by Jules Koostachin
Toronto’s Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network organized a series of events during Indigenous Sovereignty Week last November, including a panel on The Criminalization of Indigenous People. We’re bringing you a series of three contributions adapted from presentations by Jules Koostachin, Maurganne Mooney, and Christa Big Canoe. The article by Maurganne Mooney can be found here.
In my work with the Elizabeth Fry Toronto, I oversee the volunteer program court service at the College Park provincial court. This program has volunteer court workers that assist clients through the court experience. We provide information and referrals to community resources. We provide clarification of the court process, and we also give referrals to lawyers, assistance with applying for legal aid.
It’s a preventative program using a restorative justice approach to ensure that clients do not get a criminal record for minor offences while making amends for their criminal behavior. This will most likely change with Bill C-10, which will effectively lead to more criminalization of women.