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Article: Impact of Race and Culture Assessments (IRCAs) in combatting anti-Black racism and reducing recidivism

Eizadirad, A., & Leslie, G. (2024). Impact of Race and Culture Assessments (IRCAs) in combatting anti-Black racism and reducing recidivism. Journal of Community Safety & Well-Being.9(1), 40–45.  

The Gladue report, named after R. v. Gladue, is a landmark Supreme Court of Canada case which emphasizes the need to consider unique circumstances faced by Indigenous individuals when determining appropriate sentences. Given the overrepresentation of Black identities at all levels in the justice system, it is argued that the use of pre-sentencing reports referred to as Impact of Race and Culture Assessments (IRCAs), also needs to be comprehensively implemented for Black offenders in Canada. IRCAs are pre-sentencing reports that help sentencing judges better understand the effect of poverty, marginalization, racism, and social exclusion on the offender and their life experiences, and how those factors inform the circumstances of the offender, the offence committed, and the offender’s experience with the justice system. This is significant as it goes beyond a one-size-fits-all punitive justice system that has been ineffective in reducing recidivism. By recognizing the intersections of race, culture, and justice, IRCAs enable judges to make more informed decisions contributing to an equitable consequence for the accused. More importantly, we argue that the insights from IRCAs should be used to connect offenders with culturally reflective wraparound social services upon return into the community to address the root causes in areas of employment, education, and housing that gravitate people towards criminality. By acknowledging historical and systemic biases and tailoring supports to individual identities, life experiences, and community conditions, IRCAs have the potential to transform the criminal justice system through promotion of alternatives to custody that correlates with reductions in recidivism.

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