Number of Indigenous people in prison now a human rights issue says Correctional Investigator - APTN NewsAPTN News

Number of Indigenous people in prison now a human rights issue says Correctional Investigator

Todd Lamirande
Canada’s Correctional Investigator said the number of Indigenous people locked up in prisons across the country is now a human rights issue.

“That the incarceration rate for Indigenous people keeps climbing year after year after year, relentlessly,” said Zinger.

Ivan Zinger released his latest report Tuesday and the bad news regarding the incarceration of Indigenous people continued.

The statistics aren’t new.

They show that more than a quarter of all inmates are First Nation, Metis or Inuit.

And that female incarceration rates are at 38 per cent.

And there are facts that don’t seem to change year after year.

“Indigenous people are released much later in their sentences than non-Aboriginal, most of them at statutory release, which means two-thirds of their sentence,” he said.

“They are in higher security typically. They’re more likely to be in segregation. And then when they do go out, they’re more likely to be suspended or revoked.”

Zinger recommends increasing the number of agreements in two sections of the corrections and conditional release act.

“These sections allow for the Minister of Public Safety to enter into agreements with Indigenous communities for the care, custody or supervision of Indigenous people by Indigenous communities,” he said.

At the moment, this is done through healing lodges. There are nine of them across the country.

“Our programs are run by the elders. And they are directed by the elders and the Indigenous communities,” said Claire Carefoot, director of the Buffalo Sage Wellness House. “So we’ll have more women who will come have access to their kids for one thing.Because their children can live here if they’re under school age.

“And that is a big thing in itself.”

Five are run by Corrections Canada and four are Aboriginal-run.

But Zinger said there are gaps between the Indigenous run lodges and the ones operated by Corrections Canada that need to be closed.

“Because right now they’re getting about 60 cents on the dollar. Funding them at the same rate would yield ultimately I believe better correctional outcomes.”

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s minister of Public Safety issued a release about the report stating that the Liberals put $65.2 million over five years to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in prison.

Contact Todd here:

Tags: , , , ,

13 Responses to “Number of Indigenous people in prison now a human rights issue says Correctional Investigator”

    Jeff White November 5, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

    Oddly, the article fails to put the figures into perspective by mentioning that indigenous people make up only 4.9% of the population of Canada.

    Rand Sam November 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    Early 60s… the populations were over blown seems that since then that system only places of the most vulnerable of small population…so hideously cruel and unusaul racism

    David King November 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Disproportionate incarceration rates are the norm, not the exception for Indigenous peoples who were colonized under British Imperialism, and are also a minority within their own country. It has nothing to do with race, ethnicity or creed. The Irish Catholics of Northern Ireland are as European as they come, yet they too have disproportionate incarceration rates. The Maori of New Zealand make up over half the male prison population. The Aboriginal Peoples of Australia are in a crisis, re: incarceration rates. Canada and the USA are no different (though in the USA, you have to check data state by state). These demographics get stiffer sentences, are more likely to be dealt with harder in prison, etc.

    For that matter, check the grocery list of social problems colonized Peoples (who are a minority in their own country) generally do have in disproportionate rates. Trust me, it’s all the same story in all the above human groups I’ve mentioned. Most of the data is online…some brain teasers: the settler demographics in Canada, Australia and New Zealand today have virtually the same lifespan – mere months apart. 79 for Euro-settler males, 83 for females. In all, the settler demographics are aging with a declining birth rate, while the Indigenous demographics have population booms, are much younger on average.

    Delis November 4, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    For many many years our indegenous brothers and sisters have been incarcerated. For many years our indegenous children have suffered the loss of family, for many many years most homeless are indegenous, for many many years we have suffered racism . So all the meetings in the world is never going to change anything. No recommendation will ever fix anything it’s always scary when immigrants get better services, I Don’t understand what is happening. Our indegenous people have no home, but I don’t see the imigrants walking around on the street
    The also have the idea that we ingenious people are at the bottom of the wood pile.

    Cher November 2, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Yes the system is unfair. There so many natives in jail. A lot can’t afford lawyers the legal aide is a worthless ppl they work for the crown. Yet the legal aide charge themselves so much to pay back. My feed back is getting these men and women to work pychical such as in the bush any hands on and working in communities bring back native laws ex.if you kill you replace and be the caregiver,If you steal get your fingers chopped.Yes I do believe things like that if it was to come back plus can not declipine our children no more government took that away.

    Cheryl LittleDog November 1, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    I have a Native friend who has been incarcerated for over 2 years now in the Pennington County jail in SD. His sentencing has been moved in the last two years now again put off to January 2018. In Federal documents his ex wife put false allegations on him of which she stated in these Federal Black and White Documents that she fabricated Nd lied to these allegations on my friend. He has gone through three attorneys first attorney was paid 10k for her service to represent him with all technicalities of Negalities proven with facts of truth he did not do what she had stated of lies. Now, they want him to go to peison for 12 to 15 years and the lawyer wil work on his appeal. Now where is the justice in thus of my friends ex fabricating and lying to Federal officers, why isn’t she being charged for this Federal she just committed a crime of 2 years… where is the justice in this. He needs to be freed and let out as they talk of human right violated, well his rights with treaties and culturally have been violated i n every shape and form as he is a Sun Dancer with attending ceremonies… As the lawyers and US Government all coincide of making decions working together in all these systems…They need to investigate Truth of Facts before and after the arrest… Not suppose to arrest until the facts of truth are shown in all shapes and forms of legal documentation of the issue at hand brought forth. If the law and law enforcement did there jobs so diligently and of their code of ethics, there would not be such a high rate of our natives on jails and prisons…AY-AHO

    Patricia Wasiukow November 1, 2017 at 9:34 pm #

    I would like to see a study comparing First Nations Crime to that of other Non Native Canadians??? We should have a National Justice of Sentence… across Canada.. period… If you do the crime you do the time????

    Vivian McLeod November 1, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    This has been a human rights issue for as long as I’ve been alive. It starts with policing, ends in a prison and includes every step of the way. As a visibly Aboriginal person you will be carded everytime you are passed by a police officer while walking anywhere outside of business hours. You will be stopped while driving, without having committed any infraction. You will be held as long as it takes to ensure that you’ve never been arrested, and you will be detained without arrest. You will be charged for any possible infraction (while your white peers will be excused or released with a warning). Anytime you are arrested, you will be mistreated and/or neglected. Your public defender will do little to ensure your rights, while the crown will do everything possible to incarcerate and/or fine you for the maximum allowed under law.

    Ray Brethour November 1, 2017 at 8:43 am #

    I did 120 days Provincial time for child support. A 13 year veteran police officer I was fired from my job and unable to pay support. Unable to qualify for legal support I was imprisoned and taken away from my current family with two babies. I know of non aboriginal individuals in debt to the FRO for over half million never spent a day in jail. Because they had money to pay lawyers. Our system is flawed.

      Rebecca Whetstine November 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

      Do have a point, Ray? Or are you simply parading your simple-minded bigotry for all to see? I am sorry for what happened to you, yet it has nothing to do with the topic under discussion.

    Kyle Gunderson November 1, 2017 at 2:35 am #

    This is extremely sad as most should never have ended up there in the first place,if they are incarcerated they need rehabilitation,counseling,education programs,training in a trade,and getting in touch with their own FN Customs and Ceremonies to grow and connect with themselves and the rest of society!
    I do agree some crimes such as murder,rape,sexual abuse of children need much more time before release or in some cases life is life as the crime was horrific and a detterant had to be made!
    But Todd these offenders problems in most cases started at birth,and throughout their impressiionable yrs ie;domestic violence,physical and verbal,)and mental abuse,sexual abuse,foster care system,juvenile justice system and so on!
    I know this first hand growing up in Port Hardy and witnessing it first hand!
    Makes me angry and sad when I think about it today!
    Thanks Todd

    Martha Kahnapace November 1, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    Prayerfully action will take place an less mouth movement – after all we are First Nations being treated worse than 3rd world country persons in our own land!

    martin dufresne October 31, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

    Hello Todd, Thank you for this report. Could I post my French version on my FB page?