Debates of the Senate  
  2nd Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 144, Issue 58.
    Thursday, May 8, 2008
Question Period: Correctional Service

Programs for Offenders- Funding

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is a supplementary to the question that Senator Milne posed yesterday with regard to Correctional Service Canada. She was asking about rehabilitation programs and whether there have been increases in funding.

Will there be any increase in funding with respect to programs directed toward literacy and employment training within federal prisons?

I am interested, in particular, in Aboriginal offenders because, according to the Correctional Service of Canada, only 2 per cent of the adult population is Aboriginal; however, in federal prisons across Canada, 17 per cent is Aboriginal, and the situation is magnified within Saskatchewan.

When the leader speaks to the minister and reviews the funding, would she please look specifically at funding for Aboriginal prisoners with respect to literacy programming and employment skills?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the senator for the question. There have been increased monies allocated to the Correctional Service of Canada. I will obtain a breakdown as to how the monies that have been directed, particularly in connection with rehabilitation and education and preparing incarcerated individuals for their return to society. I am happy to provide that information.

As honourable senators know, there has been a great effort on the part of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to put significant funds into education for our Aboriginal peoples, particularly in the North and the areas in which they live. With the labour shortages in the country and the ability and the skills and availability of Aboriginal people in some of these communities, it only makes sense that we should be increasing our efforts in their education and training. Hopefully we can develop a situation whereby they will not be in the position of the group of which the honourable senator speaks.

For those who are incarcerated, I will specifically ask the Minister of Public Safety what programs are in place in relation to Aboriginal inmates.