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Bad Medicine: A Judge's Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community [Paperback]

John Reilly
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2010

Early in his career, Judge John Reilly did everything by the book. His jurisdiction included a First Nations community plagued by suicide, addiction, poverty, violence and corruption. He steadily handed out prison sentences with little regard for long-term consequences and even less knowledge as to why crime was so rampant on the reserve in the first place.

In an unprecedented move that pitted him against his superiors, the legal system he was part of, and one of Canada's best-known Indian chiefs, the Reverend Dr. Chief John Snow, Judge Reilly ordered an investigation into the tragic and corrupt conditions on the reserve. A flurry of media attention ensued. Some labelled him a racist; others thought he should be removed from his post, claiming he had lost his objectivity. But many on the Stoney Reserve hailed him a hero as he attempted to uncover the dark challenges and difficult history many First Nations communities face.

At a time when government is proposing new "tough on crime" legislation, Judge Reilly provides an enlightening and timely perspective. He shows us why harsher punishments for offenders don't necessarily make our societies safer, why the white justice system is failing First Nations communities, why jail time is not the cure-all answer some think it to be, and how corruption continues to plague tribal leadership.


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Product Description

About the Author

Judge John Reilly was appointed to the bench at age 30 and had the distinction of having been the youngest Provincial Court Judge in Alberta history. At 50 he made a promise to himself that he was going to improve the delivery of justice to the Stoney Nakoda First Nations at Morley. Reilly retired in 1998, but continues to sit as a supernumerary judge.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Forget June 3 2011
Format:Paperback
I read this book as part of my book club and have been haunted by it since. It is a compelling look at how the justice system has failed this aborignal community.
You have a society that has been plagued by suicide, addiction, residential schools and poverty. Does incarceration mean anything without changing any of the factors that set people up to fail in the first place? How do you change something that no one can even speak about? If suicide or addiction occurred at such a rate in any community outside of a reserve, people would be devastated and it would be on the front page of every Canadian newspaper. I'm glad that someone has broken this silence.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The concept of worldview June 21 2011
Format:Paperback
I concur with the previous review - haunting, sad, compelling. Worth reading! The book provides a whole new perspective on why the euro-centric view of justice imposed on the First Nations community has not worked. Reilly, has written his learning as a judge and a human being, one who cannot overlook where change is desperately needed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening Dec 27 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book that offers great insight into a very complex and difficult topic. Whatever your biases when opening the book, you're sure to put it down with new trailheads to explore.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Important message Nov. 14 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Reilly is clearly passionate about this cause and about finding ways to prevent the average aboriginal person to not be mistreated at the hands of a select few in the tribal councils. It would have been better, however, if he had received some help with the writing of this book. He writes like a judge. Perhaps this will improve when he writes his second book because his message is certainly something that people need to hear.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read! Aug. 12 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Much cheaper than having to buy it from my university book store, and incredible ready. I would VERY HIGHLY recommend to anyone studying law / aboriginal law / aboriginal relations. Amazing read!
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