Jennifer Groves, an employee of the Kaakewaaseya Justice Services provide legal services to Treaty 3 Residents who live both on and off reserve. Groves is a specialist in writing Gladue reports.
The Gladue principle is a principle of sentencing to be considered when the court is deciding on the fate of a First Nations offender.
Jamie Tanis Gladue was a young Cree woman charged with second-degree murder after stabbing her common-law husband during an altercation. On the evening of her nineteenth birthday celebration, Ms Gladue confronted the victim, Reuben Beaver about the affair she believed he was having with her sister. A few minutes later, the victim fled the home, and the accused ran at him with a large knife and stabbed him in the chest. At the trial, Ms Gladue pleaded guilty to manslaughter as her blood alcohol content at the time of the incident was between 155 and 165 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Ms Gladue's criminal record only consisted of an impaired driving conviction.
Regarding her sentencing, the Supreme Court noted: "...a sentence of three years’ imprisonment was not unreasonable. The results of the sentence with incarceration for six months and the subsequent controlled release were in the interests of both the accused and society." Gladue was the first case to challenge section 718.2(e) before the courts. The accused's Aboriginal background did not affect sentencing. However, "failing to take aboriginal circumstances into account would violate the fundamental principle of sentencing".
Because of the overrepresentation of first nations peoples in our jails, both federal and provincial governments have addressed the need for Alternative and Restorative Justice processes to try and reduce the number of First Nations peoples who are incarcerated and try to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
The Kaakewaaseya Justice services have several workers serving the 28 First Nation community members from their first contact with the justice system at a bail hearing to their sentencing after a guilty verdict.
Jennifer works with several other organisations such as Hoshizaki house and the schools to try and keep persons from reoffending.
Her report is one of the tools for the Judge to consider when determining a final sentence - but she warned that although the report may recommend culturally appropriate steps in a sentence, it is not a “get out of jail free” card.