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OPINION – Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Statement – Indigenous Women in Federal Corrections

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Ottawa – CAP, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, is calling on every Canadian to take notice of the abuse Indigenous people are facing in Canada’s justice system, and demand change.   Correctional Investigator, Dr. Ivan Zinger, released new data showing that Indigenous women make up nearly 50% of all federally-sentenced women across this country.  This does not take into consideration the provincial data.

This news comes less than a year after the Correctional Investigator reported that the proportion of Indigenous men and women in federal custody had reached an all-time high of over 30% of the overall incarcerated population. The combined men and women Indigenous proportion in federal corrections is now 32%, and climbing.

“If you are looking for proof of systemic racism and discrimination in Canada’s justice system, this data speaks for itself” says National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin. “The abuse of our Indigenous men and women is found in every level of government, justice department, corrections and policing institution and further perpetuates the problems we face. Indigenous people make up 5% of the Canadian population yet are also 1 in every 2 women incarcerated.”

“The government have been investing billions of dollars into their colonial justice system, and the return on this investment is seen in the disproportionate number of our people behind bars. This return comes in the form of massive career growth of guards, police officers, judges, lawyers, policy makers, and more.  This is why Indigenous people believe the justice system see us a renewable resource.  We are watching this data worsen each year, and it is time for change. Instead of increasing funding to the system that abuses our people, we need to reinvest in programs and services that support and heal our communities and reduce recidivism” National Vice-Chief Beaudin continues.

FYI

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve.  Today, over 70% of Indigenous people live off-reserve.  

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