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Today’s letters: In era of COVID-19, don’t forget Indigenous people in our jails – Ottawa Citizen

by ahnationtalk on March 27, 202026 Views

Help the jailed Indigenous population

Governments at all levels have been handling the COVID-19 crisis quite well, but one area may have been overlooked. Canadian jails are seriously overcrowded, the proportion of Indigenous inmates is very high, and they suffer from poorer health than average Canadians. When COVID-19 hits the prisons, the effects on them could be out of all proportion to other Canadians and even their relatives on the reserves.

This tragedy need not happen; many are there because of discrimination by police, the criminal justice system and prison officials. In a time of crisis, governments can intervene in the system with pardons, amnesties, instructions to officials to consider early release, and less stringent bail terms. Police can be instructed to consider giving stern warnings instead of laying charges. Officials could act with common sense.

In the United States, cities and states are releasing prisoners because the threat to them is so high. And in Canada?

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