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“According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in 2010, the annual cost of incarcerating a woman in a federal penitentiary, taking into account all of the costs, was $348,000. Most of the women who are jailed are poor and are the sole support of their children.
When they are jailed, their children are too often taken into care. I believe that we can, and that we must, address the human, social and fiscal costs of our current problematic use of the criminal and penal systems to address what are actually issues related to social and economic inequality and injustice, such as poverty, homelessness, colonization, and violence against women and those suffering from mental health issues.
Jails are not , or should we accept that they continue to be used as, substitute shelters for battered women, nor are they treatment or mental health centres, and they most certainly are not appropriate responses to inadequate housing and social services.
In terms of human, social and fiscal costs, prisons are the least effective and the most costly means of responding to substantive inequality and injustice.”
(Debates of the Senate: Increasing Over-Representation of Indigenous Women in Canadian Prisons, The Honourable Kim Pate, Senator)
Click to hear Senator Kim Pate’s full speech to the Canadian Senate Thursday, December 8, 2016
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