THE IMPACT OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL, CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM AND INTERGENERATIONAL TRAUMA UPON THE INCARCERATION OF ABORIGINALS
Gauthier, Michael J.
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This was a qualitative research study involving Aboriginal offenders at a Federal institution in the Ontario Region. The purpose of this study was to illuminate the Aboriginal offenders‘ perspectives on their experiences that led to their incarceration. The major research questions guiding this study include: 1. What experiences do Aboriginal offenders feel contributed to their incarceration? 2. What do Aboriginal offenders feel could have prevented their incarceration? 3. How do Aboriginal offenders describe their experiences with the Residential School and child welfare systems? 4. What are the Aboriginal offenders' perspectives on their experiences with CSC‘s healing and intervention programs? One of the goals of this study was to provide information to CSC to improve the reintegration programs and help Aboriginal offenders become law abiding citizens. The data was collected from individual interviews, which was analyzed in detail to develop themes. The analyses sought for stories that captured the depth of the experiences that led to the Aboriginal offenders‘ incarcerations. This study provided the personal perspective of the offenders as to how the Residential School and child welfare system have impacted their lives, and offers some insight into the over-representation of Aboriginal offenders in the prison system. This study also demonstrated how the socio-economic situation of these Aboriginal offenders played a role in their path towards prison. It is important to capture the voices of the iii Aboriginal offenders‘ experiences towards incarceration. Their stories offer ways to help other Aboriginal people. We must have Aboriginal community members involved in the lives of Aboriginal youth to prevent them from getting into trouble, and find alternative positives outlets and activities. We must instill and provide hope and inspiration so that our youth have something to look forward to in their lives. I know this is happening to varying degrees in our Aboriginal communities; however, we need to keep working towards this goal. In addition, CSC might consider allocating more resources and financial assistance to Aboriginal communities, who are dealing with their people involved within the prison system.