A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada : Phase II

6. CONCLUSION

While there have been substantial reductions in the number of Aboriginal youth in custody since 2000, Aboriginal youth continue to experience an appreciably higher incarceration rate compared to non-Aboriginal youth.

The high incarceration rate of Aboriginal youth is likely related to a series of interactive factors. High rates of poverty, substance abuse and victimization can lead to family breakdown, and serious criminal behaviour at a young age. Possible discrimination within the youth criminal justice system may lead to the differential treatment of Aboriginal youth. In combination, these factors may be working to incarcerate Aboriginal youth at a rate eight times that of non-Aboriginal youth.

The Sharing Circle participants provided suggestions that may have an impact on the rehabilitation of Aboriginal youth in custody. Without a broader range of solutions, however, with a preventative focus, such measures will not be exceptionally effective in reducing the high incarceration rates of Aboriginal youth alone.

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