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

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Rocky Mountain Books Ltd, Feb 1, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages

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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Only read this if you really want to know about Morley. Great Facts, great stories and great understandings.
I heard about this book through a family that is mentioned in the book. While they are
opposed to the book and it's views, I found it very enlightening as to what really happens on the Morley reserve. This has helped me understand, more than anything else, how the people of Morley must feel, are treated and go through life. Honestly it has increased my empathy towards the folks out in Morley about 100%. Although I had some understanding of what happens already, this helps me understand why some of the things happen.
I do NOT read for entertainment value, and I found this to be a light read for all to understand. I truly feel that Judge Reilly has a clear view as to what needs to happen and condone his actions to the fullest.


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About the author (2011)

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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