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Should judges take race into account when deciding on punishments for crimes? The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled last week that it should. Judges in that province must now take the effects of marginalization and racism into account when sentencing Black offenders by considering ensuring reports called Impact of Race and Culture Assessments – or it could be grounds for an appeal. Justice Anne Derrick wrote in the ruling that Black and other racialized people are overrepresented in federal prisons. Nearly 10 per cent of Canadian federal prisoners are Black, while Black people make up only 3.5 per cent of the country’s population.

Tanya Walker, a lawyer from Toronto, is on the show to tell us how systemic racism shapes legal outcomes, the importance of rehabilitation, and what this ruling could mean for the future of Canadian law.

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