A women’s rights advocate in Edmonton is pitching a unique idea to Corrections Canada to try and better protect Indigenous women in the future.
Muriel Stanley Venne, who was almost killed by her ex-husband, is a Metis member of the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee for Corrections Canada.
She pitched the idea of setting up interviews in prison with men who have killed Indigenous women.
Venne said the information gained from these interviews could help fill in information that was not collected by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“It seemed we were missing out on a very critical part of the inquiry into the deaths of the women,” Venne told APTN News. “And so, the idea that came to me was… and having learned from going to the prisons for many years.. these prisoners are still human beings.
“Eventually they are going to get out. And they need to be prepared and healed to enter society.”
The inquiry has wrapped up more than two years of work and the commissioners are currently writing a final report that is due at the end of April.
Venne recently toured a prison in Quebec with Corrections Canada which housed many Inuit offenders.
That’s where she pitched the idea of trying, first hand, the motives of why these killers targeted Indigenous women.
Venne said she believes that psychiatrists and criminologists could gather useful information that could be used to reduce violence towards women.
“The questions have to be meaningful. They have to be accurate and they have to appeal to the prisoners who have done bad things,” she said.
“And we must look at that, and we have the capability to do that.”
Venne said that even the most hardened criminal can change – including killers.
“That doesn’t mean they are not capable of turning themselves around. If they turned to doing bad things… they can turn themselves into doing good things.”
Venne said her suggestion was taken in good faith by Corrections Canada and is hopeful her idea will be implemented.
“If we don’t take these measures, heal the people, we will continue to have the women as the most tragic and traumatic as we go along.”
In a statement to APTN Corrections Canada said that it will look at the Venne’s recommendation.
“The National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) provides invaluable advice and guidance to CSC. CSC welcomes all recommendations provided by NAAC members and gives them our full consideration,” the statement said.
Corrections wouldn’t comment on the national inquiry issue.