Understanding Gladue Reports In Canada
If you are Indigenous and you have been convicted of a crime, you have a right to have your Indigenous background taken into consideration when the Judge is trying to find an appropriate sentence for you. This was first established in the 1999 Supreme Court Ruling of Supreme Court ruling in R. v. Gladue. This right is codified in the Criminal Code of Canada under section 718.2(e) and it can be used for bail, sentencing, and parole. Gladue Reports should be used every time an Indigenous person has a bail hearing, is being sentenced by Judge – even for minor offences, or is having a parole hearing. Gladue Reports can also be used every time an offence has been committed. An Indigenous person is not limited to one report per life and can request to have a Gladue Report prepared for every single matter that results in a criminal conviction. The Criminal lawyers at Kahane Law Office are able to prepare Gladue Reports for both our own clients as well as for other law firms in Calgary that require them for their clients.
Importance Of Indigenous Background Considerations
Canada’s Indigenous population makes up about 4-5% of the Canadian population but makes up 26% of the prison population in Canada. That means that 1 in 4 admissions to jail are people who identify as Indigenous. This number keeps going up. In fact, Indigenous women are the fastest growing population in prison. Their numbers have more than doubled since 2000.
How Gladue Reports Are Made
A Gladue Report can be requested by your defence counsel, the Crown prosecutor, or the Judge. It is up to all three of those court players to ensure that a report is requested for you, but usually it will be your defence counsel who makes the request.
A Gladue Report is prepared by a Gladue Report writer who will ask you, your family, your friends, and community support workers questions about who you are and how you got there. It will ask a lot of personal questions about your family life, residential schools, the 60s scoop, foster care, any substance abuse, mental health, and education and employment – the list is not exhaustive. Information about the community you come from can also be taken into consideration.
Once the report writer has all information, they compile a report which is then given to the Court. The report is meant to give the Court a better understanding of you and your history and how that history affected who you are today. For instance, the Court understands that if you, your parents, or your grandparents attended a Residential School, that would have had an adverse impact on your life.
What Are Gladue Reports?
Gladue Reports are not meant to be “get out of jail free” cards. What they are meant to do is answer two questions for the judge in order to prevent the gross disproportion of Indigenous people being sent to jail. The first question is: how did this person get to this point? The second question is: Is there an alternative other than sending this person to jail?
There are a variety of alternatives to jail; however, it depends on the seriousness of the offence on whether those alternatives will be accepted. Examples of alternatives could be: Alternatives measures or diversion, rehabilitative treatment for substance abuse, conditional or absolute discharges, a fine, a suspended sentence, probation, community service, attending a healing lodge, or a conditional sentence order. Jail is the absolute last resort and should only be used if there are no appropriate alternatives and all alternatives have been explored and rejected based on analysis.
Calgary Criminal Lawyers Who Prepare Gladue Reports
Contact our criminal law team if you are Indigenous and require criminal law representation or if you are a criminal lawyer who requires external counsel with experience drafting Gladue Reports. Get peace of mind by CONNECTING NOW. We can be reached toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 (or 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta), or email us directly here.