Federally Sentenced Men and Women in Custody: 2013 to 2018

Research Highlights: Federal in-custody population trend lines over five years show a steady decline for men and a rise for women.


No RIB-19-06

September 2019

Research in Brief- PDF

Federally Sentenced Men and Women in Custody: 2013 to 2018

Why we are doing this study

Population forecasts and the monitoring of trends for federal in-custody counts are routinely conducted by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Footnote 1 An examination of breaks in trend lines can help to signal when net demand for capacity to accommodate and deliver interventions might be rising, falling or being met.

What we did

Historical year-end federal in-custody counts are recorded as standardized reports in CSC’s Corporate Reporting System-Modernized (CRS-M). Data between year-end 2013 and 2018 was extracted for federally sentenced men and women from CRS-M to establish 5-year trend lines.

What we found

Since peaking in 2013 at 14,650, the federal men in-custody population has steadily declined to 13,219 (-1,431 or -9.8%) by year-end 2018. As displayed in the figure below, there were several notable breaks in the 5-year trend line, the significant decline below in 2016 followed by a rise above in 2018. The latter trend break may be a signaling a dampening of the decline.

Men In-custody
Men In-custody
Men In-custody
Year Offenders
2013 14650
2014 14254
2015 13896
2016 13419
2017 13239
2018 13219

On the other hand, the federal women in-custody population has steadily increased from 621 in 2013 by +93 (or +15%) to 714 in 2018. As displayed in the figure, there is a notable break in the 5-year trend line with the rise above beginning in 2014 through to 2017.

Women In-custody
Women In-custody
Women In-custody
Year Offenders
2013 621
2014 653
2015 678
2016 690
2017 697
2018 714

What it means

The longer-term downward trend-line for men is reflective of better preparation for release, more offenders granted an earlier discretionary release and improved results while on conditional release. However, the longer-term upward trend-line for women suggests that the current approach to criminal justice may require some further reflection.

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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