Tuesday May 26, 2015

'The Outside Circle': Rethinking rehabilitation for aboriginal offenders

 "The Outside Circle" by Patti LaBoucane-Benson, illustrated by Kelly Mellings, tells the story of Aboriginal gang life and the colonial trauma that underpins it.

"The Outside Circle" by Patti LaBoucane-Benson, illustrated by Kelly Mellings, tells the story of Aboriginal gang life and the colonial trauma that underpins it. (Kelly Mellings ⓒ 2015 by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, House of Anansi)

Listen 27:29

The Outside Circle - Tattoo

(Kelly Mellings. ⓒ 2015 by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, House of Anansi)

Pete Carver is an aboriginal warrior of sorts. He grew up in urban poverty, in Edmonton, ended up in a gang. And, as with so many young aboriginal men and women in Canada today, his warring eventually landed him in prison.

Pete Carver is the main character in a new graphic novel called "The Outside Circle", illustrated by Kelly Mellings.  

Although his story is fiction, it reflects a widespread reality for First Nations men and women... one that the book's author Patti LaBoucane-Benson knows very well.

For 20 years Patti LaBoucane-Benson has worked on programs to support incarcerated First Nations people.
 

"If you've been away from your family, and you've been incarcerated for fifteen years, you're going to have to re-learn who your family is again."  - Catherine says Warrior Program helped prepare for life outside prison 
The Outside Circle - House of Anansi

(Kelly Mellings. ⓒ 2015 by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, House of Anansi)

  • Patti LaBoucane-Benson is the Director of Research, Training, and Communication at Native Counselling Services of Alberta. She was in Edmonton.
  • Catherine is an aboriginal woman is a graduate of the Warrior program, run by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, and whose life experience is reflected, to some extent, in "The Outside Circle." We are not using her last name on air.
     

This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio.