OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Canada released the Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview: 2016 Annual Report. This report, published annually since 1998, provides statistical information on a broad range of topics including crime rates, criminal charges in the courts, and the description of offences in Canada's federal correctional system. Although the Overview does not make interpretations of the statistics, it is a source of information which leads to evidence-based decision making and better policy development.
While the report demonstrates that Canada is a safe country overall that is getting safer and that admissions to administrative segregation have decreased, it underlines the challenges facing the correctional system, including: the over-representation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice and corrections systems; the treatment and management of federal offenders with mental health needs; and the use of administrative segregation.
Over the last year, the Government of Canada has taken significant steps towards addressing these challenges, including:
- Introducing legislation establishing a presumptive time limit for inmates confined in administrative segregation;
- Investing $57.8 million over five years (starting in 2017-18) to expand mental health care capacity for all inmates in federal correctional facilities;
- Providing $65.2 million over five years (starting in 2017-18) to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders in the criminal justice system and help previously incarcerated Indigenous Peoples heal, rehabilitate and find employment in the community;
- Making policy changes to address the needs of inmates with a serious mental illness;
- Holding consultations to inform reforms to the Criminal Records Act; and
- Conducting an extensive review of the criminal justice system in order to address inequities and delays while working with our provincial and territorial counterparts. The Government of Canada will assess sentencing reforms made by the previous government, including the impact of mandatory minimum penalties. It will also address the over-representation of marginalized individuals in our criminal justice system, and seek to identify opportunities to adopt a more effective, restorative justice approach.
"We cannot turn a blind eye to the gaps in our criminal justice system that ensnare our most vulnerable people. The government is committed to ensuring that we not only have the tools to hold guilty parties to account for illegal behaviour, but also an environment that fosters rehabilitation so that we have fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims, and ultimately, safer communities. Prime Minister Trudeau has laid out a clear mandate for change. Through investments in Budget 2017, legislation on administrative segregation, policy changes and other measures, we are making important steps to address the needs of the most vulnerable in the federal correctional system—and there's more to do yet. The Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview is an important tool to support these evidence-based decisions."
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"I am leading a broad review of the changes to our criminal justice system and sentencing over the past decade. This involves addressing gaps in services to Indigenous people, including increasing the use of restorative justice processes and other initiatives to reduce the rate of incarceration of Indigenous persons. It also involves a review of how the criminal justice system can better address issues relating to mental illness. Our government is committed to addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous Canadians and individuals who suffer from mental illness in our correctional system."
- The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Key statistics/trends from the Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview: 2016 Annual Report:
- The overall crime rate in Canada has decreased 34% since 1998.
- In 2015-16, there was an 18.4% decrease in the total number of admissions to administrative segregation (in Correctional Service Canada institutions).
- In 2015-16, the federal day parole and full parole grant rates increased for both Indigenous offenders and non-Indigenous offenders.
- Since 2006-07, there has been a 66.8% increase in the number of victims registered with the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada combined.
- 25.7% of offenders in federal custody are Indigenous.
- Fewer Indigenous offenders benefit from supervised gradual releases than non-Indigenous offenders. 82.4% of Indigenous offenders are held until their statutory release dates compared to only 65.2% of non-Indigenous offenders.
- The number of women admitted to federal correctional centres has increased for the past four years.
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SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657