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. 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. The court went on to plainly state what anyone who lives in the justice system trenches knows all too well: “Trials do not take place in a historical, cultural, or social vacuum. Previous Next. Indigenous peoples are vastly overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system. They make up approximately 30% of all incarcerated individuals in Canada despite being approximately 4% of the total population..  Duty counsel has been found ineffective in multiple ways including significant delays in reaching duty counsel in some jurisdictions, and communication barriers between the accused and duty counsel due to intoxication, mental state, or disability. Indigenous Peoples & The Justice System. The Stanley case rightly became a major news item, and the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice expressed their support for the Boushie family following the verdict, also to significant public notice. Further, intergenerational trauma and gender inequality has resulted in Indigenous women experiencing higher rates of post-traumatic stress syndrome and addiction. “Our Indigenous […] These Calls to Action recognize that FASD is a health issue that is negatively affecting Indigenous people. , UNDRIP articles 5 and 40 both advocate for Indigenous Nations to revitalize and employ traditional legal structures for their 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. If we are serious about reconciliation, we have to recognize that the justice system has been a place of injustice for Indigenous people. Innocence pleas require trial and bail must be granted to the accused to avoid pre-trial detention. There are things that can be done and are being done to meaningfully address the over-representation of Indigenous people and the other factors that have led to the estrangement of Indigenous people from the justice system that the Supreme Court noted in Gladue. , Increasingly, accused persons are choosing to self-represent as is their right. Since 1989, 13 provincial and federal inquiries, commissions and studies have examined the issue of Indigenous peoples and the justice system in Canada. Indigenous over-representation in prisons grew under Liberal and Conservative governments before and after the proliferation of mandatory minimum sentences. This is also the reason that so many of the inquiries and commissions mentioned earlier were called by provinces, because provinces have a significant role to play in addressing these issues. “For too long, Indigenous peoples have been over-represented in our criminal justice system,” said David Eby, Attorney General. The over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system is a complex and enduring issue. Indigenous people are overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system as both victims/survivors Footnote 8 and accused/convicted persons. Indigenous people are overrepresented in Canada's criminal justice system as both victims and as people accused or convicted of crime. But if the problem of over-representation is rooted in systemic and direct discrimination, to just throw up one’s hands is to say that, as a society, we don’t care that our major institutions continue to fail Indigenous people. Terms & Conditions |
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Change is not only possible, it is necessary and vital. There are things that can be done and are being done to meaningfully address the over-representation of Indigenous people and the other factors that have led to the estrangement of Indigenous people from 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. Be part of the Policy Options discussion, and send in your own submission. 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. 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. Gladue and Ipeelee both concerned themselves with interpreting section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, a provision that was introduced in 1996 as part of a comprehensive set of amendments dealing with sentencing in Canada. The section states that judges should look for alternatives to incarceration for all offenders, but with particular attention to the circumstances of Indigenous people. Protests in the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death were most directly about policing and justice in the United States. , Indigenous women comprise 42% of women in custody. Where Gladue reports are available, Crowns change their positions on sentencing, and jail is relied upon much less. Do you have something to say about the article you just read? This article
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and is republished here under a Creative Commons license. ", "Evidence - SECU (42-1) - No. These are but 2 of the 13 provincial and federal inquiries, commissions and studies that have looked at the issue of Indigenous people and the justice system since 1989. 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. In Ipeelee the Court decried the failure of the system to answer the call of Gladue and renewed its call for changes in the way Indigenous offenders were sentenced by the courts. Montreal, Quebec
Both options cover historical contexts including generational effects of colonization, Section 718.2 (e) of the Criminal Code, case and Indigenous law, Indigenous Persons Court, restorative justice, Gladue in practice and what is needed to increase its success moving forward. The overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the justice system reproduces false racist narratives of their criminality that inform counsel. , Indigenous Peoples often are not granted a bail option as they are perceived as ineligible due to family scenarios, financial positions, or a bias perception that Indigenous persons are more likely to reoffend. These courts do not create a faith in the system as a whole but rather are seen by Indigenous people as a place where they will be listened to, where their concerns and those of their communities will be heard and where, perhaps, they might actually get a sense of justice being done. Some of that change will have to come from a fundamental reform of the way justice is delivered, and that will mean the development of Indigenous-controlled justice systems. , Indigenous women experience higher rates of poverty, precarious employment, and are statistically more likely to be single care givers. Morning Star is deeply committed to advocating for indigenous sovereignty issues such as missing & murdered indigenous … Indigenous Peoples twice as likely to be chosen to be surveilled by, or intervened with, by police due to racist stereotypes that criminalize Indigenous people. There are only a few national data sources that provide criminal justice statistics disaggregated by Indigenous identity. The larger the group that shares the experience, or length of time the experience is sustained can amplify the trauma experienced. 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. , 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 , 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.  Ultimately, the settler state endeavored to assimilate and enfranchise all Indigenous Peoples into dominant society.  This is despite the fact that they comprise 4.9% of the female population of Canada. He is the author of Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System: A Practitioner’s Handbook from Emond Publishing. Indigenous peoples in Canada are significantly overrepresented in the Canadian justice system. The concerns the case raised focused not only on the verdict by the all-white jury but also on how the jury was selected, in particular the fact … Reasons for the vast overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders and victims in the criminal justice system are discussed in this report. Cries for justice for Indigenous people killed by police or failed by the legal system are reverberating across Canada, from coast to coast to coast. RJIP works to expose and address the disparities of California Indigenous people, especially women and youth in the carceral system using traditional and cultural lifeways and practices, community organizing and advocacy to restore justice to these communities and ancestral homelands. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. Legislative change is part of the process. 85 - House of Commons of Canada", "United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", "Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action", "Indigenous People in the Federal Correctional System", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Indigenous_Peoples_and_the_Canadian_Criminal_Justice_System&oldid=999175910, Violence against Indigenous people in Canada, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 8 January 2021, at 21:23. , Due to the colonial legacy of the destruction of the Indigenous family unit through the residential school system, Indigenous youth are statistically more likely to come from single care giver homes resulting in less support and supervision. The rural IPs living in South America … On the other hand, there is no funding for Gladue reports in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, provinces where one assumes the need is certainly as great as in Ontario. justice system works against I ndigenous people at every level, from police checks and a r- rests (e.g., Nettelbeck and S mandych 2010 ) to bail denial and deten tion (e.g., Roberts and The federal government provides very little support for the production of Gladue reports. Although the numbers and rates of Aboriginal young people and adults involved in the criminal justice system in Victoria are lower than most other Australian jurisdictions and national … Indigenous peoples in Canada are significantly overrepresented in the Canadian justice system. The government has promised to bring in legislation to put an end to mandatory minimums, but it has not yet done so. The Court consistently pointed out in these cases that the issues facing Indigenous people are based on the direct and systemic discrimination they face every day in the justice system. The intergenerational impact of things like residential school are invisible to judges unless someone raises those concerns — and it is usually the Gladue report that serves that function. , Indigenous youth make up 43% of youths in custody despite being 8% of Canada’s youth population. This article is within the scope of WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Native Americans, Indigenous peoples in Canada, and related indigenous peoples of North America on Wikipedia. Approximately 1,000 Gladue reports are written annually in Ontario. Due to the combination of all these factors Indigenous women are statistically more likely to participate in survival sex work, an activity criminalized in Canada. Indigenous-specific courts have less need for resources but still require funding to allow for Elders or Indigenous knowledge helpers to participate in the courts. You are welcome to republish this Policy Options article online or in print periodicals, under a Creative Commons/No Derivatives licence. The primary reasons individuals have chosen to self-represent are financial inaccessibility of effective counsel and dissatisfaction with existing counsel. Editing the piece is not permitted, but you may publish excerpts. Judges and lawyers are not always familiar with noncustodial options, particularly those offered by Indigenous organizations. 668 likes. Intergenerational trauma, or transgenerational trauma, can occur when an individual or group experiences a significant trauma event. 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