Indigenous man wins human rights settlement after jail denied request to practise spirituality

20 March 2017

The Department of Justice and Public Safety and its jail in Shediac have apologized to a former Indigenous inmate who was denied access to traditional native spiritual services, such as smudging.

Anthony Peter-Paul was incarcerated for 16 months, first in Saint John, then at the brand new Southeast Regional Correctional Centre in Shediac for a break-and-enter in 2011.
He asked to practise native spirituality, such as smudging, and the request was denied because the newly built jail couldn’t "facilitate".

Peter-Paul said he was denied the right to pray the way he was taught by his elders, so he filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

Earlier this year, Peter-Paul received a settlement.

He was given a letter of apology, assurances the jail would stop preventing Indigenous people from having reasonable access to spiritual services, and $1,000 as general damages.

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Photo: CBS News

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