EDMONTON, Aug. 3, 2018 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is committed to the care, custody and reintegration of Indigenous men and women offenders. Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, along with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA), celebrated the official signing of a renewed and strengthened Section 81 Agreement between the Government of Canada and NCSA. This is one of three such agreements that have been signed by Minister Goodale in the past year and comes almost 20 years after the signing of the original agreement.
The renewed agreement bolsters financial stability for NCSA by shifting from an occupancy-based funding model to one with a fixed level of funding that can be topped up with a variable cost based on occupancy. It also provides for enhanced cooperation between CSC and NCSA.
Today's celebration was held at Stan Daniels Healing Centre, one of two Section 81 healing lodges in Edmonton operated by NCSA, which provides correctional services in an environment that incorporates Indigenous values, traditions and beliefs. Celebrating 30 years of operation, Stan Daniels Healing Centre first opened as a Community Residential Facility (CRF) in 1988 under a federal-provincial agreement before transforming into a Section 81 Healing Lodge in 1999. The correctional services and programs delivered by NCSA are holistic, spiritual, and enable offenders to reconnect with their culture and continue the healing process. NCSA also operates Buffalo Sage Wellness House, a Section 81 facility for women in Edmonton.
Section 81 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) provides Indigenous communities with the opportunity to deliver correctional services to Indigenous offenders and to participate in the reintegration of offenders who express an interest in being released to an Indigenous community. These agreements allow for a unique approach to Indigenous corrections that is culturally responsive and inclusive of Indigenous communities, while contributing to the best possible public safety results for Canadians.
"Partnerships with Indigenous organizations are essential to strengthen our approach to correctional services and reintegration support for Indigenous offenders. Our government is committed to ensuring that Canada's correctional system features culturally responsive rehabilitation strategies that promote timely and successful reintegration. From a public safety standpoint, the best correctional approach is one focused on rehabilitation and strong relationships with community partners."
– Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"The renewal of Section 81 Agreements supports CSC's commitment to providing effective and culturally appropriate interventions for Indigenous offenders. This will allow us to further contribute to the successful reintegration of Indigenous offenders back into the community. CSC would like to thank NCSA and all Section 81 Healing Lodges for their collaboration and engagement in the development and delivery of services to the First Nations, Métis and Inuit offender population."
– Anne Kelly, Commissioner, Correctional Service Canada
"NCSA is very pleased with the renewal of the agreement with the Government of Canada. We look forward to a continued collaboration with CSC in responding to the needs of Indigenous offenders through services and programs that allow them to reconnect with their culture and continue the healing process."
– Dr. Allen Benson, Chief Executive Office, Native Counselling Services of Alberta
- CSC has nine healing lodges, five of which are managed by Indigenous communities under Section 81 of the CCRA.
- Section 81 Healing Lodges include Waseskun (QC), Ochichakkosipi (MB), Stan Daniels Healing Centre (AB), Buffalo Sage Wellness House (AB) and Prince Albert Grand Council (SK).
- Stan Daniels Healing Centre is a minimum security facility and a CRF for Indigenous men offenders. Buffalo Sage Wellness House is a minimum security facility and a CRF for Indigenous women offenders.
- Stan Daniels Healing Centre has an accommodation capacity of 73 beds for Indigenous men offenders, while Buffalo Sage Wellness Centre has 28 beds for Indigenous women offenders.
- Agreements with Waseskun Healing Lodge and Ochichakkosipi Healing Lodge were also renewed in 2017. Prince Albert Grand Council will be renewed this coming year.
- To help communities support the rehabilitation and reintegration of Indigenous offenders, Budget 2017 included $10M over five years for the Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative (ICCI).
- The ICCI is part of $120M in the last two budgets for the departments of Public Safety and Justice to advance restorative justice approaches, provide safe alternatives to incarceration, and help Indigenous people who have been incarcerated rehabilitate and find good jobs.
SOURCE Correctional Services of Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Correctional Service Canada, 613-992-7711, [email protected]