Gladue Courts: Navigating Contradictory Orientations to Rehabilitate and Punish
Cifelli, Michael Paul
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This research thesis details a year-long observation and analysis of Gladue (Aboriginal-specific) courts in Toronto from April 2013 – July 2014. The primary focus of this project is the way Gladue courts reconcile and interpret contradictory demands to both rehabilitate and incarcerate Aboriginal peoples in light of legislative and judicial requirements. Utilizing a discourse analysis methodology for observations and transcripts, this thesis sought to analyze how rehabilitation and punishment is conceptualized and implemented in Gladue courts given recent legislative changes. The overall effect is that neo-liberal and paternalist principles are chosen and applied depending on the individual circumstances of the case, with new punitive policies left for the most egregious offenders. This application underlines a law and order policy that is concerned with pragmatic/practical concerns and which leads to a discursive framework that objectifies Aboriginal peoples through racist/colonial conceptions of intrinsic victimization.