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VANCOUVER – Vancouver Community College (VCC) and consulting firm IndiGenius & Associates have entered into a partnership to develop and deliver a Gladue report writing program, the first of its kind at a college in Western Canada.
Intended to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal justice system, Gladue is a principle that takes racism and systemic discrimination into account during sentencing.
A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing or bail hearing written report, which instructs judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders. It also aims to incorporate community members and the victim in determining a fit sentence.
VCC’s Gladue report writing program will be designed for law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, Native Courtworkers, Indigenous community members, and anyone else interested in writing Gladue reports.
VCC is committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, as well as to fulfilling its commitment to the Indigenous Education Protocol through existing services and the development of unique programs.
“We are grateful to have the support and guidance of individuals who are dedicated to addressing the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in our court systems, which is critical to the success in the development of this program,” says David Wells, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences at VCC.
The program advisory committee overseeing the design and development of this program includes representation from Legal Services Society of B.C., Gladue Writers Association of B.C., Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, Mediation Services, and VCC's Indigenous faculty and Elders.
“It is truly an honour to be part of a journey in creating curriculum for Gladue training with VCC, but also to see the potential to pave a path to set a national standard in Gladue training for our people,” says Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, Founder & President, IndiGenius & Associates. “If we are to help our people who are facing incarceration, then we need to provide qualified expert Gladue writers that are recognized by the courts.
VCC is committed to making Aboriginal education a priority through the signing of the Indigenous Education Protocol. The Indigenous Education and Community Engagement department leads the indigenization efforts on campus, and partners with Aboriginal communities and internal and external stakeholders to ensure Aboriginal students have access to educational programs and ongoing support throughout their post-secondary journey.
IndiGenius & Associates was born of the passion to help Indigenous people and encourage a positive change in the justice system possessed by its founder, Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow. Mark and his team have extensive experience working with Indigenous people and communities in a range of justice and justice-related contexts. Mark has several staff that work closely with him using a multidisciplinary team approach to ensure Gladue reports are done effectively and efficiently and delivered to the courts in a timely fashion. In addition, Mark has secured many community partnerships across Canada and works closely with others who share a similar interest in Indigenous justice.
Media can contact:
Director, Indigenous Education and Community Engagement
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7288