The Over Representation Of Aboriginal People Within The Canadian Criminal

2313 words - 9 pages

The over representation of aboriginal people within the Canadian Criminal Justice system is a clear indication of how the justice system has failed aboriginal people in Canada. The plethora of aboriginal individuals who populate the penitentiaries and jails in Canada shows that there must be changes made within the Canadian justice system. By bringing in the aboriginal peoples traditional ways of life and incorporate it within the Canadian justice systems it will prove to establish equality and fair treatment within the justice system. According to A.C. Hamilton, ? at the most basic level of understanding , justice is understood differently by aboriginal people, ? and these perceptions of justice must be accounted for when dealing with aboriginal individuals in the Canadian justice system?(1991:23). In dominant society, justice is equated with punishment for deviant individuals which cause them to reform and abide by societal rules. However aboriginal people view justice as a means of restoration of peace which bring equality and equalibrium to the aboriginal community. Justice is seen as a way about bringing about major changes in the individual who is accused and also for the victims themselves. This shift of focus from the traditional justice system is achieved in Aboriginal sentencing circles. In the sentencing circle there is a major shift from the practice of the formal justice system to a way that reflects Aboriginal concepts and methods of healing . the later has been proven to be an effective means of healing for Aboriginal people. The goal of the sentencing circle is to rehabilitate the offender so that they can be accepted into the Aboriginal community again. The Canadian justice system must considers examining more ways than one in which they can incorporate different methods of administering justice to different individuals of traditional sentencing hearing which takes place in a formal courtroom. This informal setting is established so that the accused feel more comfortable with his/hers surroundings and so that they can be open to the experience of the sentencing circle.Individuals who are involved in the process of the sentencing circle arrange themselves in a circle. Participants of the sentencing circle include : the judge, the offenders, and their family, the victims and their families, and crown and defence attorneys. Sentencing circles also include elders, probation officers, counceling professionals, and representatives of the community such as the police. Orchard states? people who are directly involved with the discusions sit in the inner circle and those who are there to observe sit in the outer circle?(Orchard, 1998:83). This equality is much different from the current justice system where there is a defined hierarchy within the court room. A hierarchy which includes the judge, the witness panel, and the defence and prosecutor for the case. In order to speak within the sentencing circle, one must have the ?talking...

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