Asp calls for prison reform

I am writing to address the crisis in Whitehorse Correctional Centre. There is advocacy needed for the people incarcerated.

I am writing to address the crisis in Whitehorse Correctional Centre. There is advocacy needed for the people incarcerated.

Chiefs and justice workers need to be involved, because it’s their community members who are locked up. Their leaders are not supporting them but abandoning them.

People need to know that there are no rehabilitation programs or education skills being offered as much as there should be in WCC. Officers and case managers are walking off the job constantly. Why? Here are some cries of help.

First of all, there are issues about management structures in WCC. We all know that jail is about punishing wrongdoing. I agree with that completely.

However, when people override their authority in running such places, they should be investigated. Many people that come and go have compared WCC to a new generation of a residential school.

The rules are unreasonably ridiculous that people who have gone to federal penitentiaries and have returned probably could run WCC better. WCC should have hired people experienced with working with people in the Yukon and who have worked in WCC for at least 10 years to run the jail. Many questions of the management’s decisions to run this jail are questionable and should be looked at.

Secondly, for years WCC had always been made and built for men. However, it is apparent that women nowadays do get incarcerated but don’t get treated fairly.

Of course, they give us a little time to sew and bead. It’s a pilot program that can be easily taken away. Other than that, we don’t do anything, no programs, but to sit in our unit 24/7. In WCC men are first priority in almost everything because of the population. Does that make women less likely to be rehabilitated?

Thirdly, programs and aboriginal teaching should be a factor in WCC. Rehabilitation should be of great importance to the people of Yukon. The government should report the level of incarceration annually. And it should support on-going programs for inmates, regardless its life or educated skills.

Hire people who want to help people rehabilitate. Put the proper resources into WCC, like reintegration workers, parole officers, case managers, aboriginal liaison workers, staff elders, psychologists, counsellors and more teachers from Yukon College.

Yukoners need to start opening their eyes and helping their people. If jail has to be a place where our people have to be at the moment, why not let it be a place to start to heal, a start where their eyes open?

Some may react. Some may not. But at least if Yukoners and the government start working together and making progress, the number of people incarcerated may decrease. It’s about time to help our people.

Christina Asp

Whitehorse

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