Native Canadians remain among the poorest members of the Canadian society.

Prisons in Canada are overflowing with disproportionately more ethnic minorities who are more likely to be abused by guards, a watchdog says.

Certain groups, notably aboriginals and blacks, are « disproportionately over-represented » in Canada’s prisons and their numbers are « growing at alarming rates,” said a report by correctional investigator Howard Sapers, who is the prison ombudsman for federal inmates, on Tuesday.

« Today, four in 10 of the federal inmate population is comprised of non-Caucasian offenders, » Sapers said.

« These are disturbing trends that raise important questions about equality and our justice system in Canada, » he stated.

According to his 2012-13 annual report, Blacks in Canada make up 9.5 percent of federal inmates, while black Canadians account for less than three percent of the population of Canada.

Meanwhile, aboriginal people make up nearly one in four – just over 22 percent – of offenders in federal prisons, yet comprise only 4.3 percent of the total Canadian population.

In his report, Sapers noted that widespread « discriminatory behavior and prejudicial attitudes » by prison guards have been reported as « common experiences » by minority inmates.

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under criticism for widespread violation of the rights of the country’s indigenous community.

In a report released in December 19, 2012, Amnesty International called on Canada to address human rights abuses in the country, particularly with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Many native Canadians remain among the poorest members of the Canadian society, with most of them suffering poor educational, economic and social conditions.

On November 15, a report by CBC News showed video recordings from several Ontario and Quebec jails, where prison guards physically assaulted inmates.

One of the videos showed a guard hitting and slamming an inmate’s head against a wall four times.

Governor General David Johnston

Governor General David Johnston