Fed­eral prison sta­tis­tics high­light chal­lenges for Trudeau gov­ern­ment

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

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.

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