Government of Canada partners with Southern Chiefs’ Organization on their First Nations Justice Strategy Program
Program uses Indigenous values to reduce number of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system
March 6, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Department of Justice Canada
Working with Indigenous communities to assume greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities is an important part of the federal government’s efforts to decrease the disproportionate rates of victimization, crime and incarceration among Indigenous people in Canada.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) met to discuss the SCO’s First Nations Justice Strategy Program and justice priorities in their communities.
SCO’s First Nations Justice Strategy Program uses a restorative justice model that reflects Indigenous legal traditions, promotes safer communities, and helps to reduce the rate of overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. SCO’s program also helps offenders take accountability for their actions, improves victim outcomes, and provides opportunities for healing and reintegration. Restorative justice programs take various forms, occur at all stages of the criminal justice system and enable Indigenous communities to utilize Indigenous legal traditions that contribute to a peaceful, safe Canadian society.
To support SCO’s First Nations Justice Strategy Program, Minister Lametti announced $689,160 over three years in renewed federal funding for the SCO First Nations Justice Strategy Program through the Indigenous Justice Program.
“Working with Indigenous communities such as the Southern Chiefs’ Organization in Manitoba to assume greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities helps modernize Canada’s criminal justice system and advances reconciliation. Based on the understanding that crime is a violation of people and relationships, the use of restorative justice models, where appropriate, can contribute to a more peaceful and safe Canadian society.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"The Southern Chiefs' Organization (SCO) restoration of traditional systems of justice addresses decades of systemic failure. The SCO Justice Strategy is a model which has proven positive outcomes. This is a key initiative for healing and redress for our citizens.”
Grand Chief Jerry Daniels
Southern Chiefs’ Organization
Indigenous people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, both as victims and offenders. In 2016, Indigenous people in Manitoba made up 18% of the population and Indigenous adults represented 74% of admissions to provincial custody.
Across Canada, participants of Indigenous Justice Program-funded programs were 43% less likely to re-offend after one year and 37% less likely to re-offend after eight years in comparison to non-participants.
The Indigenous Justice Program supports Indigenous community-based justice programs that offer alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances.
Established in 1999, SCO represents 34 southern First Nation communities in Manitoba.
SCO’s First Nations Justice Strategy Program currently operates in Sagkeeng, Long Plain, Waywayseecappo, Pine Creek, Sandy Bay and Pinaymootang.
In November 2018, federal, provincial and territorial Justice and Public Safety Ministers agreed to increase the use of restorative justice processes by a minimum target of 5% per jurisdiction, where possible, over the next 3 years.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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