News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

September 26, 2022

Manitoba Government Establishing two Additional Healing Lodges within Existing Correctional Centres

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Healing Lodges, Therapeutic Communities Designed to Ensure Safety While Reducing Reoffences: Goertzen

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BRANDONThe Manitoba government is establishing healing lodges within the Brandon Correctional Centre and The Pas Correctional Centre, which are designed to reduce offender recidivism while ensuring public safety, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“Healing lodges within a correctional facility help to provide cultural connection and support that can then be continued when an individual is released from custody,” said Goertzen. “Evidence-based rehabilitative programs that are offered within a correctional facility, whether through healing lodges or therapeutic drug treatment, help reduce the chance of individuals reoffending.”

The therapeutic communities at the Standing Together Healing Lodge – North, at The Pas Correctional Centre and the Standing Together Healing Lodge – South, at Brandon Correctional Centre, will offer participants the opportunity to be together in an organized structure where daily interactions are in focused on treatment goals. The healing centres also respond to some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action including number 36, which states: “We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work with Aboriginal communities to provide culturally relevant services to inmates on issues such as substance abuse, family and domestic violence, and overcoming the experience of having been sexually abused.”

The minister noted the healing lodges use traditional ceremonies, teachings and land-based experiences, along with education, cognitive behavioural interventions and life-skills training, which will allow participants to heal and strengthen their spirit, mind, heart and body.

“Today’s announcement marks a new day, where the establishment of healing lodges in two of Manitoba’s correctional centres demonstrates the Manitoba government’s commitment to addressing the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said Edwin Wood, justice program manager, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. “Our elders and knowledge keepers have reminded us of the importance of our culture and language as necessary steps towards an individual’s healing journey and recovery from past traumas. MKO acknowledges the Manitoba government’s Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy and will continue to provide support to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples within the criminal justice system.”

The lodges will support inmate education, language acquisition, family reunification, sobriety, building a connection to their community and a commitment to cultural engagement, noted Goertzen.

Release planning will be incorporated into programming to help ensure participants have expanded access to relevant, informative community supports when they leave the facility that continues the traditional path they undertake while in custody.

The minister noted the development of these two new healing lodges builds on the success of existing programs at other correctional facilities in Manitoba. The Community Safety Knowledge Alliance evaluated the concept and validated the proposal, noting the program is a significant step toward reconciliation and aligns with sound correctional practices.

A one-time capital investment of $1.4 million will support the construction of the two new buildings within the correctional facilities, noted the minister, adding that $1.2 million in annual staffing and operating costs will support the communities once operational.

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