Sask. has highest rate of females accused of crime among provinces: Stats Can

Sask. has highest rate of females accused of crime among provinces: Stats Can

Saskatchewan has the highest rate of females accused of crime among Canadian provinces, according to Statistics Canada.

Observers point to systemic issues to explain the numbers.

According to numbers released Thursday, 4.8 per cent of Saskatchewan's female population were accused of a police-reported crime in 2017. That rate is dwarfed only by the territories.

Sue Delanoy, the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society's Saskatoon chapter, says the numbers are an outgrowth of a larger trend: the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in general in Canada's criminal justice system.

Statistics Canada said property crime accounts for the highest percentage of crimes across the country.

"That's definitely borne out in the courts," said Delanoy.  "We see a lot of theft in the poverty, lack of food security, lack of housing security, no financial security, caring for our kids with nothing.

"A lot of people turn to shoplifting or theft to feed their families or to feed their addictions."

Jessie Buydens, a Saskatoon defence attorney, said another factor may be at work in the high number of female offenders in Saskatchewan.

"In terms of alternative measures, in Saskatchewan, in Regina or Saskatoon, if you're caught shoplifting or other sort of minor but poverty-based crimes, you can go to alternative measures," Buydens said.

"But outside of Saskatoon and Regina, you can't, and because we've got a very rural population, anything that would be poverty-based, you would likely have a conviction as opposed to a diversion."