1. Conflict + Consensus Perspectives
Consensus= what social groups have in common/ agree on
Conflict= different groups have varying access to power and wealth
For example: the idea that there is a general agreement within society on what
should be against the law is associated with what perspective? CONSENSUS
The “funnel” model of CJS is associated with which perspective?
CONSENSUS. The criminal justice process is like a funnel, wide at the top
and narrow at the bottom. Early in the criminal justice process, there are
many cases, but the number of cases dwindles as decision makers remove
cases from the process. Some cases are dismissed, while others are
referred for treatment. Another way of expressing the funnel effect is to say
that there are many more suspects than inmates. (Less people end up in
1. Visibility—prostitutes for example
2. Police discretion—racial profiling for example
3. Bail—who gets bail and who does not
4. Prosecutorial discretion—discrimination based for example
The “net” model of CJS is associated with which perspective? CONFLICT.
Fishing for certain fish— it’s not so much that specific sorts of
behaviours are being policed, but particular types of people are
“Just as the fisherman does not cast his net randomly, neither do the
police” (Brannigan, p. 98) No “loss”
Ideological circle— the arrest and prosecution of certain types of
crimes result in more fear and anxiety about those types of crimes
and behaviours. Street crime comes to be seen as more of a social
harm than white collar crime.
2.PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF CJS :
Does the public view the system as too lenient? Too harsh? As effective?
• Many people view the system as overly lenient and as biased towards the
interests of the accused or offender than towards those of the victim.
• This perception however is false. In the Grossman and Roberts reading, two
surveys were conducted in the year of 2002 which exemplified that
Canadians were more confident in the CJS than negative.
• The public may lose sight of the complexity of the justice system’s
mandate, which may explain why justice professionals like judges and
prosecutors receive somewhat lower ratings of public confidence in
contrast to the health care system for example.
• The public wants a more crime control model
How do they perceive different actors in CJS (for example: police, lawyers,
• In general, the public has a great deal of confidence in the police and far
less confidence in other criminal justice professionals like defence counsels,
prosecutors, and judges. In the Grossman and Roberts reading for example, a
survey conducted in 2002 found that two-thirds of respondents rated the
police as doing an excellent job whereas only half expressed the same for
judges. Similar trends emerged in all other countries.
• The public appears to be less concerned about the occurrence of wrongful
convictions. In a survey, almost half of the people thought that letting a
guilty person go free was far worse than convicting an innocent person. This
finding reflects the crime control orientation of the public. • In short, most people favour a justice system that gives police and
prosecutors significant powers rather than a system that follows safeguards
to ensure that due process is maintained. Thus the police are more closely
allied in the public mind with a crime control mandate and for this
reason receive higher ratings. In the popular mind, judges are probably
associated far more closely with a due process model of justice—one that
attracts less support from members of the public.
• Afinal reason as to why police have higher ratings is more mundane than
theoretical. The police are more visible than other professionals. They
perform their duties in the public, and wear uniforms.
• Canadians have always supported prevention, rather than punishment,
according to a poll.
What does the public think of various processes (parole, sentencing, cost of
corrections, etc) and what does this research actually show?
• The percentage of Canadians who feel that sentences are too lenient has
been high for more than 20 years.Arecent poll conducted in 2005 found
that 73% of Canadians felt that the system was “too soft” toward people
convicted of crimes. People tend to underestimate the severity of
sentencing practices. Thus, the perception of leniency in sentencing at the
trial court level is based upon a misperception of the actual severity of
• Many people mistakenly believe that increasing the severity of penalties
will have an appreciable impact on crime rates.
• Canada relies too heavily on imprisonment as a sanction, yet the public is
unaware of this, they think incarceration is lower.
• Corrections—many Canadians feel that an inmate’s life is an easy one
and are not aware of the privations and difficulties suffered by
incarcerated offenders. Most people are also unaware of the high rates of
homicide, suicide, and assault in correctional institutions. Whereas in
reality, preventing reoffending involves ensuring that ex-offenders get
jobs and have a stake in the community. • Parole Grant Rates (early release from prison) – most Canadians believe
that too many inmates are released from prison too early. In reality, less
than half of the applications for full parole release at the federal level are
• If the public knew how much money the system could save by punishing
offenders in the community rather than in prison, they would probably
be more supportive of community-based sentences and parole.
How do public perceptions impact CJS processes and the criminal law?
• It impacts crime control policies. Lock them up and throw away the key.
Doesn’t allow for alternative sanctions.
3.CRIME STATISTICS—THE BASICS
What are different ways of measuring crime? (for example: crime severity,
crime rates, etc) THERE ARE 3 WAYS: CRIME RATE, SEVERITY INDEX,
1. Crime rate= dominated by high-volume, less serious offences like
2. Crime severity index= offences having harsher sentences are
assigned higher weights than those with less serious sentences.
3. Victimization rate= self-reported crimes. Much higher than Crime
rates since not all crimes are reported to police.
What are the general trends? (For example: crime decreasing, violent
crime rates, what most offences are (property or violent crimes), which
provinces have higher crime rates, etc
1. Police officer strength in Canada has been increasing over the past
decade, following a period of decline throughout the 1990’s. 2. In general, crime rates in Canada have been declining
3. In general, the volume and severity of police-reported crimes in
Canada has been decreasing over the past decade
4. About 1/5 crimes reported to the police are violent
5. In general, the police-reported violent crime rate has been
declining since 2000, due primarily to drops in high-volume
crimes such as common assault and uttering threats
6. About 40% of crimes are solved by the police
7. Policing costs continue to rise (wages, salary, etc)
8. Provinces with highest crime rates= Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and
What is the dark figure of crime and why is it important when thinking about
The dark figure of crime represents unreported crimes. This is important
because it gives an inaccurate number of crimes in statistics.
4. 6 THEMES OF THE COURSE
Do all parts of the system share similar objectives? Does everyone agree
on what the role of the CJS is, or are there different perspectives?
• Diversion and alternative-measure programs are alternatives to the
formal criminal justice process. Diversion programs exist for both
adults and youths.
• The primary mandate of the police is to serve and protect the public.
As agents of the state, police officers are granted special powers to
search, arrest, and detain individuals. (using their discretion) • Each level of government in Canada—federal, provincial,
municipal—plays a role in the justice system. The federal
government decides which behaviours constitute criminal behaviours.
The provincial/territorial governments are responsible for law
enforcement and for administering the justice system. The municipal
governments of cities and towns play a lesser role, related to policing
and bylaw enforcement.
• The Canadian criminal justice system is an ADVERSARIAL system.
The advocates for each party— defence lawyer, and a prosecutor
present their cases before a judge or jury. Some of the common laws
can be found in the Charter of Right and Freedoms. One of the most
important principles include: a due process model: PRESUMPTION
OF INNOCENCE—a defendant is deemed innocent of the charge
until either convicted or acquitted.
Is there little discretion or a lot of discretion? Why or why not? What is the
impact of limited or unlimited discretion? What are some ways discretion is
Discretion= the freedom to choose between different options when
confronted with the need to make a decision
Discretion is used by judges, justice of the peace, and police. The judges
use their discretion when dropping cases, or agreeing to a plea bargain.
The justice of the peace grants bail, and the police use their discretion
when laying charges, or using force
• Discretion can lead to inconsistencies in how laws are applied,
how cases are processed in the courts, and what decisions are
made about offenders by correctional officers, parole boards, and
• The criminal justice personnel uses their discretion with the use
of education, training, personal experiences, and etc. judges for
example • Disparity+ discrimination: Similar offenders who commit similar
crimes receive sentences of differing severity.
• Discretion is checked by mechanisms of accountability.
Mechanisms of accountability thus “checks” some of the discretions
• In one of the readings for example, we see the police using their
discretion to investigate people’s criminal actions.
• There is the bail hearing. Then there is discretion by the crown
(judge). If you aren’t granted bail, you are locked up until trial, and
you are more likely to be convicted. If remand (bail) is denied, you
can get a plea, if not, you go to trial. If parole is granted, there is a
parole officer watching over you.
Be able to identify a few different ways public officials are held accountable
for their decisions. (lecture 2—accountability (for ex, the charter, the SIU,
etc) and Goldsmith Article
Accountability= Limiting power
• “the state of being accountable; liability to be called on to render an
account; the obligation to bear the consequences for failure to
perform as expected”.
• In practice, the requirement among public servants to provide an
account for their decisions and actions taken or not taken.
Mechanisms of Accountability
• Ss. 7-14 legal rights protect those accused of crimes
• Laws may be struck down as unconstitutional (illegal) • Technology is a mechanism of accountability
GOLDSMITH ARTICLE ON POLICING’S VISIBILITY
• Using hand held devices
• Technology has made policing more visible. We carry cellphones
which decreases their ability to police. It makes police less able to do
their job If people film police all the time. It erodes the mechanism
• Secondary visibility= technology advances.
5. OPERATIONS OF CJS + MODELS OF CJ
Understand how cases flow through the system, a basic understanding of
the various stages of CJS process (Lec 5: Models of criminal justice;
Griffiths ch 1 pg4; Grossman + robberts Ch 1)
1. Actual level of crime
2. Detected crime
3. Reported crime
4. Recorded crime
7. Non-custodial punishment
8. Incarceration Understand the objectives of various actors in the CJS – for ex. police,
crown, defence, corrections, parole, etc.
Know the models of CJ (Packer; Grossman and Roberts Ch1: lecture 2)
Crime control and due process—the characteristics, which parts of CJS
associated with each, how they work together or conflict
• Due process—goes to the courts. Due process limits the state
from having unlimited powers and gives individuals more rights.
One example of this is where police have to ask the courts
before placing a wiretap on a persons telephone line. Husbands
case is an example of due process: still out on bail for sexual assault.
Has to do with inequality. The offender was white in the husbands
• Crime control—done by the police. Results in more people being
Understand the funnel vs. the net ideas—the main concepts associated
with each, the conflict and consensus perspectives, how crime control and
due process models work in the CJS (discussed in tutorial last week; also
in Packer, Griffiths, Lecture 5)
• Funnel (consensus)= there is loss. With consensus there is crime
control and due process.
• Net (conflict)= there is no loss. Only some people are being targeted.
For example, in the net, prostitutes that are more visible, are caught
in the net. And since they most likely aren’t able to obtain legal
representation, they are stuck in the net.
• Crime control works in the hands of the police where they make
arrests and undergo surveillance.
• Crime control= assembly line • Due process= quality control. “legally you are innocent”
6. ORIGINS + STRUCTURE OF CANADIAN CJS
Powers, departments within and responsibilities of:
• Federal government (for ex. Making laws; RCMP [enforcing fed laws];
federal corrections [CSC], etc)
• Provincial government (for ex. Administering policing; provincial
• Municipalities (for ex. Creation of municipal police forces; bylaws, etc)
• The federal government operates a national police force (the
RCMP), prosecutes some federal offences, including narcotics
offences; appoints some judges and manages some courts,
operates correctional institutions with sentences 2 years or more, and
operates a parole board
• Provincial/territorial governments pass laws, oversee police
services, prosecute offences, manage courthouses, employ some
judges, run programs for offenders, and operate correctional
• Municipal governments may enact local bylaws, which are valid
only within city limits, minor penalties— fines.
Identify different departments/organizations, names of police forces etc. (for
ex, CSC, RCMP, etc) • RCMP= police force for federal government. ROYAL CANADIAN
• CSC= correctional service of Canada
• SIU= special investigations unit—deals with matters of police and
Which provinces have Provincial Police forces, and who polices the
provinces in those that do not
• Parts of newfoundland
The RCMP polices the provinces in those that do not
Distinguish between civil and criminal law (Lecture 4; Griffiths p 15-16)
• the government assumes the responsibility for prosecuting the
• the criminal courts, on behalf of the victim and the community,
undertake the task of determining the guilt or innocence of the
• the criminal courts impose a sa