Call to Action #31

31. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to provide sufficient and stable funding to implement and evaluate community sanctions that will provide realistic alternatives to imprisonment for Aboriginal offenders and respond to the underlying causes of offending.

Prison populations in regions of Canada represent a disturbing amount of bias in our federal and provincial legal systems, yet imprisonment as a whole is a redundant process for ensuring justice. The reliance of Canada’s legal justice on imprisonment coupled with native populations social susceptibility to minor crimes has contributed to the one of the most ethnically imbalanced. Factors such as parental background, educational opportunities, and socioeconomic status are all influential in shaping a potentially incarcerated criminal, but one element has also unfortunately arisen: ethnicity. Aboriginal offenders are more likely to be imprisoned for minor crimes and do more time than their white counterparts, and this system of release and arrest is clearly ineffective for such a differing culture than that of mainstream Canada.


The Constitution Act of Canada outlined that aboriginal-specific needs to accommodate for the racism emitted by judicial law, whereas aboriginal organizations themselves organized alternatives to imprisonment or fines. Many of these processes focus on reintegrating traditional native philosophies to deal with current problems, and offers a community focused base for which offenders to build off of and become engaged and law abiding citizens. Sacred Circles, Cultural Skills, and Sweat Lodge ceremonies have been vital to indigenous populations since before they faced colonization, so their communities must be granted the right to continue healing themselves with ceremonies that are much more constructive, spiritual, and humane.


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