METIS JUSTICE INSTITUTE
Minister: Julyda Lagimodiere
The Metis Justice Institute (MJI) of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) was established in July 2003 and assigned the task of focusing responsibility and authority for justice issues within the MMF. The MJI is also responsible for providing analysis and research capacity to the MMF Board of Directors and Justice Portfolio Minister.
The MJI is guided by the following objectives:
- 1. To reduce the number of Metis people involved in the Criminal Justice System;
- 2. To prevent and reduce crime, as well as enhance the safety and well-being of Metis individuals and the Metis Community;
- 3. To strengthen Metis families and the Metis Community to promote a strong Nation;
- 4. To support the grassroots level where justice measures are developed and delivered by individuals who have a direct interest in the Metis Community; and
- 5. To ensure that justice measures are culturally specific and incorporate Metis values, traditions and culture.
The mandate of the MJI is to develop and maintain a full range of justice services and programs that meet the expectations of the Metis Community in Manitoba. At this time, the MJI provides support, advocacy and referrals to Metis Citizens in need of justice support.
Since its inception, the MJI has been working towards the transfer of Community Correctional Services from the Province of Manitoba to Metis governance. Over the past year, the MJI has had to re-focus efforts in achieving its mandate since the provincial termination of the Initiative.
Throughout the last year, the MJI has continued to lobby Manitoba to work towards the development of Metis Justice Programs and Services. The MJI has utilized information obtained through Metis Community Consultations to begin to develop proposals that will re-focus efforts to develop Metis Community Justice Programming that will support Metis Citizens involved in the Criminal Justice System.
Metis Community Justice Project (MCJP)
The MJI has submitted a proposal to Manitoba Justice to support the development of a Metis Community Justice Project. The proposed project will focus on providing Metis Community Members within Manitoba with a project that will support the diversion of Metis individuals from the court system to the Metis Community. The project will provide a community-based alternative that will work in partnership with the current justice system.
The requested funding from Manitoba will be utilized to hire three Metis Community Justice Workers that will develop and/or enhance the capacity of the Metis Community to deliver culturally appropriate justice alternatives and support the diversion of Metis Citizens from the mainstream justice system.
Justice Support Program
The Justice Support Program is the former Offender Employment Program, which was created in 2000. The vision of this program is to deliver an efficient and effective reintegration process for Metis people.
The goal of the current Justice Support Program is to assist men and women in conflict with the justice system to reintegrate into the community. The program is mandated to serve Metis, Non-Status and Inuit community members that have been remanded, have been released from provincial or federal correctional facilities or have received community dispositions.
The Justice Support Program assists individuals to overcome barriers and address basic needs such as income, clothing, housing, health, family, etc. The program focuses on developing life skills and promoting job skills and ultimately supports individuals to become employment or education ready.
The MJI has actively participated in monthly meetings with the RCMP “D” Division Aboriginal Policing Services to focus on the development of a working relationship in regards to policing of Metis Citizens within Manitoba. These monthly meetings have focused on discussion and development of a Communications Memorandum of Understanding and a staff secondment to look at policing gaps within the Metis Community.
Metis Community Inquiries
The MJI also received many inquiries from Metis Community members in terms of support, advocacy and information regarding resources available to help with specific justice issues. The MJI will continue to provide information on available resources in the areas of legal advice, legal aid referrals, external referrals, internal referrals, income and social assistance, policing issues, advocacy, housing, food, etc.
The MJI held two Community Justice Training Sessions in the last year. The sessions focused on Introductory Training for Community Justice Workers and Community Justice Forum Training. These sessions were undertaken in preparation for approval for the Metis Community Justice Project Proposal. The training included the MJI and Metis Community Liaison Department (MCLD) staff that provided information on the necessary skills and tools to provide viable services to the Metis Community.
The MJI and MCLD staff received certification from Manitoba Justice as Community Justice Forum Facilitators. To date, the MMF has one staff member in each of the seven Regions that is certified to facilitate Community Justice Forums.
Provincial Police Act
The MMF also made a submission to the Manitoba Justice Legislative Standing Committee on the proposed changes to the Provincial Police Act. The submission focused on the Provincial Police Act’s relationship with the Metis Community in the areas of Police Boards, Police Commission and the development of an Independent Investigations Unit. The MMF recommended that the Provincial Police Act have a direct link to the MMF as the Metis Government when dealing with Metis Citizens’ concerns, issues and complaints. The MMF also recommended that the MMF be designated a seat on the Provincial Police Commission and Municipal Police Boards across the province to ensure that Metis interests regarding policing across the province are represented.
The Metis Justice Institute Justice Minister and staff are very excited to continue work over the next year on obtaining funding to support the department and justice programs and services needed within the Metis Community to assist Metis Community members involved within the Criminal Justice System.
Last Updated (Friday, 15 January 2010 15:33)
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