Should we collect more race-based data on crime?

The Canadian Justice system has been repeatedly accused of being racist, with much higher incarceration rates for our First Nations and Black citizens than of Whites and Asians.  In the […]
Published on August 11, 2023

The Canadian Justice system has been repeatedly accused of being racist, with much higher incarceration rates for our First Nations and Black citizens than of Whites and Asians.  In the USA, they capture data on the race of those charged with crimes, victims, as well on those who are incarcerated. In Canada, we do not collect racial data on those who are charged with crimes, or their victims; only on those who are incarcerated.  The US model allows for a more reasoned discussion about crime and punishment, and the causes of crime. In Canada, it can be argued that there is too much focus on the criminal justice system, rather than on the factors leading up to the crimes.  The Canadian model appears to make it harder for legislators, prosecutors, and judges to have meaningful discussions and determine appropriate measures for crime reduction and sentencing.

Both Statistics Canada and the Association of Chiefs of Police have recommended that Canada should start collecting this data, which is supported by many First Nations groups – https://www.statcan.gc.ca/en/consultation/2021/ucrs/report

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Should we collect more race-based data on crime?

 

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