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CRM 100 (52)
Chapter 1

CRM 100 Chapter 1.docx

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Ryerson University
CRM 100
Anne- Marie Singh

CRM 100 Chapter 1 - The criminal justice in Canada consists of three major agencies: the police, the courts, and the correctional system Crime Legislation in Canada - Federal conservative party has tried to revise various sections of the Criminal Code + introduce new laws for the express purpose of “tackling crime” and “making communities safer” - Changes include increasing the number of mandatory minimum penalty laws - Survey in Quebec found: o Some community supervision and treatment programs reduced recidivism rates for substance abusers and nonviolent offenders o Key factors that impact on reducing the crime rate: o Higher levels of education attainment o Higher employment rates o Higher wages o Increasing the number of police per capita Social Control, Crime, and Criminal Justice - Cultural patterns of a society is shaped by ways of thinking, feeling, and acting - Society often develops a system to warn its disapproval for ones that break with approved ways of thinking and action - Social Control: Various types of reactions to behavior viewed as problematic o To control crimes, we have to establish a system of criminal justice enabling various institutions of social control to investigate, deter, prosecute and punish -Institutions have limits, due to various laws (ex: Charter of Rights and Freedom) What is Crime? - Wrongful acts that threaten social values - Criminal law is not static, as social attitudes change, our definition of crime changes - Two definitions: o 1. An act can be called a crime only when it violates the existing legal code of the jurisdiction in which it occurs  Breaking the law isn’t a crime, criminal responsibility requires a “guilty act” and a “guilty mind”, Actus Reus and Mens Reus o 2. “Black Letter” approach: No act can be considered criminal until a duly appointed representative, judge or jury, of the criminal court has established the guilt of an offender and punished the offender - Consequences of the two definitions: o 1. No criminal law=no crime (no behavior is criminal unless a formal action exists to prohibit it o 2. No behavior or individual can be considered criminal until formally decided upon by the criminal justice system - Many criticisms have arose including: o Not every individual who violates the criminal law is caught and prosecuted o Many criminal acts are not prosecuted even after authorities have found out o Muncie says, “definitions neglect “the basic issues of why and how some acts are legislated as criminal, while others remain subject only to informal control” - Definitions according to Edwin Sutherland: o Crime is better viewed as a violation of social norms (Exhibit 1.1) o Crime should be defined of two (+) abstract notions: “social injury” & “social harm” - Crime is a result of social interaction, the consequence of a negotiated process involving the alleged offender, the police, court personnel, and even lawmakers The Operations and Role of Canada’s criminal Justice System - Developed the agencies to protect the public from criminals - Agencies constitute a vast network of organizations, linked together called the Criminal Justice System - Agencies work to detect and apprehend law violators, to determine whether they have committed crime(s) and to punish those found guilty The Purpose of the Criminal Justice System - The main aims: o 1. Control Crime  Arresting, prosecution, and punishment of those who commit crimes o 2. Prevent Crime  Achieved by step one, largely accomplished by punished offenders, hoping they refrain from doing it again & warning others o 3. Maintain Justice  Achieving justice, “fair” and “just” in our society. Difficult due to so many different definitions of justice in our societies  Justice: all citizens are equal before the law and they are to be protected from arbitrary decisions made employees in the CJ system  Agencies must achieve justice by making fair decisions, to all What is Criminal Justice (CJ) - System designed to catch criminals, charge and prosecute them in court, and, if found guilty, punish them - Society refers justice to “fairness of our criminal law system” o 1. Guilt, innocence, and sentence should be determined fairly and in accordance with the evidence o 2. Punishment should fit the offence as well as the offender o 3. Like cases should be treated alike and different cases differently - Justice Model: Justice is achieved when the various agencies of our CJ system follow legal rules and procedures that are publicly known, fair, and just o *Presumption of innocence, procedural fairness, need to follow legal rules - CJ system shouldn’t lead to unfairness or to inequities, may lead to biases: o “Disparity” and “Discrimination” Disparity o Refers to differences, but one does that doesn’t necessarily include discrimination o Inconsistencies appear as a result of the authorities using illegitimate factors when making their decision o Illegitimate factors are extralegal factors, such as race, religion, and gender Discrimination o Something about an individual (religion, race) overrides their other qualities (innocence, education, and abilities)  Systematic discrimination: discrimination existing in all aspects of the operations of our CJ system  found in the rates of arrest, types of charges laid, and decision to prosecute, + in the conviction rates  Institutionalized discrimination: disparities appear in the outcomes of decisions  result of established policies in the CJ system  Ex: decisions made within the CJ system based on the employment status of those accused of a crime when they are applying for bail o *Gender effect: discrimination is the result of a policy not concerned with gender  Contextual discrimination: Arises from organization policies within CJS agencies, the police & courts   Individual discrimination: Individual employed within the CJS acts in a way that discriminates against the members of certain groups  Ex: Police officer may discriminate against members of a certain social class and/or ethnic group by arresting them, while warning others Substantive and Procedural Justice - Most important components of justice o Substantive justice – the accuracy or correctness of the outcome of a case and the appropriateness of a judgment, order, or award  I.e. If a suspect is indeed guilty, then the verdict of guilty is a just decision  Concerned with:  Truth of allegations,  Accuracy of verdicts  and appropriateness of sentences o Procedural justice – decisions made by courts and the government impacting “the rights and interests of individuals” and concerned with fairness of the process  Those who are suspected of a crime must be treated fairly  If during trial, proceedings are not fair then the trials is not just o Example: If a person is found guilty could have violated the law (substantive justice) but if unfair procedures were used during the trial, the conviction is considered unjust Adversarial system - The system in which two parties argue (prosecutor and defense) and an impartial party (judge) decides lays a fair decision upon the accused based on evidence o Designed to:  Search for the truth  Determine guilt or innocence  Accused legal rights are protected  Trial is fair  Final decision is impartial o Critiqued because often this system does not operate but rather “bargain justice” occurs in which accused are encouraged to bargain for lighter sentences before they get to court Structure of criminal Justice system - The Police o Three police agencies:  Municipal  Towns with more than 10,000 people must create and maintain their own police force  Provincial  Enforce all relevant laws in the parts of the province not under control of a municipality  Federal – RCMP  Responsible for enforcing laws created by parliament, enforcing federal statutes, carrying out executive orders of the federal government and protecting visiting dignitaries - The Courts o Three levels:  Lower courts  Provincial courts  First court an accused will encounter  Divided into specialized divisions to deal with different areas of the law o Ex. Family court, small claims court, criminal court etc.  Deals with majority of criminal cases  IN this process, the sentencing is automated and cases are often solved quickly as there are so many waiting to be tried o Suspects either plead guilty or have charges stayed (postponed indefinitely)  Superior courts  One level higher than lower  Often hear more serious or indictable offences  Appeal court – highest level of criminal court in any province o Hears appeals from the superior court o Concerned with sentence lengths and possible procedural errors  Supreme Court of Canada - Corrections o Division of responsibility  Prov
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