Black and racialized people are overrepresented at every level and every stage of the criminal legal system in Ontario. Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is funding Impact of Race and Culture Assessments (IRCAs), reports that will help sentencing judges consider the impact of systemic racism on Black and racialized individuals facing charges.
IRCAs provide detailed, culturally relevant information to sentencing judges regarding the impact of systemic racism and other socio-economic barriers on Black and other racialized accused. These reports provide important social context to assist the court in crafting a fit sentence that includes culturally appropriate supports.
This presentation will discuss the intersection of race, mental health and the criminal justice system. It will examine the structural barriers faced by Black and racialized persons when accessing mental health services, how it impacts criminal law proceedings, and how IRCAs are being used to improve justice outcomes for Black and racialized accused.
Presented at the 2023 HSJCC Virtual Conference on November 16, 2023.
LAWYER, MENTAL HEALTH AND JUSTICE ADVISOR
Legal Aid Ontario