OTTAWA - A new report says poverty and homelessness might help explain why native people land in jail at a sky-high rate.

Statistics Canada says aboriginal adults made up 22 per cent of those behind bars - even though they comprise just three per cent of the national population.

"Age, level of education, and employment status can only partially explain the representation of aboriginal adults incarcerated in Canadian prisons," it says.

"The analysis suggests that other factors such as income, housing and rehabilitative needs may be involved in the representation of aboriginal offenders in custody."

The report is based on rates of incarceration sampled on May 16, 2006 - the day the last national census was taken.

For both native and non-native adults aged 20 to 34, incarceration rates dropped off as education and income levels improved.

But comparative decreases were greater for non-natives.

In Saskatchewan, aboriginal adults accounted for 81 per cent of those in jail - but just 11 per cent of the general population.

In Manitoba, the disproportion was almost as jarring: 69 per cent of those in jail were native even though aboriginal people comprise just 12 per cent of the provincial population.

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