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Canadian Government Continues Funding for Aboriginal Justice Strategy

The Government of Canada recently announced that it will commit an additional $12.5 million to continue funding its Aboriginal Justice Strategy program.  The story below, originally featured on Nunatsiaq Online, highlights the positive impacts of the program.  The Aboriginal Justice Strategy enables Aboriginal communities to have increased involvement in the local administration of justice, and also works to reduce the rates of victimization, crime, and incarceration among Aboriginal people in participating communities.

May 8, 2012

Legal aid, community-based justice programs hang

on to their funding

Although many federally-funded programs have been ditched over the past month, legal aid and programs under the Aboriginal Justice Strategy will continue.

“This funding helps make the justice system more effective, fair, and accessible, and ensures value for taxpayers’ dollars,” said federal justice minister Rob Nicholson in a recent news release. “Our government is continuing to support the provision of criminal legal aid for economically disadvantaged persons charged with serious criminal offences and to help aboriginal communities develop community-based justice processes.”

The money — $111.9 million per year — helps the provinces and territories deliver criminal legal aid services.

The one-year renewal of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy will provide $12.5 million to on- and off-reserve, urban, rural and northern aboriginal communities for community-based justice programs.

Under the strategy, provincial and territorial governments provide equivalent contributions, with Nunavut spending about $2 million on community justice programs.

These programs have been linked to lower recidivism rates and “are cost-effective in dealing with non-violent offenders, where circumstances warrant,” the news release stated.

The programs also help to address the high rate of over-representation of aboriginal people in the Canadian justice system, “both as victims and offenders,” it said.

To learn more about the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, visit the official program site here.

May 14, 2012 | Namati