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State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard

Definitions

60s Scoop: Government practice of the mass removal of Indigenous children from their homes, to be fostered by or adopted into non-Indigenous families, in most cases without the consent of their families or communities. The practice began in the late 1950s and continued into the 1980s, but was most common in the 1960s.

Binary: A division into two groups that are considered distinct and opposite.

Cisgender: People whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Colonialism: Policy of taking political and economic control of a territory and the people who are Indigenous to that area underpinned by racist doctrines of superiority.

Colonization: The action or process of settling and taking political and economic control of a territory and the people who are Indigenous to that area underpinned by racist doctrines of superiority.

Criminogenic needs: Criminogenic needs refer to issues, risk factors, characteristics and/or problems that relate to a person’s likelihood of reoffending or recidivism. Within a correctional setting, needs are measured related to the following areas: employment/education, community functioning, family/martial situation, associates, attitudes, personal/emotional, and substance abuse.

Criminological research: The study of crime, criminals, criminal behaviour, and corrections.

Culturally relevant: Responses to the distinct needs, values and lived experiences of diverse cultural groups, such as programming designed to be accessible and effective for participants.

Culturally safe space: An environment that recognizes the existence of different needs, values and lived experiences of diverse cultural groups, respects those differences, and ensures that everyone reflects on power imbalances, institutional discrimination, colonization, and colonial relationships, in order to create a safe space.

Distinctions-based approach: An approach that recognizes the unique rights, interests and circumstances of First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation as distinct groups.

Gender: A person’s status in society as a man, woman, or as gender-diverse. A person’s gender may be influenced by several factors, including biological features, cultural and behavioural norms, and self-identity.

Gender-based violence: Violence targeted at a person because of their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender.

Gendered: Characteristic of, suited to, or biased toward or against a certain gender.

Gender-diverse: Refer to individuals who do not identify as exclusively male or exclusively female (for example, individuals who are non-binary or two-spirit).

Gender expression: The way in which people publicly present their gender through aspects such as dress, hair, make-up, body language, and voice.

Gender identity: A person’s internal and deeply felt sense of being a man or woman, both or neither. A person’s gender identity may or may not align with the gender typically associated with their sex.

Gender responsive approaches: Any programming or interventions that recognizes the lived realities of individuals, including pathways to crime, are impacted by gender. 

Healing lodges: Environments designed specifically for Indigenous offenders that offer culturally appropriate services and programs that incorporate Indigenous values, traditions and beliefs.

Heterosexual: An individual sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex or gender.

Indigenous identity: Individuals who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Intergenerational trauma: Trauma that is passed from one generation to the next generation(s). Coping and adaptation patterns developed in response to traumatic experiences may be learned from or otherwise impact subsequent generations living with survivors, which in turn may be handed down to future generations. Intergenerational trauma may be experienced by groups of people with shared histories, and has resulted from, for example, the historical, systemic mistreatment of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation.

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of various social or identity factors, such as sex, gender, age, race, ethnicity, Indigenous identity, economic status, immigrant status, sexual orientation, disability, and geography, as they apply to a given individual or group, viewed as impacting experiences of discrimination or disadvantage. For example, intersectionality recognizes that Indigenous women hold more than one identity. They are women and share some common experiences with other women, and they are Indigenous and have shared experiences with Indigenous men. Trying to understand Indigenous women’s experiences by focusing only on sex or only on Indigenous identity prevents us from seeing how these identities intersect to create a unique lived experience for Indigenous women that is different from the experiences of Indigenous men and non-Indigenous women.

Intimate partner violence: Violent offences that occur between current and former legally married spouses, common-law partners, boyfriends and girlfriends and other kinds of intimate partners.

Men: All people who identify as men, whether they are cisgender or transgender men.

Non-binary: Person whose gender identity does not align with a binary understanding of gender such as man or woman. A non-binary person may identify as neither a man nor a woman, both, or anywhere along the gender spectrum.

Other Criminal Code violations: Police-reported offences are often grouped into five categories: violent crimes, property crimes, drug offences, other Criminal Code offences, and other federal statute violations. The category “other Criminal Code offences” includes crimes such as disturbing the peace and administration of justice offences, such as failure to comply with an order, failure to appear and breach of probation.

Over-criminalization: Occurs when specific sectors of society, for example members of Indigenous nations and racialized communities, are subject to more police scrutiny, greater likelihood of facing charges for minor offenses, and higher penalties for criminal offenses, such as greater likelihood of being incarcerated rather than serving time in the community. Over-criminalization is the product of long-standing patterns of systemic discrimination that increases the likelihood of negative contact with the justice system and the failure of system officials to understand and respond appropriately to the distinct histories and needs of these communities.

Overrepresented: Occurs when one segment of the population is disproportionately represented in an area compared with the overall population, often as a consequence of systemic discrimination.

Patriarchal: Characteristic of a system of society or government where men predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Patriarchy: A system of society or government where men predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Patrilineal descent: Tracing descent through the father's side of the family.

Property offences: Property offences involve unlawful acts to gain property, but do not involve the use or threat of violence against the person. These can include offences such as theft, breaking and entering, burglary, auto theft, arson and vandalism.

Sex assigned at birth: A person’s biological status as male, female, or intersex based on their primary sexual characteristics at birth.

Sexual assault: Refers to all incidents of unwanted sexual activity, including sexual attacks and sexual touching.

Sexual orientation: This can refer to behaviour, that is, whether a person’s partner or partners are of the same or the opposite sex, and to the identity, that is, whether a person considers himself or herself to be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Shelters: Places where women (and their children) can go to stay, typically when fleeing domestic violence from their partners or spouses.

Social exclusion: Describes a state in which individuals do not have full access to opportunities available to others. This access may be denied because of factors such as race, class, disability or gender.

Socio-economic marginalization: Being blocked from or denied full access to economic opportunities, social opportunities, or resources (e.g., education, employment, housing) that other members of society have because of one or more personal characteristic(s) (e.g., poverty, health and mental health, sex and gender, race, ethnicity, Indigenous identity, immigrant status).

Spousal violence: Violent offences that occur between legally married spouses, common-law partners, as well as separated and divorced spouses.

Trans: Umbrella term that refers to transgender, non-binary and other gender-diverse people. The opposite of cisgender.

Transgender: A person whose current gender does not align with the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Trauma- and violence-informed: Policies and practices that recognize the connections between violence, trauma, negative health outcomes and behaviours.

Two-spirit persons: Umbrella term for some Indigenous people who identify as having both a female and male spirit within them or whose gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or spiritual identity is not limited by the binary classification of gender as woman or man. 

Under-protection: Occurs when members of Indigenous Nations, racialized communities and other sectors of society do not receive the same level of protection from officials within the justice system as others because their concerns are less likely to be treated as credible or given priority.

Unwanted sexual behaviour: Includes unwanted physical contact (e.g., touching or getting too close in a sexual manner), indecent exposure, unwanted comments about sex or gender, unwanted comments about sexual orientation or assumed sexual orientation and unwanted sexual attention (e.g., comments, whistles, gestures, or body language).

Violent offences: Involve the use of or threatened use of violence against a person, including homicide, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, and robbery. Robbery is considered a violent offence because, unlike other theft offences, it involves the use or threat of violence.

Women: All people who identify as women, whether they are cisgender or transgender women.

References

The following references were used to provide the overview on women and the criminal justice system section. For additional information, click on the Studies link at the bottom of the page. 

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Chansonneuve, D. 2005. “Reclaiming Connections: Understanding residential school trauma among Aboriginal people.” Ottawa, ON: The Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Available at http://ahf.ca/downloads/healing-trauma-web-eng.pdf.

Chartrand, L. and K. Horn. 2016. “A Report on the Relationship Between Restorative Justice and Indigenous Legal Traditions in Canada.” Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice. Available at https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/rjilt-jrtja/index.html.

Clark, S. 2019. “Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in the Canadian Criminal Justice System: Causes and Responses.” Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice. Available at https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/oip-cjs/index.html.

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Correctional Service of Canada. 1990. “Creating Choices: The report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women.” Available at: https://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/women/092/002002-0001-en.pdf.

Correctional Service of Canada. 2014. “Reintegration Challenges Facing Women Offenders.” No. RS 14-08. Available at: https://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/research/005008-rs14-08-eng.shtml.

Cotter, A. 2018. “Violent Victimization of Women with Disabilities, 2014.” Juristat. Statistics Canada. Available at: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2018001/article/54910-eng.htm.

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