Coming Full Circle: Redefining "Effectiveness" for Aboriginal Justice
Gloade, Gerald (III)
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Aboriginal peoples are over-represented in many adverse demographics. Most striking is their presence in the justice system. Aboriginal offenders experience the highest levels of incarceration, and later recidivism. Sentencing circles are an indigenized alternate approach to sentencing that aim to improve their justice experience. Most studies conducted on the efficacy of circle sentencing have focused on its capacity to reduce crime. The findings of such research conclude that circle sentencing is ineffective at achieving such outcomes. I propose that these are the wrong outcomes to analyze and in turn seek to research new evaluative criteria for assessing circle sentencing’s effectiveness, by focusing on its restorative capacity instead of its reductive ability alone. The legitimacy of these measures is examined by interviewing individuals from different levels of restoration and comparing findings to existing scholarship. Semi-structured interviews are used to investigate the efficacy of Mi’kmaq circle sentencing in Millbrook, Nova Scotia.