What Judges Need to Know About Gladue Reports and Gladue Report Writers
 

Ways to Obtain a Gladue Report

1. Through Legal Services Society (“LSS”) when the defendant self-identifies as Indigenous and is a legal aid client. 

2. Through the Ministry of Attorney General. A Gladue report can be requested through this process: a) When Crown feels a report is necessary; or 

b) When the defendant is not a legal aid client; 

c) When the defendant is a legal aid client but counsel refuses to request a Gladue report from LSS; 

3. Through community initiatives within individual Nations or through organizations such as the UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic; or 

4. Through private Gladue report writers. 

Obstacles in the Process

•LSS does not receive copies of orders for Gladue reports.

•If an order for a Gladue report is made, the above process for how to obtain a Gladue report is still applicable. 

•Confusion has arisen in the past when Probation Offices receive requests for Gladue Reports and assume that this means a Gladue Report with a PSR component

•This has been mitigated to a large degree, but Judges can be vigilant be ensuring that their staff communicate with Crown, Registry and Probation to ensure the requested Reports are obtained

Gladue Component PSR’s vs. “Full” Gladue Reports

•Several impacts occur when both a PSR with a Gladue Component and a Gladue Report are both ordered

•These impacts flow through the people who matter the most in this equation – the subject of the Report and the Collaterals contacted for the purposes of gathering and confirming information

•All are asked to provide their stories twice – often this involves the solicitation of information that is rooted in grief, loss and intergenerational trauma

Realities of Gladue Writing

•Gladue Writers exist on the outside of the traditional circles in the Criminal Justice System

•This means we:
(a) Lack access to information

(b) Lack access to Criminal Justice staff and professionals

(c) Are often seen as a superfluous service that contributes to offenders getting lesser sentences

(d) Remain relatively unknown throughout the Criminal Justice system

•Gladue Report Writers are independent contractors and with the exception of a handful of Writers, we all have day jobs:

•We don’t have a professional association that provides regulatory oversight (i.e. a Bar Association)

•We don’t get benefits

•We lack access to support structures that address much of the trauma we take on a result of our work

•We lack support staff, after care for Report Subjects and an ability to track the effectiveness of our Reports and their recommendations

Delays in the Process

•Currently, the established time frame for completing a Gladue Report is 8 weeks

•However, at times delays may occur.  Reasons for these days include: 

•Waiting for documentation from defence counsel; 

•Difficulties locating the subject and collaterals; 

•Establishing trust with the subject and collaterals to enable conversations;

•Cold Calls – the hallmark of the Gladue Writer

Feedback and Quality Assurance

•As Gladue Writers, we are often in the dark about the quality, effectiveness and impact of our Reports;

•The nature of the work requires neutrality and a compartmentalization of roles;

•Currently, once the Report is submitted to Counsel, our role ends

•Receiving feedback from Counsel is rare and we are often left guessing as to the effectiveness and quality of our Reports

•Creating and maintaining a high standard of quality is an enormous priority for Gladue Writers – we want them to be useful to the Court

 

Contact Us:

 

If there is any way to receive comments or feedback from Judges, it would contribute to the ongoing development and quality assurance process in Gladue Writing. 

 

Please contact the Gladue Writers Society of BC at info@gladuesociety.com  

© The Gladue Writers Society of British Columbia 2019