Presenter: Isobel M. Findlay, Fellow in Co-operatives, Diversity, and Sustainable Development, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives,
and Professor emerita, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan
In this presentation, Isobel Findlay explains that the operating contradictions of colonization and capitalism largely shape the contradictions of Carceral Canada. The impact on those marginalized by a centre that presumes its right to both judge and enforce its judgments is felt keenly, while the incriminating record of the colonial and neocolonial state and extractive industries that have produced dispossession, pollution, and inequality is largely ignored. The colonial/capitalist legacy and a tough on crime agenda is clear in patterns of Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system and in statistics on victimization to violence and their under-representation in education, employment, and earning power in Canada. It is against this background that a social economy of safety and receptivity is most needed on the way to redistribution, reconciliation, and justice—and is inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms is a process of healing of relationships at the heart of reconciliation and justice. Drawing on initiatives across Canada, this presentation tracks efforts within and beyond Corrections Canada to rebuild community and reimagine justice in communities of learning, including Walls to Bridges (building on the US Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program) and the Justice Trapline in Saskatchewan. It concludes with a review of challenges and opportunities associated with decolonizing the Canadian criminal justice system and lessons learned about what we all can gain from Indigenizing thinking and practices and displacing disciplinary monocultures that have wasted so many lives.
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