Incarcerated Native Elders underutilized: PAGC

Thursday, June 26, 2003 at 13:27




The Justice Reform Commission for First Nations and Metis peoples convened Wednesday in Prince Albert.


The 5 member panel was created back in November of 2001 to address the question of why so many Aboriginal peoples find themselves at odds with the law.


The panel heard a presentation from the justice unit of the Prince Albert Grand Council. During the session, PAGC Vice Chief Elmer Ballantyne touched on a number of reasons why the problem exists. He also brought up potential solutions as well.


Ballantyne notes that in federal prison native elders are not treated any differently than regular inmates. He argues if they were treated like prison-chaplains it would do everyone a much greater service.


The Vice Chief says a new strategy to deal with First Nations justice is clearly needed. He adds a Manitoba model which uses sentencing circles and tribal policing as ways of dealing with legal issues, is an alternative that offers many benefits.