|The front gate at Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ont. (MICHAEL LEA/QMI AGENCY)
Canada's prisons were a little fuller last year, with an almost 1% increase in the rate of adults serving time. The cost to run prisons went up to handle it, too.
On any given day in the 2010/2011 year measured, there were about 38,000 adults in prison, Statistics Canada said in a report released Thursday. More than a third of those (36%) were serving sentences of two years or more — a 3% increase in the rate of incarceration in federal penitentiaries over the year before.
Another 29% of inmates were serving provincial or territorial sentences of less than two years — a rate increase of 7% from the previous year. The majority of these (76%) were for non-violent offences like drug or property crimes or impaired driving, except in the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, where violent crimes accounted for 74% and 62% of admissions, respectively.
The remaining third were in custody awaiting trial or sentencing.
Overall, there were 900 more inmates, or a .9% increase in the rate of incarceration, putting Canada right around the middle among 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The rate is the percentage of prisoners per 100,000 people.
The number of adult offenders under "correctional supervision" (usually probation) remained relatively stable, at about 125,000.
The cost to house and care for prisoners went up by 1.4%, to $4.1 billion. About three-quarters (76%) of that covers salaries, wages and benefits, and one-quarter (24%) goes toward operating expenditures.
StatsCan estimates the average daily cost per federal inmate at about $357, nearly double the $172 per day it costs to imprison a provincial or territorial inmate.