Fact sheet: crime and punishment in Canada

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Police reported crime

In 2010, police reported overall crime in Canada reached its lowest level since 1970s, according to Statistics Canada; since 1999, police-reported violent crime also saw the largest drop.

Western provinces reported higher crime rates than eastern provinces.

Winnipeg had one of the highest levels of severe violent crime, beat only by Saskatoon and Regina in 2010.

Perceptions of personal safety and crime

Ninety-three per cent of Canadians felt overall satisfied with their personal safety from crime, compared to 90 per cent of Manitobans.

Younger Canadians, aged 15 to 24, were more likely to state they felt satisfied with their personal safety from crime, despite finding that they were more likely to be victimized.

Most Canadians felt safe in the evening. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians said they felt safe from crime in their homes at night, while 90 per cent said they did not fear crime when out in their communities at night.

Source: Statistics Canada

Prisoner population (2008-09)

In 2008-09, an average of 37,200 adults were in some form of custody on any given day, 64 per cent of which were under the responsibility of provinces and territories.

Six per cent of individuals admitted to federal custody were women. Women also accounted for 12 per cent of admissions to provincial and territorial sentenced custody, and 13 per cent of admissions to remand. Twenty eight per cent of all women remanded and 37 per cent of women admitted to sentenced custody were Aboriginal.

Twenty seven per cent of individual admitted to provincial and territorial sentenced custody, 18 per cent of individuals admitted to federal custody, and 21 per cent of individuals admitted to remand were identified as aborignal. 2006 census data shows that aboriginal representation made up three per cent of total Canadian adult population.

Statistics Canada noted that adults in custody were primarily young, unmarried males with low levels of education.

Eighty-six per cent of individuals in federal custody were in need of treatement or emotional issues, as well as issues related to substance abuse, social interaction, attitude and employment.

Source: Statistics Canada

Costs of correctional system (2008-09)

$3.9 billion for adult correctional service expenditures — a seven per cent increase from previous year.

Costs associated with imprisonment were much higher than those associated supervision in the community, such as probation or conditional sentences; $1.4 billion was spent by provinces and territories on operating prisons, while costs of supervision in the community were $299 million.

Source: Statistics Canada

Prison expansion on a National level associated with Bill C-10

New prisons slated: 22

Additions to existing prisons: 17

Net capacity gain: 6,300-plus beds

Construction costs: $3.4 billion

In Manitoba

100-bed prison for women in Headingley to replace 45-bed correctional centre in Portage la Prairie

384 new beds in Beausejour

80 beds in Brandon

40 beds in The Pas

Construction costs: $100.7 million

Source: Justin Piché, presentation at U of M on Nov. 25; report submitted to the House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights