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B.C. prison system failing incarcerated Indigenous people: auditor general

B.C.’s auditor general says the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) has not provided consistent access to mental health and substance use services for Indigenous people in B.C. correctional centres.

The report from the auditor general states that the PHSA could not confirm whether Indigenous clients entering corrections were provided with the necessary services.

They also couldn’t confirm that they were assessed appropriately, or if discharge care plans were in place for their release.

“The social, economic and health impacts of colonialism and discrimination are evident in correctional centres, where Indigenous people are over-represented by a wide margin,” said auditor general Michael Pickup in a release.

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“This audit shows that the PHSA must do more with its unique opportunity to help Indigenous people in correctional centres access mental health care and substance use treatments, and connect them to services after their release.”

The audit showed about 80 per cent of the clients received some services but less than half had a complete care plan.

Recommendations from the audit include developing and using reports that show whether Indigenous clients received screening, assessments, care planning, services and discharge planning.

Supervisors should also review and sign off on client files and when operational requirements can’t be met a rationale needs to be documented.

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PHSA officials said they agree with all of the recommendations and will be implementing them.

The full report can be viewed below.

MORE: Mental Health and Substance Use Services for Indigenous People in B.C. Correctional Centres (Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia)

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