State of the Criminal Justice System

The Department of Justice Canada has created the first performance monitoring framework for Canada’s criminal justice system. It comprises broad expected outcomes, measured by selected national indicators. The Framework is based on extensive research and feedback from multi-phased consultations with criminal justice system partners, stakeholders, experts and other Canadians. The Department took on this work as part of its commitment to review the criminal justice system and as part of its broader efforts to identify and address data gaps that hinder evidence-based decision making. The Framework is presented through a State of the Criminal Justice System Report and online Dashboard, in effort to:

  • Underscore the importance of having the right data to make decisions that can meaningfully affect the lives of Canadians;
  • Improve accountability and transparency about the criminal justice system to Canadians;
  • Promote Open Government by making information about the criminal justice system easier to access;
  • Identify information gaps that limit the ability to monitor the performance of the criminal justice system; and,
  • Respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 30th Call to Action, to monitor, evaluate, and report on the progress that has been made in addressing the issue of Indigenous people being overrepresented in the criminal justice system.

The Framework includes nine broad expected outcomes for the criminal justice system that are measured by 41 national indicators. Click on the link below to access the State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard or the State of the Criminal Justice System Report.

What is the State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard?

The State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard presents information from the Framework in one easily accessible location. The Dashboard shows information and data collected for 41 performance indicators grouped by the nine outcomes. This information can be viewed by population-based themes, as well as by an overall view of performance. The population-based theme that is currently available is on Indigenous people. This theme presents indicators by Indigenous identity (where data is available) and provides contextual information surrounding Indigenous people's involvement with the criminal justice system both as accused/convicted persons and victims/survivors. Theme pages for women and youth are being developed and will be available in the future. Additional information and resources for each group will also be included for reference.

The State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard will be updated regularly as more data and information become available.

What is the State of the Criminal Justice System Report?

The State of the Criminal Justice System Report presents quantitative data on selected indicators from the performance monitoring framework. The indicators included were based on noteworthy findings and what data were available.

What is performance monitoring?

Performance monitoring refers to the ongoing regular collection of information to monitor how a system is doing, such as whether and to what extent it is achieving its objectives. Performance monitoring helps identify trends, benchmarks, strengths, and areas for improvement and highlights areas that need more data collected, monitored, and analysed.

Future data development

The Department will continue to work with stakeholders to further refine the Framework and fill the data gaps it has identified. This work can help participants discuss how to continue developing performance standards and benchmarks to determine the State of the Criminal Justice System.

Due to the significant gaps in data noted above, the Framework is a work in progress, with modifications expected as performance measurement capacity and the criminal justice system change.

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