BC Corrections and Indigenous justice

BC Corrections is committed to addressing the over-representation of Indigenous people in the justice system. Indigenous people are 5.9% of B.C.’s adult population, yet they are 35% of the individuals in our care in custody and 27% in the community.

We work with Indigenous justice partners to create programs and policies that meet the needs of Indigenous individuals to support them to change their behaviour and help reduce the number of Indigenous people in the correctional system.

BC Corrections is dedicated to answering the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, the BC First Nations Justice Strategy and the Métis Justice Strategy. 

A plan that improves understanding

Our Indigenous Programs and Relationships section was created in 2008 to guide us in building and strengthening relationships with Indigenous people, understanding the value of culture and its role in healing, and learning new ways to meet the needs of Indigenous people.

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

BC Corrections contracts with the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC) to deliver the national Indigenous Court Worker Program, which aims to help Indigenous people receive fair, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment if they become involved with the justice system.

NCCABC staff help individuals with timely and accurate information about charges, their rights, court procedures and alternative justice processes. The association operates in more than 20 communities and provides services to most provincial courthouses, as well as to the Downtown Vancouver Community Court.

Indigenous Justice Program

BC Corrections partners with the federal government to support the delivery of the national Indigenous Justice Program in 34 communities in B.C. These community-driven programs deliver culture-based services that range from court diversion, to client support and supervision, to community reintegration planning and support.

Indigenous justice partners are trained to deliver two of BC Corrections’ core programs – Respectful Relationships and Substance Abuse Management – to support program delivery in a culturally relevant and safe manner.

In addition, Indigenous justice workers are knowledgable and skilled in the areas of:

  • Alternative measures;
  • Pre-charge diversion;
  • Pre-sentencing options;
  • Orientation to community corrections and the role of probation officers;
  • Foundations of corrections case management;
  • Bail and probation secondary supervision support;
  • Offender reintegration planning;
  • Program facilitation skills;
  • Restorative justice;
  • Healing plan development; and
  • Victim support.

Indigenous cultural liaison in correctional centres

Our Adult Custody Division contracts with Indigenous service providers and Elders to provide counselling and help individuals change their behavior through connecting or reconnecting with their culture and communities.

Most correctional centres have dedicated spaces for one-on-one and group activities and spiritual ceremonies such as sweat lodges, singing and drumming, talking circles and traditional arts and crafts.