Vancouver Aboriginal street youth face higher incarceration rates, report says

published on October 7, 2015 in CBC News

Aboriginal street youth in Vancouver are 1.4 times more likely to be jailed than their non-aboriginal counterparts, according to a study released Wednesday by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

The report, conducted by the centre’s Urban Health Research Initiative, said one explanation for the higher numbers could be that police may target aboriginal youth, but more research is needed.

“Given what we know about the destructive impacts of the imprisonment of youth, in the context of this study, preventing aboriginal youth from becoming incarcerated is crucial,” said Dr. Kora DeBeck, the report’s senior author and a research scientist and professor at Simon Fraser University.

The report was published in the journal Public Health.

“It appears from our study, addressing institutional discrimination may be a critical piece of the puzzle,” DeBeck said in a statement.

But Vancouver Police were skeptical of the report’s findings. Const. Brian Montague said the researchers did not consult police or ask for input.

“There was zero consultation with the VPD regarding our outreach and youth-at-risk programs,” Montague said in an email to the CBC.

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