Scheena Hoszko35+ Prisons in Québec , vue d’installation | installation view, Musée d’art de Joliette, Joliette, 2018.
Photo : Paul Litherland, permission de | courtesy of the artist & Musée d’art de Joliette

Inside and Outside the System : Artists Against Prisons

Amber Berson
Correctional Service Canada maintains 216 prisons across the country of which thirty-two are located in the province of Québec (ten are administered federally and the rest provincially). As of 2015, the last year for which there are statistics, there were 40,147 adult prisoners and an additional 998 minors in youth custody — meaning that roughly 0.44 percent of the population of Canada is in the combined federal and provincial systems.1 1 - “Canada,” World Prison Brief, Prison Studies, Québec has the second-highest number of adults in correctional services in the country.

Women represent a mere sixteen percent of admissions to correctional programs federally and provincially, although they form 50.4 percent of the Canadian population.2 2 - Covadonga Robles Urquijo and Anne Milan, “Female Population,” Statistics Canada, Meanwhile, Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in Canadian correctional programs: twenty-six percent of admissions are Indigenous, whereas only three percent of the Canadian adult population identifies as such.3 3 - Canada,” World Prison Brief, Prison Studies, Statistics Canada does not provide further information on the racial background of the Canadian prison population, though we do know that “Black Canadians now represent the fastest growing group in federal prisons, and are vastly overrepresented behind bars.”4 4 - Catherine McIntyre, “Canada Has a Black Incarceration Problem,” Torontoist, In short, racialized and Indigenous men embody a significant overrepresentation within the population of incarcerated people in Canada.

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This article also appears in the issue 95 - Empathy

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