Dr Alexandra King presents on Indigenous women in Canada and the criminal justice system

On the 28th August 2014, the CRE in Offender Health hosted Dr Alexandra King at the Kirby Institute.

Dr Alexandra King MD, FRCPC is a member of Nipissing First Nation (Ontario), 2014-15 James Kreppner Fellow at the Canadian HIV Trials Network and PhD student at Simon Fraser University.

During her time at the Kirby Insitute, Dr King presented on her PhD research work looking at Indigenous women in Canada and the criminal justice system, an abstract of her presentation can be found below.

Abstract:

For millennia, Indigenous people have lived on the land that has become Canada.  They organized into their own nations and societies, and enjoyed excellent health. Following contact, they became known as the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The process of colonization has wreaked havoc on Indigenous people – at the societal and individual levels. As a consequence, they now face severe challenges because of deficits in many health determinants, coupled with socio-political structures that have eroded and compromised their historic self-governance. The First Nations people in Canada experience huge disparities in health vis‐a‐vis their non-Indigenous counterparts; HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C exemplify this. Indigenous people have also become increasingly over‐represented in the criminal justice system (CJS). This is particularly the case for Indigenous women; however, their numbers are small. As a consequence, there is less programming for women while incarcerated, and little that addresses colonization and other underlying health determinants relevant to First Nations women, who also experience increased disease burden for STBBIs, addictions and mental illness. Women who transition to community after release from incarceration in British Columbia (BC) face numerous challenges in being linked with, accessing and receiving social and clinical services. Furthermore, most discharge planning is tailored for men.

A multi‐method, community‐based, participatory research project, reflecting an Indigenous ethical framework and embracing the Indigenous philosophy of OCAP/OCAS, will be presented.

This will begin with a synthesis of an environmental scan which maps existing services and programs in this area, synthesis of literature and other available evidence. From this, plans for interviews with prison health practitioners, key informants, and women with incarceration experience and a gap analysis will be presented. These will lead into a planned pilot intervention to provide wholistic, trauma‐informed, culturally appropriate linkage to community care cascades (e.g., HIV/AIDS, Hep C, opioid replacement therapy, mental health and addictions services) that is feasible within the existing system.