Among the regions, by 2017-18 the “inside-to-outside” ratio for Quebec has lowered the most whereas the Prairies continues to remain the highest.

National Population Counts: 2013-14
Region # In / Out (Total) % In : Out
Atlantic 1,556 / 781 (2,337) 66.6 : 33.4
Quebec 3,716 / 2,027 (5,743) 64.7 : 35.3
Ontario 3,761 / 1,955 (5,716) 65.8 : 34.2
Prairies 3,909 / 1,847 (5,756) 67.9 : 32.1
Pacific 2,206 / 1,251 (3,457) 63.8 : 36.2
National 15,238 / 7,861 (23,099) 66.0 : 34.0
National Population Counts: 2017-18
Region # In / Out (Total) % In : Out
Atlantic 1,300 / 884 (2,184) 59.5 : 40.5
Quebec 2,988 / 2,373 (5,361) 55.7 : 44.3
Ontario 3,513 / 2,456 (5,969) 58.9 : 41.1
Prairies 3,998 / 2,106 (6,104) 65.5 : 34.5
Pacific 2,168 / 1,348 (3,516) 61.7 : 38.3
National 13,967 / 9,167 (23,134) 60.0 : 40.0

What it means

Notwithstanding the fact that overall growth of the federal offender population has dampened, it appears that more offenders are being released earlier in their sentence and managed safely in the community. It is the combined efforts at efficient preparation for safe release and effective case management that has resulted in shift towards increasing proportion of federally sentenced offenders under community supervision than in custody.

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: Larry Motiuk

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