Improvements to Gladue reports coming: Justice

Yukon's Department of Justice says plans are underway to improve Gladue reporting in the territory.

Yukon’s Department of Justice says plans are underway to improve Gladue reporting in the territory.

Spokesperson Dan Cable said a meeting has been planned, likely for early September, to discuss the next steps in getting people trained to write the court reports on aboriginal offenders’ history.

“There’s no doubt that we need to make improvements to Gladue reporting. There’s no doubt about that,” Cable said. But he says it’s too soon to say exactly what those improvements will look like.

In Canada, judges are required to consider a person’s aboriginal ancestry, the history of colonialism and the disproportionately high number of aboriginal people incarcerated when they are crafting a sentence.

That’s where Gladue reports come in. The reports layout a person’s history and also provide judges with a menu of options for sentencing.

Until last year only two people in the territory wrote Gladue reports. Both were basically self-taught and neither received any extra money for doing it along side their regular jobs.

Right now only one person in the Yukon writes reports on a regular basis.

About 50 Gladue reports have been completed in the Yukon since the end of 2010.

A recent report called that “ad hoc” way of doing things “unsustainable.”

“The current reality in the Yukon is that many aboriginal offenders are still being sentenced with only a superficial summary of their life circumstances and little to no information about community or culturally relevant resources at their disposal,” it says.

A 2012 report by Public Safety Canada said that while aboriginal people only made up roughly four per cent of Canada’s population, they accounted for more than 20 per cent of inmates in federal penitentiaries.

In 2010, aboriginal women made up nearly a third of female federal offenders.

In the Yukon, 71 per cent of offenders at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre are First Nations. According to Statistics Yukon, First Nations people make up about 21 per cent of the territory’s population.

This latest report recommends Yukon follow in the footsteps of seven other jurisdictions in Canada that have an official Gladue writing program.

It says if a limit is placed on when a Gladue report can be ordered, like if an offender is facing a sentence of three months or more, three or four trained writers could provide all the reports for the Yukon for a year.

One other option is to have the writing contracted out instead of performed by a central government office.

Cable said it is to soon to say what route will be taken in the territory or who will pay for everything.

The planned meeting will include everyone involved with the report, including representative from the department, the Yukon Public Prosecution Service Office and the Council of Yukon First Nations.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Zoning amendment approved for Black Street property

Bylaw change will allow suite to be built over existing garage despite side, rear setbacks

Yukon borders to reopen July 1, masks required at all Yukon airports

Yukon moves to Phase 2 of reopening on July 1

Runners race Reckless Raven

Nearly 60 Yukoners completed the fourth annual Reckless Raven 50-mile Ultra and… Continue reading

Local gardener asks for return of wagons

Alice Cyr grows vegetables for her condo, but has had two wagons stolen in the last two weeks

YukonU instructor pens letter urging immediate action to address systemic racism

A Yukon First Nations instructor at Yukon University has penned a letter… Continue reading

Ancient lake bed sediments, unusual plants are markers of the Takhini salt flats

It’s one of the Yukon’s best open geological secrets, a well-known but… Continue reading

Yukon University hires director of finance

Yukon University announced in a press release on June 29 that Sheila… Continue reading

Diamond Tooth Gerties to reopen

The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) announced in a press release on June… Continue reading

Newly-elected Liard First Nation chief accuses YG of interfering with election

Stephen Charlie says YG’s announcement days before election endorsed previous chief

COMMENTARY: Shifting the prevailing narrative of substance use

Blood Ties Four Directions Centre Special to the News Rarely does society… Continue reading

Alexco nearing production at Keno Hill mines

Alexco Resource Corp. is entering the final phase of development at its… Continue reading

Literacy award nomination deadline approaching

Nominations for the 2020 Council of the Federal Literacy Award will remain… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read