Nova Scotia anti-racism advocates call for changes to 'racist' justice system

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HALIFAX — Racial justice advocates say systematic racism has led to the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in Nova Scotia's criminal justice system.

The group told a legislative committee today that systemic and structural racism in Canada has disproportionately affected Black and Indigenous people.

Emma Halpern, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, says there needs to be mandatory anti-racist training for police and other front-line workers who encounter African Nova Scotian and Indigenous residents.

Robert Wright, spokesperson for the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, says despite the group's advocacy for the end to police street checks, the practice continues to be supported by the province.

Wright says his group has seen a disappointing lack of commitment to anti-racism initiatives in the province's criminal justice sector.

Halpern says government departments need to have a more "human-centred approach" for offering services to racialized people in the criminal justice system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press