SOC322H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Reform War, Restorative Justice, Division Of Property

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29 Nov 2018
Looking to the future: criminal justice / social justice
Recap from film
Theme: consider how CJS responds to inequalities, and how CJS in itself
reproduces different forms of inequality
How does CJS reproduce/produce different forms of inequality
Parallels to Canada?
Blacks in US similar to aboriginals in Canada
Indian act, reservation system, residential schooling for aboriginals
Rates of indigenous kids being taken into child custody is much
higher than other racial groups - more likely to come into contact
with CJS
How does CJS produce ideas about race/racial difference?
Us vs. them mentality
Police have perception that certain groups are associated with
crime. Simply not supporting the police may create this
War on drugs and war on crime - crack v cocaine (framing
something as a war automatically creates two different sides)
Political parties / individuals, CJS institutions/people,
private corporations benefitted from war on drugs
Some groups are targeted by CJS, and so these groups
become criminal in a real way
We racialize crime through arrests etc… we
disadvantage these groups by taking their political
social power away from them
Legislative reform
Laws have played a key role in different experiences across groups in Canada.
Ex. Legalization of Cannabis
Organizing around challenges to existing legislation is vital.
Advocacy organizations are essential to moving the criminal justice system to
a place of equality.
E.g., EGALE, LEAF and the ACLC
Charter challenges
When our charter rights have been violated - there are challenges to an activity
based on charter rights
Allows for differential treatment of groups if it is used to repair harm caused by
earlier discrimination
Ex. Indigenous people
Goal is promote fairness/equality. Also has provision of differential
treatment if the purpose is to remedy harm
Embeds fundamental rights accessible to all.
R. v. Kapp (2008) tests:
Does the law create a distinction based on an enumerated or analogous
Does the distinction create a disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or
The key to more effective personnel is to hire wisely at the outset.
If they are representative of different populations = more effective
Policing: hire well-educated recruits, particularly those with liberal arts
and social science degrees
Mainstream, often conservative education criminal justice students receive
typically reinforces the problematic “us versus themmentality
They are more punitive, homophobic etc
Existing culture of racism, homophobia, and sexism that permeates many
police organizations must be whittled down.
This itself is a barrier to recruitment from marginalized populations and
those who face discrimination.
May not be effective b/c:
Whether or not the training is taken up/implemented
§Mentality of police officers - they want to be trained on different
things, they don't want to know about the history of colonialism etc
and how to apply that in their jobs
Worldviews have largely been formed by the time we enter into adulthood
In reference to policing, once hired, officers need to be immersed in the values
that mitigate against difference
Some cultural awareness training has resulted in more hostilitybecause the
training is too aggressive, accusative, and creates a hostile environment.
This is only a perception, as there have been no systematic evaluations to prove
Both liberal and conservative reformers have supported cultural awareness
training programs, but for very different reasons.
Liberal reformers see the training as a way to sensitize police to the impacts of
their actions to change in their behaviour.
Conservative reformers suggest that such training will reduce police liability
and lawsuits.
Culturally specific programming
Two strategies that have been used to overcome the inability of criminal justice
organizations to address the needs of diverse communities:
Embed culturally specific programs within the agencies in
question. Examples being Diversity Units in policing, or Correctional
Programming for Ethno-Cultural Offenders
Establish adjunct organizations that can facilitate “justiceoutside of the
criminal justice system.
Restorative justice
Goes beyond victimoffender mediation to promote the involvement of the
victim, offender, and the community in the justice process
Helps to restore victims and communities losses by holding offenders
accountable for their actions by having them repair the physical/ emotional
harm they have caused.
Umbreit, Lewis, and Burn (2003) outline two important elements of restorative
justice initiatives:
The entire community is involved in holding the offender accountable
and promoting a healing response to the needs of the victims, offenders,
and the community as a whole.
Involving community members in the process of doing justice helps to
build stronger, more connected, caring communities.
Social justice
The realization of criminal justice is dependent upon the realization of social
Injustices in society more generally
CJS is a key way in which we produce social injustice- by prosecuting the
poor, criminalizing certain groups
Conflict perspective: there are various parties in society, which each want
to protect themselves and do so at a cost to other groups
Those who are marginalized are easy prey for those seeking to enhance their
own sense of privilege.
E.g., many First Nations communities have been left without the
individual or collective resources to flourish, resulting in poverty as result
of colonization. Instead, huge corporations have cashed in.
UK Commission on Social Justice (1993): Four central tenets:
The foundation of a free society is the equal worth of all citizens.
All citizens are entitled to be able to meet their basic needs (income,
food, shelter, etc.).
Self-respect and personal autonomy are inherent in the idea of equal
Inequalities are not necessarily unjustbut those which are should be
reduced and where possible eliminated
1992: Canadian National Anti-Poverty Organization issued a draft Social Charter
for Canada
Common factors within progressive agendas for social justice:
Equity/egalitarianism (not necessarily equality-equality assumes equal
treatment. But we are looking at fair treatment)
Equitable distribution of resources
Satisfaction of basic needs
Personal autonomy
Traditionally, social justice initiatives have revolved around social and
economic rights
Recognition of social and economic rights should also be accompanied by
efforts to integrate difference into our cultural repertoire.
Those who are different from the norm = often looked at in a negative
context. We need to look at difference in a more positive light
Conclusion (he said don't worry about this slide)
In the fields of social context education and anti-racism training, the most
effective programs
are integrated into ongoing educational requirements;
include an immersion component;
provide discussion opportunities in safe surroundings;
involve facilitators and faculty from both the justice system and wider
professional community.
Week 10
Thursday, November 29, 2018
2:49 PM
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