Nunavut Justice Issues: An Annotated Bibliography

1.  Introduction

The following collection of summarized research reports and articles are intended to shed light on some of the important issues that will shape and direct the delivery and administration of community-based justice initiatives in Nunavut.  Specifically, the collection addresses four separate but inter-related areas and highlights the issues that arise in each.  First, the social problems, crime patterns and justice issues that are specific to the North are explored.  The Northern environment has a particular context that gives rise to particular needs and it is vital that this environment is understood.  Second, the nature and results of community-based justice projects in the North and in Aboriginal communities across Canada are explored, where invaluable advice, experience, and ‘lessons learned’ are shared.  Third, the collection illuminates the dynamics between community and mainstream justice; the types of relationships that may be developed and the types of links that can be expected.  Finally, the collection draws attention to the need to understand the nature of community relationships and the dynamics of community mobilization.[1] 

While recognizing that each community is unique in both its make-up and its needs, there are some underlying principles, articulated in this report, that may contribute to the success of meeting some of the justice needs of Northern community members, victims, and offenders. Common themes throughout the literature examined here include: the need for a clear articulation of the justice initiative’s goals and stakeholders, the need for an approach that is grounded in and addresses the needs of the specific environment it takes place in, the need for a positive working relationship with the larger system, and the need for a high level of organization and flexibility. Most importantly, however, is the need to understand community dynamics.  Community-based justice initiatives, to be successful, rely upon a clear articulation of who the community is, how it will be involved, the development of strategies that address inequalities, and an understanding of the power dynamics that operate within each community. 

[1] A key element to examine when addressing justice issues in the North, as with anywhere, is ensuring that the needs of women are met and that women are primary players in the implementation, delivery, and operation of justice in the community.  This aspect of justice in the north is not addressed in this particular report because these issues are being addressed in a separate project entitled From Hips to Hope: Inuit Women and the Nunavut Justice System undertaken by Crnkovich, Addario and Archibald.

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