[7] Ultimately, the settler state endeavored to assimilate and enfranchise all Indigenous Peoples into dominant society. Indeed, the book is an important resource for lawyers who are committed not only to reconciliation but … The recent acquittal by a jury of Gerald Stanley, a white farmer, in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan, has again raised issues about the way the criminal justice system deals with Indigenous people. [22], Indigenous women experience higher rates of poverty, precarious employment, and are statistically more likely to be single care givers. The latter two include a promise to appear in court, posting of a financial surety, and have escalating sets of conditions at the discretion of the judge. Gladue reports provide that information as well and thus offer real options for sentencing. A gathering place for posts about Indigenous Peoples and the justice system in Canada. Photo: A chant is performed during a rally in response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in the shooting death of Colton Boushie in Edmonton, Alberta, on February 10, 2018. I have described some of them in this article. This article is part of the Widening the Lens on Criminal Justice Reform special feature. This article provides an analysis of various explanations of the over-represenation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Section 718.2(e) is an example of legislation that has made a difference. The recent acquittal by a jury of Gerald Stanley, a white farmer, in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan, has again raised issues about the way the criminal justice system deals with Indigenous people. [12] Duty counsel is provided to ensure that every accused is afforded their Right to Counsel as articulated un Section 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The rural IPs living in South America … There is no doubt that if and when some of the more regressive aspects of the previous government’s criminal law agenda come off the books, there will be more room for creative responses from the courts. [19], Despite this ruling, Gladue principals are inconsistently and unreliably used so there has been little positive impact to Indigenous Peoples since the ruling in 1999. This results in Indigenous people being over charged both in the volume and severity of offenses.[11]. Canada H3A 1T1, Privacy Policy | The differences among provinces and territories in the way they have responded to Indigenous justice concerns are quite stark and revealing. Their experiences within the system are interwoven with issues of colonialism and discrimination. This review provides a critical overview of Indigenous peoples’ interactions with criminal justice systems. The 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. Gladue, acknowledged that the Canadian criminal justice system is systemically discriminatory in its treatment of Indigenous peoples and recommends courts consider an Indigenous person’s background when making sentencing decisions. “Our Indigenous […] “For too long, Indigenous peoples have been over-represented in our criminal justice system,” said David Eby, Attorney General. Approximately 1,000 Gladue reports are written annually in Ontario. Gladue reports are also available in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and British Columbia, and will soon be in Yukon. Studies have shown that Indigenous persons courts — or First Nations courts, or whatever name they choose to go by — make a real difference in how Indigenous people feel they are treated by the legal system. Research and Statistics Division. The work of the Gladue writers is supported by Gladue caseworkers or aftercare workers, who work with offenders after they are sentenced. Please attribute the author(s) and mention that the article was originally published by Policy Options magazine. Indigenous people may falsely plead guilty due to poverty, to avoid unreasonable restrictions on their movements or to detention to satisfy employment or care giving obligations. The larger the group that shares the experience, or length of time the experience is sustained can amplify the trauma experienced. Alberta also has a robust Gladue report process, although it is administered very differently. [14], Defense counsel can be prohibitively expensive for individuals experiencing poverty. [14], Once in front of a judge, Indigenous Peoples in Canada have historically received more and longer incarceration sentences. Despite the findings of commissions and courts, and despite promises by prime ministers to address this issue — specifically Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien (in the 2001 Throne Speech) and Justin Trudeau (in his 2015 mandate letter to the Minister of Justice) — the numbers tell a different story. [24], Additionally, the intergenerational trauma from both the historical legacy and contemporary structural nature of colonialism, negatively impacts Indigenous parents resulting in Indigenous youth being overrepresented in the foster care system. FASD service delivery in terms of diagnosis, prevention and intervention is lacking and has led to inappropriate treatment within the criminal justice system. These reports, prepared by writers working for Indigenous organizations, provide judges, lawyers and Crowns with information on the backgrounds of the offenders who are being sentenced and suggest alternatives to incarceration where possible. In particular, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, in its 1996 publication Bridging the Cultural Divide, recommended the establishment of independent justice systems on reserves. The combination of these factors results in Indigenous women being significantly more likely to experience precarious housing or houselessness which is a factor in engagements with the criminal justice system. For example, in Ontario, the province and Legal Aid Ontario fund the production of what are referred to as Gladue reports. It’s that the will to fix it is lacking. Protests in the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death were most directly about policing and justice in the United States. However, activists in many part of the world took up a message of solidarity against injustice and unequal treatment by the state, including many Indigenous peoples. And there are more on the horizon, as the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and the Public Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services in Québec will also be addressing issues of justice. Breaching either of these may result in forfeiture of the surety and/or additional criminal charges, and breaching recognizance may be accompanied by additional fines. More is necessary. At the most recent meeting of the A2JBC Leadership Group on October 27, 2020, we heard Indigenous leaders, lawyers and academics speak powerfully about how Indigenous people experience the justice system. In 1998 in R. v. Williams, the Court found that jurors could be asked questions about their biases toward Indigenous people charged with criminal offences, since discrimination toward them was “rampant.” In 1999 in R. v. Gladue, the Court found that the over-representation of Indigenous people in Canada’s prisons was a “crisis in the Canadian criminal justice system.” The Court found that over-representation was “only the tip of the iceberg insofar as the estrangement of the aboriginal peoples from the Canadian criminal justice system is concerned.” In R. v. Ipeelee in 2012, the Court restated its findings in Gladue. [31], Similarly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Calls to Action 50-52 seek for the improvement of equity for Indigenous Peoples within the Canadian legal system [32], In 2018, the Canadian Federal Government issued a report on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security’s investigation on Indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system and subsequently issued 19 recommendations to improve equity of outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. Some authors have argued that the primary cause of over-representation is widespread criminality among Indigenous peoples, rather than what is sometimes termed 'systemic bias' in the criminal justice system. Legislation it introduced in 2016 to eliminate mandatory victim fine surcharges that accompany a criminal conviction, which are impossible for homeless and poor people to pay, has not moved past first reading. You are welcome to republish this Policy Options article online and in print periodicals. Approximately 40% of individuals appearing in family court appear in absence of counsel, and the trend of increased persons self-representing in also experienced in civil court proceedings. They make up approximately 30% of all incarcerated individuals in Canada despite being approximately 4% of the total population. Understanding the Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in the Criminal Justice System. It doesn’t have to be that way. 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