Dozens of people are marching to the Regina Correctional Centre this afternoon to raise awareness about the increasing number of Aboriginal people behind bars and to raise the spirits of both inmates and corrections workers.

The protest is being organized by the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism.

SCAR spokesman, Bob Hughes says the march is about hope and giving people the proper tools for a fresh start.  He says many inmates end up back in jail because there is no support for them when they get out:

“I’m very concerned and asking that the practice of releasing inmates with no income, no housing and no emotional support be stopped immediately — because it is accomplishing nothing but giving people a round trip ticket back in there.”

Aboriginals make up about 15% of the Saskatchewan population, but represent about 80% of the jail population.

Saskatchewan has the highest Aboriginal incarceration rate in Canada.

Hughes says the current system is not working and until there are some fundamental changes focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment, the problem will only get worse.