Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino announced on Wednesday the launch of two equity programs aimed to counteract racial imbalance in prisons.

Mendicino announced a program under the Indigenous Community Corrections Initiative (ICCI) to reintegrate Indigenous offenders, and a similar program from The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), targeting Black and other persons of colour.

“Our government is redoubling efforts to address [systemic racism], advancing progressive initiatives that address systemic barriers, give people a second shot and break the cycle of reoffending,” said Mendicino.

The ICCI funds projects that train, counsel and provide services to reintegrate and rehabilitate Indigenous offenders. The government release refers to said projects as alternatives to custody.

The funding includes $5 million over the next two years, and $12 million onwards for the ICCI program.

No funds were announced for the program targeting Black and other persons of colour – the program is in early phases, compiling a list of vendors that could offer paid services in the future.