What is a Gladue Report?
A Gladue report is a written document that tells the life story of an Indigenous person. The information for the report comes from interviews with the individual, their family, friends, allies and community members. The report describes their unique experiences as an Indigenous person. It has two main components:
- The history and present day story about the individual, their family, and their community/nation
- Community-based options for the individual, grounded in their traditions and beliefs, along with those of their community/nation
Currently, a report can be 10 to 30 pages long and take around eight weeks to write.
Gladue reports are most commonly used at the sentencing stage of a criminal proceeding. However, they have also been used for bail hearings, appeals, parole board, extradition, mental health review board, professional disciplinary decisions and long-term or dangerous offender hearings.
What is the purpose of a Gladue Report?
Gladue reports play an important role in helping judges to fulfill their legal duty to take into account the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada. When done correctly, Gladue reports help the court to understand the individual circumstances of the offender AND determine a “fit sentence.” In other words, Gladue reports outline the “systemic and background factors” experienced by an Indigenous individual, lay out a plan to address the root cause of their offence(s) and offer restorative justice options that are non-custodial in nature.
- The goal of a Gladue report is to increase opportunities for rehabilitation, reduce chances of future offending, while keeping the community safe and protected. Additionally, a Gladue report seeks to educate the court about the laws, traditions and cultural practices of an person’s nation/community of origin.
- Gives the court a complete picture of the life of an individual Indigenous person (timeline of events and experiences).
- Gives the court information about unique background factors or “Gladue Factors” present within the life of an individual, their family and their community. (As an example, Gladue Factors include impacts of colonization, discriminatory policies, Indian Residential school, displacement, addictions, violence, poverty, child welfare, jail, 60’s scoop).
- Discusses the pattern of an individual’s offence cycle, in order to help the court determine opportunities to pursue progress and healing.
- Sets out a customized Healing and Restorative Justice Plan (community-based options that do not involve jail-time) made with the individual and for the individual.