Canada’s Aboriginal people make up about 3.8% of the Canadian population but account for almost 24% of the total inmate population. Recently, Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, called for more oversight for Aboriginal inmates. Sapers has made several recommendations, including: appointing a deputy commissioner for Aboriginal corrections, and addressing Aboriginal-specific provisions in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. These recommendations were made in 2013 but Sapers is hopeful that the new federal government will be quick to enact changes in order to address the growing number of Aboriginal inmates. Sapers notes that Aboriginal inmates are more likely to spend time in custody and in segregation cells. Aboriginal Criminal Law is constant evolving before the courts. The aboriginal criminal law team at Smordin Law is constantly updating their knowledge of the law that affects aboriginal criminal issues.
Longer time in jail for Aboriginal inmates
Sapers concerns are obviously well founded. For example, according to a 2014 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, Aboriginal inmates are less likely to get early release. Nearly 85% of Aboriginal inmates remain until they have served two-thirds of their sentences – compared to 69% of non-Aboriginal inmates. Sapers also refers to the lack of healing lodge spaces in prisons across the country. He is hopeful that the new government will be able to address the issue of over representation of aboriginal people and the criminal justice system.
While Canada’s prison watchdog fights for Aboriginal inmates, efforts are being made to help Aboriginal accused through restorative justice programs. For example, in 2014, an Aboriginal Persons was created in Brantford, Ontario. The Aboriginal Persons’ court is designed to handle the cases of Aboriginal people who have been charged with a criminal offence and propose sentences using a restorative justice approach aligned with Aboriginal culture and traditions. It runs two days per week and deals with guilty pleas and sentencing. Even if you’re charged outside of Brantford, you can request that your matter be transferred to this special court.
Smordin Law Experienced Advocates in Aboriginal Criminal Law
If you identify as Aboriginal and have been charged with a crime, it’s important to know the options available to you during your trial or plea, sentencing, and incarceration. The lawyers at Smordin Law have worked extensively with Aboriginal clients and understand how to incorporate Aboriginal culture and traditions into your case.
Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716