Rejuvenating justice
Nunavut corrections officials to make changes

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 18/99) - A home-grown report outlining the changes that are necessary to create a more culturally-appropriate corrections system in Nunavut will soon be in the hands of the minister.

That's from Ron McCormick, Nunavut's director of corrections and community justice.

Similar to the Evans Report released in the former NWT, the impending report will provide Justice Minister Jack Anawak with direction on the changes that need to be made.

"We need to have a system here that is unique to Nunavut and takes into account the needs of Inuit culture. When the report comes out, it's going to be the foundation for where we have to go," said McCormick.

Compiled by residents of the territory involved in various aspects of the justice system, the group, which calls themselves the Nunavut Corrections Planning Commission, will consider all corrections' issues including institutions, community justice, women and young offenders.

The intent is to one day house as many Nunavut offenders as possible in local institutions and corrections facilities and to provide programming that works for Inuit.

Some of those changes have already been made by the warden of the Baffin Correctional Centre.

According to McCormick, Doug Strader has been hard at work on the reforms for over a year. Along with instituting a sex offender program, Strader has pushed for greater use of outpost camps, has moved federal inmates from Alberta to Ontario to be closer to home, has moved as many inmates as possible from the Yellowknife Correctional Centre to BCC, and he has created more personal healing programs.

"If you have 10 guys in a room and they're all charged with sexual assault, every circumstance is different. You treat the group, but you also have to work with them on an individual basis," said McCormick.

To that end, justice officials are continuing to work on their proposal to utilize the Apex treatment centre to provide programming in an environment more conducive to healing.