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Tammy c. Landau reading summary.docx

Course Code
Philip Goodman

of 1
Plus Ca Change? „Correcting‟ Inuit Inmates in Nunavut, Canada
By: Tammy C. Landau
Landau explains how the criminal justice system in Nunavut places the Inuit people at a
disadvantage. Reports signify that Aboriginal people have been over-represented at all stages of the
criminal justice system. Landau states that low incomes, unemployment, poor health care, inadequate
levels of education, crowded and substandard housing conditions are all characteristics of Aboriginal
life in Canada (Landau, 2006). These social conditions which the Aboriginal people are faced with
are a direct result of the discriminatory policies that the Canadian government has directed towards
the Aboriginal people (Landau, 2006). Reports show that crime rates are higher in Nunavut than in
any other jurisdiction in Canada (Landau, 2006). For the incarcerated Aboriginal youth, reports
indicated that youths were addicted to drugs or alcohol, had poor commitments to school and
employment, came from highly dysfunctional homes, were victims of physical or sexual abuse, have
personality and mental disorders and exhibit a chronic offending lifestyle (Landau, 2006). These
social conditions placed Aboriginal youth in difficult situations which led to individuals committing
criminal activity. Mainstream practices were used in Nunavut prisons instead of culturally relevant
practices. “Indigenisation” played a minor role within the Nunavut prison. There were a large
number of programs offered at the prison but there were only a couple of programs which reflected
the Inuit culture. In addition, the programs offered were in English only, which made it very difficult
for the inmates to understand. Furthermore, there was a lack of Inuit staff members at the prison
which presented many challenges for the prisoners. Inmates expressed feelings of marginalisation
and distance from their family along with the absence of their native culture and language within the
prison. The article indicates that the criminal justice system in Nunavut needs to change in order to
reflect the Aboriginal culture.