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Appalling and growing over-representation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons highlighted by the Correctional Investigator.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, January 22nd, 2020 – The Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada issued a news release with disturbing data on the number of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons- https://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/comm/press/press20200121-eng.aspx.

Over the years, through our monitoring of the conditions of confinement and advocating for women in Canadian prisons, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) has consistently observed and spoken out about the over-representation of Indigenous women at all levels of the criminal justice system.

The Correctional Investigator of Canada, Dr. Ivan Zinger, states that indigenous people now make up more than 30% of people who are federally incarcerated, despite making up only 5% of the Canadian population.

More alarming is the fact that Indigenous women now account for 42% of all women who are incarcerated in federal prisons in Canada. This number is even more staggering within some provincial jails, particularly in the prairie regions where Indigenous women account for upwards of 90% of the prison population.

These disproportionately high numbers reflect the ongoing and systemic oppression and criminalization of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. CAEFS emphatically calls on the Canadian Government to implement the calls to action from the reports released by the National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to help address this persistent and growing issue.

“We witness on a regular basis, the harmful, colonial, practice of incarcerating Indigenous women in Canadian prisons” stated Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of CAEFS. “We continue to advocate for legislative reform to address these alarming figures and we urge the government to treat the over-representation of Indigenous women as the emergency that it is and work toward fulfilling its promise of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples”.

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Contact Information:

Emilie Coyle – Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

ecoyle@caefs.ca or 613-316-6785

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