Corrections Canada says released inmates get little 'support; in Nunavik

Kangiqsujuaq fears killer's return from prison

By JANE GEORGE

Some residents of Kangiqsujuaq say they're worried about the return to their community of convicted killer Kaitak Alaku Qumaluk, 27.

Qumaluk plans to come home after serving three and a half years in a federal penitentiary for the part he played in causing the death of a Puvirnituq man in 2001.

In the early hours of Oct. 11, 2001, Qumaluk and Charlie Quara, then 27, pursued Qaunnaq Uqaituk, 19, through Puvirnituq and beat him with a baseball bat and pieces of two-by-four lumber. Shortly afterwards, they beat a second victim.

Uqaituk later died of head injuries at the Inuulitsivik hospital.

In September 2004, Quara was sentenced to 14 years in jail and Qumaluk to 12 years.

The two, who had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, had already served three years of preventive custody, so their sentences were reduced by six years each.

After serving most of that time, Qumaluk will soon be ready to leave jail.

Sometimes when a community doesn't want an offender to return, Corrections Canada will advise them to go elsewhere.

According to Corrections Canada on Inuit in the federal corrections system in Quebec, Inuit inmates often get a cold reception when they return home.

Moreover, they don't get the help they need before release, they're not usually released on supervised parole before the end of their sentence, and they often reoffend, the study says.

Nearly all Inuit inmates in the federal prison system have substance abuse problems, personal and emotional problems, and most would have difficulty entering the work force.

Officials from Corrections Canada attended a Kativik Regional Government meeting two years ago to urge closer collaboration between municipal officials and Corrections Canada.

They talked about Section 81 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which encourages the Correctional Service of Canada and aboriginal communities to find alternatives to jail, and more effective and culturally appropriate community corrections for aboriginal offenders.

But Nunavik's elected officials have rarely contacted Corrections Canada to work out plans for offenders, says Diane Archambault, aboriginal community development officer for Corrections Canada,

Qumaluk isn't even on her list of federal inmates who will be released from Quebec penitentiaries.

"I haven't heard of him. I find that sad," she said.

Later this month, Archambault will travel to Kuujjuaq to visit the Isuarsivik Treatment Centre and talk to municipal and regional officials about how they can help federal inmates make a smoother return to life outside jail.

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