Mitch Walker – Gladue Reports and the Healing Approach to Criminal Justice (#13)

Gladue reports reinvigorate the idea that there’s a different way of promoting rehabilitation and healing. ~ Mitch Walker

Mitch Walker is a criminology instructor and co-founder of the Gladue Writers Society of British Columbia. He’s also one of BC’s Gladue Report writers working to promote fair treatment for Indigenous People in the Canadian criminal justice system. 

The Gladue Report process takes its name from R. v. Gladue [1999] 1 SCR 688. It also draws on the sentencing principles set out in s. 718.2 (e) of the Criminal Code of Canada

In this episode, Mitch guides us through the Gladue Report writing process, describing how it’s done and why it happens. He explains how the reports get started, who is involved, and how the information makes its way into court. Along the way, you’ll hear about the bigger purposes behind the process too, including attempts to address systemic racism toward Indigenous people, and a desire to promote a more individualized, healing approach to criminal justice. 

This conversation will also give you a sense of the challenges involved with creating Gladue Reports. Although the work may not be easy, you’ll have no trouble picking up on the determination driving Gladue Writers like Mitch to continue this work. 

Even if you don’t work in the areas of criminal justice or Indigenous justice, you’ll want to hear about the ways the legal system is changing to address historical injustices and provide better outcomes for the future. 

Topics Covered

  1. Perspectives on careers in criminal justice
  2. Overview of the Gladue Report process
  3. Sentencing for Indigenous people
  4. Restorative justice
  5. Contextualization of Indigenous people and interests in the criminal justice system
  6. The legacy of colonization on Indigenous people
  7. Perspectives on individualization and community interests in criminal justice

Listen to “13 Mitch Walker – Gladue Reports and the Healing Approach to Criminal Justice” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 1.6 hours of CPD credits.

Are you a member of a law society outside BC? Try here.

Show Notes

7:00 – Teaching criminology

9:35 – Mitch’s views on the perceptions vs reality of the criminal justice system

11:00 – The emotional impacts on people who work in the criminal justice system

12:00 – Setting realistic expectations of a career in criminal justice

17:35 – The Gladue Writers’ Society of BC

18:20 – The Legal Services Society of BC Gladue Writers Roster (pdf)

22:00 – BC First Nations Justice Council

25:47 – Overview of Gladue Reports

30:30 – Normalization of instability and lack of autonomy for some individuals

33:28 – Progress and change as alien concepts that don’t relate to the experiences of some individuals

39:15 – Gladue Factors

48:00 – providing Gladue Factors to a court

50:15 – who is entitled to a Gladue Report?

52:00 – start of the Gladue Report writing process

1:00:00 – healing plan

1:02:30 – Gladue Report review, edit and quality assurance

1:05:30 – Trauma-informed approach to interviewing

1:18:00 – after the Gladue Report is provided to, and used by, the court

1:21:32 – a common misunderstanding about Gladue Reports

1:22:30 – (hypothetical question about) something similar to Gladue Reports for non-Indigenous people

1:26:00 – Pre-Sentencing Reports 

1:28:50 – What Mitch would say to an earlier version of himself

1:32:10 – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

1:33:10 – How Mitch would do a week’s worth of work in 3 hours

1:34:20 – How Mitch looks after himself

1:35:38 – The best place to learn about Gladue for people in a hurry

1:37:24 – Before my work in the law is done…

1:38:09 – Favourite Book – The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick; Player Piano Kurt Vonnegut

1:39:00 – Favourite Podcast – The Ringer; The Press Box; This American Life; Dateline (Bill Hader does Keith Morrison); Comedy Bang Bang

1:40:22 – Where to learn more about Mitch – Gladue Writers’ Society of BC

1:41:20 – Mitch’s calls to action

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