Making an ‘ASH’ out of Gladue: The Bowden Experiment


  • Jane Dickson


The Gladue requirements have been an active element of the criminal law in Canada for over two decades, yet Indigenous incarceration rates have continued to rise precipitously and established approaches to risk management in sentencing and corrections have relegated many Indigenous offenders to longer sentences served predominantly in higher security institutions. In 2006, Correctional Service Canada “incorporated the spirit and intent of Gladue [into] case management practices both in the institutions and in the community,” stressing that Gladue provided ‘direction’ and that Indigenous “social history must be taken into consideration in developing policies and in decision-making impacting on the individual offender.” This paper analyzes CSC’s adoption of Gladue principles in its practices, focussing on the use of the ‘Aboriginal Social History’ and its impacts on Indigenous case management, especially with regard to security classifications and overrides. A comparison of Gladue reports and Aboriginal Social Histories informs of the troubles in the trickle-down from Gladue principles to practice in CSC.