Source: (1999) Justice as Healing 4 (3).

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Gladue clarified the duty of sentencing judges to consider background and systemic factors in sentencing Aboriginal offenders. This decision is an important watershed in Canadian criminal law. The Court endorsed the notion of restorative justice and a sentencing regime which is to pay fidelity to “healingâ€? as a normative value. Healing is an Aboriginal justice principle which is slowly becoming merged into Canadian criminal law through circle sentencing and community-based diversion programs. The Gladue decision has brought the notion of healing into the mainstream as a principle which a judge must weigh in every case of an Aboriginal person, in order to build a bridge between their unique personal and community background experiences and criminal justice.

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