Grad helps offenders see the moments their lives changed

November 20, 2018 | Society, Campus Life
As much as I hated social statistics – it was my worst course – it taught me about correlations. I love looking for connections and figuring things out – things that you might not necessarily see on the surface.

It’s something I do every day. Both of my jobs involve offenders – I have been in the judicial field for over 15 years, whether in a courtroom or writing Gladue reports. But helping Indigenous clients navigate the judicial system doesn’t feel like work – it’s my passion.

I interview Indigenous offenders who have been charged with a crime and write reports that capture Indigenous clients’ histories. Judges or justices use those reports to recognize the cultural factors and adversity that many Indigenous people face. I ask offenders about their lives to answer the question, “How did you get here?” Often the answer is connected to intergenerational trauma – things that have impacted their lives without them even knowing it.

I get to help people see the moments in their lives when things changed. And when you hit something, it’s like planting a seed – one that could grow. I’d love to be able to answer the question of how to reduce recidivism. How to help people avoid graduating from one institution, like a residential school or the child welfare system, to another, like the penal system.

Both of my parents went to residential school. I have seen the impact of that. My dad really wanted me to finish my education. It was important to him, but I’ve been working on this degree for such a long time – on and off for more than 15 years – that both of my parents are gone now. So when I wrote my last paper I thought of my dad – of how proud he would have been.

When I was eight or nine years old I found a book that said something like “Intro to Sociology” on the cover. It just stuck in my mind. Now I know there was a reason I opened it.

– Delores, Bachelor of Arts, Sociology



Meet the Fall Class of 2018

Studying microplastics, blending history and theatre, reducing reoffending, dreaming of a Nepalese gallery – these are just some of our grads' big plans. Meet more members of the Fall Class of 2018.

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