Canada to address overrepresentation of BIPOC in the criminal justice system

The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, and racialized people in Canada’s criminal justice system.

The government has advanced an array of innovative and progressive initiatives that are said to make the system fairer and communities safer. A central element of this work involves advancing alternatives to custody, helping former offenders move on with their lives, and supporting their safe reintegration into our communities.

The Minister of Public Safety Honourable Marco Mendicino announced the launch of two initiatives to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, and racialized people in the criminal justice system.

“Systemic racism is a harsh reality across Canada’s criminal justice system. The overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, and racialized people is a symptom of this broader illness. That’s why our government is redoubling efforts to address it, advancing progressive initiatives that address systemic barriers, give people a second shot and break the cycle of reoffending,” said Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety.

The Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative (ICCI) supports grassroots efforts that expand alternatives to custody and support reintegration among Indigenous offenders. A total of $5.21 million will be available from 2023 to 2024 and $12 million ongoing thereafter to support organizations that rehabilitate or reintegrate Indigenous offenders through project development, training, communications, and direct interventions. Applications are open until June 12.

Additionally, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Black and racialized community groups, experts or organizations to address overrepresentation by assisting with safe and successful reintegration.

The first step in this process is building a comprehensive national inventory of organizations that, based on their specific strengths, could work with CSC or Public Safety Canada. Interested parties are invited to submit an EOI to CSC no later than May 15.

These efforts build on the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, and racialized people in the criminal justice system. This work involves a wide range of steps, from passing legislation that addresses harmful mandatory minimum sentences to significantly cutting the fee for a record suspension.

“CSC has been working with community partners for many years. With this EOI, we are providing an opportunity for new groups and experts to come forward, especially in light of our increased efforts to better support Black, ethnocultural, and racialized offenders. As we work to positively change lives and keep Canadians safe, it is a priority for us to increase access to culturally-sensitive, diverse and inclusive interventions, programs and services,” said Anne Kelly, commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada.

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