SOC219: Lecture 1
Canadian Criminal Justice
Final - 30%
• If a person was being sentenced today, and he had been in the
community ever since he had been charged, he deserves a 90 day
prison sentence. But if he was denied bail and spent 60 days in
presentence custody for the charge, how long should his sentence be?
• If another person has committed the same crime but has been on bail
and so serves the 90 day sentence while another person has been in
custody before being convicted for 60 days and also serves another
90 days, IS IT FAIR?
• Therefore, we can have dramatic different ideas and
reasons for why it should be one way or the other because
• Crime Funnel-only a small portion of crime actually gets detected and
Can law reduce crime?
Governments approach to criminal policy:
Points to consider in “safe and secure” press releases
- If you disagree how government is approaching on issues of
crime, then you are on the wrong side of the issue. This means
you do not believe that victims gets justice, or have no
understanding of how it is to secure the safety of citizens.
- Many press releases related to crime, and 348 million spent on SOC219: Lecture 1
construction only, and 162 million spend on new beds.
- Government focuses on expanding federal prisons, which means
more people are sentenced longer
- Press releases indicated that the money spent for building
these new prisons is worth it in order to provide protection,
safety and security for citizens.
• There is a problem in understanding what the government means.
Different policies may impact others. Government says they are on
the right side of the issue
• Anybody who thinks it's not worth spending this much money is on the
wrong side of the issue. BUT THE MONEY IS PUT TOWARDS
PUNISHING OFFENDERS RATHER THAN CORRECTING, OR
REHABILITATING THEM IN ORDER TO PROVIDE BETTER
PROTECTION, SAFETY FOR ALL.
• Government thinks they are on the right side, so wrong side is when
someone does not think it’s worth spending all this money towards new
crime institutions. But what if the wrong side are thinking of
prevention rather than punishing offenders?
Sentence that is more than 2 years- federal institution
Sentence that is less than 2 years- provincial institution
95% of custodial sentences are less than 6 months.
Why should be study the justice system?
• It’s important that we understand the nature of the system
• Great deal of power taken from citizens and put into the state of
• We need to understand what is the state’s role in punishment and how
much should we punish
• Everyone knows about crime, and has an opinion, but people’s belief is
often based on their own intuition or what they believe is right or
what they have been told is right. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s
• If the sentence of a particular crime is harsh or severe , would it SOC219: Lecture 1
reduce the incident ?
• People also think, the likelihood of getting caught is very small. Person
has to believe they will be caught in order to deter.
• Need to think about importance of criminal policy at a political level.
People seem to like harsher sentence.
• At the political level-crime plays a role in election platforms. Problem
is the policy does not do what is intended to do, may actually increase
crime. Policies get voted in because we believe it will reduce crime, but
instead it increases crime.
• HOW DISCRETION IS EXERCISED
- How different people are treated differently or experience the
• Crime Agenda:
• Think about whether crime agenda is about crime or punishment, what
impact does it have on crime or amount of punishment. Are these
crime bills trying to address problems that are fixable? What is
actually meant to happen from these policies?
Public knowledge/opinion about crime
• Mandatory minimum