Aboriginal centre opens at Prince Albert women's prison
The First Nations and Métis Cultural Centre has a sweat lodge and offers parenting resources
Aboriginal women at the Pine Grove Correction Centre in Prince Albert have a new place to practice their cultural beliefs.
The First Nations and Métis Cultural Centre at Saskatchewan's only prison for women officially opened on Thursday.
There was a cultural centre at Pine Grove before, but it was much smaller and did not provide as many services.
"There was a lack of heating and air conditioning, almost the wind would blow through it. It also was in a place along a roadway that when people drove by the women didn't have the privacy that they require," said Christine Tell, minister of corrections and policing.
Now a larger building has been renovated to accommodate traditional ceremonies, like smudging. The facility will also have a sweat lodge and parenting resources.
Officials say spiritual healing is an important part of rehabilitation.
"We help them heal their identities, their history. We help them to reconcile the things they have done wrong in society. We introduce ceremonies to them, their culture, their spirituality, we do a lot," said Joyce Letendre, cultural coordinator for the centre.
The goal of the centre is to reintegrate the inmates back into society and prevent them from re-offending.
The women at Pine Grove have been using the new facility since November.
It took two years to complete the upgrades to the building.
With files from the CBC's Ryan Pilon