First Nations Dominate Jail Populations

Blog, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

Data source: Examining Aboriginal Corrections in Canada, a paper written by Carol LaPrairie, Ph.D. for the Ministry of the Solicitor General in 1996. (Population Source 1991 Census; Sentenced Admission Data Taken From 1991 Provincial Data Sets, except for Saskatchewan 1993 data was used)

This data shows the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal admissions to prisons in the Prairie provinces. In Manitoba, a native is ten times more likely to end up in jail, in Saskatchewan, twenty-five times more likely, and in Alberta, seven times more likely.


The rates of native criminal behaviour are disproportionately higher than for non-natives. A common assumption in the social sciences is that rates of criminal behaviour are closely associated with rates of poverty. Income statistics that compare rates of poverty for natives and non-natives confirm the validity of this relationship. The best method, therefore, or reducing this disproportion is a policy that identifies and attacks high poverty rates in the aboriginal population. For more information on the causes of native poverty, see the Frontier Centre’s policy study, The Search for Aboriginal Property Rights – –