Blog Archives

Gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous inmates growing, latest statistics show

prison cellsMinisters of justice and public safety say the government is not turning a ‘blind eye’ to the issue

By Alison Crawford, CBC News, September 15, 2017

There are more Indigenous offenders in Canada’s prisons and they serve more time before being released on parole than other prisoners, according to fresh statistics from the federal Department of Public Safety. Read the rest of this entry

Group rallies for Prince Albert prisoners

scar-rallyby Brian Fitzpatrick, Regina Leader-Post, March 1, 2017

In the wake of the deadly prison riot in Prince Albert in December, a small crowd led by the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR) rallied in Regina on Wednesday to protest against ongoing conditions at the penitentiary.

The unrest at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary — thought to have first erupted over food standards — left Jason Leonard Bird, 43, dead and eight prisoners wounded after fires were lit, fittings smashed, and weapons, including firearms, used by guards.  Read the rest of this entry

Nunavut jail’s carving program helps inmates handle stress, build life skills


Photo: Jane Sponagle/CBC

‘When I’m carving … I wish I was out there out on the land or on the floe edge’

By Jane Sponagle, CBC News, May 19, 2016

A glass and metal display case gleams under fluorescent lights. Pale and dark greens swirl through the owl, inukshuk and polar bear soapstone carvings that line the shelves.

On this Friday afternoon, shoppers are huddled around the case, inspecting the carvings. Sales seem brisk.

But this isn’t a Toronto art gallery or even an Iqaluit souvenir shop. This is the lobby of Makigiarvik, Iqaluit’s new minimum security jail. Read the rest of this entry

Elders use culture to heal Indigenous inmates from sexual violence


“I just try and make the women feel better about who they are… to re-identify them with who they are,” says Elder Amy Victor, spiritual advisor at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women. (Lauren Kaljur and Curtis Rowland, CBC News)

‘Being disconnected from the culture caused them to be lost,’ says elder Amy Victor

By Lauren Kaljur, Curtis Rowland, CBC News, April 26, 2016

Elder Amy Victor of the Stó:lō Nation is no ordinary grandma. Five days a week she drives from the Cheam reserve to Abbotsford. B.C., where she willingly walks through the gates of the Fraser Valley Institution for Women.

But the 74-year-old elder is not a prisoner or a guard. Her unique position, spiritual advisor, allows her to help Indigenous women heal the damage wrought by sexual abuse using a simple, potent formula: traditional teachings, Indigenous medicines, indomitable spirit. Read the rest of this entry

Hunger strike again at Regina Correctional Centre

regina correctional centre

Regina Correctional Centre.

High security inmates frustrated by lack of progress on unresolved issues

CBC News, March 03, 2016

Another hunger strike is underway at the Regina Correctional Centre.

On Wednesday, 16 members of the high security unit 2D1 served notice, and as of late Thursday afternoon had refused both their breakfast and lunch trays. Read the rest of this entry

Prison watchdog says more than a quarter of federal inmates are aboriginal people

prison cells 1Howard Sapers, Canada’s correctional investigator, says efforts to curb high numbers not working

CBC News Jan 14, 2016

For the first time, more than a quarter of inmates in Canadian prisons are aboriginal people.

“The most current figure we have is quite shocking,” said Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers, the country’s prison ombudsman.

“In federal corrections, 25.4 per cent of the incarcerated population are now of aboriginal ancestry.” Read the rest of this entry

Update from Regina jail: Inmates refusing to eat privatized food until demands met

Regina prison 2

Regina’s Provincial Correctional Centre.

by Kenneth Jackson, APTN National News, January 7, 2016

Just like they said they would a group of inmates inside a Regina jail are refusing to eat the “gross” meals served to them sending back oatmeal at breakfast and bologna sandwiches at lunch Thursday.

It’s believed the hunger protest is secluded mainly to one section of the Regina Correctional Centre’s remand wing where about 70 inmates are demanding better quality food they say is often old and stinky according to inmate Kenneth Morrison, 27, originally from the Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan. Read the rest of this entry

Aboriginal inmates less likely to get early release from prison

Prison cells‘Releasing someone at the end of their sentence does not make a safe community,’ John Howard spokeswoman says

By Kate Kyle, CBC News, June 25, 2015

Aboriginal prisoners are overrepresented in Canada’s federal prisons and waiting longer for parole, according to new numbers from the Public Safety Ministry, which is responsible for corrections.

Federal offenders are first eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentences, but their release isn’t guaranteed. Read the rest of this entry

Federal offenders find redemption at B.C.’s Aghelh Nebun Camp

Aghelh Nebun Camp.

Aghelh Nebun Camp.

Aghelh Nebun Camp incorporates traditional First Nation cultural practices

By Daybreak North, CBC News, June 25, 2015

A wilderness camp east of Prince George, B.C., is offering incarcerated men on conditional release a way to connect with their spiritual, cultural and emotional side as they serve out their sentences.

Aghelh Nebun Camp allows up to 19 men to live there under supervision of Correctional Service Canada. The program incorporates traditional First Nation culture, and allows residents to take part in talking circles and drum groups as well as everyday work and recreational activities. Read the rest of this entry

Former Regina jail inmates decry 21-hour lockup

David Dustyhorn says he didn't see the sun 'for like 3½ years.' (Radio-Canada/CBC)

David Dustyhorn says he didn’t see the sun ‘for like 3½ years.’ (Radio-Canada/CBC)

Extra security needed for those with gang affiliations, behavioural problems, province says

CBC News, June 23, 2015

Two former prisoners of the Regina Correctional Centre say they were confined to their cell 21 hours a day for months and even years, with very little rehabilitation, before their cases went to trial.

One of the ex-prisoners is Forrest Pelletier, whom Radio-Canada recently spoke with as he played with his five children at a park.

While waiting for his trial at the Regina jail earlier this year, Pelletier was confined 21 hours a day to his cell — a space the size of a closet.  Read the rest of this entry