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Alexander Shvarts

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Study notes Chapter One: • Case attrition or the crime funnel are concepts that refer to the fact that criminal cases get progressively fewer as they move through the various stages of the CJS. • Out of 100 crimes 34 incidents are reported, 33 incidents are recorded 12 cases are cleared/ deemed solved 7 cases are cleared by charge 5 cases result in conviction or plea and 1 case results in sentence to custody • Federal parliament and provincial legislatures enact and amend laws, establish annual budgets for criminal justice agencies • Constitution Act, 1867: spells out the federal and provincial division of responsibilities • Federal Government (Parliament in Ottawa): decides which behaviours constitute criminal offences. o It also sets the procedures for prosecuting persons charged with criminal offences and establishes the punishments for all federal offences • Provincial: enforces law, administers criminal justice system • Criminal Code (1982): identifies behaviours considered crimes and procedures • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom (1982) • Federal legislation that targets specific types of criminal behaviour and offenders o Anti terrorism act(2001) o Sex offender registration act (2004) • Mandate: provides strategic policy advice and a range of programs and services relating to public security and safety • Provincial/Territorial Offences: common offences include underage drinking and speeding • Increasingly active in passing quasi-criminal legislation • 3 provincial police services o Ontario provincial police o Surete du Quebec o Royal Newfoundland Constabulary • Municipal governments enact city bylaws • Canadian Adversarial Criminal Justice System o Presumption of innocence o The crown bears the burden of proof o Doli incapax (too young for evil) o Insanity o Attempts are crimes • Canadian legal system- common law system based on notion of precedents • Legal system in Canada governed by the principle of the rule of law, which has several components: o All citizens are subject to law o Law must be fair and impartial o Law is created by elected officials o Laws must be clearly written o Laws must apply equally to all o Penalties must be specified for violations • Private law: between private citizens • Public law: affect society as a whole What is crime? • Act or omission prohibited by criminal law • Critical ingredients of a crime: o Actus Reus: the commission of the act o Mens Rea: the intent to commit the act o No legal defence o A violation of the criminal law • “Strict” or “Absolute Liability” offences • Ignorance of the law: not a defense • Diverse definitions of crime: o Legal: defines crime as an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with jail terms, fines, and other sanction. Acts that are prohibited by law o Sociological: deviance refers to behaviour that departs from social norms, which are established rules or standards of behaviour. Crime involves purely the violation of law. There is a continuum of crime and deviance. Seriousness can be assessed based on three dimensions:  Degree of consensus that act is wrong  Severity of the society’s response to the act  Assessment of the degree of harm of the act  According to John Hagan, there are four major categories of crime and deviance: consensus crimes, conflict crimes, social deviations, and social diversions o Political: the political and economic elites in a society, along with powerful interest groups, use the law as an instrument to promote their own values and to protect their interests. o Psychological: focus on the offender, rather than the morality of an act or the social harm it produces. The criminal was seen as one who was mentally ill or had some form of psychological deficit • Value consensus model: Crimes and punishments reflect society’s commonly held values and it limits of tolerance and legislators respond by passing laws that prohibit those acts widely regarded as acceptable. Assumes that there is widespread consensus on law and that laws are fairly applied o Limitations: values and laws change • Conflict Model: Laws reflect the interests of rich and powerful, rather than being a product of a shared morality. Laws are unequally applied to poor and powerless. Laws are passed by members of the ruling class in order to maintain their privileged position by keeping the common people under control o Group conflict approach: groups in society are in continual conflict to assert their political power and leave their impression on criminal law o Limitations: there is a fair amount of agreement among the public that some acts are unacceptable • Interactionist Model: No act is inherently criminal or deviant but rather is how society reacts to the behaviour. Crime is a result of the successful labelling an individual as criminal. Criminal law is shaped by moral entrepreneurs who impose their values on society. Factors that influence the process of labelling people as criminal or deviant include: sex, age, social class, race, appearance, and reputation. • Criminal code- 3 categories of criminal offences: o Summary: less serious. Maximum penalty of a fine or 6 months in a correctional facility o Indictable: serious criminal offences that may carry maximum prison sentences of 14 years or more o Hybrid: fall between summary and indictable offences in terms of their seriousness. Crown attorney decided whether to proceed summarily or by indictment • Most of Canada’s criminal laws was inherited from Victorian England • Historical, social, political, economic climate influences the creation of laws • Supreme Court of Canada uses Charter of Rights and Freedoms: to strike down laws inconsistent with the charter’s provisions and protections • Criminal law reflects changes in technology • Instances in which certain persons or groups would appear to be in violation of the criminal law, yet legal action has not been taken or been successful • Moral Entrepreneurs: MADD • Law can only serve as a deterrent when 3 conditions are present: o People must be aware that there are legal sanctions o There must be certainty of punishment o The sanction must be applied swiftly when a crime is committed Restorative Justice • Based on the principle that criminal behaviour injures not only victims but also communities and offenders. It involves offenders, victims, their families, the community, and justice personnel • It has 6 main objectives: o Fully address the needs of crime victims o Enable offenders to acknowledge and assume responsibility for their behaviour o Alternative to the adversarial system of justice o Create a “community” of support and assistance for those with a stake in the offence o Means of avoiding escalation of legal justice and the associated costs and delays o Prevent reoffending by reintegrating offenders back into the community • Few evaluations, but existing evaluations suggest: o Victim offender mediation programs: viewed as fair by both victims and offender. o Reduced the levels of trauma among victims o Reduced court costs and proceeding times What is Crime by Kristen Kramer • Media chooses which crimes to cover: plays a huge role in forming our responses to crime and criminals • Formal definition of crime: prohibited by the law and punished by the state • Normative definition of crime: violates the cultural norms. Government punishes those guilty of the crime • Criminologists who follow the normative view: interested in the ways in which definitions of crime and its control through punishment reflect and reproduce power relations within a given society • Changing social, political, and economic conditions alter perceptions of what constitutes violation of cultural norms, and these alterations have an impact on criminal law • The established liberal philosophical ideal that crime and unwanted behaviour is that which causes harm assumes a societal consensus on the kinds of behaviour that cause harm • Indian act: criminalized aboriginal practices in a way that facilitated colonization and the removal of aboriginal people from their lands • Anti-Chinese laws in the early 1900’s: employ white women in an effort to prevent miscegenation • Two main branches of criminology: o Administrative criminology: attempts to provide governments and agents of the state with information on crime and effective social control measures and monitors the practices of the police and prisons o Scientific or academic criminology: attempted to reveal the causes of crime. After WWII, academic criminology began to develop a more critical orientation, shifting from a sole focus on the causes of crime to the study of the expert knowledge and social practices that define and shape ideas about, and responses to, conduct deemed criminal.  Academic criminology becoming less relevant as a result of government law and order policies • Media promotes exaggerated law and order rhetoric • Media tends to represent the poor and the non white as outsiders • Crimes in order: o Property crime, violent crime, white collar and political crime • The media’s misrepresentation of crime has several consequences: o Overestimate the amount of violent crime o Distorted stereotype of offenders o Impact on government policy toward crime o Media may also contribute to crime • Media focuses on street crime rather than corporate crime • Michael Foucault: Discipline and Punish (1975) and works on sexuality and madness: analyzed changing forms of surveillance in penal governance and highlighted regulation by “experts” • Discourse: the specialized knowledge produced by experts working in universities, prisons, hospitals, schools, and various branches of government o Moral regulation: refers to other non state structures of regulation, such as the powerful Christian elite, that from normal conduct, such as heterosexuality by establishing certain kinds of behaviours as “abnormal” or “unhealthy” o Governmentality: members of society play an active role in their own self governance that works with and beyond the kinds of coercive and regulatory governing practices of the state4 Chapter two: • Canadian’s perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system: o Overestimate the levels of crime and the rates of recidivism
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