Criminology 2450- Policy-Makers
• There are 3 entities (3P) that play a role in creating the criminal policies in Canada:
• Politicians: elected officials who have the ultimate authority over policies in Canada.
• Professionals: anyone that’s involved in the operation and evaluation of the justice system and
law enforcement. There are two types:
• People with Operational Responsibilities such as ministerial officials, police chiefs, crown
attorneys, judges, defence counsel, correctional authorities, and probation officers.
• People involved in Planning and Research, such as members of policy and research units in the
government, as well as scholars and researchers outside the government.
• Public: general public and the media, as well as public opinion polls. There are interest groups as
well, such as NGOs.
Standards of Evidence-Based Policies
• There are 3 standards of evidence-based policies that help make them effective (ERR):
• Evidence: empirical evidence is required to determine the effectiveness of a policy.
• RandomAssignment: experimental or quasi-experimental research designs must be randomly
assigned to treatment and control groups.
• Replication: others must be able to replicate the study.
• But there are obstacles. Many policies are never evaluated and some policies have harmful
• Examples of Ineffective Policies
• These are 4 key principles of the “Get Tough on Crime” policy:
• Swift, certain, severe punishments will deter crime.
• By getting tough with criminals, we can reduce serious crime.
• Police officers with more power and resources will reduce crime.
• Research is torn on whether more police increases or reduces crime (displacement effect – we
want to be careful we’re not moving crime around).
• Longer prison terms will reduce crime.
• Scared Straight programs introduce children to offenders in prison to scare them into a life of
obedience. Research suggested that they are ineffective (and most said that the program made
• The DARE program is ineffective and costs $2 million/year.
• When the Cambridge