Study finds Aboriginal youth are incarcerated at higher rate

published on October 17, 2015 by Sruthi Tadepalli in The Ubyssey

A recent study has found that aboriginal youth are incarcerated at a higher rate than non-aboriginal youth.

The study, whose senior author was UBC alum Kora DeBeck, found that even when researchers took into account drug use, homelessness and other factors that put youth at an increased risk for imprisonment, street-involved Aboriginal youth were still more likely to end up incarcerated than street-involved non-Aboriginal youth.

The study sheds light on potential explanations for the difference in youth incarceration between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups. Due to general limitations, it cannot, however, highlight specific causes.

“Often times we’ve seen that when there’s these kinds of discrepancies, some people instantly look and say aboriginal youth are just committing more crimes,” said DeBeck. “But I think what this study shows is that there may be something else happening as well and that there could be different policing practices or just different risks for aboriginal youth.”

This study utilizes data collected through the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) between September 2005 and May 2013 which studied youth between the ages of 14 and 26. Participants in the study completed a questionnaire administered by an interviewer once when they became involved with the study and twice a year from then onward.

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