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Occupy Nation

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Submitted By gianluca78
Words 570
Pages 3
Luca Santoro A00354983
Reflection #4
The Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Gladue, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 688, as well as, Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal code have stated that judges should account for these considerations when making sentencing decisions. This ruling asks judges to apply an analysis that recognizes the adverse background cultural impact factors that many Aboriginals face. Upon analyzing these factors, if present in their personal history, work to alleviate or reduce the culpability of offenders. Judges are then asked to consider all reasonable alternatives to jail in light of this. After such an analysis, it is more likely to lead to a restorative justice resolution, being used either in place of a jail sentence or combined with a reduced term. In applying principles of restorative justice to Aboriginal offenders, in the context of urban aboriginals discussed in the Gladue decision, it is necessary not only to focus on the individuals before the court, but as well to work with the First Nations communities, to restore their ability to deal with their members in a manner consistent with their traditions.
While some critics suggest that decision in the Gladue case is “bad criminal justice policy”, I feel that comment speaks directly to aboriginal restorative justice, the tradition of restoring victim, offender and the community to a state of compatibility is a genuine and widely recognized one in Aboriginal communities around the world. The move to implement restorative justice intersects with the acknowledgement of victims’ voices in the Canadian justice system. By attempting to evaluate the problem though a conflict resolution type of perspective, it can be acknowledged that restorative measures prove to recognize the root problems and involve not only the offender but, also the victims and the communities. Since Aboriginal cultures value restorative measures and find healing and resolution through this method, this should be the priority for forums of Aboriginal healing and restoration.
With the mindset of getting tough on crime and attempting to incarcerate anyone who breaks the law, it shows that these special considerations created are not being used effectively. Although we have been able to recognize the disproportionate rates of Aboriginal incarceration, the remedy the courts sought to resolve the problem is ineffective. If society ever does want to see the healing of Aboriginal’s who offend, the court needs to recognize section 718.2(e) and implement more restorative measures. Either the problem of Aboriginal over-representation will continue to increase at high rates or the courts will need to make those special considerations when sentencing Aboriginals. Section 718.2(e) and R. v. Gladue provided a foundation upon which change could occur. While it seems as though this change is not happening fast enough, if indeed it is happening at all, it does not mean that the effort should be abandoned. If we want a real change in society it won't likely come from courts. They can help spur action but, that is as far as they can go. In the face of indifference or hostility, the most progressive decisions will simply be ignored. The Gladue case has given the opportunity for more widespread recognition and action on the problem of Aboriginal over-representation. It is up to those who are committed to seeing such change occur to do what they can in the areas that they reside to see that the opportunity is not wasted.

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