Justice in Aboriginal Communities
192 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jun 1998
Release Date:01 Aug 1998
Release Date:01 Aug 1998

Justice in Aboriginal Communities

Sentencing Alternatives

UBC Press, Purich Publishing

[A] lot of these guys go to jail, and they sit around this ten-by-twelve cell…And they get very bitter. Here in a sentencing circle, we make sure somebody tells the offender that we're here to help.
--Harry Morin from Sandy Bay, as quoted in the book.

Ross Green looks at the evolution of the Canadian criminal justice system and the values upon which it is based. He then contrasts those values with Aboriginal concepts of justice. Against this backdrop, he introduces sentencing and mediation alternatives currently being developed in Aboriginal communities within the structure of the current Canadian justice system. At the heart of the book are case studies of several communities, which Green uses to analyze the successes of and challenges to the innovative sentencing approaches currently evolving in Aboriginal communities.

This book is based on the author's scholarly research; field trips to the communities profiled; interviews with judges, prosecutors, community leaders, and participants in sentencing circles, sentencing panels, and mediation committees; and the author's personal experiences as a defence lawyer. Those concerned with criminal justice as well as practising lawyers will find this book a valuable resource.

Ross Green holds a degree in commerce, and Bachelor and Master of Laws degrees. He has practised law in several of the communities described in this book and has advocated for the kind of sentencing alternatives he describes. He taught sentencing at the Saskatchewan Bar Admission Course and has taught a course on Alternatives to Criminal Justice for the University of Regina. He currently lives in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where he is a Provincial Court Judge. He is also the co-author with Kearney Healy of Tough on Kids: Rethinking Approaches to Youth Justice (Purich Publishing, 2003), which won a Saskatchewan Book Award for scholarly writing.


Part 1: Conventional and Aboriginal Systems of Justice and Sentencing Compared

1.  Sentencing Law and Practice in Canada

2.  An Historical Overview of Aboriginal Perspectives on Justice

3.  Aboriginal People and the Canadian Justice System
The Circuit Court as Absentee Justice System
The Misinterpretation of Aboriginal Offender Information and Behaviour at Sentencing

4.  Opportunities for Community and Victim Participation and Sentencing Discretion in Conventional Sentencing
Opportunities for Community and Victim Participation
Community and Victim Participation in Diversion Outside the Court System
The Role of Appellate review in Sentencing Discretion
Jury Sentencing in the United States
A Search for New Approaches

Part 2: Case Studies

5.  The Sentencing Circle
Status of Circle Recommendations in the Criminal Code
Criteria for Circle Sentencing
Deterrence through Circle Sentencing
Circle Sentencing at Hollow Water, Manitoba
Circle Sentencing at Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan

6.  The Elders' or Community Sentencing Panel
The Elders Justice Advisory Council at Waywayseecappo, Manitoba

7.  The Sentence Advisory Committee
The Sentence Advisory Process at Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan

8.  The Community Mediation Committee
The Justice Committee at the Mathial Colomb Cree Nation, Pukatawagan, Manitoba

Part 3: Evaluation and Thoughts for the Future

9. The Development and Impact of Community Sentencing and Mediation Initiatives

10. Post-Colonialism, Legal Pluralism, and Popular Justice
Legal Pluralism
Popular Justice

11. Justice and Policy Issues Raised by Community Sentencing and Mediation
The Court's Supervisory Role in Community Sentencing Approaches
Political Influence and Judicial Independence
Financial Infrastructure or Volunteer Support?
Expansion of Community Sentencing Approaches
The Potential Effect of Statutory Reform and Appellate Sentencing Review on the Development of Community Sentencing
Policy Implications of Expanded Community Sentencing

12. Conclusion


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