A Gladue report gives the judge the information they need to make the best decision possible when setting bail or sentencing the client. The judge needs to be able to answer some very broad but important questions, with answers that are as unique as the client:
• Why is this particular Inuk before the court? (In other words, how or why did they end up getting into trouble with the law?)
• What sentencing options other than jail are available that might help to address the reasons why this Inuk person is before the court? (In other words, what kinds of culturally relevant programming is available for them and how will it help them to address the issues that got them into trouble with the law?)
• What community is the client from? Were they relocated a lot as a youth?
• Has the client or any of their family members ever been in foster care or group homes?
• Did the client or family members attend residential school?
• Has the client ever struggled with substance abuse (drug or alcohol abuse)? Have they been affected by someone else’s substance abuse? For example, did the client grow up in a home where there was substance abuse or addictions?
• Did the client grow up in a home where there was domestic violence or abuse?
• Has the client participated in community activities such as hunting, fishing, sewing circles, beading, throat singing, or even just their connection with country food?
The more the information in their Gladue report that can be supported by other people, the better it will be. Sometimes we might ask the clients consent to talk to siblings, parents, or grandparents, just to help us fill in any missing pieces.
However, even if the client can’t support the information in some way or if there’s no one who can back up the information (this can often be the case for information about abuse), the client should still include it. The judge still needs as much information about them as possible.