By The Canadian Press
BRANDON, Man. — The Manitoba government is establishing healing lodges at two correctional facilities to give prisoners access to culturally appropriate supports and limit their chances of reoffending.
The province says the Standing Together Healing Lodges at the correctional centres in Brandon and The Pas are to support inmate education, language acquisition, family reunification and sobriety.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says evidence shows rehabilitative programs offered in the correctional system help reduce the chance of inmates reoffending.
The province says in a release that the lodges will offer participants the opportunity to work in an organized structure to focus on treatment goals.
Part of the programming will include ensuring participants have access to community supports once they leave the correctional system.
The province is providing $1.4 million to support construction of the buildings, with annual staffing and operating costs of $1.2 million.
“Healing lodges within a correctional facility help to provide cultural connection and support that can then be continued when an individual is released from custody,” Goertzen said in a release Monday.
He added that healing lodges use traditional ceremonies, teachings and land-based experiences, along with other interventions, to give participants the chance to heal.
“Our elders and knowledge keeps have reminded us of the importance of our culture and language as necessary steps toward an individual’s healing journey and recovery from past traumas,” Edwin Wood, justice program manager at Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, said in the release.