Saturday, June 04, 2005

Aboriginals "overrepresented in Saskatchewan jails

Globe and Mail article

A professor of native studies at the University of Saskatchewan does not find these statistics shocking.

“It's not new, not new at all,” Patricia Monture said.

She said that the Canadian correctional services system has had an overrepresentation of aboriginal peoples since 1967.

“Saskatchewan has the distinct honour of having a record number of aboriginals in the correctional system.”

But the fact that the rate among young adults is so high means that all the “changes and improvements” being made to the correctional system are not making a difference, she said.

“There have been a lot of changes since 1967, all kinds of changes. But the figures of overrepresentation have continued to increase, and it is most dramatic among aboriginal women and aboriginal youth.

“The pattern has already been described as horrific. And it's going to get worse.”

According to the Statscan study, aboriginal people under the supervision of Saskatchewan's correctional service system were younger, had a lower level of education and poorer employment records than non-aboriginal people.

They were also more likely to be identified as having substance-abuse, attitude, family and marital, social-interaction and employment problems.

“The big question is ‘Why?' Why, if we're changing things, is it not getting better? Because we continue to look at the system individually. We're not looking at alcoholism, residential schools, foster care, substance abuse, violence against women, racialized profiling by police as linked to aboriginal overrepresentation.”

Why are they overrepresented? They commit a disproportionate number of the crimes here, certainly these statistics are nothing new or surprising, the solution is much more difficult and certainly isn't to be found is crap like healing lodges, the problem is the system of hand-outs to Natives and the mess that is the Reserves