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Judges’ attitudes about and experiences with sentencing circles in intimate-partner abuse cases.

Belknap, Joanne
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. 52(4): 369-395.

During the 1980s and 1990s, two important changes that occurred in criminal
processing were seemingly at odds for intimate-partner abuse cases. The
first was the move to treat gender-violence cases more seriously and more
punitively. The second was the design and implementation of restorative
justice practices, which was mandated for consideration in First Nations cases
in R. v. Gladue in 1999. There has also been an ongoing debate globally as
to whether restorative justice is appropriate in gender-violence cases. Additionally,
some First Nations scholars worry that restorative justice is simply
another way of controlling and punishing Aboriginal peoples. This study draws on interviews with 27 judges in a large Western province, a year before
the Gladue decision, regarding their attitudes to and experiences with sentencing
circles in intimate-partner abuse cases. The findings suggest cautious
judicial support tempered by serious concerns. (Author’s abstract).


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