Organizations in Sudbury are making a pitch to bring specially trained court workers to write up background assessments of First Nations people — reports used by judges to consider alternatives to incarceration.
Gladue report writers have been a recommended but optional part of the criminal justice system since 1999. The assessment can include an in-depth interview with the offender, as well as family and friends.
John Rimore, the executive director of Sudbury's John Howard Society, said his group will be approaching governments and private funders to hire a Gladue writer.
"[Even though] governments are trying to keep costs down ... I think that, at this time, we would be applying for funding for anyone who wants to listen to the story and the need," he said.
An aboriginal court worker at the N'Swakamok Friendship Centre in Sudbury hopes Rimore and company are successful with their pitch. Margaret Linklater said she is sometimes asked to do interviews with First Nations offenders that judges can consider during sentencing. But she admits it’s not as in-depth as a full Gladue report.
Sudbury is a great spot for a writer, she noted.
"When people leave the reserves and they want to move to an urban area, they come to Sudbury," she said.
Linklater said Toronto has eight Gladue writers. If a Sudbury judge orders a Gladue report, the writer is brought up from Toronto — a process that takes at least 8 weeks.
Rimore said he hopes to start writing funding proposals by the beginning of the summer.