38. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to eliminating the overrepresentation of Aboriginal youth in custody over the next decade.
“One clear concern was that the justice system does not recognize or understand the social and personal realities of the people living in marginalized conditions progressing through it” – John Houston
The residential schools have caused lasting effects and has created bad social environments. The abuse from these schools has caused Aboriginal youth to be deviant too. Just because a youth has become deviant does not mean they are bad. It is because of the residential schools this has caused generations of Aboriginal people to lose their culture.
Aboriginal adults represent about 3 percent of the Canadian population yet about 34 percent of females in prison are Aboriginal women and about 22 percent of men in prison are Aboriginal. One way to cut down on youth and adults from going to prison is a sentencing circle or heeling circle. Instead of throwing a youth in prison because he or she threw a rock at someone’s window put them in a sentencing circle which will include everyone from elders, police, victim parties and accused parties. A sentencing circle will resolve the problem by an agreement between the victim and accused. In this case of the rock being thrown at a window the accused could maybe work for the elder. What this does is it keeps the accused from getting a criminal record but at the same still solves the issue in a successful way.
Statistics in context: Aboriginals in Canada’s prisons, National, Canadian Bar Association
Compiled by: Matthew Thibeau