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Criminal Justice, democratic Fairness, and Cultural Pluralism: The Case of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

Williams, Melisa S
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Buffalo Criminal Law Review. 5(2): 451-495

Melissa Williams remarks at the outset of her essay that the place of criminal justice in democracy has been little studied in recent democratic theory. Moreover, given the wide variety of perspectives and purposes behind criminal justice theory and practice in democratic societies, she argues that the relationship between democracy and criminal justice is complex. In this context, Williams contends that Canada’s system of criminal justice has historically failed to meet standards of democratic fairness in its treatment of Aboriginal peoples. Her aim in this essay then is to begin to re-conceive an ideal of justice between Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal Canadians. Toward this end, she examines a number of Aboriginal justice initiatives in Canada in recent decades.


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