Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 26, 2016 - 4:50 pm

Housing, healing and rehabilitating Nunavut inmates: Have your say

Government announces community consultations for new Corrections Act

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Inside cells at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit — Nunavut's justice department is currently overhauling the Corrections Act it inherited from the Northwest Territories upon territorial division and officials are seeking input during community consultations next month. (FILE PHOTO)
Inside cells at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit — Nunavut's justice department is currently overhauling the Corrections Act it inherited from the Northwest Territories upon territorial division and officials are seeking input during community consultations next month. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.)

Along with asking you what you might want included in a new Education Act, the Nunavut government also wants to know what Nunavummiut think about how convicted criminals are incarcerated and then reintegrated into the community.

Following an announcement in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in June that officials will be updating Nunavut’s decades-old Corrections Act, inherited from the Northwest Territories, the Government of Nunavut has now scheduled a round of community consultations.

Dates for those Department of Justice consultations, detailed below, will get underway Aug. 31 in Cape Dorset and wrap up in Kugluktuk Sept. 18.

The GN plans to circulate a brochure at the consultation meetings outlining some elements they are considering for the new act, such as:

• better informing inmates of their rights and responsibilities;

• establishing a grievance procedure with the ability for appeal outside of the corrections division;

• enacting changes to the disciplinary board including the possibility of oversight outside of corrections;

• updating oversight and limits on solitary confinement;

• updating use-of-force provisions; and,

• incorporating Inuit societal values and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.

In explaining how IQ will inform the new legislation, the pamphlet suggests rewriting sections of the act so they better align with “restorative justice principles,” and encouraging the creation of “culturally appropriate programs when available.”

The pamphlet also suggest the possibility of more Inuktitut services for Inuit inmates and “improving recognition and oversight of outpost camps,” including the important role those camps in helping to reintegrate inmates back into the home communities.

Nunavut inherited the Corrections Act from the NWT in 1999. The last major amendments to the law were made more than 30 years ago.

“Over the last 30 yeas, a lot has changed, and while the corrections division’s policies and priorities have kept up to date and in line with best practices, the act is now out of date,” the brochure says.

At the time of the June 8 announcement, Justice Minister Keith Peterson said, “We look forward to hearing from Nunavummiut on how to best craft legislation that promotes safe rehabilitation, healing and reintegration of Nunavummiut in conflict with the law.”

If you are interested in, or concerned about, those issues, you can have your say at one of five consultations planned for the territory:

• Cape Dorset, Aug. 31, community hall;

• Iqaluit, Sept. 6, Anglican parish hall;

• Rankin Inlet, Sept. 11, community hall;

• Cambridge Bay, Sept. 15, community hall; and

• Kugluktuk, Sept. 18, community hall.

All meetings are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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