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December 2009 | Number RS-09-04

Long Term Supervision Orders: A Five-Year Offence Profile

KEY WORDS: Long Term Supervision Order (LTSO), Long Term Offenders (LTO), Bill C-55, Tackling Violent Crime Act

What we looked at

In 1997, Bill C-55 was enacted, amending the Dangerous Offender section of the Criminal Code to include, among other changes, a Long Term Offender (LTO) designation and a corresponding community supervision tool, called a Long Term Supervision Order (LTSO). LTSOs were introduced to monitor those violent and/or dangerous offenders who do not meet the criteria for a Dangerous Offender designation, yet still pose a serious risk of re-offence when released to the community. In 2008, the Tackling Violent Crime Act introduced a LTSO option for Dangerous Offenders serving determinate sentences. Offenders are subject to a LTSO for a maximum of 10 years.

Data were from end-of-year 2004 to end-of-year 2008 for offenders whose sentence included a Long Term Supervision Order. We looked at the major offence at sentencing as well as the relative proportion of each type of offence.

What we found

The number of offenders admitted with a Long Term Supervision Order has increased steadily in the last five years, from 54 in 2004 to 69 in 2008. This represented an increase of 28%, compared to an approximate 8% increase in the total offender population.

The three most serious major offences on sentencing were Sexual Offences (e.g., sexual assault with a weapon, offences against children), Serious Assaults (e.g., assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm), and Robbery (e.g., armed robbery, break and enter and commit robbery).

Sexual offences consistently represented the highest proportion of major offences on sentencing for Long Term Offenders, although this proportion dropped from 2007 to 2008. Since the amendments to the Criminal Code in 1997, the number of offenders subject to an LTSO has increased by an average of 48 orders per year. As of December 31, 2008, 570 LTSOs had been issued by the courts, with 536 cases still active. Approximately half of these LTSO offenders are incarcerated and the remainder are under supervision in the community.

What it means

As the number of LTOs grows, their management in the community becomes an increasingly important issue for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Long Term Offenders represent an elevated risk due to the violent or persistent nature of their offending. This increased risk and need for close supervision demands significant community resources. Although sexual offences still comprise the majority of LTSO offences at sentencing, the proportion of robbery and ‘other’ offences has increased in the last five years. As a result, the changing LTO population presents unique challenges in terms of community supervision and institutional management. By monitoring the changes in the LTO profile, CSC can continue to address these challenges and ensure the safe transition of these offenders into the community.

Offence End-of-Year
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Sexual 64.8% 73.0% 63.9% 65.8% 54.4%
Serious Assault 18.5% 15.9% 21.3% 20.5% 16.2%
Robbery 11.1% 9.5% 3.3% 5.5% 14.7%
Other 5.6% 1.6% 11.5% 8.2% 14.7%
Total # 54 63 61 73 68

Prepared by: Marsha Axford

For more information:
Research Branch