Ewert v. Canada is a case being heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday, October 12, 2017, challenging the use of prisoner risk assessment tests that can be culturally biased against Indigenous prisoners.
The psychological risk assessment tests at issue have serious impacts on how a prisoner is treated in prison. A bad risk assessment rating can mean an Indigenous offender is less likely to get parole, access to programs, early or temporary release, and more likely to experience solitary confinement and a maximum security setting.
The BCCLA and Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) are intervening in Ewert to argue that federal prison officials should always consider the unique circumstances of Indigenous prisoners when making decisions that impact their liberty.
The Supreme Court’s 1999 Gladue decision established a framework for responding to the unique circumstances of Indigenous people who experience conflict with the Canadian criminal justice system. The BCCLA and UBCIC now ask the Supreme Court to extend these requirements, for the first time, inside prison walls.
The BCCLA is represented in this case by Paul Champ of Champ and Associates of Ottawa, Ontario.