In 2016, the Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada, reported that persons of Indigenous ancestry had reached 25 per cent of the total inmate population and that efforts to curb over-representation were not working. In 2020, the proportion of Indigenous people behind bars surpassed 30 per cent and the rate of increase over the past decade has accelerated. Persons of Indigenous ancestry comprise only 5 per cent of the population.

The numbers are even more troubling for Indigenous women, who now account for 42 per cent of the women inmate population in Canada. The correctional investigator drew attention to the fact that federal corrections seems impervious to change and unresponsive to the needs, histories and social realities behind high rates of Indigenous offending.

The report and the recommendations echo the recommendations raised in the final reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as two recent parliamentary committee studies on Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. We must demand real reforms of Correctional Service Canada.

Image: TryJimmy/Pixabay