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A collection of resources on correctional facilities and services.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Overview of Correctional Facilities & Healing Lodges

Aboriginal Drum Circle

Aboriginal offenders are overrepresented in Canada's justice system. This dedicated LibGuide page provides resources on correctional facilities and healing lodges that would be of interest to Aboriginal offenders and their families. Emphasis is placed on Aboriginal concepts of healing, community initiatives for alternatives to incarceration, prisoner's rights, the status of Aboriginal presence in corrections, and others.


Aboriginals In The Correctional System

The following resources concern the state of Aboriginals in Canada's prison system. These touch upon various issues including the Aboriginal concept of justice, women in the prison system, healing lodges and programming, statistics on mental health and substance use, and various others. Hover your mouse over each resource for more information.

Healing Lodges

The following links provide information on the different healing lodges that operate in Canada and the sorts of programming they offer their inmates. Healing lodges are either operated by Correctional Services Canada or are Section 81 lodges operated by communities.

  • Aboriginal Healing Lodges Backgrounder
    Background information on healing lodges, the significance they hold for the Aboriginal community, and their implementation with Correctional Services Canada.
  • Correctional Service Canada Healing Lodges
    A listing of healing lodges managed by Correctional Service Canada with a brief history of their implementation.
  • Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Women (Cypress Hills, SK)
    Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge was CSC’s first healing lodge for women offenders. Its name means "thunder hills" in Cree. It is located in the Nekaneet First Nations territory in southern Saskatchewan.
  • Pê Sâkâstêw Centre (Hobbema, AB)
    Pê Sâkâstêw promotes a healing process based on Aboriginal culture. This contributes to the successful reintegration of Aboriginal offenders.
  • Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing Lodge (Prince Albert, SK)
    Brochure for the men's spiritual healing lodge.
  • Stan Daniels Healing Centre (Edmonton, AB)
    Maged by the Native Counselling Services of Alberta under Section 81, the Stan Daniels Healing Centre provides a safe, structured, and respectful environment for offenders, their family, and the community. The centre emphasizes holistic healing and uses strong cultural identity as the foundation for building self-esteem.
  • Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village (Harrison Mills, BC)
    The name means "where medicine is collected". The lodge is a correctional centre for Aboriginal men. Staff and Elders practice traditional and holistic Aboriginal teachings. The facility provides holistic programs, as well as training and maintenance skills to improve employability.
  • Willow Cree Healing Lodge Natawihokamik (Duck Lake, SK)
    Willow Cree offers holistic programming that involves the community and Elders. This fosters the offender’s personal growth, cultural identity, inner peace, and the development of healthy and balanced living. Programs address substance abuse, family violence, parenting and anger management. There are also sex offender programs and Elder services. All core treatment programs have intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual components. Willow Cree also offers training in carpentry and food handling, as well as courses geared towards oil field safety, mining, forestry (fire fighting), and first aid/CPR.
  • Waseskun Healing Center (Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, QC)
    Waseskun is a healing center dedicated to assisting Aboriginal men on their healing journeys. Not all men come to Waseskun from the courts or prison system. Many are referred directly from social or community services for long-term intensive treatment related to drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, sexual abuse issues, anger and stress management, and other community or family concerns.
  • Biidaaban Healing Lodge (Heron Bay, ON)
    The Biidaaban Healing Lodge is a 12 unit facility that provides the Aboriginal population in the Robinson-Superior Area with Residential and Community-based Programming.
  • Ochi-chak-ko-sipi Healing Lodge (Crane River, MB)
    Ochi-chak-ko-sipi Healing Lodge helps offenders to heal, grow spiritually, and integrate successfully into the community. There is a strong focus on mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional healing. Importance is placed on traditional Aboriginal values, beliefs, and practices.
  • Buffalo Sage Wellness House (Edmonton, AB)
    At the Buffalo Sage Wellness House, staff and Elders prepare women offenders to return to the community by helping them make appropriate choices and positive changes in their lives.

Reporting Abuses In Prisons (Web Links)

  • Inmate Rights And Grievance Options
    A brief information page from The John Howard Society of Canada that outlines prisoners' rights and the process they are expected to follow to file a complaint about their treatment in a correction facility.

Aboriginal Corrections



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Other Guides to Check Out

For other relevant guides, please check out the following.

Breach, Parole, Pardons/Record Suspensions
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Stan Daniels Healing Centre - Journey of a Warrior (Episode 1: The Journey Begins)

In the first of a series of short videos takes a look at the Native Counselling Services of Alberta's Stan Daniel Healing Centre, its philosophy, and follows some of their residents in their journey to healing and rehabilitation.


Stan Daniels Healing Centre - Journey of a Warrior (Episode 2: Readiness)

In the second of a series of short videos takes a look at the Native Counselling Services of Alberta's Stan Daniel Healing Centre, its philosophy, and follows some of their residents in their journey to healing and rehabilitation.


Aboriginal Healing and Culture in Prisons 1 of 2

"Saahillthit (Gerry) Oleman is a Community Support Worker who has worked with the Indian Residential School Survivors Society since 1998. He is from Seaton Lake and of the Stl,atl,imx Nation. He has been involved as a change agent for First Nations since 1976. His experiences include counseling for community addictions programs, providing leadership politically and administratively for his community and Nation, and worked as an independent consultant. Gerry is skilled in one-on-one, couples, and family counseling and training. Gerry is currently working for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society whose mandate is to bring "hope, help, and healing " to the residential school survivors and their families. Gerry is the Lodge Keeper for British Columbia Institute of Technology. Gerry has built lodges and hosted lodge ceremonies all over Canada."

Watch Part 2 here.

Corrections & Addictions Research

The prison system in Canada and drug addiction resources are covered here in these periodicals. The approach is more generalist, but will touch upon Aboriginal issues.


Resources For Correctional Workers


Selected Titles From The BearLibrary

The following titles are available in Bear Paw's library.

Cover Art
Maximum Minimum Medium: A Journey Through Canadian Prisons - Julius Melnitzer
Call Number: 365.44092 MEL 1995
ISBN: 9781550135855
Publication Date: 1995-06-01
"Get him! Get him! Get him! Get him !" These were the jeers that greeted a handcuffed and shackled Julius Melnitzer on his arrival at the local jail on February 10, 1992, just a few hours after he was sentenced to nine years for perpetrating the "largest bank fraud in Canadian history," involving one billion dollars of forged securities." "Six months earlier, Julius Melnitzer had been an eminent trial lawyer at the top of his profession and a prominent senior partner in the prestigious law firm he had founded almost twenty years earlier. All that was behind him now." "This is Julius Melnitzer's own story of his journey through prison. It is, at one level, a devastating expose of the corruption and inhumanity of the prison system. At another level, however, it is the remarkable tale of how one man came to terms with his own demons inside a genuinely demonic world."

Cover Art
'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?': Aboriginal Communities, Restorative Justice, and the Challenges of Conflict And Change - Jane Dickson-Gilmore; Carol La Prairie
Call Number: 364.68 DIC 2005
ISBN: 9780802086747
Publication Date: 2005-06-27
'Will the Circle be Unbroken?'explores and confronts the potential and pitfalls of restorative justice, offering a much-needed critical perspective. Drawing on their shared experiences working with Aboriginal communities, Jane Dickson-Gilmore and Carol LaPrairie examine the outcomes of restorative justice projects, paying special attention to such prominent programs as conferencing, sentencing circles, and healing circles. They also look to Aboriginal justice reforms in other countries, comparing and contrasting Canadian reforms with the restorative efforts in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. 'Will the Circle be Unbroken?'provides a comprehensive overview of the critical issues in Aboriginal and restorative justice, placing these in the context of community. It examines the essential role of community in furthering both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal aspirations for restorative justice.

Cover Art
Justice in Aboriginal Communities: Sentencing Alternatives - Ross G. Green
Call Number: 364.65 GRE 1998
ISBN: 9781895830101
Publication Date: 1998
"This book is based on the author's scholarly research; field trips to the communities profiled; interview with judges, prosecutors, community leaders, and participants in sentencing circles, sentencing panels, and mediation committees; and the author's personal experiences as a defense lawyer in northeastern Saskatchewan. This book is aimed at those concerned with criminal justice as well as practicing lawyers."


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