Rates of Incarceration

Corrections data also provide evidence to suggest that youths are at a much higher risk for being incarcerated. In the fiscal year 1996/97 for adults, the average annual rate of incarceration per 10,000 adults for most provinces is under 10, while for young offenders in the same year, the average annual rate of incarceration per 10,000 youths is much higher - only Quebec has a rate of 10 or less.


Table 5. Average Annual Rates of Incarceration of adults and youths in the fiscal year 1996/97

Province

Adult rate/ 10,000 adults

Youth rate/10,000 youths

British Columbia

8

13

Alberta

11

22

Manitoba

12

33

Nova Scotia

6

23

Newfoundland

7

28

New Brunswick

7

31

Québec

6

10

Saskatchewan

15

37

Ontario

9

26

P. E. I.

8

42

N. W. T.

83

94

Yukon

36

55

Source: Corrections Key Indicator Report for Adults and Young Offenders, CCJS, 1997d.


Canada incarcerates its youth at a rate much higher than adults, and at a rate much higher than other Western nations. It must be noted, however, that youths are disproportionately involved in criminal activity and this is a significant factor in the differences between incarceration rates of youths and adults. But we must also consider that youth cases are more likely to result in conviction than adult cases, and of the cases with convictions, those in youth court are much more likely to result in custody for lesser offences. The incarceration rate for youths would not be so much higher than that of adults if the youth court was ?soft’ on young offenders.

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