CRM100 -Study Questions for the Final Exam
D R .A.-M. S INGH
1. What are the roles of victims and other members of the public in the conventional criminal justice
process (i.e. the policing, court and correctional phases)? What are the issues raised about such
involvement? What are the roles of victims and other members of the public in alternatives to the
conventional criminal justice process? What are the issues raised about such involvement?
The roles of victims and other members of the public in the conventional criminal justice process is to
stand by and allow the accused to go through the process efficiently without much involvement. The
traditional CJs is focussed entirely on the offender so the victim is excluded, making crime defined as an
offense against the state and not the victim. Recent developments have attempted to re include the victim
and give them an active role in the cjs for example victim impact statements, and restitution. In the
policing process, the victim is supposed to let the police do the work, while in the court process the
victim‘s responsibility is to show up in court and be a witness if needed. In the correctional phase, the
victim does not have much involvement at this point after the punishment has already been laid out. This
is because the conventional criminal justice system is based on conventional justice which is more
focused on the punishment of the offender than the relationship between the victim and the offender.
Issues raised about this is that the victim often complains that they are left out of the process of their case
and that they would like to be involved more. Alternatives to the conventional criminal justice proves is
the restorative justice process which is based around the relationship between the victim and the offender.
Problems with this is some believe that the punishments are too lenient and that the system needs to be
2. What is the role of criminal courts in Canada? Include a discussion of what we are trying to achieve by
processing cases through the criminal courts. Can the same objectives be achieved through alternatives to
the formal criminal justice process?
The role of criminal courts in Canada is to make sure that justice is served for the offenders and victims of
all crimes that are caught and reported by police. The two main goals of the court are to mete out justice
and protect the legal rights of the accused. The purpose of processing cases through the criminal courts is
to make sure that the cause moves from the police who are accusing and charging a subject, the court who
is making the judgement, and corrections for the accused. In doing such, cases are in the hands of many
people, who are legitimately analysing and making decisions about the case. The criminal courts are
based around the due process model which is more focused on protecting an individual‘s rights, making it
easier for individuals to get off on technicalities. This model believes that if police and courts do not
follow the proper procedure than there will be no conviction. Issues raised with this is that many
individuals may get off on technicalities, and going through the criminal justice system is a long
expensive process. The same objective can and should be achieved through alternatives to the formal
criminal justice process for less serious crimes that can be deferred and resolved without the courts.
3. Identify the areas for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Outline the sources that structure or limit
prosecutorial discretionary decision-making, and evaluate their effectiveness. Is it desirable, or indeed
even possible, to completely eliminate prosecutorial discretion?
Discretion is the choice between two legitimate options, for example the choice between whether or not to
prosecute. Prosecutorial discretion is whether to prosecute, and if so, how to prosecute. This power is a
big one but it has its limitations. Prosecutors may not violate civil rights by bringing charges selectively,
and they can be challenged as to whem where and how to bring chargers. When citizens or cops bring
criminal complaints to a prosecutor, the attorney review he information to make sure there is enough material present to make a case, and a decision about what kinds of charges involved. The prosecutor has
the discretion to decide whether this case will go to court and make a choice of what chargers will be
filed. Prosecutors also have the discretion to make offers through plea bargains. Issues raised are that a
prosecutor may press charges in one case and not in another, and this can result in a lawsuit. Issues like
race, class, and gender of the accused can all factor into this decision making process. In order to avoid
legal challenges, prosecutors must document the whole decision making process. In other court systems,
there is no prosecutorial discretion, and all cases are brought to court. This would be ineffective because it
would cause less important or serious cases to add more traffic to the already packed judicial system.
4. Identify the areas for the exercise of judicial discretion in sentencing. Outline the sources that structure
or limit judicial discretion in sentencing, and evaluate their effectiveness. Is it desirable to completely
eliminate variation in sentencing?
Discretion is the choice between two legitimate options, for example the choice of sentence. Judicial
discretion is the choice of what sentence to give out. A source that limits judicial discretion is the offense
classification. Offenses that are classified as summary conviction offenses have a max penalty of six
months in jail and must be heard by a provincial court judge. This gives the judicial officer more room for
discretion in decision making because there is no minimum penalty. Indictable offenses have much more
serious penalties, can have minimum penalties, and can be tried in a number of courts. Type of offense
structures judicial discretionary decision making because it structures whether or not the judge will have
discretion in making the decision. Judges use discretion to determine the reasons for punishment and that
is problematic. There is an enormous discretion in terms of sentence length and maximum penalties are
way too high and do not correspond to relative seriousness of offense. It is not possible to eliminate
prosecutorial discretion because different cases must be judged on different situations. Without this
discretion, every punishment would have to have a mandatory minimum penalty, which can often end in
an unjust outcome.
5. Discuss the utilitarian and retributive goals of sentencing. Identify the different legal sanctions that
have been linked to each goal. How ‗effective‘ are the different sanctions – include a discussion of the
difficulties of assessing effectiveness.
The Utilitarian goal of sentence is linked to the instrumental purpose of punishment. The utilitarian goal
of sentencing is to seek punishment for offenders to deter future wrong doing. Utilitarians aim to have
only as much punishment as required to prevent future crimes. They recognize that punishment has
consequences for both the offender and society and holds that the total good produced by punishment
should exceed the total evil. Laws that specify punishment for criminal conduct should be designed to
deter future criminal conduct. General deterrence means that the punishment should prevent other people
from committing criminal acts and serves as an example to the rest of society, showing that criminal
behaviour will be punished. Specific deterrence means that the punishment should prevent the same
person from committing crimes. Rehabilitation is the chance to give criminals treatment so people can get
back into society reformed. We see this today in programs like drug rehab. Issues with the utilitarian
goals of sentencing is that there is an assumption of rationality, fairness and equity, and general and
specific deterrences may be at odds with one another.The retributive goal of sentence is linked to the
expressive purpose of punishment. This theory is that offenders should be punished for criminal
behaviour because they deserve punishment. Criminal behaviour upsets the peaceful balance of society
and punishment helps push for this balance. This theory focuses on the crime itself as the reason for
imposing punishment, with the utilitarian theory looking forward and the retributive theory looking
backward. According to this theory, humans have free will and can make their own rational decisions, so
anyone making a conscious choice to upset society should be punished. Retribuvists believe that
punishment is a justified form of vengeance. Also, retribution is justified to protect the legitimate rights of
both society and the offender. Punishment shows respect for the offender because it allows them to pay their debt to society and then return free of guilt. The denunciation theory states that punishment should
be an expression of societal condemnation. The denunciation theory is a hybrid of utilitatianism and
retribution with the prospect of being publicly denounced serving as a deterrent. It is retributive because it
promotes the idea that offenders deserve to be punished. Issues with the retributive goal of sentencing is
that it is not practical and it is difficult to regulate.
6. Why is it said that female offenders have unique circumstances and needs, separate from those of male
offenders, which must be addressed by the corrections system? Outline and critically evaluate programs
to address the specific needs and interests of female offenders.
Female offenders have distinct characteristics and needs that distinguish them from male offenders.
Examples are two thirds of them are mothers, 75% have been sexually abused, less than a third have more
than a basic education, two thirds have never held a steady job , two thirds have had serious drug
problems and 30 percent are mentally ill. The women‘s opportunity resource centre was developed in the
1980s by a woman‘s advocacy group concerned with the lack of programming for female offenders. The
primary focus of this program was to help women maintain jobs and stay off drugs, doing so by working
in the areas of basic education, vocational development, parenting, substance abuse, and also health
7. Identify and discuss the issues surrounding parole board decision-making. Make specific reference to
the exercise of discretion by parole board members.
There are many issues raised surrounding parole board decision-making. A big issue is the discretion
exercised by parole boards which raises concerns about fairness. This discretion raises concern about
fairness because it is in the discretion of the parole board members to make this decision, which is not
always fair. Parole board members have the ability to use their discretion to decide whether or not an
inmate will be given parole. When extralegal factors are brought into
this, the parole board could make an unfair decision, and this really raises the issue of unfairness all
depending on who is on the board at that time. In order to avoid this unfairness, the board must make its
decision using factors like criminal history, behaviour in the institution, and plan upon release.
8. Describe what is meant by the statement, ―A defining characteristic of prisons is that they are total
institutions‖. How does this further our understanding of life inside correctional institutions?
Prison is considered a total institution because people are under max supervision where they are being
told what to do, what to eat, when to do it and when to eat. Every single move they make is being
controlled, as they are being cut off from the outside world and put into the isolation of prison. The
inmates are receiving very little education, little employment prospects, and growing poor life skills
making it very difficult to work with them. Prison is like an alternative to nursing homes and mental
institutions which are also total institutions. After one leaves prison, it is very hard to sustain change.
Usually individuals that leave prison have little family and friend support and are left with very few
legitimate opportunities in the outside world. Positive changes that are achieved inside prison are lost
outside of prison as convicts are labelled and self labelled as criminals. They will often get pushed away
due to lack of opportunities.
9. Compare and contrast the various alternatives to the conventional criminal justice process that exist for
young offenders, adult offenders and aboriginal offenders. Include a discussion of how ‗justice‘ might be
achieved through these alternative structures.
10. Compare and contrast status degradation ceremonies and reintegrative shaming ceremonies. A degradation ceremony is used to deprive people of their former identities and dignity in order to make
them more accepting of external control. In this status degradation ceremony, individuals are further
defined as their behaviour being different and that they are bad people. This label serves as a master status
indicating a whole set of stereotypical behaviours associated with the identity. The force of the label leads
those labelled to question who they are, and question their self identity, causing an identity transformation
where these people begin to see themselves as criminals, acting and believing that they are governed by
the identity that has been conferred upon them. Their criminal identity is enhanced through deviancy, and
eventually they adjust to their criminal status through the normalization and positive redefinition that
occurs when they act to others that have been defined similarly. Reintegrative shaming is done through
shaming an offender so that they and other members of the public avoid crime in order to avoid shame.
Shaming is a social process that build conscience of what is wrong and what not to do. Reintegrative
shaming argues that shaming produces positive influence through the social disapproval without
stigmatization. This is done by shaming followed by efforts to reintegrate offenders back into the
community through words, gestures of forgiveness, and ceremonies to decertify offenders as deviant. The
reintegration must occur before deviance becomes a master status. Shaming labels the act as evil while
trying to preserve the identity of the offender as essentially good, directing at signifying evil deeds rather
than evil persons. For shaming to be reintegrative it must involve forgiveness and decertification of
deviance. Shaming must avoid labelling the person as bad, and only the act.
11. How do the ‗due process‘ and ‗crime control‘ models further our understanding of the operation of
the criminal justice system (i.e. policing, pre-trial, trial and correctional stages)?
The crime co