Corrections & Aboriginal Justice

image of thunder birdB.C. Corrections works with its Aboriginal justice partners to create programs and policies that meet the needs of Aboriginal offenders and help reduce the number of Aboriginal people in the correctional system.

Although Aboriginal, Inuit and Métis people are only 5% of the adult population of British Columbia, they are 29% of the adult population in correctional centres and 24% of people under community supervision.

A Plan that Improves Understanding

image of totem poleThe Aboriginal Programs and Relationships Section was created to address the challenges of Aboriginal peoples in their interactions with the criminal justice system to:

  • Improve relationships and understanding between B.C. Corrections, justice officials and Aboriginal people and their communities
  • Enhance the effectiveness of programs and services for Aboriginal offenders
  • Be responsive to the justice needs identified by Aboriginal communities

For more information read our Aboriginal Justice Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 (PDF).

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

B.C Corrections supports the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC). The NCCABC provides services to Aboriginal people in conflict with the law and helps them address the unique challenges they face when they navigate the justice system.

B.C. Corrections works with the NCCABC to ensure that Aboriginal people charged with a criminal offence receive fair, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment. The association operates in 28 communities and provides services to 74% of our provincial courthouses, as well as to the Downtown Vancouver Community Court.

Community-based Indigenous Justice Program

Through the Indigenous Justice Program, B.C. Corrections provides support and guidance to 34 independent community programs province-wide. These Indigenous programs work to reduce victimization, crime and incarceration among Aboriginal people by offering individualized programs that can include the following:

  • Diversion programs
  • Alternative measures
  • Community work service
  • Sentencing input
  • Supervision
  • Restorative justice
  • Reintegration services

B.C. Corrections also helps these programs improve their relationship with police and Crown counsel and address the roots of crime.

B.C. Corrections and the Justice Institute of British Columbia collaborate to train independent Aboriginal justice workers at the Centre for Aboriginal Programs and Services to deliver:

  • Domestic violence programs
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Training in alternative measures
  • Restorative justice approaches

Aboriginal Liaison Workers in the Custody Centres

B.C. Corrections’ Adult Custody Division contracts with Aboriginal service providers to offer spiritual leadership and culturally relevant programming in all facilities.

Several correctional centres have dedicated spaces for:

  • Sweat lodges
  • Smudges
  • Healing ceremonies
  • Talking circles

Aboriginal liaison workers provide counselling and crisis intervention, and connect Aboriginal offenders with groups that help them reintegrate into their communities. Elders and spiritual advisors also deliver cultural awareness programming to inmates from other ethnicities to help foster peace and understanding.

For more information, please read B.C. Corrections’ Aboriginal Justice Strategy (PDF).