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SOC209 public perception of crime and justice

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Philip Goodman

SOC209 Jan 14 th Public Perception of Crime and Justice - Canadians tend to believe: o crime is on the rise o serious/violent crime is on the rise and/or most crime is violent o youth crime is high and/on the rise o recidivism is high and/on the rise (relapse) o parole is easy to get and most parolees fail - not true…we’re actually in a decline since the late 1990s - picture for the US is almost identical - homicide rates tend to be stable – others are on a decline - why is it that Canadians have the opposite perspective? o the media is not saying that crime is on an increase – slander – rather it’s the presented images surrounding crime, youth crime, and crime involving minorities, street crime – disproportionate to reality - most people’s involvement tends to be with traffic police issues – watching crime shows, etc – in absence in a source of information, they make use of what’s available to them, which displays crime as highly presented - if you disaggregate by crime, the declination curve is not as smooth and each has a different statistic o ex. homicide is somewhat stable - the notion that youth crime is on the rise is wrong – in fact, it’s quite stable, but there has been a modest increase from the 1990s o drops in the property crime rate - recidivism notoriously hard to calculate, harder to compare – but often lower than in US and little evidence of widespread and wholesale increases - parole grant rates fairly stable around 45% for full parole o completion rates tend to be quite high – higher for parole than statutory release – why might that be? why do people on parole doing better than the people that are released? – is that a sign that parole is successfu
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