Portage is pleased to announce that its rehabilitation program for the Inuit community who are serving time in the Saint-Jérôme prison, has recently been renewed for another year by Ungaluk, a division of the Makivik corporation. A similar program may soon be offered to the thirty or so Inuit women incarcerated at the Maison Tanguay, north of Montréal.
According to current judicial statistics, nearly all criminal acts committed in the villages of Nunavik are related to drug and alcohol problems. Since there are no prisons in that region of Québec, the Ministry of Public Safety sends Inuit men who are found guilty of crimes to the prison in Saint-Jérôme, and Inuit women to Maison Tanguay, for sentences of two years or less.
The external Portage program for Inuits at the Saint-Jérôme prison, supported by Makivik and the Ungaluk division, has helped many men over the past year to develop tools and confidence to be able to better deal with life’s challenges, without resorting to substance abuse. A Portage staff member visits the prison three times a week, meeting with a dozen Inuit inmates who have volunteered for the program.
The sessions seek to develop participants’ personal and social competencies, and to help them learn how to better manage their feelings, how to better understand situations in order to react in a reasonable manner, and how to ask for help. The program helps them better understand the fundamental causes of their drug and alcohol abuse, so that they can work through their issues.
Participants have been benefitting greatly from the sessions, and those who wish to go further in their substance abuse rehabilitation may be able to eventually transition into residential therapy at the Portage rehabilitation centre in Prévost
Portage would like to thank Makivik for renewing the “Free Inukshuk” project and for providing the opportunity to develop a similar project for Inuit women at the Maison Tanguay. Portage is very proud to serve the Inuit community.