The ministry is committed to publicly releasing data annually regarding its use of restrictive confinement for all individuals in Ontario’s adult correctional system, excluding those on lockdown, and to include the following in the report:

  • the duration of time each inmate spent in restrictive confinement, including continuous and total days over the last year
  • the reason the inmate was placed in restrictive confinement
  • the number of inmates who had a suicide alert or suicide watch alert

Furthermore, the ministry has disaggregated the data based on:

  • individuals with mental health disabilities (including risk of suicide or self-harm) whether identified through mental health alerts, mental health screening and reassessment, or by being reported and confirmed
  • gender
  • facility/institution
  • region

The data has also been disaggregated on additional data related to race, age and religion or spiritual affiliation.

The ministry defines restrictive confinement as any type of confinement that is more restrictive than the general population but less restrictive than segregation. As a result, the ministry is reporting any case where an individual was held in a unit regularly scheduled to be locked down for 17 hours or more per day. This timeframe is considered more restrictive than that of the general population based on an assessment of provincewide lockdown times. Regularly scheduled lockdowns are daily routine times where movement out of a cell is restricted, such as during meal times and overnight.

The ministry is reporting on a one-year period between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. This time period aligns with the government’s fiscal year.

Disclosure on data collection method

To collect the information required, a report was generated through the ministry’s Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) to identify any individuals who were held in a unit that was regularly locked down for 17 hours or more per day. OTIS is an electronic database used to track individuals under the supervision of the ministry and includes demographic, institutional housing and placement history. Information is entered into OTIS manually and, due to technological limitations, may be recorded through other means and transferred into OTIS later.

As an individual’s housing location may change daily, data on restrictive confinement was extracted for each day within the reporting period, rather than one single extraction, to provide more accurate data. Currently, the reason and number of placements or continuous days in restrictive confinement by individual cannot be tracked due to the data collection method. The ministry recognizes the challenges in accurately tracking inmates within restrictive confinement and is currently developing new ways to track inmate movement in and out of cell.

Between May 22 and May 24, 2021, a scheduled outage to OTIS occurred. As a result of this outage, lockdown data captured in this report was unavailable for May 22, 23 and 24, 2021. Lockdown data for May 25, 2021, was also partially impacted by the scheduled outage.

The data captured in this report excludes any cases where an inmate was held in a unit that was regularly locked down for 17 hours or more but was considered to meet segregation conditions based on the information recorded in the inmate’s file.

Demographic information entered in OTIS is largely self-reported and therefore is subject to change over time. OTIS displays the most recent details for an inmate and maintains a record of information previously entered into the system. The report generated for this release captured demographic information that was on file for each day that an individual was held in a unit that was locked down for 17 hours or more.

OTIS records inmates’ gender as either “male” or “female”. Additional gender identities are recorded in a “transgender alert”. Where an inmate has a transgender alert, the gender field in OTIS will reflect the individual’s preferred gender identity and may change over time.

The information on race and religion or spiritual affiliation extracted from OTIS is aligned with the Anti-Racism Data Standards (ARDS). On August 16, 2020, the ministry implemented changes to the collection of data on Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, race and religion in order to align with the ARDS under the Anti-Racism Act (ARA), 2017. For the purposes of this review, in cases where race-related data had not yet been updated on an inmate’s file, historical information on the inmate’s file prior to August 16, 2020 was used, if available.

The identification of inmates with mental health conditions is based on the presence of a mental health alert that is recorded in OTIS. Mental health alerts do not indicate a confirmed mental health diagnosis. However, they signal the presence of potential mental health concerns so assessments for appropriate health care supports can be provided.

On September 1, 2021, a Serious Mental Illness alert was added to the list of mental health alerts in OTIS. The identification of an inmate requiring a serious mental illness alert is made when a regulated health professional who is qualified to make diagnoses within their clinical scope considers the inmate to be experiencing at least one disorder as identified in Ontario Regulation 778 or when an institutional staff member has determined that an inmate is experiencing at least one of a list of symptoms outlined in O. Reg. 778.

All mental health alerts, including serious mental illness alerts, are required to be verifieda by mental health professionals. Health care staff are required to assess individuals and verify mental health alerts in OTIS within 48 hours of the alert being entered. To capture the potential presence of a mental health concern, the data for this release includes both verified and unverified mental health alerts present on the inmate’s file for each day where they were held in a unit that was locked down for 17 hours or more.

Review of all inmates in restrictive confinement between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022

Inmates with an intermittent sentence have been included in the data. As a result, the total population numbers and the numbers of individuals who were housed in a unit that was locked down for 17 hours or more per day include cases where an individual was flagged as having an intermittent sentence. An intermittent sentence is a custodial sentence that is served during specific recurring days and times, rather than all at once.

There were 15,929 (53.6%) unique individuals who spent at least one day in a unit that was regularly locked down for 17 hours or more per day between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, out of a total of 29,693 inmates in custody.

An individual’s custodial location information may change over time. As the data on restrictive confinement was generated for each day within the reporting period, the location reflects information on file for the most recent day where an individual was held in a unit that was locked down for 17 hours or more per day.

Population breakdown in restrictive confinement

Population breakdown in restrictive confinement
LocationFemalesMalesTotal
Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre11,1471,148
Maplehurst Correctional Complex13,2123,213
Niagara Detention Centre0728728
Central Region25,0875,089
Brockville Jail0252252
Central East Correctional Centre1477478
Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre3121,9842,296
Quinte Detention Centre219665884
Eastern Region5323,3783,910
Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre67475542
Kenora Jail0352352
Sudbury Jail19321340
Thunder Bay Correctional Centre78078
Thunder Bay Jail0345345
Northern Region1641,4931,657
Toronto South Detention Centre132,4262,439
Toronto Region132,4262,439
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre1161,0421,158
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre - Regional Intermittent Centre116172
Sarnia Jail16251267
South West Detention Centre1901,0341,224
Stratford Jail0113113
Western Region3332,5012,834
Total number of inmates1,04414,88515,929

Duration of time spent in restrictive confinement

Maximum, median and mode of aggregate days inmates spent in restrictive confinement over the last year
LocationMaximum number of aggregate days in restrictive confinement for femalesMedian days for femalesMode days for femalesMaximum number of aggregate days in restrictive confinement for malesMedian days for malesMode days for malesMedian days overallMode days overall
Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre1717n/a1388888
Maplehurst Correctional Complex1717n/a362111111
Niagara Detention Centre000178161161
Central Region171717362111111
Brockville Jail00011614.5114.51
Central East Correctional Centre1212n/a361111111
Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre235141361221201
Quinte Detention Centre358171361181181
Eastern Region358151361191191
Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre20313138161
Kenora Jail0006515151515
Sudbury Jail2732252111101
Thunder Bay Correctional Centre497100071
Thunder Bay Jail00010912121212
Northern Region4941313121111
Toronto South Detention Centre163272361111111
Toronto Region163272361131111
Elgin Middlesex Correctional Centre108311539191
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre - Regional Intermittent Centre8213358158148
Sarnia Jail348.516915151515
South West Detention Centre94151524216151615
Stratford Jail0009915151515
Western Region10881242131131
Overall358111362131131

Across all regions, the aggregate length of time for restrictive confinement placements for all inmates ranged from a minimum of one day to a maximum of 362 days. The median, or mid-point, number of days aggregately spent in restrictive confinement was thirteen days. The most frequent, or mode, aggregate placement length was one day for all inmates.

Between May 22 and May 24, 2021, a scheduled outage to OTIS occurred. As a result of this outage, lockdown data captured in this report was unavailable for May 22, 23 and 24, 2021, which impacted the data for aggregate days in restrictive confinement. Lockdown data for May 25, 2021, was also partially impacted by the scheduled outage.

Mental health alerts

A mental health alert is recorded in an inmate’s file by facility staff including correctional, medical and clinical staff, if the inmate:

  • discloses a history of mental illness
  • is showing signs of, or has disclosed thoughts about self-harm or suicide
  • is demonstrating behaviour that may suggest a mental illness

The ministry’s policy requires an initial mental health screening to be completed within 48 hours of an inmate being admitted to an institution. All active mental health alerts are required to be verified by mental health professionals within 48 hours of the alert being entered into OTIS. If an inmate screens positive for a possible mental health condition, they are further assessed by health care professionals and may be referred to a psychiatrist or physician. Additionally, inmates are also reassessed for mental health care needs at least once every six months of continuous custody. Mental health professionals are required to add mental health alerts, verify new and existing mental health alerts and expire inactive alerts as appropriate throughout an individual’s stay in custody.

Of the 15,929 inmates included in the review, 4,430 (28%) had a mental health alert on file for at least one placement. Forty-three per cent of females and 27% of males in restrictive confinement had a mental health alert. The data includes all inmates who had a mental health alert present at any point between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Number of individuals in restrictive confinement with a mental health alert
GenderNo alertMental health alertTotal
Females5964481,044
Males10,9033,98214,885
Total11,4994,43015,929

A Serious Mental Illness alert is a type of mental health alert that is recorded in an inmate’s file when a regulated health professional who is qualified to make diagnoses within their clinical scope considers the inmate to be experiencing at least one disorder as identified in O. Reg 778 or when an institutional staff member has determined that an inmate is experiencing at least one of a number of symptoms outlined in O. Reg 778. The Serious Mental Illness alert was made available for institutional use on September 1, 2021. As a result, data related to serious mental illness alerts should be interpreted with caution for this data release.

Further breakdown of this information by region, institution and gender, is available in the addendum.

Suicide risk alerts

A suicide risk alert is recorded in an inmate’s file when they require enhanced supervision or if they are at risk of posing harm to themselves. Suicide risk alerts are broken down into the following categories:

  • enhanced supervision
  • previous suicide attempt(s)
  • suicide watch

Of the 15,929 inmates covered in the review, 2,571 (16%) had a suicide risk alert recorded in their file. Twenty-two per cent of females in restrictive confinement and 16% of males in restrictive confinement had suicide risk alerts. The data includes all inmates who had a suicide risk alert present at any point between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Number of individuals in restrictive confinement with a suicide risk alert
GenderNo alertSuicide risk alertTotal
Females8142301,044
Males12,5442,34114,885
Total13,3582,57115,929

A suicide watch is a type of suicide risk alert and indicates when an inmate requires increased supervision due to a high risk of suicide or self-harm. Of the inmates included in the review, 848 (5%) were on suicide watch while in restrictive confinement. Eight per cent of females in restrictive confinement and 5% of males in restrictive confinement had suicide watch alerts. The data includes all inmates who had a suicide watch alert present at any point between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Ministry policy requires that an assessment, monitoring and documenting process including frequent in-person checks occur at least once every 10 minutes. Between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., correctional staff are required to interact verbally with the inmate on an hourly basis.

Number of individuals in restrictive confinement with a suicide watch alert
GenderNo alertSuicide risk alertTotal
Females965791,044
Males14,11676914,885
Total15,08184815,929

Demographics

Demographic factors were extracted as they were recorded in OTIS for each day that an individual was held in a unit that was scheduled to be locked down for 17 hours or more. An individual’s demographic information may change over time because this information is self-reported. As a result, demographic information in the following tables specific to unique individuals reflects the information on file for the most recent day during the reporting period where an individual was held in a unit that was regularly scheduled to be locked down for 17 hours or more.

In cases where data on race and religion had not yet been re-collected as per the changes to data collection implemented on August 16, 2020, the most recent historical information available on the inmate’s file prior to August 16, 2020 was used, if available.

Age

Age ranges of inmates in restrictive confinement
Age ranges and genderCentral RegionEastern RegionNorthern RegionToronto RegionWestern RegionTotal
18 to 24 years old8866283094763802,679
25 to 49 years old3,5982,8251,2361,7192,18111,559
50 years or older6054571122442731,691
Total number of inmates5,0893,9101,6572,4392,83415,929

Of the 15,929 inmates included in the review, 1,044 self-identified as female and 14,885 self-identified as male. These numbers include 69 inmates who self-identified as transgender during this period. Trans inmates are captured in the dataset based on their gender identity. The average age amongst all inmates at the start of the reporting period was 35 years old.

Race

Racial background of inmates in restrictive confinement
RaceCentral RegionEastern RegionNorthern RegionToronto RegionWestern RegionTotal
White2,5912,3586008061,7838,138
Black7704001096482412,168
Indigenous4054087321863092,040
South Asian27649610318452
Middle Eastern14410128483414
Latino943858041258
East Asian1343117614256
Another race category7642168739260
Unknown or not reported8846952274983872,691
Total number of inmates5,3744,1221,6982,5682,91516,677

Due to the August 16, 2020 changes to the collection of race and religion data in OTIS, individuals may report more than one race category. As a result, the total reported race information number exceeds the number of inmates captured in the review. Of the 15,929 inmates covered in the review, 8,138 (51%) self-identified as white, 2,168 (14%) self-identified as Black, and 2,040 (13%) self-identified as Indigenous. There were 452 (2.8%) inmates who self-identified as South Asian, 414 (2.6%) as Middle Eastern, 258 (1.6%) as Latino, 256 (1.6%) identified East Asian and 260 (1.6%) as another race category. There were 2,691 (17%) inmates who did not report this information or it was unknown.

Religion or spiritual affiliation

Religion or spiritual affiliation of inmates in restrictive confinement
Religion/spiritualityCentral RegionEastern RegionNorthern RegionToronto RegionWestern RegionTotal
no religion1,5171,1053932357504,000
Christian10187522344695192,992
Indigenous spirituality18315725791161849
Muslim27218929190110790
Sikh158712814208
Jewish964462821195
Hindu619117492
Buddhist27173151476
Another religious or spiritual affiliation2451335110793629
Unknown or not reported1,9081,7147721,3801,2407,014
Total number of inmates5,4854,1271,7472,5602,92616,845

Due to the August 16, 2020 changes to the collection of race and religion data in OTIS, individuals may report more than one religious or spiritual affiliation. As a result, the total reported information on religion number exceeds the number of inmates captured in the review. There were 7,014 inmates (44%) covered in the review who did not report a religion/spirituality, or it was unknown, while 4,000 (25%) stated they had no religious or spiritual affiliation, and 2,992 (19%) self-identified as being Christian.. There were 849 (5.3%) inmates who self-identified as having Indigenous spirituality and 790 (5%) self-identified as Muslim . Of the remaining inmates, self-identified religions included 208 (1.3%) Sikh, 195 (1.2%) Jewish, 92 (0.6%) Hindu, and 76 (0.5%) Buddhist. There were 629 inmates (3.9%) who reported “another religious or spiritual affiliation”.

Further demographic information including race and religion, as identified by the inmate, is available in the addendum.