Indigenous incarceration research project stops in Melfort

By Aaron Schulze
August 15, 2018 - 10:00am Updated: August 15, 2018 - 11:03am

The Gladue Awareness project, a series of seminars regarding the high incarceration rate of Indigenous offenders in Saskatchewan, will make a stop in Melfort Aug. 15.

According to the Native Law Centre, who started the project, Indigenous males, females, and youths represent over 80 per cent of people in jail. It’s a trend that must be addressed, the project’s research officer Michelle Brass told northeastNOW.

“I want to know what people’s views are on the best way of addressing the ultimate issues, like the Criminal Code, and deal with the high incarceration of Aboriginal offenders,” Brass said.

Before opening the floor for discussion, Brass said she plans to discuss the Supreme Court of Canada's “R. vs Gladue” decision. The case was the first to challenge Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, which considers all available sanctions other than imprisonment, with “particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders.” 

Brass said she has sent invitations out to provincial officers, prosecutors, judges, defence lawyers, and Legal Aid, but everyone is welcome to attend and join in the discussion at the Norman Vickar building.

“It’s not an easy topic, but it needs to be addressed in a more effective way,” Brass said.

The multi-month research project, which was started by the Native Law Centre, began in La Ronge June 19 and will finish in Regina November 13. Brass will then have until January to put together a final report on her year-long research.

 

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 10:19 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018 to correct an error. A previous version stated the event would be held at the Kerry Vickar Centre.

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