Statement - Bold and urgent action needed to address this national disgrace

January 21, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issues the following statement:

"The Commission is deeply disturbed by the recent findings of the Office of the Correctional Investigator that the proportion of Indigenous people in federal prisons has now surpassed a staggering 30% of the total inmate population.

"This is a national disgrace. We strongly agree with the Correctional Investigator that bold and urgent action is required to address this persistent and pressing human rights issue.

"The Government of Canada has committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry's Calls to Justice. Both call for urgent criminal justice reform to address the over-incarceration of Indigenous men and women.

"While the work towards meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples to address the lasting legacy of colonialism continues, we call on Parliament to take immediate steps to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

"As a first step, we call on the federal government to review mandatory minimum sentences, which have no deterrent effect and which disproportionally impact the lives of far too many Indigenous, Black and marginalized Canadians.

"Canada is better than this."

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