Contributor(s)Jean-Claude Bernheim / Prison Insider

Specific population

The statistics published every March by Statistics Canada reflect the averages for the previous year.

During the 2015/2016 period, the average number of people incarcerated across the country was 41,145, of which 998 were minors. In 2014/2015, 39,623 adults were incarcerated. The incarceration rate of 113 prisoners (for both adults and minors) per 100,000 inhabitants does not vary from year to year.

During the 2014/2015 period, the number of prisoners in the correctional service was 205,019. Out of a total of 331,968 persons in both the federal and provincial correctional systems, 126,949 were under supervision.

There are more people held in pretrial detention than people who are serving sentences. The rate of incarceration of adults awaiting trial, in provincial and territorial prisons, is higher than that of convicted adults1.

Time served in detention in provincial and territorial prisons tends to be short. More than half (53 %) of the people released from custody in the 12 provinces and territories (except Alberta), had been detained the same year for one week or less. More than three-quarters (78 %) were detained one month or less.

Twenty-eight percent (28 %) of convicted prisoners in provincial and territorial facilities serve one week or less. Approximately 6 out of 10 convicted prisoners (59 %) serve a sentence of one month or less.

In 2014/2015, adults under the age of 35 represented 58 % of admissions to provincial and territorial correctional services. This percentage has remained steady for the last several years. Adults aged 50 and older make up 12 % of admissions.

Federal penitentiary admissions are, for the most part (54 %), adults under age 35. Those 50 years and older make up 15 % of admissions and about 25 % of the detainee population.

  1. Statistics Canada, Statistics Adult Correctional Services in Canada 2014-2015, 22 March 2016, p.6 

Pre-trial detainees

36 %

/ Statistics Canada (average for the year 2015/2016)

This figure about women/juvenile prisoners/foreign prisoners/LGBTI prisoners is the only available. We would need extended explanations. We are always looking to improve our content. If you can help us complete missing items, please contact us!

See elsewhere: comparing prison systems between countries allows similarities and differences to emerge. Let’s understand what happens in other countries, because we can’t afford not to.

Juvenile prisoners

2.4 %

/ Statistics Canada (average for the year 2015/2016)

The Aboriginal population consists of First Nations persons and Inuit.

The over-representation of Aboriginal people has been consistent for years, and continues to be so. More than 20 % of the prison population are Aboriginal while Aboriginal people comprise only 4 % to 5 % of the Canadian population.