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The Concept of Overrepresentation of Aboriginal people (Essay Sample)


This sample Examine the statistics that demonstrate this over-representation of Indigenous people in canada


Indigenous Studies 348
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Indigenous Studies 348
Overrepresentation of Aboriginal people
In the Canadian justice system, Aboriginal individuals are highly overrepresented. This concept has been confirmed by various researches such as the 1967 Canadian Correction Association study titled Indians and the Law (Rudin, 2016). Besides, several statistics have also demonstrated this aspect. They include the Canadian Bar Association, the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, and Albert's Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Effect on Metis and Indian individuals (Government of Canada, 2016). The three major causes for this overrepresentation are cultural differences between Canadians and Aboriginal people, economic and social disadvantages faced by Aboriginal people, and historical and political forces that have harmed them. These causes have resulted in a disproportionate number of Aboriginal convictions, offenses, and penalties in Canada.
According to Government of Canada (2016), the 1988 Canadian Bar Association report points out that although Natives account for two percent of the whole national population, they represented ten percent of the penitentiary population. It also discovered that overrepresentation is more pronounced in Canada's west and north regions. In Prairie, the Aboriginal people represent less than five percent of the country's population but account for thirty-two percent of the prison population. The Pacific area has Native inmates a total of twelve percent while representing less than five percent of the general population.
Native Americans made up twenty-two percent of the inmates at Stony Mountain Penitentiary in1965, but by 1984, the figure had risen to thirty-three percent. Thus, Provincial statistics are better than federal statistics. Native citizens, who make up three to five percent of the population of each province, account for 16% and 17% of jail admissions in B.C. and Alberta, respectively. Native residents, who make up 6-7% of the population of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, account for 46% and 60% of jail admissions, respectively (Government of Canada, 2016).
Monchalin (2017) suggests that even though the Stony Mountain Federal Penitentiary was made up of thirty-three percent of the entire population in 1984, the number rose to forty-six percent by 1989. The natives had made up thirty-seven percent of the whole population in 1983 at the Headingly Correctional Institution, which increased to forty percent by 1989. The native women made up sixty-seven percent of the total inmates at Portage Correctional Facility in 1989. The young natives made about sixty-one percent of the entire population in the young people institutions. The natives summed up to fifty-six percent of the whole population in the Monchalin's correctional facilities. The natives make up less than twelve percent of Monchalin's overall population, and "as a result, Aboriginal individuals are found in prisons up to five times more than their inclusion in the general population, based on their age and gender."
The estimates released by the Task Force pertaining to the Criminal Justice System and its Effects on the Metis and Indian persons of Alberta revealed that the Natives' overrepresentation is a rising issue. Indigenous males account for thirty percent of the male population in provincial prisons and forty-five percent for females in the prison population. According to the task force, "overrepresentation in the criminal justice system is much more severe" for Aboriginal juvenile criminals than for adults, and projected demographic estimates suggest that the crisis would worsen (Government of Canada, 2016).
One of the underlying factors for the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the justice framework is the cultural disparities between the groups (Monchalin, 2017). In terms of vocabulary and systematic structures used in the administration of justice, Aboriginal culture differs significantly from Canadian culture. Because of these disparities, Aboriginals considered the modern legal system alienating despite the resources and time taken by the Canadians to educate them on how the system operates. From the standpoint of Aboriginal peoples, the Canadian criminal justice system is a new structure placed on them that works radically different than their traditional justice paradigm.
The economic and social inequality experienced by the Aboriginal individuals in the Canadian criminal justice system is the second aspect of overrepresentation (Monchalin, 2017). The overrepresentation is directly related to their social and economic peculiarities. Natives are more linked to crimes because their social and economic circumstances are precarious. They rank at the bottom of nearly all the available socioeconomic well-being indexes, including educational standards, job prospects, living conditions, and per capita incomes. This factor results in many Aboriginals living in overcrowded accommodation, which causes them to engage in illegal activity, resulting in them dealing with the police and the justice system more often than most Canadians.
A third explanation for overrepresentation is colonization, which, when studied for its specific and distinct historical and political structures, has resulted in Aboriginal people being very weak, losing tribal identity, and causing alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and suicide (Rudin, 2016). Colonization resulted in the destruction of tribal territory and the degradation of the inhabitants and Aboriginals. Therefore, their grievances contribute to a criminal lifestyle because non-Canadians dominated them in every part of their lives.
View of Justice from English Legal Concepts
At the most fundamental level, Canadian and Aboriginal cultures view justice quite differently. In Canadian society, the law and dispute settlement system is one of vengeance, while in indigenous Aboriginal cultures, it is one of reconciliation. The origins of Canada's legal structure can be located in the English common law framework. From the Aboriginal standpoint, the Canadian justice system is a new structure that contributes significantly to the overrepresentation. The Aboriginal community view justice from a glimpse of; a felony is a violation committed by one party against another; the emphasis should be on problem-solving, and neighborhood peace should be established; dialogue and consultation are essential instruments for restoring peace; restitution and healing are used to restore harmony; and justice is done where there are strong relationships and harmony (Roberts, 2017).
The contradictions between the two types of justice are apparent. The core principles of an Aboriginal culture differ significantly from those of Canadian society: the state is threatened versus the community is endangered; the offender must be prosecuted against the abuser must be rehabilitated; compensation versus time spent will maintain peace. The two distinct legal systems each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The attributes of the Aboriginal justice system are motivated by the fundamental principle of social control. Since households are responsible for defending kinfolk, the accompanying promise of retaliation sanctioned by tradition proved an essential barrier to future wrongdoers (Roberts, 2017). As a result, offenders who are afraid of their relatives' rejection are more likely to commit fewer offenses. Furthermore, since the society wants the wrongdoer to reimburse the individual wronged and immediately maintain balance and harmony, criminals are more likely to be committed to reconciliation with their victims and the society; they are likely to be committed to immediate settlement rather than serving jail time and becoming unwelcome upon their return to their families.
The vulnerability of the Aboriginal justice framework can be found in the opportunities for unfair judgments to be passed out due to the lack of impartial decision-makers.
The Canadian justice structure's advantages are portrayed in the consistency it provides in utilizing independent judges and decision-makers for court case results. Since a defendant is presumed innocent unless proved guilty, evidence will guarantee that the accused has a fair trial. The impersonalized system of delivering justice, which fails to understand fundamental causes before issuing verdicts, is seen as a weakness in the Canadian justice system. When an inmate appears in court, his or her cultural values and socioeconomic conditions should be investigated before a sentence is imposed (Roberts, 2017). Furthermore, this system fails to train prisoners for release back into their communities adequately. Consequently, they can return "hardened" because of exposure to prison life. Another flaw is the idea that jail time without reconciliation does little to punish the offender for the injustice they suffered. This shows that the Criminal Code has a substantial impact on the Canadian legal system.
The Criminal Code was enforced for the first time in 1892, derived from the 1888 English draft Criminal Act. Some of the other code sources were the Stevens Digest on Criminal Law and the existing Canadian rules on criminal law. The Penal Code, which the Royal Commission amended established in 1951, is the primary law of the criminal justice system (Government of Canada, 2016). It essentially governs how the criminal justice system functions. The Canadian justice reform extends to all Canadians, including Aboriginals. The Penal Code, which the Royal Commission amended established in 1951, is the primary law of the crimin...

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