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Living up to Gladue: Criminal Sentencing and the Over-incarceration of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia

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This paper examines ways in which British Columbia’s provincial government can counteract the over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples through policy interventions that repurpose the criminal sentencing process. I begin by providing a brief sketch of the long-standing issue of ‘over-representation’ in Canada focusing on competing accounts of the problem’s precise origin and the recommendations for reform that follow from each position. I proceed with an overview of my research, which consists of a series of interviews with individuals intimately familiar with the problem as it exists both in BC and the country at large. On the basis of these interviews and a complementary literature review, I outline three policy options the province might pursue and a set of key criteria against which these alternative pathways should be assessed. After analysing each option in turn, I conclude by recommending that the province implement a standardized Gladue report system in the immediate future.
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