Recent articles of note

Just wanted to alert everyone about 2 recently published articles. One is a short one from the Edmonton Journal describing the increase in numbers of women in federal prisons and the other is a very interesting essay discussing recent proposals to reform correctional services and their consequences for prisoners’ human rights.

Government failing aboriginal prisoners: ombudsman

Howard Sapers released a report last week entitled Good Intentions, Disappointing Results. The report is critical of the government and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) saying that the federal government needs to take “urgent action” to improve support programs for native prisoners or face a potential crisis. “Today my message is clear — given the urgency of the situation, I call upon the service to do the right thing and immediately appoint a deputy commissioner for aboriginal corrections,” Sapers said in a statement.

Howard Sapers was appointed the federal Correctional Investigator in Feburary 2004. The primary function of the Office of the Correctional Investigator is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints. The Office as well, has a responsibility to review and make recommendations on the Correctional Service’s policies and procedures associated with the areas of individual complaints to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed.

Sapers has been a Board Member of the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd. since 2007.

You can read his full report here: http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/rpt/pdf/oth-aut/oth-aut20091113-eng.pdf

Crossposted at Blogosarus Lex.

Rise in female, aboriginal inmates alters prison population: StatsCan

A rising number of inmates at correctional facilities across Canada are females and aboriginal people, a change that poses a unique challenge for jails, a Statistics Canada report says.

The report released Monday provides a portrait of the changing face of adults at both federal and provincial facilities over the past decade ending in 2006/07.

It found that overall more adults are spending time in provincial or territorial jails awaiting a trial or sentencing, but fewer are being housed there to serve a sentence.

The number of inmates at federal prisons, where those convicted of sentences two years or longer are incarcerated, has grown steadily in the past decade.

But the fraction of the prison populations made up by aboriginal people and women has seen a constant increase in the 10 years.