Big spike in aboriginal women behind bars, government study finds

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OTTAWA - A new report says there has been a big spike in the number of aboriginal women in Canada's prisons.

A Justice Department study found the overall number of aboriginal women behind bars in federal institutions nearly doubled between 2002 and 2012, rising 97 per cent.

By comparison, the number of aboriginal men increased by 34 per cent during that time.

That steep, decade-long rise makes aboriginal women one of the fastest growing segments of Canada's federal prison population.

The numbers were slightly higher in provincial and territorial facilities, where 41 per cent of all women were aboriginal, compared to 25 per cent of men.

The report found nearly two-thirds of aboriginal women serving federal prison sentences were admitted for violent offences, compared to one-third of non-aboriginal women.

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