Culturally Appropriate Procedures and Sanctions

A non-exhaustive list of frequently considered culturally appropriate procedures and sanctions was compiled  in the Gladue Report Writer User Manual. While this is not a definitive list, it provides some examples on sentencing alternatives to incarceration which may be appropriate in developing a Healing Plan.  The following summary is a selection from the Gladue Report Writer User Manual (pp. 24-25): 

These bullets do not constitute an exhaustive checklist of all culturally appropriate sentencing procedures or sanctions that might be available in any given case. There is a great deal of diversity among the worldviews, values, and legal traditions that are held by Indigenous collectives across Canada, and there is also great diversity among the available sentencing options that might be considered pursuant to the Gladue principles.

Frequently considered culturally appropriate procedures and sanctions:

 • Justice committees allowing for Indigenous community members to inform the sentencing process with regards to community perspectives, needs, and conditions. They may assist with sentencing recommendations, pre-sentence reports, healing and sentencing circles, diversion and community-based sentences, and other culturally appropriate processes and sanctions.

Sentencing and healing circles that provide a way for an Indigenous person’s community, service providers, family, or victim to inform the sentencing process. Participation in these processes can also contribute to meeting substantive sentencing objectives like rehabilitation, community reintegration, acknowledgment of harm, and deterrence as well.

Family group conferencing where an Indigenous person’s community, service providers, victim, or family inform the sentencing process, especially for Indigenous youth. Like sentencing and healing circles, conferencing can contribute to substantive sentencing objectives in addition to providing case specific information.

Elder panels, participation, and input to address community perspectives, needs, and conditions Elders may wish to speak to the values, worldview, and legal traditions of their community, provide views on an appropriate disposition or conditions, or admonish, encourage, and otherwise counsel the person being sentenced, among other things.

• Specialized sentencing courts that incorporate restorative justice practices into the sentencing process for an Indigenous person, often in conjunction with other culturally appropriate sentencing procedures or sanctions.

Gladue reports that provide the person being sentenced with an opportunity for introspection and critical contemplation of their personal circumstances in context to those of their family and community. These should include as broad a range of perspectives as possible.

Community banishment or a period of land-based isolation where this provides an Indigenous community with greater control over reintegration, protects victims, or facilitates rehabilitation. Banishment may be culturally relevant for some Indigenous collectives, but it is a rare and controversial option that needs to be carefully designed to meet these objectives.

Community service orders tailored to the needs of a particular community, such as those that require someone to contribute through culturally relevant activities (e.g. chopping wood for Elders) or public speaking regarding their offence or their background circumstances. These may be tailored to foster pro-social skills and interests of the person being sentenced as well.

Indigenous programming in the community or even the correctional system (e.g. sweat lodges) where it supports an Indigenous person’s reintegration and rehabilitation, among other sentencing objectives.