Adult Correctional Services (ACS)
Detailed information for 2020-2021
The purpose of the Adult Correctional Services survey is to provide important indicators as to the nature and characteristics in correctional case-flow that are of use to agencies responsible for the delivery of these services, the media and the public. The survey collects annual data on the delivery of adult correctional services from both the provincial/territorial and federal correctional systems.
Data release - April 20, 2022
- Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s)
- Data sources and methodology
- Data accuracy
The Adult Correctional Services survey provides important indicators as to the nature and characteristics of correctional case-flow that are of use to agencies responsible for the delivery of these services, the media and the public. The survey collects annual data on the delivery of adult correctional services from both the provincial/territorial and federal correctional systems. Key themes include: new admissions (commencements) to correctional programs of remand, sentenced custody, other temporary detention, probation, conditional sentences and other community-based programs. The survey also captures information on conditional releases to the community including parole and statutory release. In addition, the survey collects aggregate information on financial and human resources involved in the delivery of adult correctional services. The survey uses two collection instruments: aggregate data are entered into a database; and automated extraction of microdata from local information systems. Units of count are tabulated from the microdata and included as part of the annual aggregate survey process.
The survey is currently administered as part of the National Justice Statistics Initiative (NJSI). Since 1981, the federal, provincial and territorial Deputy Ministers responsible for the administration of justice in Canada, with the Chief Statistician, have been working together in an enterprise known as the NJSI. The mandate of the NJSI is to provide information to the justice community as well as the public on criminal and civil justice in Canada. Although this responsibility is shared among federal, provincial and territorial departments, the lead responsibility for the development of Canada's statistical system remains with Statistics Canada.
Reference period: Fiscal year April 1st to March 31st
Collection period: May through December following the end of the reference period (fiscal year)
- Correctional services
- Crime and justice
Data sources and methodology
The Adult Correctional Services survey describes the services provided by governmental agencies responsible for adult correctional services in each of the provincial, territorial and federal sectors. More specifically, the data examine caseload characteristics as well as resources and expenditures relating to adult custodial and community supervision services. Six primary responsibilities fall under the umbrella of adult correctional services in Canada: 1) custodial remands; 2) custodial sentences; 3) conditional sentences; 4) probation; 5) conditional release; and 6) parole.
The data for the Adult Correctional Services (ACS) survey process come from respondent's local operational systems. Data are either submitted via information request questionnaires which are completed manually, or are extracted electronically via computer interfaces.
The ACS questionnaire was developed with the assistance of representatives from the federal, provincial and territorial agencies responsible for the delivery of adult correctional services in Canada. The questions are based on a set of information requirements that were also developed through consultation with these representatives.
The questionnaire is sent directly to the respondents who complete the instrument locally. Computer-aided data collection techniques are not used other than local programming used to extract administrative aggregated data from information systems. Aggregate information on financial and human resources continues to be collected through the ACS.
ACS data for respondents that participate in the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS) report to a person-based survey. The ICSS collects microdata extracted via computer interface according to the survey's interface specifications which are based on a set of national data requirements. The rules pertaining to the ACS units of count are applied to the extracted microdata - the output which forms the input data to the ACS.
This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.
The Integrated Correctional Services Survey is a census survey based on electronically-extracted microdata that is conducted annually. It is also longitudinal in that it follows correctional histories of offenders. Therefore, the Adult Correctional Services survey has become a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up. Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.
Data collection for this reference period: 2021-06-24 to 2022-03-24
Responding to this survey is mandatory.
Data are collected directly from survey respondents, extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.
The Adult Correctional Services (ACS) survey (aggregate component) collects administrative data directly from the respondent's local operational systems. Jurisdictions complete an electronic questionnaire that is entered directly into a database. These data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Canada Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19.
The Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS) (microdata component of the ACS) collects person-based data organized by three distinct records: 1) the offender (e.g. sociodemographic characteristics, such as age, sex, Aboriginal identity, etc.); 2) the legal status, such as sentenced custody, remand, probation and the characteristics of the status (e.g. aggregate sentence, conditions of supervision, etc.); 3) events that occur while under supervision (e.g. escapes, temporary absence, releases, breaches of probation, etc.). Jurisdictions data are collected through the ICSS. These data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Canada Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19.
View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).
Data for the Adult Correctional Services survey (aggregate component) are reviewed by survey staff on their receipt to identify missing or partial responses. The incoming cell counts are compared to the same cells from earlier years to check for outliers and general consistency. Automated error procedures are not applied to the results of this aggregate survey, partly due to the small number of respondents. However, issues that arise are reported to the local data suppliers to assess whether there is a problem and the actions to be taken.
The Integrated Correctional Services Survey (microdata component) central processing system contains an automated edit module that examines all incoming data for format, logic and consistency. Field values that do not meet specifications or are out of range are deemed to be 'not available' and are re-coded accordingly. Imputations such as donor imputation and estimation are not performed.
No imputation is done for this survey.
The financial data provided to the survey are adjusted for inflation using constant dollars pursuant to accepted Statistics Canada approaches. The per capita data are calculated using Census of Population data.
The incoming data are assessed for completeness, historical inconsistency, the existence of outliers and reasonability. Processed data, including Integrated Correctional Services Survey data that have been tabulated into the Adult Correctional Services survey units of count, are then returned to the respondents for verification.
The variation in delivery of correctional services across the jurisdictions hinders, to some extent, precise cross-jurisdictional comparisons as the data elements captured are continually being refined to reflect local and legislative variations. The key measures presented although not perfectly precise, are still sufficient to monitor correctional trends, to stimulate policy analysis, and to evaluate legislative changes in a general way.
Factors impacting on cross-jurisdictional comparability are both definitional and systemic in nature. Definitional inconsistencies, which are in part a reflection of administrative differences, are outlined in table footnotes. Major administrative differences are: division in responsibility, administration of youth and adult services, and differing types of information systems. Information systems and the data elements used in these systems are generally established to serve local needs. Therefore comparable national data are not always achieved by aggregating data from local operational systems, even though labels used to describe the data are the same.
The products from this survey are subject to both institutional and peer (respondents, heads of correctional services, etc.) review.
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Preliminary results are not released or available to the public.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment
This methodology does not apply to this survey.
The Adult Correctional Services (ACS) survey (aggregate component) collects aggregate census data as extracted and compiled by local respondents, including those that are generated from the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS) microdata process. Formal data quality indicators, beyond annual respondent verification and review for accuracy and consistency, are not part of the survey methodology.
Accuracy of the ICSS data is assessed through the tabulation of ACS units of count, derived from ICSS microdata, and included in the general ACS verification process.
- Glossary of Terms : Adult Correctional Services