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York University
CRIM 2652
Anna Pratt

NOTES FOR READINGS OF SEPTEMBER 13 , 2012 TH Grossman & Roberts Ch. 1 Criminal Justice in Canada - Judges are guided by the PRINCIPLE OF PROPORTIONALITY when imposing sentences o Severity of sentence reflects seriousness of crime committed - Parole boards --. Decide whether prisoner allowed to spend sentence in community o Will offender benefit from release? is he at risk to the community? - Complexity of justice system also must react to diversity of human behaviour o Different people have different cases Models of Criminal Justice - Aspects of both models are present in criminal justice system today o Excess of crime control = excess of wrongfully convicted o Excess of due process = excess of wrongfully acquitted CRIME CONTROL MODEL - Stresses importance of controlling crime and favours providing criminal justice to professionals with powers for responding to crime - Would give police power to search suspects, enter houses, detain those accused of crime DUE PROCESS MODEL - Limits power of prosecuting accused persons - If the state is not subject to limits, society would be under constant surveillance - More concerned with protecting the rights of people and following correct legal procedure Public Opinion and Criminal Justice - Proportion of residents expressing great deal/quite a good deal of confidence in justice system is not significantly lower than their confidence in education system - More confidence in criminal justice than in parliament - Justice system has complex mandates to fulfill o Must respond to interests of offenders, victims, families of both groups - Educational system and health care serve one purpose: help the public o Therefore, opinions of people may be skewed due to various mandates in complex justice system Confidence in Branches of Criminal Justice rds - Over 2/3 of respondents rated police as doing an excellent/good job, whereas only half expressed same level of support for judges - Public rates police more positively than other criminal justice professionals Explaining Variations in Confidence Levels - Public is more sympathetic to crime control than due process - British poll  4/5 people believe law should be changed to permit retrying those found not guilty - American survey  criminal justice systems treat defendants better than victims - Public is less concerned with wrongful convictions, saying it’s worse to let guilty person free - Believe police should have more power, which is why they are rated more positively - In popular opinion, police work under crime control model, while judges must protect the rights of the accused during a trial - Police also receive more positive approaches because they are most visible of all criminal justice professionals Punishment and Prevention - Majority of Canadians would rather have prevention of crime, rather than punishment for it - Polls showed, in order of desire: 1) prevention, 2) punishment, 3) deterrence, 4) rehabilitation Public Perceptions of Crime Trends - Public always believes that crime rates are rising, while stats show that they have actually been declining as the years have progressed - Most people are unaware because trends of crime are not newsworthy - Majority of the public also believe large proportion of crimes are violent (they are not) - This results in having a bad, failed image of the criminal justice system Sentencing - Recent polls state that criminal justice system was too soft toward those convicted - People believed 60% of robbers went to prison, while the number was actually 90% - Believe that harsher penalties will lower crime o Misconception because small percentage of offenders are actually sentenced o Sentence imposed in fewer than 5% of crimes because of CASE ATTRITION  CASE ATTRITION: cases drop out of criminal justice system - Incarceration in Canada is higher than in most other countries - Acknowledged that Canada relies too heavily on imprisonment as a sanction Corrections - Significant gap between public perception and reality of prison life - Many believe inmates have it easy, unaware of high rates of homicide, suicide, and assault - Making a prison inhospitable does not correlate with lowering the crime rate - Parole rates are also very low  public misguided by occasional high-profile cases that are shown by the media - Many are also unaware of incarceration and probation costs o Underestimate the cost to sustain someone in a prison o Overestimate cost to keep someone under supervision in a community setting Griffiths Ch. 2 Challenges in Criminal Justice - Annual cost of operating the criminal justice system is approximately $13 billion o Majority of expenditures spent on policing o Costs inflated after 9/11 for extra policy - Expenditures do not contribute much to the safety of Canadians o Increasing spending does not equal decrease in crime/offenders - Canada, being a multicultural and diverse country, can lead to problems for justice system o E.g. religious clothing worn by muslims in court o Cases against polygamy in Mormon societies goes against criminal code, but charter of rights forces them to be respected due to religious freedom - Criminal justice system designed for traditional crimes (assault, robbery, homicide) o Rate of these crimes are declining, while sophisticated crimes are increasing (cyber- terrorism) o Investigating and prosecuting these crimes are expensive, time consuming, and resource-incentive - Justice system has been slow to develop sufficient treatment resources for high-need offenders - TASK ENVIRONMENT: cultural, geographical, and community setting in which the criminal justice system operates, and personnel make decisions o Characteristics of task environment influence:  Types of crime and social disorder justice system personnel are confronted with  Decision making options available  Effectiveness of justice policies and programs  Potential for developing community-based programs and services - Canadians constantly overestimate the levels of crime and rates of recidivism o Research shows high level of distrust in criminal justice system o Public approves of the police o Less confidence in justice system than in education - PREVENTION > PUNISHMENT - Generally, those who had more negative contact with an area or personnel of the justice system have more of a negative, distrusting view of them - Those in contact with court accuse them of doing a poor job of providing justice quickly, but state that they ensure a fair trial for the accused - Fear of a crime is greater when there is a high proportion of low-income families, visible minorities, and lone-parent families - Television, internet, and newspapers are primary sources of information about crime and criminal justice systems  the MEDIA o Media sensationalizes heinous and rare crimes, skewing perspectives of viewers o Rarely focuses on causes of the crimes - Community exclusion from a substantive role in justice administration has contributed to often negative perceptions of the justice system Consequences of Overdependence on Justice System - Public Dependence on Justice System o Public fails to take responsibility o Public fails to learn role it can play o Public fails to understand limitations on what criminal justice system can realistically achieve Consequences of Unmet Expectations - Similar to a rectangle that has a repeating pattern - Crime  Dependence on police and justice system  expectations of safety being delivered  expectations not met  clamour for more justice interventions, tough sentences  fear persists  crime starts again …continuation (ignore for paragraph outline purposes) - Involvement of community residents is a positive, BUT: o Government taking advantage, cutting funding for full time jobs o Limitations to extent that community can function effectively in various capacities in the system - As currently structured, justice system has difficult time providing safety and security for community residents and assistance to those at risk of committing/recommitting criminal offenses - Problem is more how system reacts to issues than to solve them - Defines problems according to law rather than how they are experienced - Public/political pressure to impact legislation and justice policy can have negative consequences o THREE STRIKES Law - Difficulties that conflict justice system, such as long delays in resolving causes are endemic (deep rooted) and long standing - Large majority of criminal justice policies and programs are not based on empirical research and best practices - CRIME RATE: a number of criminal incidents known to take place as ratio to size of population - DARK FIGURE OF CRIME: difference between how much crime occurs and how much is reported - Appears to be a “utilitarian” factor in decisions to call the police o They realize there is little police can do - Two of the biggest challenges facing criminal justice systems are: 1. High rates of crime and victimization in many aboriginal communities 2. Overrepresentation of aboriginal people at all stages of the justice process - “North of 60” (Yukon, NWT, Nunavut) experience crimes as much as five times higher o Remote location and small population mean police are the highest form of justice system - High crime rates in first nations communities caused development of community-based justice systems  based on principles of restorative justice - Wide range of programs and services developed to address physical, emotional, and financial consequences of victimization - Federal and provincial legislation sets out rights of victims and defines role in justice process o Procedures established to provide victims on status/info of their case o Driven by part that justice system focused mor eon offender than victim - Some people believe that “victims bill of rights” is more symbolic than real - Immigrant and visible minority women find it difficult to access programs and services o Inability to speak/understand language, no knowledge of legal system, fear of deportation, told to be silent Financial Compensation for Crime Victims - Compensation for property offenses  restitution, most often private insurance - Criminal injury compensation  financial compensation from government to cover expenses and damages o Pain and suffering considered as general damages Civil Litigation - Victims of crime can seek redress through civil litigation - Focus more on harm done rather than culpability - Suing alleged defender  person acquitted can still be sued for damages - Suing a third party  file lawsuit against institution or third party that facilitated the offenders criminal behaviour - Suing justice system  may sure to recover damages from justice agencies that did not fill mandate to protect, and offenders may sure to recover damages for actions taken by criminal justice pesonnel2 NOTES FOR READINGS OF SEPTEMBER 20 , 2012 TH Griffiths Ch. 1: Page 3-23 What is the Criminal Justice System? - Considered to contain all of the agencies, organizations, and personnel involved in the prevention of and response to crime and dealing with persons charged with criminal offenses, and persons convicted f crimes o Includes: crime prevention and crime reduction, the arrest and prosecution of suspects, hearing of criminal cases by courts, sentencing and administration and enforcement of court orders, parole and other forms of conditional release, and supervision and assistance for ex-offenders - Justice system responds to lawbreaking with investigation, prosecution, and punishment - Most cases are resolved with a guilty plea and few cases go to trial The Structure of Criminal Justice - Operated and controlled almost entirely by government - In parliament and in provincial legislatures elected officials enact and amend laws, establish annual budgets for criminal justice agencies, determine fiscal allocations, and conduct investigations and inquiries into various activities of the justice system - At the civil service level, most of who are unknown to public, make many of the day-to-day decisions with respect to criminal justice policy and practice - Many NGO’s (nongovernmental organizations) provide variety of services on contract basis o Supervising offenders on bail, assisting victims, etc Federal Government - Because of the constitution, parliament in Ottawa has the absolute power to create, amend, and repeal criminal law for the entire country - Also sets the procedures for prosecuting persons charged with criminal offenses and establishes the punishments that will be imposed for all federal offenses - Also operates the national police force  RCMP - Operates parole board for federal inmates and for provincial/territorial inmates in jurisdictions other than Quebec and Ontario Federal Offences - Criminal code sets out the procedures for arrest and prosecution and the penalties that may be imposed by a judge following conviction o The most recent version is three times longer than the original Other Federal Statutes - Criminal code is the most important statute governing the prosecution of criminal offences - The charter of rights and freedoms is the primary law of the land o With very limited restrictions, it guarantees fundamental freedoms, legal rights, and equality of rights for any person in Canada, including those accused of crimes o Ensures fairness during legal proceedings - There are also federal legislation that targets specific types of criminal behaviour and offenders o E.G. the Anti-Terrorism Act Portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness - RCMP operate as federal police across Canada - Federal prosecution service (FPS), located in the department of justice, is staffed by full time prosecutors and lawyer agents recruited from the private bar o Conducts prosecutions across Canada on behalf of the attorney general of Canada - The correctional service of Canada (CSC) oversees the operation of federal correctional institutions, which house inmates servicing sentences of two years or more Provincial and Territorial Governments - Provincial/territorial governments pass laws, oversee police services, prosecute offences, manage courthouses, employ some judges, run programs for offenders, and operate correctiona institutions Provincial/Territorial Offenses - Legislators can pass laws in the areas that come under their constitutional jurisdiction - Provincial governments play proactive role in enactment of legislation to address specific types of crime Provincial Police - Three provincial police services: o Ontario provincial police, the surete du quebec, and the royal newfoundland constabulary - Provincial governments also oversee independent municipal police departments o Set out policies that address training standards, the public complaints process, and other aspects of police practice Provincial Prosecutors, Courts and Judges - Every province has an attorney general, chief law enforcement officer - All criminal code and provincial offences are prosecuted by provincial crown attorney’s - Judges are usually appointed after being recommended by an independent tribunal Provincial/Territorial Corrections - Non-custodial programs include probation, fine option programs, and victim-offender reconciliation programs - Quebec and Ontario have parole boards, while other provinces release incarcerated offenders based on decisions of the National Parole Board Municipal Governments - May enact local bylaws, which are valid only within the city limits o Cannot trespass on the jurisdiction of another level of government - In cities with independent municipal police services, police budgets are controlled by police service boards and/or city council The Flow of Cases Through the Justice System - Order of the justice process: o Offenses reported to police  trial and conviction by judge/jury or judge alone, superior, provincial or county court  sentencing hearing  either federal penitentiary (which results in custody and rehabilitation, parole, community supervision  end of sentence) or provincial prison (under 2 years) - Canadian criminal justice system is an adversarial system o The advocates for each party present their cases before a neutral judge or jury o Presumption of innocence o The crown bears the burden of proof o Doli incapax (too young for evil)  child under twelve cannot be held criminally responsible or prosecuted for criminal acts o Insanity  no one is criminally responsible and liable to punishment if incapable of knowing the act was wrong owing to a mental disorder o Attempts are crimes  those who attempt crimes commit an offence and subject to half the penalty the full offence would draw o Basic premise: the truth will emerge from the materials presented by the defence and the crown The Exercise of Discretion by Criminal Justice Personnel - Criminal justice personnel carry out considerable discretion when making decisions  leading to inconsistencies in how laws are applied, how cases are processed, and what decisions are made about offenders - It would be naïve to think that life experiences and community pressure do not sometimes influence the decisions made by criminal justice personnel - Even if discretion were not a factor, different justice system personnel would often make different decisions in a given situation o This is referred to as a disparity in decision making, due to professional autonomy of personnel From Community Control to State Law: The Centralization of Authority - In earlier times, the primary attribute of societies and groups was the lack of any formal agents of social control - There would be no provision for ensuring the rights of the offender nor the fairness of the process by which they were sanctioned - As societies evolved and became more complex, transgressions were no longer responded to on a person, group, or village basis but were viewed as acts against society as a whole - Because of laws being enacted and enforced, society became less involved with the process of social control - The increasing centralization of social control function resulted in the transfer of power and authorities to governments and criminal justice agencies - Evidence that formal social control mechanisms are less effective than informal mechanisms in controlling behaviour and maintaining order in society The Foundations of the Legal System - Legal system is one of common law  emerged from decisions made by judges in the royal courts and was based on the notion of precedent o Whenever a judge makes a decision that is said to be legally enforced, this decision becomes a precedent: a rule that will guide judges in making subsequent decisions in similar cases - Many laws are written down or codified, but through their decisions in cases, judges can interpret, modify, extend, restrict, or strike down statutory laws - Courts are organized in a hierarchy, with the supreme court of Canada at the top o The principle where higher courts set precedents that lower courts must follow is known as stare decisis (to stand by what was decided)  The idea is that like cases should be treated alike - All legal systems are governed by the principle of the rule of law o All citizens are supposed to obey the law, to expect punishment, and to look to legal system if victimized o Legal system in turn must be fair and impartial in its responses o Only elected officials can decide what is against the law o Only elected officials can decide what is against the law o A law must be written clearly so that everyone can understand which action or activity is being referred to o A law must apply equally to everyone o To give the law “teeth”, a penalty must be defined for breaking the law Criminal Law - Two general categories of law: public law and private law o Public deals with those matters that affect society as a whole  Four types of public law: criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law, and taxation law  Criminal law can be defined as that body of law that deals with conduct considered os harmful to society as a whole that it is prohibited by statute, prosecuted and punished by the government  Defines which acts are against the law and sets out the available penalties  Maintains order, defines parameters of social behaviour, reduces risk of personal retaliation, protects group interests, and prevents crime serving as a deterrent for criminal behaviour o Private law regulates relationships between individuals other than the state and is used to resolve disputes between private citizens Criminal Law versus Civil Law - When a crime is committed in criminal law: o Government assumes responsibility for prosecuting alleged offender, courts on behalf of the victim undertake the task of determining the guilt or innocence of offender, criminal courts impose a sanction, and there may be a financial penalty attached to the disposition - In contrast, civil law is concerned with disputes between indiviuals o The person who feels wronged by the alleged behaviour brings suit in civil court and the wronged party seeks damages, which usually involve the payment of monetary compensation by the wrongdoer if there is a finding of liability  Most common disputes are divorce, inheritance, and breaches of contract  Liability is determined by the standard of the “balance of probabilities” (reasonable belief) What is a Crime? - Two critical ingredients of a crime are the commission of an act (actus reus) and the mental intent to commit the act (mens rea) - A crime occurs when a person o Commits an act or fails to commit an act when under legal responsibility to do so o Has the intent to commit the act o Does not have a legal defence or justification for committing the act o Violates a provision in criminal law Principles of Canadian Law - An act does not make a person guilty unless he or she has a guilty mind - No crime without a law, no punishment without a law o This principle means that the rules cannot be changed in the middle of the game  laws cannot be applied retroactively - Ignorance of the law is no excuse o Formal expectation that every citizen be familiar with all the laws and therefore able to distinguish between legal and illegal behaviour - No one is compelled to incriminate himself o Criminal suspects and defendants have the right to remain silent during police investigation - No one should be twice troubled by the same cause o “double jeopardy” an offender cannot be tried twice for the same offence The Origins and Application of Criminal Law - There are two main explanations of the origins and application of criminal law o The first, the value consensus model, views crime and punishment as reflecting society’s commonly held values as well as its limits of tolerance  Assumes there is a consensus on what should be against the law  Things such as incest are considered “mala in se” (wrong in themselves), being perceived as so inherently evil it constitutes a violation of natural law  Some acts are mala prohibita (acts considered criminal only because they violate a criminal statute) o The conflict model draws attention to the fact that some groups are better able than others to influence which behaviours are criminalized  Rich and privileged have the advantage of influencing law reform The Classification of Offenses - Three categories of criminal offences  in the criminal code there are summary conviction offenses, indictable offences, and hybrid (or elective) offences o Summary convictions: less serious offences triable before a magistrate or a judge  impersonating a police officer, found at brothel o Indictable offences: serious criminal that may carry maximum prison sentences of fourteen years or more  include murder, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, - Summary conviction proceedings must begin within six months, while there is no time limit for indictable offences - Summary convictions can only be tried by a provincial court judge sitting alone, while indictable offences can be tried in any number of courts - A person charged with an indictable offence generally has the choice of being tried by a provincial court judge or superior court judge, with or without a jury - Most summary convicting have a maximum penalty of a fine not to exceed 2000 dollars or six months in a correctional facility, while indictable offences can include life sentences o Hybrid offences generally fall between summary offences and indictable offences in terms of seriousness  Sexual assault, driving while disqualified, uttering death threats, selling used goods as new  The prosecutor can choose which of the above methods of conviction will be followed with a hybrid offence Kit: “Two Models of the Criminal Process” (Douglas Hay) Property, Authority and the Criminal Law - Law structures and guides human behaviour in a variety of ways: o Through the content of the rule that It makes o The way its officials behave o And/or the severity of the penalties it imposes on those who do not conform to its requirements  These penalties must be severe enough to deter potential offenders, but not so sever as to be, or appear to be, unjust - How a legal order balances severity and leniency is an important component of its social organization and plays a role in determining whether people regard the legal system as fair and legitimate - The law on the books (a declared set of rules and penalties for violations of the rules it promulgates) is not always an accurate guide to the law in action - Laws may be severe in the penalties that are formally prescribed for violations of rules, but penalties imposed may not match prescriptions o Difference results from the discretionary power that officials have to interpret, apply, and implement the written law - One crucial aspect of legal ideology involves the interplay of severity and leniency in the criminal law o In English law, death penalties were prescribed for a wide range of crimes, including offenses against property o In practice, few persons were executed o The paradox of severity and leniency was essential to the legitimation of a deeply unequal social system o Set the stage for displays of majesty, justice, and mercy that reinforced the authority of the existing distribution of property - The rulers of eighteenth-century England cherished the death sentence o They address how just and necessary it is, that there should be laws to remove out of society those, who instead of contributing their honest industry to the public good and welfare, have exerted villainy to destroy both o Judge vindicates that mercy as well as the severity of the law shall not only protect the innocent from outrage and violence, but also deter others from bringing themselves to the same fatal end o Acquaints them with the certainty of speedy death, and the necessity of speedy repentance o Criminal law was based on terror  People believed that anyone who broke the law would face the death sentence o Police did not exist because of the days of the commonwealth when there were spies and informers  In place of police, propertied Englishmen had a sheaf of laws which threatened thieves with death o Property became the measure of all things  human life was weighed in the scales of wealth and status o Sentences were not new penalties based on reactions, they were part of the conventional wisdom of England’s governors o Parliament in the eighteenth century passed numerous legislatures to protect every conceivable kind of property from theft or malicious damage o More of those sentenced to death were pardoned than were hanged  Thieves often escaped punishment through absence of a police force o Reformers believed the ideology of Beccaria where capricious terror should be replaced with more lenient but more certain punishments o Criminal law is as much concerned with authority as it is with property  Criminal law was critically important in maintaining bonds of obedience and deference, in legitimizing the status quo, in constantly recreating the structure of authority which arose from property and in turn protected its interests  Criminal law was extremely important in ensuring that opinion prevailed over physical strength Majesty - in the court room, the judges’ every action was governed by the importance of spectacle - in its ritual, judgements and channeling of emotion the criminal law echoed many of the powerful components of religion - the judge could play the role of both the god of wrath and the merciful arbiter of men’s fates Justice - many prosecutions founded on excellent evidence and conducted at considerable expense failed on minor errors of form in the indictment, the written charge - the punctilious attention to forms, the dispassionate and legalistic exchanges between counsel and the judge, argued that those administering and using the laws submitted to its rules - its very inefficiency, its absurd formalism, was part of its strength as ideology - equality before the law  social class did not preserve a man even from the sanction of death - the idea of a consistent, precise, and wholly enforced criminal code was alien to the thought of most eighteenth century Englishmen Mercy - latitude in the direction of mercy caused some critics to complain that many justices, partly from laziness or carelessness judged cases partly or entirely by their own unauthorized ideas of equity - much of the ideological structure surrounding the criminal law was the product of countless short-term decisions  often a question of intuition, and of trial and error - it was the obverse of coercion, terror’s conspiracy of silence o when patronage failed, force could be invoked; but when coercion inflamed men’s minds, at the crucial moment mercy could calm them TH NOTES FOR READINGS OF SEPTEMBER 27 , 2012 Griffiths Ch. 1: Page 23-34 Models of Criminal Justice Administration - When considering the operation of the criminal justice system, a number of different facets can be examined, including: 1. The behaviour of criminal justice personnel e.g. Police Officers 2. Activities of criminal justice organizations e.g. correctional institutions 3. Aggregate characteristics of criminal justice system and its compenents in the context of larger societal issues such as racism and inequality - Two competing value systems underlying administration of criminal justice system are: 1. Crime Control Model 2. Due Process Model - Crime control model views primary purpose of criminal justice system is protection of public through the deterrence and incapacitation of offenders - Administration of justice should be swift, sure, efficient - Should focus on the rights of victims rather than protecting rights of defendant - Strong presumption of guilt and efficient justice system will show innocence at police/prosecutorial stage - Due Process model emphasizes procedural fairness and presumption of innocence - Onus is on criminal justice to prove guilt  always must have equality in all sections of justice - Crime Control Incorporates conservative values while due process reflects liberal values - In early 21 century, Canadian federal government has emphasized a crime control approach The Deterrent Effect of Criminal Law - Criminal law can serve as a deterrent only when certain conditions are present: 1. People must be aware that legal sanctions will be applied for certain behaviours 2. There must be a certainty of punishment 3. There is some evidence to suggest that to be an effective deterrent  applied swiftly - Issue is that many Canadians are unaware of the law, only knowing what media portrays - Criminal justice model based on an adversarial model that incorporates many elements of due process  response of system is slow and deliberate, months/years can pass before guilt - Lengthy case processing has led to development of alternative approaches Whose Law? Whose Justice? - Rule of Law: no one is above the law, that all are bound by the law, entitled to its protection, and that law should be observed and enforced equally - Justice system has been slow to address challenges presented by ethnocultural diversity EXAMPLE: efforts by police to address crime and disorder in a community may be supported by the larger community, but viewed as discriminatory by certain groups of community residents - The language barrier hinders development of police, community partnerships, supervision of youth and adults on probation, and implementation of effective treatment programs - “Gaps in Justice”  gaps between what justice system provides and what members of minority expect Law Reform - Prohibition was championed by moral entrepreneurs who believed that criminal law can and should be used to enforce moral values - Laws regarding gambling. Prostitution, soft-drug use, homosexuality, and abortion have also been traced to the influence of moral entrepreneurs EXAMPLE: MADD (mothers against drunk driving)  lengthier sentences, more severe laws - Political/ideological perspective on crime and justice held by government of the day can have a significant impact on law reform The Emergence of Restorative Justice - Restorative Justice: an approach to problem solving that involves the victim, the offender, social networks, justice agencies, and the community - Principle of restorative justice programs are that criminal behaviour injures not only victims but also communities, so efforts to resolve problems of criminal behaviour should involve all parties - Restorative Justice (widely used definition): a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future - It is NOT a form of practice, but rather a set of principles - Six Main objectives of Restorative Justice: 1. To fully address the needs of victims of crime 2. To enable offenders to acknowledge and assume responsibility for their behaviour 3. To create a “community” of support and assistance for victim, offender, and community 4. To provide alternative to adversarial form of justice 5. To provide means of avoiding escalation of legal justice & associated costs of delays 6. To prevent reoffending by reintegrating offenders back into the community The Dimensions of Restorative Justice - Common restorative justice initiatives are victim-offender mediation, circle sentencing, community holistic healing programs, and family group conferences Restorative Justice Initiatives in Aboriginal Communities - Aboriginals have become increasingly involved in developing restorative justice services and programs - Initiatives developed as process of cultural and community revitalization - Restorative justice initiatives may be, but are not necessarily, premised on customary law and traditional approaches  emphasizing healing the victim, offenders, and community The Effectiveness of Restorative/Community Justice - Use of restorative justice appears to contribute to lower rates of reoffending among participants - Victim-offender mediation programs receive high marks from victims and offenders in terms of fairness of the process and outcomes of the sessions - Believe that these approaches can be more effective than correctional strategies like probation Final Thoughts: Is the Criminal Justice System a “System”? - Much of the functioning of criminal justice agencies is unplanned, poorly coordinated, and unregulated - An entity functions as a system when its individual components work together in an organized methodical manner using agreed-upon principles and when they (perhaps) share common goal - Although justice system components may work together, they work somewhat independently or even at cross purposes - Factors that prevent justice from being a system are: multiple mandates, obstacles to information sharing, and diversity and complexity of the system Multiple Mandates - A “system” should have a common mandate EXAMPLE: each department at Microsoft has same goal  profit - Although goal of justice system is to reduce likelihood of offensive behaviour, the components do not share common ideas on how that objective is best completed Obstacles to Information Sharing - The police, the courts, and the corrections system each keep their own files  thus, other components of justice system may not have sufficient information needed - Resource constraints may hinder the duplication and distribution of materials and in part to privacy laws that may hinder information sharing - There are also constitutional protections that may limit sharing of information  youth cases - Ultimately, barriers to information sharing can affect completeness of information available to key decision makers - Consequences of inadequate information sharing: flawed police investigations, incomplete information on offenders, potential revictimization resulting from a failure to notify crime victims that offenders are being released into the community - Interoperability: defined as the ability of hardware and software from multiple databases from multiple agencies to communicate with one another EXAMPLE: police will be able to exchange criminal justice information with their counterparts in corrections and parole using common data standards Diversity and Complexity of the System - New research findings are published monthly and laws change - The decisions of some criminal court judges become judicial precedent - Difficult for justice personnel to keep abreast of the current developments that pertain to their own positions and responsibilities, let alone those of other parts of the system Grossman & Roberts Ch. 3 Criminal Justice in Canada: Exploring the Latest Trends Anthony Matarazzo and Mia Dauvergne - Criminal justice system involves multiple levels of government and three key sectors: police, courts, and corrections - The first step for an alleged criminal act to enter the criminal justice system is for it to be perceived as criminal by either the victim or a witness, who in turn contacts the police - Police must then determine if incident is in fact a crime - In the absence of reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has taken place, the police record the incident as “unfounded”  if crime was committed/attempted, incident is “founded” - If an accused person is identified in connection with the incident, police decide whether to lay a charge or deal with the individual less formally by employing an alternative measure - If charge is formally laid, the case enters the criminal court system - The courts may decide to deal with person informally through alternative program - If case goes to court, a plea may be negotiated to avoid the formal court process; otherwise, case proceeds to trial - If case goes to trial, a decision is made to proceed by the judge alone, or by judge and jury - Ultimately the accused can be found guilty or not guilty, case can be withdrawn or stayed - If accused is found guilty, he or she can be sentenced to a term of incarceration, a conditional sentence of imprisonment, a period of probation, a fine, or some combination of these sentencing options - If the accused is sentenced to a term of incarceration, depending on the length of the sentence, the offender will serve that time either in a provincial/territori
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