Introduction: Issues and discussions surrounding aboriginal over representation

        The prison, for many people it is seen as a place of punishment, segregation, and humiliation but there is more than meets the eye. Prisons in Canada have gone through a significant revolution since its creation in Canada.  Unfortunately there is still a large over representation of minorities in prison especially aboriginals. Minorities and aboriginals are over represented in the prison and legal system, due to both systemic and direct discrimination from the legal system and the authorities which govern the system. There are several explanations for this over-representation, but through the use of three specific critical analyses the issue at hand will be better understood from an academic stand point. The first critical analysis that will be explored is the history of aboriginal over representation, in this section a brief history of important facts will be exposed to better understand the issue. The next analysis will be one that outlines the causes and possible remedies that need to be associated with aboriginal over representation. Finally there will be a comparison done between blacks in America and Canadian aboriginals, this will be done to showcase commonalities between the two groups.

History: evolution of aboriginal prison over representation

        To define, over representation means being represented in excessive or disproportionately large numbers. This is the issue that one will encounter when examining the offender population both in prison and throughout the Canadian legal system. To better understand the issue at hand their needs to be a review of the history of corrections in Canada. Prior to the 1800s prison was really only used for people who were awaiting trial or individuals who had not paid fines. The aim of prisons in Canada before 1960 was to punish the prisoner physically. In this era most punishment was directed toward the body by whippings and lashings for example. This method of corrections was not meant to rehabilitate the offender but to cause pain, with the hope that this would deter others from engaging in illegal activity. In the 1960s and 70s however there was a major change in correctional ideology, this is because the focus shifted from physical punishment to rehabilitation for the offender. The idea behind rehabilitation is to help the prisoner reintegrate successfully back into society without reoffending when they reenter. Collins bay, situated near Kingston offered the first “gradual release program” which allowed inmates to work outside prison walls but return in the evening.  The idea behind post 1960s prison systems was that prison should be used to remove criminals from society and reform them, not to physically abuse them. The prison and correction system in Canada began to experience a positive change with the creation of the correctional service of Canada (CSC), which was created on December 21, 1978 authorized by Queen Elizabeth. CSC was created with one mission in mind and that is to “as part of the criminal justice system and respecting the rule of law, contributes to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control”. This statement is very reflective of what CSC is actually executing with present offenders by offering options such as parole, probation and prisoner education programs to name a few. One the first prisons created for women was located in Kingston, it opened in 1934.  The opening of this prison signified that the Canadian governmnet had understood the benefits of the penal system in Canada for both men and women; furthermore the penal system understood that women in prison need different standards than men due to gender.  

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Critical analysis: causes and explanations for high aboriginal imprisonment

        The prison system through all its advancements and tools has unfortunately seen an overrepresentation of one minority group more than any other; aboriginals. The facts are stunning when it comes to aboriginal overrepresentation, research shows that aboriginals make up 3 percent of the general population and 17 percent of the prison population. The problem is not the amount of aboriginals in jail; it is that such a high number of their general population end up behind bars.

National crime rates for Indian bands are available ...

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