Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Federal Correctional Investigator Slams Treatment of Native Prisoners

Howard Sapers, the federal Correctional Investigator, presented his annual report Monday. Mr. Sapers' role is that of an independent ombudsman for prisoners in the federal prison system.

From the press release:

"According to the Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator, the Government of Canada’s Corrections Ombudsman, the federal prison system has practices that discriminate against Aboriginal offenders. The Correctional Investigator found that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) routinely classifies First Nations, Métis and Inuit inmates as higher security risks than non-native inmates; Aboriginal offenders are released later in their sentences than other inmates; and they are more likely to have their conditional release revoked for technical reasons than other offenders. According to the Report, Aboriginal inmates often do not receive timely access to rehabilitative programming and services that would help them return to their communities."
Aboriginal people make up only 2.7 percent of the Canadian population, but make up 18.5 percent of the federal prison population according to 2006 figures of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. And while the overall incarceration rate for non-Aboriginal people is 117 per 100,000 adults, the rate for Aboriginals is 1,024 per 100,000 — almost 9 times higher.

Correctional Services Canada responded, stating:

"As reported in our Report on Plans and Priorities tabled in Parliament on September 26, CSC is focused on delivering five key priorities to improve our contribution to public safety. One of these priorities is to enhance our capacities to provide effective interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders. We have developed, and are implementing a new five-year Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Corrections , which was published on our website last week. This plan clearly articulates our vision for Aboriginal corrections, including appropriate interventions to reduce the rates of recidivism, which will significantly contribute to the public safety of all Canadians."
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm


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