Feds funding U of R initiative supporting Indigenous people in criminal justice system
The federal government is investing around $1 million in a University of Regina initiative to address the high number of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.
The funding, through the Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative, aims at developing alternatives to custody, along with reintegrating Indigenous offenders.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale made the $978,272 funding announcement at the U of R on Friday morning.
"Our Government is working to help reverse Indigenous over-representation in Canada's criminal justice system by supporting culturally-relevant interventions by community-based organizations," Goodale said in a news release. "This partnership with the University of Regina will increase FASD-affected Indigenous offenders’ level of engagement and understanding of the system and of their disability, helping reduce their contact with the criminal justice system and make our communities safer."
The university says the funding will go towards supports for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It will help pay for two support workers and mentors who will help clients navigate the courts and identify anyone who might need additional support.
"These advocates will understand what those needs might be, so they'll be person centered and ideally support those individuals, help them out of the justice system,” University of Regina Faculty of Arts Associate Professor Michelle Stewart said.The government says the project is supported by frontline workers and peer groups.
The project will be implemented in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
"I’m hoping that over the course of three years that we're going to see dozens of people impacted within the first couple of years, and hopefully we have a ripple effect from there,” Stewart said.