The Over-Representation of Indigenous People in Prison – The Honourable Harry S. LaForme – First Peoples Law

by ahnationtalk on November 24, 2021260 Views

November 24, 2021

Put em in Jail!

There are many reasons why Indigenous people today are dramatically over-represented in Canada’s prisons.

Much of this has been documented by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 in the seminal case of R. v. Gladue. The bottom line is that Indigenous people suffer intergenerational trauma from the impacts of colonialism. As the Gladue court noted, it’s not that Indigenous people commit more crime than others; rather, it’s that they went to jail for their actions much more frequently than others.

At the time of Gladue, Indigenous people represented about 3% of the Canadian population and about 17% of the prison population. This, the court said, amounted to a “crisis in the Canadian criminal justice system”. The Gladue court offered an alternative approach to jail…it didn’t work.

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