Vancouver Area Community Corrections and Aboriginal Justice: A Review of Aboriginal Federal Offenders and Sentencing Alternatives

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Operating under Vancouver Area Community Corrections, the Vancouver Parole Office is committed to reintegrating federal offenders on conditional release into the city of Vancouver. The establishment of collaborative justice between Correctional Services Canada (CSC) and the Aboriginal community is relatively new and has altered the procedures imposed on Aboriginal offenders serving their sentence. This paper reviews the trajectory uniquely assigned specifically to Aboriginal federal offenders by CSC. Specifically, the individual roles and partnerships assumed by CSC staff and Aboriginal community members are examined, with a focus on the implications this parallel system has on Aboriginal offenders. In particular, the unique challenges that affect Aboriginal offenders are explored. These include urbanization, government funding, the convergence of Aboriginal and Western justice, and disparities in definition of terms. Without the understanding of cultural differences and the ability to articulate objectives and expectations, it is argued that neither justice system will be able to assist Canada’s Aboriginal population and successfully reduce Aboriginal overrepresentation under the authority of CSC.
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