JUSTICE SERVICES

NATIVE COURTWORKER SERVICES

Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Click to View PDF)

PURPOSE

The Native Courtworker program is here to help ensure you understand the criminal justice process, at the earliest possible stage. As well as obtain fair, just, equitable & culturally sensitive treatment before the courts.

OBJECTIVES

To provide Indigenous accused at the earliest possible stage, and all stages of the criminal justice process with timely and accurate information about:

  • the nature and consequences of the charge;
  • their rights, responsibilities and options under the law including alternative justice processes (if available)
  • the philosophy and functioning of the criminal justice system, and of alternative justice processes (if available); 
  • court procedures; and the disposition or direction given by the court or community to the accused

HOW WE CAN HELP:

  • Provide Indigenous accused with appropriate referral to legal resources (as available and where practical). 
  • Refer Indigenous accused to appropriate social, education, employment, medical and other resources to enable them to address the underlying problems which contribute to their charges and where appropriate, follow-up on these referrals.
  • Liaise between Indigenous accused and criminal justice personnel to help overcome communication barriers and reduce Indigenous alienation from the criminal justice system. This may include being available to provide appropriate information to the court and/or speaking on behalf of the accused.
  • Inform justice officials about the cultural traditions, values, languages, socio-economic conditions and other concerns of the Indigenous community and the perspective of Indigenous accused. Initiate further understanding when required.
  • Promote understanding within the Indigenous community, of the existing criminal justice system and alternative justice processes.
  • Promote and facilitate community-based justice initiatives and help build community capacity to identify and address problems, which could end up in the courts or community justice system.

DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY COURT

The Downtown Community Court started in the fall of 2008, it brings together justice, health, and social services. The Downtown Community Case Worker aims to ensure that all Indigenous participants’ needs are treated in a culturally appropriate manner.

The Indigenous Case Worker acts as an intermediary between the accused and criminal justice personnel. Their role is to help an individual facing the criminal justice system understand:

  • Their rights
  • Their obligations
  • Court processes
  • Cultural considerations
  • Available Resources

WHAT WE DO:

  • Increase linkages between communities, organizations and individuals and the justice system
  • Increases consideration of relevant factors (cultural and other) by court officials and the judiciary Enhances legislation, policies, services, and processes affecting Indigenous people before the courts 
  • Ensure accused Indigenous people receive fair, equitable and culturally sensitive treatment by the criminal justice system. Share knowledge with the court on Indigenous culture, where appropriate.
  • Liaise with criminal justice personnel and Indigenous communities to build rapport between the two, to build trust and supply knowledge on local issues. 
  • Bring the courts attention to the underlying factors that lead to the offence and direct the participant towards the proper avenue that best suits their needs

INCARCERATED PARENTS TO REINTEGRATION

PURPOSE

Indigenous Incarcerated Parents to Reintegration Initiative aims to address the social barriers of shame and isolation that Indigenous parents who are incarcerated can face. Culturally appropriate and effective supports will be provided to participants in Federal Institutions as they prepare for reintegration into family and community.

A key component of the program is a strength-based, participatory evaluation grounded in an Indigenous worldview that will broaden our understanding of how many Indigenous incarcerated adults have children, whether they have an existing relationship with them, and what their personal or systemic barriers to establishing and maintaining relationships may be.

OBJECTIVES

  • The evaluation will inform ways to develop support systems and keep parents connected with their families during incarceration and as they prepare for reintegration.
  • A “parent-first” approach will focus on how life events leading up to custody, as well as their time incarcerated, has disconnected individuals as a parent and family member, and consequently, as a community member.
  • The model of care will be one that wraps around the incarcerated individual, providing an opportunity to access cultural supports, healing, and a connection to family and community upon first contact with the Federal criminal justice system.
  • The client will be assisted during their Federal incarceration and supported through to a successful reintegration into their family, community and culture.
  • An IIP Advisory Committee will provide advice and make recommendations concerning program development and help create policies that provide direction and support for the program staff.

HOW WE CAN HELP:

  • Provide cultural supports to aid in the reintegration process.
  • Provide resources for healing. Such as counselling, shelter resources, and other community resources.
  • We can help build the connection to family and community upon first contact with the Federal criminal justice system.
  • We can assist while a client is federally incarcerated, and support them in successfully reintegrating with their family, community and culture.