Nunavut sends highest proportion of men to jail: StatsCan

Numbers show Nunavut correctional services cost 10 times higher


The Baffin Correctional Centre is among the correctional facilities where more than Nunavut offenders serve sentences or time in remand. (FILE PHOTO)

The Baffin Correctional Centre is among the correctional facilities where more than Nunavut offenders serve sentences or time in remand. (FILE PHOTO)

Nunavut adults — almost all of them men — are sent to jail at a rate that’s several times higher than for the rest of Canada.

And at the same time, it costs more than 20 times per capita for Nunavut to provide a correctional service.

That’s according to a Statistics Canada Juristat article, released March 22, which provides an overview of adult correctional services in Canada for 2014-15.

According to StatsCan, 971 Nunavut adults were in custody or under supervision in 2014-15, a big number but actually down by 12 per cent over the previous year.

The rate of adults incarcerated in provincial and territorial custody in Nunavut — using a statistical measure based on a population of 100,000 — is 534 for every 100,000 people.

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That’s nearly four times greater than the 138-per-100,000 rate for the rest of Canada, although the incarceration rate decreased in Nunavut in 2014-15, as it did in the rest of Canada.

As well, the rate of Nunavut adults in community supervision, which includes probation, conditional sentences, provincial parole, full parole, day parole, statutory release, and long-term supervision, was also much higher in the territory than in the rest of Canada, according to StatsCan — about 10 times higher than for Canada in 2014-15, although that rate had decreased in Nunavut over the previous year.

Although community supervision fell by 15 per cent, StatsCan said, admissions, sentenced custody and remand for Nunavut adults rose by three per cent from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015, with 1,064 persons admitted to custody or remand in 2014-2015.

With a population of 11,542 men aged 18 to 64 in Nunavut in 2015, this means about one in 10 entered the correctional system during that year.

Overall in Canada, StatsCan noted that Aboriginal adults are “over-represented in admissions to provincial/territorial correctional services.”

Aboriginal adults accounted for one quarter of admissions in 2014/2015 while representing only about three per cent of the Canadian adult population.

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The Juristat article also said there were four Nunavut women in custody in 2014-2015.

A big cost is attached to providing Nunavut residents with correctional services — that cost is more than 20 times higher per capita in Nunavut than in, say, Alberta, if you look at the StatsCan tables.

In 2014-15, the cost for providing adult correctional services in Canada totalled more than $4.6 billion.

Total operating expenditures for correctional services was equivalent to $130 for each person in the Canadian population.

But that’s nine times higher in Nunavut, where it costs $978.33 per capita, and 20 times more when you compare to Alberta’s per capita cost of $43.64.

In Nunavut, operating costs also rose by two per cent, bucking a decline elsewhere in Canada.

Youth correctional services in Nunavut declined by 14 per cent in 2014-2015 over 2013-2014, says a Juristat article on youth corrections, also released March 22.

Nunavut’s rate of youth in correctional services was more than double the national rate — but the highest rate of youth in correctional services in 2014-2015 could be found in Manitoba, according to StatsCan.

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