CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, September 25, 2020

Arbel on Indigenous Mass Imprisonment

Efrat Arbel (University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law) has posted Rethinking the 'Crisis' of Indigenous Mass Imprisonment (Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société, 2019, Volume 34, no. 3, pp. 437–456) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In R v Gladue, the Supreme Court of Canada famously remarked that the incarceration of Indigenous people represents a “crisis.” Since Gladue’s release, the language of “crisis” has been used with frequency in Canadian legal discourse. In this article, I analyze how this language has shaped the broader legal under- standing of Indigenous mass imprisonment. My focus is not on speci c iterations or uses, but on the cumulative impact of the language of “crisis” over the last twenty years. I suggest that however well-meaning these representations may be, their cumulative impact is harmful. In the face of the relentless intensification of Indigenous mass imprisonment, the language of “crisis” has operated to subtly entrench the colonial structures it purports to disrupt. Urging a shift away from its use, I argue that the language of “crisis” is not only ill suited to address the problem, but is part of the problem.

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