Statistics and research on women offenders

Women offenders are a small and unique part of the total Canadian federal offender population. To meet their needs, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) takes a holistic, women-centred approach that prioritizes public safety.

Women's institutions

Across Canada, CSC operates:

All women's institutions are multi-level. Most house women offenders classified at minimum-, medium- and maximum-security levels. The healing lodge, however, is only for women classified as minimum or medium security.

Offender profile

6% of Canadian federal offenders are women. On average, there were 693 women in custody in CSC facilities from 2018 to 2019.

Indigenous women are over-represented in the federal correctional system. They represent:

  • 42% of incarcerated women offenders, and
  • 27% of women offenders under supervision in the community

Compared to the average Canadian, women offenders:

  • have a higher incidence of substance abuse and mental health problems
  • are more likely to have a history of physical and/or sexual abuse.

In custody

In custody includes all active offenders:

  • incarcerated in a CSC facility
  • on temporary absence from a CSC facility
  • who are temporarily detained in a CSC facility, and
  • offenders on remand in a CSC facility

Most women offenders are serving a sentence of less than five years:

Sentence length Total Percentage
Less than 5 years 437 62%
5 years or more 128 18%
Indeterminate 136 19%
Source: Data Warehouse as of March 31, 2019.

CSC offers a variety of correctional, social, employment and educational programs to women offenders in CSC facilities.

In the community

In community under supervision includes all active offenders:

  • on day parole, full parole or statutory release
  • in the community supervised on a long term supervision order
  • temporarily detained in a non-CSC facility
  • unlawfully at large for less than 90 days
  • on remand in a non-CSC facility, and
  • supervised and subject to an immigration hold by Canada Border Services Agency

As of March 31, 2019 there were 744 women under CSC supervision in the community. (Source: Corporate Reporting System - Modernized)

Women offenders were granted federal day parole and federal full parole at a higher rate than men offenders over a ten year period:

Gender Day parole Full parole
Women 83.4% 39.8%
Men 69.3% 25.7%
Source: 2016-2017 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview (CCRSO)

Women offenders in the community have access to:

  • CSC self-management programs delivered by qualified and trained facilitators
  • community employment services to help them to find meaningful work

Research about women offenders

Find a variety of research reports related to women offenders in our research section:

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