American Judges Association


Court Review: Journal of the American Judges Association

Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 54, Issue 2 (2018)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Canada’s Indigenous population has been over represented in Canada’s prison population for a considerable period of time. In the mid-1980s, for instance, aboriginal people made up approximately two percent of the population of Canada but made up ten percent of the penitentiary population.1

On September 3, 1996, the Parliament of Canada enacted a number of amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C., 1985.2 One of these was in response to the level of incarceration of Indigenous people: section 718.2(e). This provision deals with the sentencing of “aboriginal offenders.” It states as follows:

A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles: (e) all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.3