New program to reduce number of Manitoba Indigenous youth in custody

A new program at Marymound Inc. in Manitoba aims to reduce the number of Aboriginal youth involved in the justice system.

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Zagiwe Oshinawe Inakonigwin, which translates to “Love (the) youth (in) justice”, is a youth justice program based on indigenous healing principles. It will connect participants to their indigenous community, culture and identity while working to prevent recurrence.

Participants will receive full support during their time in the justice system and during the transition from custody.


“Ultimately, the young people involved in the justice system are successful,” said Justice Minister Calvin Goertzen, “not only through programs that take place in a closed prison or penitentiary facility, but in their community. beyond.”

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Marymound Inc. Executive Director Nancy Parker said the program will be different for everyone. Participants will have access to outdoor activities and Marymound treatments to better support their development.

“It’s their voice, it’s based on strength and once again enables a unique healing journey for every young person,” Parker said.

According to Statistics Canada, indigenous youth made up 43% of young people in custody in 2018, despite accounting for only 8.8% of all youth in Canada. The program aims to address this over-representation by examining the root causes of crime, such as trauma and substance abuse.

“Personal perspectives are so important,” Parker said. “There is no one fit, no young man who looks like the next young man on our journey.”

The program uses a funding model called Social Impact Bond. Private investors finance the treatment and are reimbursed by the government based on the results of the program. The province will provide up to $ 2.25 million over three years. This is Manitoba’s first Justice Social Impact Bond.

The province says incarceration and crime have a high “economic and human cost” and reducing recidivism through this prevention program will help keep communities safe.

“This is a program that, if it works – which I think has proven to work – with funding for social innovation, can reduce the number of repeat offenders in our community,” Premier Heather Stephenson said.

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