May 6 th
Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
Identifying What is Said
- government funding announcements
- use to identify actual policies
- problem: need to identify what they mean and evaluate against some
- purpose may not be obvious
- different policies that seem like they impact one aspect of the CJS actually
affect countless others
- if you disagree how the government is approaching the issue of crime: you
don’t believe victims get justice, you have no understanding on how to secure
the safety of our citizens, you are on the wrong side of the fence…
Points to consider in ‘safe and secure’ press releases (2010)
- multiple announcements
o investing – construction costs
o safe and secure – new beds and operational costs
o expansion of federal prisons – more beds in federal prisons that have
sentences of 2 years of more (2 years less a day is provincial prison) –
- better provide for the protection, safety and security
o cost of a safe and secure society is an investment worth making
o other choices for investment? – construction costs and operating
- proud to be on the right side of the issue
o says that everyone
o what is the other side?
that everyone should do as they please? – try to prevent things
on the front end
o are there only two sides, and are they mutually exclusive?
- helps ensure that criminals serve sentences that better reflect the severity of
o sentencing and correctional decisions
Why Study Canada’s CJS?
- understanding the nature of an important part of Canadian society
- ‘everyone knows’ about crime and CJS – everyone has their own opinions
about how it operates and how it can be better
o but people’s belief in the truth is often based on their own intuition –
doesn’t mean it’s true
o why are certain groups overrepresented in prisons in Canada?
o If sentences for a particular offence were made harsher, would the
incidence of crime decrease?
Only a small percentage of people who engaged in criminal
behaviour get caught in the CJS and serve punishment
- how much should we punish?
- parts of the system (often) cannot be considered in isolation
- importance of criminal justice policy politically
o we run on a political rhetoric – there is no discussion on the evidence
of the policies o we have policies that do one thing and they do something else – they
get voted in because of political beliefs
What is the ‘Crime Agenda’ all about?
- crime vs. punishment
o is the agenda about crime or punishment? – not one and the same
- impact on crime?
- impact on actual punishment – quantity
- addressing fixable problems – does writing a law fix the problem?
- what are they meant to do
- how do you characterize the crime agenda? – how would you describe it to
- just as important to what’s being said as what is not being said – ex. 4 years
to 5 years
Canadians and Mandatory Minimum Sentences
- mandatory minimum sentences
o unusual in Canadian cri