Aboriginals are being incarcerated at increasingly higher numbers in proportion to the general population in the Canadian prison system. The factors that promote crime among aboriginal people are shaped by family backgrounds of poverty, school experiences, and exposure to violence, isolation from opportunities and low self-esteem related to experiences of racism. In the past aboriginal offenders were treated as a homogenous group, now things are moving toward culture and spirituality. Research
suggests, that more focus should be placed on acknowledging differences among aboriginal offenders. There are two areas, not necessarily equivalent, which maydistinguish aboriginal inmates – the degree and nature of involvement in crime, and the structural and cultural style of their lives (Wallace-Capretta, 1998).
When profiling aboriginal inmates by their culture for purposes of designing treatment plans, three groups among thirty randomly selected aboriginal inmates were found. These groups were identified as “traditional”, “bi-cultural” and “assimilated."The three groups were different with respect to language, community, time spent on the reserve, experience in society, exposure to traditional beliefs, mobility in younger years and self- identity (Waldram, 1992).
Statistics are showing incarceration rates for Aboriginal adults are likely to increase in the future. Changes to the criminal justice system are needed that will lower the high rate of Aboriginal men, women and youth in prison. With incarceration on the rise and where there is little chance of rehabilitation, alternatives to prison sentences are being used. A big hurdle in justice when dealing with Aboriginals is the focus of punishment on the offender in the interest of society by daunting imprisonment, fines and, less often, forms of restitution and community service.
Traditionally the goal of Aboriginal communities after an inciden…

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