Current Problems

Justice (25-42)

Custody Rating Scale lawsuit

January 12, 2021

Globe and Mail – A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court challenges the Custody Rating Scale, a 12-question risk assessment tool developed by Correctional Services Canada in the 1980s and in widespread use. The suite is file on behalf of tens of thousands of inmates over systemic bias in its security classifications which affect inmates’ living arrangements, access to treatment programs and likelihood of getting parole. Last year, a Globe and Mail investigation found the scores derived from some of Correctional Service Canada’s most important risk tools, including the Custody Rating Scale, were systemically biased against racialized and female inmates resulting in harsher security ratings than they would have otherwise received.

“1CSC’s ongoing use of [the Custody Rating Scale] on Indigenous inmates must be recognized as the product of deliberate and conscious race-based discriminatory treatment of Indigenous inmates that resulted in and continues to result in, longer and harsher prison sentences for indigenous people, especially Indigenous women,” the statement of claim reads in part. Depending on their score, inmates can expect decreased movement privileges, less access to treatment programs and difficulty getting paroled/

  • Indigenous women were 65% more likely than white women to end up with a maximum-security level at admission and 42% more likely to have the poorest reintegration scores
  • Indigenous men were 30% more likely than white men to receive the worst reintegration potential score at any point during their sentence