New figures show the number of visible minorities in Canadian prisons has increased by 75 per cent in the past decade, while the number and proportion of inmates who are Caucasian has declined significantly.
As well, Canada’s prison population is now at its highest level ever, even though the crime rate has been decreasing over the past two decades. Ten years ago, the number of inmates in federal prisons was close to 12,000. It’s now more than 15,000.
These are just some of the statistics expected to be examined Tuesday, when the annual report of Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers is tabled in Parliament. His report is widely expected to be a scathing indictment of federal correctional policy.
“You cannot reasonably claim to have a just society with incarceration rates like these,” Sapers said Sunday in a speech he gave at a church in Toronto.
Sapers gave his audience a litany of grim figures. He pointed out that close to a quarter of all inmates are aboriginal even thought they make up only four per cent of the population. The rate of incarceration of aboriginal women increased by 80 per cent in the past decade.
Sapers said the situation is particularly critical for black and aboriginal inmates.