A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada : Phase II

3. SNAPSHOT RESULTS


3. SNAPSHOT RESULTS

3.1 Incarceration Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth

A total of 2,212 youth were reported in custody on Snapshot Day in the twelve reporting jurisdictions. The overall incarceration rate for youth in Canada was 11.5 per 10,000 youth 12 to 17 years old. Table 1 provides the numbers of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in custody in each jurisdiction as well as the incarceration rate. The three territories and Saskatchewan had the highest incarceration rates, while British Columbia and Alberta had the lowest rates. While Aboriginal youth comprised approximately 5% of the Canadian population, 33% of youth in custody were Aboriginal.

Table 1, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth in Custody by Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction Aboriginal n (row %) Non-Aboriginal n (row %) Total n (column %) Incarceration Rate
Newfoundland and Labrador 5 ( 8) 57 ( 92) 62 ( 3) 13.9
Prince Edward Island 0 ( 0) 13 (100) 13 ( 1) 10.7
Nova Scotia 9 ( 9) 90 ( 91) 99 ( 5) 13.3
New Brunswick 3 ( 4) 75 ( 96) 78 ( 4) 13.1
Ontario 166 ( 15) 937 ( 85) 1,103 (50) 11.8
Manitoba 138 ( 80) 35 ( 20) 173 ( 8) 17.7
Saskatchewan [7] 203 ( 88) 28 ( 12) 231 (10) 24.6
Alberta 90 ( 36) 163 ( 64) 253 (11) 9.5
British Columbia 60 ( 41) 85 (59) 145 ( 7) 4.5
Yukon 7 ( 88) 1 (13) 8 ( 0) 28.5
Northwest Territories 28 (100) 0 ( 0) 28 ( 1) 72.7
Nunavut 11 (100) 0 ( 0) 11 ( 1) 31.6
CANADA 720 ( 33) 1,484 ( 67) 2,204 (100) 11.5
  1. Frequencies do not total 2,212 due to missing data.
  2. Percentages do not always total 100% due to rounding.
  3. Incarceration rate is based upon 10,000 population aged 12 to 17 years.

Figure 1 presents the incarceration rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in each jurisdiction. [8] The incarceration rate of Aboriginal youth was 64.5 per 10,000 population while the incarceration rate for non-Aboriginal youth was 8.2 per 10,000 population. Aboriginal youth were almost eight times more likely to be in custody compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Figure 1: Incarceration Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth in Canada

Figure 1 - Incarceration Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Youth in Canada

[Description of Figure 1]

Generally, the incarceration rates for Aboriginal youth were lower in eastern and western Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, British Columbia), and higher in central and northern Canada (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories) with the exception of Nunavut. The incarceration rates for non-Aboriginal youth, in comparison, were generally lower in northern and western Canada and higher in eastern Canada .

All jurisdictions reported higher incarceration rates for Aboriginal youth compared to non-Aboriginal youth with the exception of Prince Edward Island , which did not report any Aboriginal youth in custody on Snapshot Day. The largest difference between the incarceration rates of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth was in Saskatchewan where Aboriginal youth were 30 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to non-Aboriginal youth. In the Yukon , Aboriginal youth were 18 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to non-Aboriginal youth and in Manitoba , Aboriginal youth were 16 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to non-Aboriginal youth. The smallest differences were found in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador where Aboriginal youth were only 1.2 and 1.6 times respectively more likely to be incarcerated compared to non-Aboriginal youth.

3.2 A Comparison of the 2000 Snapshot and the 2003 Snapshot

Findings from the 2003 Snapshot demonstrated a substantial reduction in the absolute number of Aboriginal youth in custody since the first Snapshot. In 2000, there were 1,128 Aboriginal youth reported in custody in Canada compared to 720 Aboriginal youth in custody in 2003 - a difference of 408 youth. [9] This represents a 36% reduction in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody. Figure 2 provides data on the absolute number of Aboriginal youth in each Snapshot year across jurisdictions.

Figure 2: Absolute Numbers of Aboriginal Youth in 2000 Snapshot and 2003 Snapshot

Figure 2 - Absolute Numbers of Aboriginal Youth in 2000 Snapshot and 2003 Snapshot

[Description of Figure 2]

Nunavut and Nova Scotia were the only jurisdictions to report an increase in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody between 2000 and 2003. These increases, however, were small in terms of absolute numbers.

The majority of the change between 2000 and 2003 can be attributed to a reduction in the number of Aboriginal youth serving open and secure custody sentences. There was a 50% reduction in the number of Aboriginal youth serving open custody sentences and a 48% reduction in the number of Aboriginal youth serving secure custody sentences. There was only a 7% reduction, however, in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody on remand (i.e., pre-trial detention) between 2000 and 2003.

Table 2 provides the absolute number of Aboriginal youth in custody in select cities in 2000 and 2003, and the difference between the two Snapshots. Winnipeg , Manitoba experienced the largest reduction in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody between 2000 and 2003, followed by Prince Albert , Saskatchewan . Saskatoon , Saskatchewan and Regina , Saskatchewan both experienced slight increases in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody in 2003 compared to the Snapshot in 2000.

Table 2, Absolute Numbers of Aboriginal Youth in Custody In Select Cities (2000 and 2003)
City 2000 Snapshot (n) 2003 Snapshot (n) Difference (n)
Winnipeg , Manitoba 145 85 - 60
Prince Albert , Saskatchewan 35 8 - 27
London , Ontario 24 8 - 16
Yellowknife , Northwest Territories 19 5 - 14
Thunder Bay , Ontario 27 15 - 12
Brandon , Manitoba 19 8 - 11
Inuvik , Northwest Territories 14 3 - 11
Forth Smith, Northwest Territories 12 2 - 10
Edmonton , Alberta 33 25 - 8
Meadow Lake , Saskatchewan 10 4 - 6
Moosonee , Ontario 12 6 - 6
Sudbury , Ontario 13 8 - 5
North Battleford , Saskatchewan 18 15 - 3
Yorkton , Saskatchewan 15 13 - 2
Hamilton , Ontario 11 9 - 2
Vancouver , British Columbia 13 11 - 2
Calgary , Alberta 11 10 - 1
Regina , Saskatchewan 47 48 +1
Saskatoon , Saskatchewan 48 50 +2
  1. Includes all cities with at least 10 Aboriginal youth in custody in 2000.
  2. City is defined as the city in which the offences, which led to custody, were committed.
  3. These data represent two points in time and should not be viewed as a trend.

  • [7] Saskatchewan did not include data on approximately 20 to 25 youth who were in custody on Snapshot Day. As a result, the incarceration rate in Saskatchewan was slightly higher depending upon the exact number of youth. The Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal incarceration rates are also affected depending on the Aboriginal status of the missing youth.
  • [8] Rates based on a small population may be inflated. It is important to therefore consider the population of Aboriginal youth in each province (see Appendix D). For instance, there were only 177 Aboriginal youth counted in Prince Edward Island during the 2001 Census. If two Aboriginal youth were incarcerated on Snapshot Day, the rate would have been 113 per 10,000 Aboriginal youth.
  • [9] Quebec was excluded from the 2000 Snapshot numbers presented in this comparison as the province did not participate in the 2003 Snapshot.
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