Indigenous Incarceration

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Indigenous peoples are vastly over-represented in the Canadian criminal justice system. The legacies of racism and colonial injustice permeate Canadian institutions that perpetuate the disproportionate representation of Indigenous peoples in prison. In this paper, I will examine what Indigenous incarceration looks like in Canada and the negative impacts state control over Indigenous peoples is highly problematic, particularly due to systemic racism and overrepresentation in prisons and are legacies of colonialism and residential schools. I will explore, using the treaty-federalist model described by James Tully, concurrent authority of criminal justice and justice administration between the Canadian government and First Nation’s jurisdiction …show more content…
Over the last two decades’ national trends have show there has been a drastic decrease in crime and a decline in the number of white adults in prisons. The inverse seems to be true for Indigenous peoples. According a collected in 1999, an Indigenous person is three times more likely to be incarcerated than any other group in Canada, (Macleans). The Indigenous population currently makes up four percent of the total population of Canada. As of 2016, Indigenous women made up thirty-six percent of the provincial and territorial custody, and Indigenous men make up twenty-five percent. With federal prison numbers, Indigenous prisoners make up approximately twenty-three percent of the prison population, which means that one in four of the individuals in federal prisons is Indigenous …show more content…
Approximately fifteen to twenty percent of Indigenous peoples in federal prisons attended a residential school as a child, the early childhood trauma perpetuates a trend of physical, sexual and emotional abuse that is usually manifests in violence or criminal activity. (CFP) Low socioeconomic status, low education rates, and higher levels of mental illness within Indigenous communities are also major factors in criminal activity. (CFP) On top of these disadvantages, once incarcerated Indigenous inmates are likely to serve longer sentence, are more likely to be sent to solitary confinement in maximum security prisons, and are less likely to be granted parole. Criminologists have harkened the trend as the “new residential schools of Canada” (Macleans).
Systemic and institutional bias in the legal system and by police have also disadvantaged Indigenous peoples. In 2015, Maclean’s filed eight Freedom of Information requests at policies agencies across western Canada in order to determine if there were racial biases in police stops and arrests of Indigenous peoples. The agencies circumvented the collection of data through municipal policy, as seen in Saskatchewan, were the police are not bound by Freedom of information laws and in Edmonton, they told Maclean’s they would

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