Federal prison statistics highlight challenges for Trudeau government
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OTTAWA — The number of Indigenous offenders in the federal correctional system has risen almost 40 per cent in the last decade, says a government report released Friday.
It also says a lower percentage of Indigenous offenders benefit from gradual release from custody than non-Indigenous ones.
In addition, the number of women admitted to federal correctional centres has increased in recent years.
The statistics underscore the challenges the Liberal government faces as it tries to deal with the over-representation of Indigenous people, the mentally ill and other vulnerable Canadians in the prison system.
At the same time, the overall crime rate has been dropping and relatively few crimes result in sentences to federal penitentiaries.
A look at some key statistics and trends highlighted in the Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, 2016 Annual Report:
— The overall crime rate has decreased 34 per cent since 1998, to 5,888 per 100,000 population in 2015 from 8,915. Over the same period, there was a 43.5-per-cent decrease in the property-crime rate, to 3,220 per 100,000 from 5,696.
— In contrast, the crime rate for drug offences has increased 12.6 per cent since 1998, to 269 per 100,000 from 235.
— The rate of violent crime has fluctuated, peaking in 2000 at 1,494 per 100,000 population. Since 2000, the rate of violent crime has decreased 28.9 per cent to 1,062 in 2015.
— The in-custody population in federal prisons has increased in seven of the last 10 years, though there was a slight decline in 2015-16.
— From 2013-14 to 2014-15, the provincial-territorial sentenced offender population in custody increased 4.8 per cent to 10,364 from 9,888. The remand population increased 18.8 per cent to 13,650 from 11,494 during this period.
— In 2015-16, Indigenous offenders represented 22.7 per cent of the total federal offender population. They accounted for 25.7 per cent of those in custody and 17.3 per cent of those on various forms of supervised release in the community in 2015-16.
— From 2006-07 to 2015-16, the total Indigenous offender population increased 39.5 per cent.
— In 2015-16, the federal day parole and full parole grant rates increased for both Indigenous offenders and non-Indigenous offenders.
— However, a smaller percentage of Indigenous offenders benefit from supervised gradual releases than non-Indigenous ones: 82.4 per cent of Indigenous offenders were held until their statutory release dates compared to only 65.2 per cent of non-Indigenous ones.
— The number of women admitted to the federal correctional system increased to 383 in 2015-16 from 316 in 2006-07.
— In 2015-16, there was an 18.4-per-cent decrease in the total number of admissions to administrative segregation, where inmates are isolated from other prisoners in federal institutions.
— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter