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Aboriginal Spiritual Healing Lodge

In 1997, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections and Public Safety and the Prince Albert Grand Council signed a Spiritual Healing Lodge Agreement for the purpose of fostering a justice system relevant to, respectful of, and respected by Aboriginal people. The provincial department currently maintains this contract with the Prince Albert Grand Council for the operation of a Spiritual Healing Lodge that houses up to twenty-five provincial male offenders. There is also an exchange of service agreement with the Correctional Service of Canada to house up to five federal male offenders. The Spiritual Healing Lodge is located just outside of the city of Prince Albert.

The Spiritual Healing Lodge offers a holistic program that is designed according to Aboriginal cultural traditions. It is for offenders who are nearing the end of their period of incarceration and are preparing to return to their communities; they are assessed as presenting a minimal risk to public safety and likely to benefit from such a correctional program while serving a custodial sentence. In order to qualify for transfer to the Healing Lodge, an offender must demonstrate satisfactory interest in spiritual healing and express a sincere effort to overcome the problems that have led to his current and past offences. He must also develop a healing plan and demonstrate the ability to follow the program and plan during his time at the Healing Lodge. Of particular interest is the central involvement of Elders, who provide most of the traditional teaching, as well as the general Aboriginal community in the rehabilitation and reintegration of Aboriginal offenders. In addition, offenders are invited to take part in larger cultural events within the community and surrounding reservations. The Healing Lodge is staffed primarily by persons of Aboriginal descent.

Regan Hart-Mitchell

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