Saskatchewan’s Advocate for Children and Youth is calling on the provincial government to address the high rates of Indigenous youth incarceration in the province.

Corey O’Soup points to a recent Statistics Canada report that finds 92 per cent of male youth and 98 per cent female youth admitted into custody in Saskatchewan are Indigenous.

Nationwide, although Indigenous youth are only eight per cent of the total youth population, they account 47 per cent of youth in custody.

This is in spite of the fact national trends show youth incarceration numbers going down.

The Advocate for Children and Youth says there are a number of reasons for the high Indigenous youth incarceration rates.

“There are things that have been happening that have made us reach this point in time,” he says. “We talk about education issues, we talk about health issues, we talk about societal issues like poverty and homelessness. These are all issues that have led to this.”

O’Soup also says police profiling of Indigenous people contributes to the problem.

“If you look at the numbers, they speak for themselves. Yes, I can say they are being targeted because look at how many kids are in jail. I know for a fact it’s not 98 per cent of our girls and 92 per cent of our boys that our doing youth crimes in this province. So, why are they filling our jails?”

The Advocate for Children and Youth says the government needs to engage, listen and support Indigenous youth in order to find solutions.

O’Soup adds the province should invest in families and communities to ensure Indigenous youth have quality education, healthcare and mental health supports.

(PHOTO: Corey O’Soup. Photo courtesy of