Prison System Discriminates Against Native Inmates

Monday, October 16, 2006 at 16:50



Canada’s Corrections Ombudsman says the federal prison system discriminates against Aboriginal offenders.


In a report released today, Howard Sapers says the Correctional Service of Canada routinely classifies First Nations and Métis inmates as higher security risks than non-Native inmates.


Sapers also found that 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.


As well, he concluded that Aboriginal inmates often do not receive timely access to rehabilitative programming and services that would help them return to their communities.


The result is Aboriginal offenders now account for 18.5 per cent of the federal prison population, despite making up only 2.7 per cent of the Canadian population.


The overall incarceration rate for Aboriginal offenders is almost 9 times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal people.


Sapers’ report also noted that while the overall federal prison population fell 12.5 per cent from 1996 to 2004, the number of First Nations people in federal institutions increased by 21.7 per cent.


In fact, the number of First Nations women in federal prisons increased a staggering 74.2 per cent over that same period.