Aboriginal crime and justice in Canada - Statistics & Facts

Canada has had a tumultuous history with its Aboriginal population, especially when it comes to issues of crime and justice. In general, Aboriginal peoples in Canada are more likely to be victims of crime then non-Aboriginal people and are more likely to be penalized and receive harsher penalties for their crimes than non-Aboriginal peoples.

As victims of violent crime, Aboriginal people are twice as likely to suffer physical assault, and nearly three times as likely to be victims of robbery and sexual assault, than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Aboriginal women in particular are such frequent victims of violent crime that the government of Canada launched an official investigation in 2016 into the numbers that have been murdered or gone missing over the last three decades. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police put the number at roughly 1,200. The rate of homicide victims among women in Canada was more than five times higher for the Aboriginal population in 2020.

There has been ongoing controversy over the over-representation of Aboriginal offenders in correctional services in Canada. Aboriginal people constitute only four percent of Canada’s population, but make up nearly a quarter of inmates in federal, provincial, and territorial jails and prisons.

Aboriginal offenders are more likely to be sentenced to custody rather than community-based options such as probation, and in custody are more likely to serve a larger portion of their sentence before being released on their first parole. On average they have served three percent more of their sentence then non-Aboriginal offenders over the last decade.

Aboriginal offenders are also more likely to be classified as a higher risk while incarcerated than non-Aboriginal inmates, with 84 percent of Aboriginal offenders classified as medium or maximum risk, compared to 77.5 percent of non-Aboriginal offenders.

The number of Aboriginal offenders serving time in administrative segregation has risen significantly over the last decade despite criticism of its use and effectiveness in correctional services. Meanwhile, the number of Caucasian inmates admitted to administrative segregation has declined over the same period.


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