Chilliwack: The B.C. government has opened a new Indigenous Justice Centre in Chilliwack. 

On Monday, Premier David Eby announced $10 million in funding to support First Nations’ community-based justice programs. 

The province said in B.C., indigenous people comprise about 5 per cent of the population, yet account for approximately 30 per cent of people who are incarcerated in B.C. 

To help address this, the province is working with the BC First Nations Justice Council to advance the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, which reflects the vision and priorities of First Nations communities to transform B.C.’s justice system, the province added.

According to the premier’s office, Indigenous Justice Centres provide culturally appropriate information, advice, support and representation for Indigenous Peoples involved in the justice system for both criminal and child-protection matters. 

The centres aim to address the circumstances that may have led to the offences in the first place and ensure that needs, such as housing, mental-health and addictions treatment and employment services are addressed.

“Making our communities safer means addressing the core issues that bring people into conflict with the law and their neighbours — a lifetime in and out of jail and back again doesn’t make anybody safer. We have to break that cycle,” said Premier David Eby. 

“For Indigenous people in B.C., the solutions to break that cycle are most likely to be successful if they’re culturally grounded. That’s why I’m so happy we are working with the First Nations Justice Council to deliver this highly effective service for Indigenous people who are struggling in Chilliwack. The great news is that by helping individuals, the whole community will see the benefits of this remarkable service,” he added.

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