Austin Corbett of Bottos Law Group recently commented on the ongoing problem of over-incarceration of indigenous persons, especially women, across Canada and in the Northwest Territories.
From the Article: “In the Northwest Territories, where the overwhelming majority of people in jail are Indigenous, there is now debate about how to best address the issue. Many jurisdictions in Canada now use Gladue reports, a type of pre-sentencing report that provides background information about an Indigenous offender. Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta have established Gladue courts that handle sentencing and bail hearings for some Indigenous people charged with crimes. In the NWT, Gladue reports are not used and the territorial government says it is not considering using them any time soon. Instead, “Gladue factors” are often incorporated into other forms of pre-sentencing report or presented as evidence by defence lawyers during sentencing and bail hearings.”
Austin Corbett, who practices in the Northwest Territories, was asked to comment on this practice, and how it compares to other jurisdictions like Edmonton, Alberta.
“Austin Corbett, a criminal lawyer practising in Alberta and the NWT, said many sentencing options aren’t being adequately used, calling jail “the bluntest hammer” to deal with many social issues. “We really need to try to think a little more creatively and imaginatively about how to avoid incarcerating people, considering the rate of incarceration for Aboriginal people has only gone up in the last 15, 20 years,” he said. “What we’re doing right now doesn’t work.””
Read the whole article HERE.