High Proportion of Aboriginals in Canadian Prisons

As many as 70 percent of convicts serving jail time in Canada are aboriginal, even though they comprise just 12 percent of the population, the Toronto Sun reported.

The number of native Canadians in federal prisons rose 20 percent between 1998 and 2008, Public Safety Canada reported.

These numbers are linked to poverty levels and residual effects from the country’s Residential Schools program, under which 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were placed in Canada’s residential schools. The effects of that and colonization in general are still being played out today among not only the schools’ 80,000 living survivors but also among their families and communities.

Poverty is often linked to criminal activity, the Toronto Sun said. Wayne Helgason, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, said poverty is the “single most determining factor” of who is likely to enter a life of time.

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