Aboriginal street youth in Vancouver experience elevated risk of incarceration

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Aboriginal street youth in Vancouver are 1.4 times more likely to end up in jail, compared to non-Aboriginal street youth, a new study has found.

The study, released by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, collected data from 1050 street youth between September 2005 and May 2013, determining which had spent time in incarceration, and whether or not they were involved with drugs and alcohol.

According to the results of the study, of the 1050 street youth interviewed, 248 reported being of Aboriginal ancestry, and 378 reported being recently incarcerated. At the beginning of the study, the baseline numbers reported 29% of Aboriginal youth interviewed had been incarcerated, versus 21% of non-Aboriginal youth.

After adjusting for factors such as alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, drug addiction, violence, and other factors, the study still found that Aboriginal youth were 1.4 times more likely to be incarcerated.

The conclusion of the study reads: “Given the established harms associated with incarceration these findings underscore the pressing need for systematic reform including culturally appropriate interventions to prevent Aboriginal youth from becoming involved with the criminal justice system.”

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Shawn O'Hara Shawn is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. He loves writing about news, arts, movies, comedy, and culture. Some would argue Shawn is too old to still play Dungeons & Dragons. Shawn would disagree.

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