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Chilliwack gets Indigenous Justice Centre to help break incarceration cycle, says Eby

CHILLIWACK, B.C. — Premier David Eby is in Chilliwack for the official opening of an Indigenous Justice Centre, saying he wants to break the cycle of too many Indigenous people in British Columbia spending years of their lives in and out of jail.

He says efforts are most likely to succeed if they’re “culturally grounded,” and the centre in Chilliwack provides culturally appropriate information and supports for Indigenous people struggling with legal issues in the Fraser Valley area.

A statement from Eby’s office says Indigenous people comprise about five per cent of B.C.’s population, but account for about 30 per cent of people in provincial jails, and justice centres are a key part of addressing that “over-incarceration.”

B.C. already has similar Indigenous justice centres in Prince Rupert, Prince George and Merritt, as well as a virtual centre serving the province, and there are plans to expand to a total of 15 locations over the next three years.

Eby also announced $10 million to support community-based First Nations justice programs that aim to address circumstances that may have led to offences and ensure individual housing, mental health and addictions treatment needs are addressed.

The premier says helping individuals with legal supports and healing opportunities builds safer communities for everybody.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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