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Chapter 4

CRM402 (Criminal Justice and Inequality) - Chapter 4 Criminal Justice Themes and Westray Disaster

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Ryerson University
CRM 402
Christina Hollingshead

CRM402 – Week 5 th Thursday, February 14 , 2013 Chapter Four: Lost Lives at Westray: Official Discourse, Public Truth and Controversial Death Criminal Justice Themes - This last week of our discussion of ‘morality and the law’ brings up recurrent themes in the Criminal Justice System - “Discourse” is the way we discuss or frame or talk about an issue [an explicit way of talking] - “The rule of law” is the way the law is framed in principle, which is different than in practice [Example: Charter or Criminal Code – written in such a way that appeals to most people, but it does not necessarily mean that it is such a way in practice; when you’re too poor for a lawyer, for example, you do not always receive justice. Famous cases: Ashley Smith, male riot police in women prisons SW4] - “Truth” and what that means depends on your location *challenge the idea of “truth” and what that means – are you a person of minority? Gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, a victim of abuse?] - This week’s readings also discuss the intersection between law and medicine, which is not always an easy relationship - There is often a disconnect between law and medicine [law predominantly a male domain; medicine is also a male domain but mental health and healing practices like psychology is usually a female domain] - Moreover, we are reminded of the “key” themes in Criminal Justice System that come up repeatedly - Myth of the system [the way the media presents things VS reality. The media portrays myths about the system that are not true -> example: that all convicted criminals will re-offend, which we know is not true because statistics prove that most people do not commit another offence after a conflict with the law. The myth that the system is fair – when it is not taking in different factors or treating people different or taking in context, it becomes a problem-> example: Making all students take off their glasses for an exam to be “fair” to students not wearing glasses+ - Due Process and Crime Control [the Due Process model is mainly to balance the power of the land and the rights of the individual and trying to make the process just and fair; the government and its agents must be controlled and given guidelines, and that the rights of individuals must be honoured above all (everyone’s individual rights must be protected no matter who the criminal), whereas Crime Control model is focused more on decreasing crime; a belief that only a very few people end up in the system with the full weight of the system coming down on them, so if you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about, therefore the punishment is harsh and the government should have lots of power (think of this as a nameless conveyer-belt system)] [Canada is somewhat more to the Conservative Right (Crime Control) model due to the high incarceration rates, but it has a lot to do with oth
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