Aboriginal young people are significantly over represented in BC’s youth custody centres. This paper investigates the demographic, traumatic life experiences, drug use patterns, criminal charges and incarceration histories of a cohort of Aboriginal young people who use drugs in Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia. Using Cedar survey data collected in 2003 and 2004, logistic regression finds that Aboriginal young people who use drugs and have a history of incarceration are more likely to be recidivists if they were first incarcerated under the age of 17, had ever slept on the streets, been charged with a minor offence, injected drugs, or participated in drug and alcohol treatment. This paper recommends that the provincial government engage with Aboriginal communities in the development and implementation of intensive and holistic services that can address the multiple challenges facing Aboriginal youth in custody to decrease the high rates of recidivism among Aboriginal youth.
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