Gladue at 20

The Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark ruling 20 years ago that found the over-reliance on incarceration for Indigenous offenders amounted to a full-scale crisis in Canada’s justice system. The decision in the case of a young Cree woman named Jamie Gladue instructed judges to “pay particular attention to the circumstances” of Indigenous Peoples and consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment when it is reasonable to do so.

Two decades later, Indigenous incarceration rates continues to rise, Gladue principles are unevenly applied across the country and there is a major lack of resources to examine the unique circumstances of those who encounter the justice system. 

Journalism students in a legal-affairs reporting course at Carleton University take a look at the legal landscape 20 years after the April 23, 1999 decision.