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Nov 02, 2023
(Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) supports the findings and recommendations presented in the 50th Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator, and calls for urgent action to address the overrepresentation and incarceration of First Nations people in Canada’s federal prisons. The report, tabled in Parliament on October 31, 2023, includes the second of a two-part update of the Office’s report entitled, Spirit Matters: Aboriginal People and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which was originally tabled as a Special Report to Parliament in March 2013.
“Over the past decade, we have observed an alarming rise in the number of incarcerated Indigenous people in correctional facilities. Indigenous people now account for 33% of the overall federal incarcerated population, up from 25%,” said AFN Québec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “This sharp increase of Indigenous people in Correctional Services Canada (CSC) custody reveals the deep-rooted efforts of colonialism, systemic racism, the effects of socio-economic disadvantage, intergenerational trauma and abuse, the Residential Schools system, the Child Welfare System and the Sixties Scoop, among other factors.”
The report makes twelve recommendations, directed at the Government of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety, and CSC. Among these recommendations include the transfer of control and ownership of existing state-run Healing Lodges to the local community, the creation of a new funding model for Section 81 agreements to achieve funding parity with state-run facilities, the expansion of the benefits offered by the Pathways Initiative to a larger number of incarcerated Indigenous individuals, and the development and implementation of a national Indigenous decarceration strategy.
“The findings of this report highlight the need for urgent action. We can’t afford to come back 10 years from now to witness this crisis getting worse. This must change,” said AFN Québec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “We call on Correctional Services Canada to implement all twelve recommendations provided in the Correctional Investigator of Canada report.”
The annual report, along with additional information and backgrounders, is available for public access at www.oci-bec.gc.ca.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.
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Assembly of First Nations