– endure far longer delays for trial
A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into last year’s Camp Street Prison fire which resulted in the deaths of 17 inmates has found that Indigenous inmates are among the most vulnerable population in the prison system.
Apart from highlighting women, mentally ill persons, substance abusers, HIV positive persons and aging persons, the CoI report pointed out that apart from the inhumane conditions in prison, Indigenous people suffer from additional hardships.
According to the reports, “They (indigenous people) are separated completely from their families and communities. Prison diet never includes food to which they are accustomed to. Indigenous people by nature are less assertive or aggressive than other population group.”
It was asserted in the report that Indigenous people endure far longer delays for trial due to the unreliability of courts in the interior regions and that their poor command of English isolates them “almost completely” from life around them.
“Whereas the harshness of incarceration on females and young people compared to males receives at least a token of acknowledgement, the application of this harsh system to Amerindians is almost totally ignored—by the administration of justice, the Parole Board and the political administration.”
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