Textbook Notes (368,117)
Canada (161,660)
Sociology (1,513)
SOC209H5 (126)
Chapter 2

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Philip Goodman

Chapter 2: Challenges in Criminal Justice Addressing the High Cost of Crime and Criminal Justice  Operating a criminal justice system (‘CJS’)= expensive proposition  Anuual cost = approx.. 13 billion  Majority of expenditures are associated w/policing  Cost of criminal justice have increased in recent years by increased focus on safety and security following the 9/11 attacks in NYC.  Key Question-> “Are Canadians receiving a ‘value for service’”?  Answer is no- despite significant increases in costs of criminal justice and in the # of personal working for criminal justice system- there is no evidence that this has contributed to increased effectiveness, efficiency or the CJS itself.  Also no evidence that increased expenditures alone serve to provide protection for the community and ensure effective interventions that will reduce likelihood of reoffending among convicted persons Ensuring “Justice” in a Multicultural Society - Canada = multicultural society which present numerous challenges for the CJS to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected - In recent years- # of cases have raised political, cultural and freedom of religion and legal issues - For example- controversial situations arisen for situations involving Muslim community including the wearing of the hijab and niqab - Another example- controversial situations involving Mormon community and practice of Polygamy Responding to Organized Crime and Terrorist Threats - CJS has been designed to respond to “traditional” types of crimes i.e. assault, break & enter, robbery and homicide - Overall rates of these common crimes = declining but the CJS is becoming increasingly challenged by more sophisticated types of criminal activity i.ie international drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and human trafficking , sexual slavery, money laundering, identity theft, high-tech computer crime, cyber-terrorism, and industrial espionage - Year 2009- 750 criminal groups identified in Canada - Much of the “non-traditional” crime activity is carried out by crime syndicates, including outlaw motorcycle gangs like hells angels- whose network extends to international levels - At the provincial level- joint enforcement units are being established to combat organized crime including the Integrated Market Enforcement Teams (IMETS) operate in financial centers and focus on fraud and other crimes in capital markets. - These teams composed of RCMP officers, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Units (CFSEU) which operate in T.O, Montreal, Quebec City and BC. Meeting the needs of Special Groups of Offenders - Many individuals who come into contact with the CJs have unique needs and present special challenges to the police, courts, systems of corrections, and community agencies/organizations - i.e. sex offenders, violent offenders, elderly offenders, offenders with mental and developmental disorders, drug addicted offenders, offenders with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and offenders with HIV/AIDS. - Justice system = slow in developing sufficient treatment resources for these high-needs offenders - Over past decade- lots of attention paid to gender as it relates to systems operations - police officers working harder to recruit women - regional correctional facilities for federally sentenced women established - Special needs of women under supervision in the community are being given more consideration - Still major gaps in programs and services for women offenders Adapting the Administration of Justice to the Task Environments of Criminal Justice - Task Environment= the cultural, geographic, and community setting in which the CJS operates and the criminal justice personnel make decisions (context of CJS) - Characteristics of a task environment influence types of crime and social disorder justice system personnel are confronted with, the decision making options available, effectiveness of justice policies & programs and the potential for developing community based programs & services - Same urban area might have a variety of task environments i.e. neighbourhoods with large populations of recently arrived with immigrants to high income neighbourhoods - Unique challenges faced by CJS personnel in northern areas where few resources and community based programs are available for victims and offenders - Different areas= different crime i.e. remote arctic villages vs. Vancouver - Demographic locations, local economic conditions, and ethnic mix combine to influence decisions - Types of crime or social disorder, community expectations about enforcement and the capacity to address local issues also varies Addressing Public Perceptions of Crime and the CJS - Canadians overestimate: - levels of crime and rates of recidivism - severity of punishment given to offenders - tend to believe the CJS is biased in favour of defendants - overestimate rates of parole release and reoffending rates of parolees  Research points to high levels of distrust in Canada’s CJS - Canadian public seems to have less confidence in the CJS than other public sectors institutions like education  Public shows high approval ratings for police - ratings can be affected by critical incidents in which the police are viewed as having excessive force and/or cause injury  Public much less satisfied with performance of criminal courts, and prison and parole systems  Surveys indicate rehabilitation is viewed as most important objective of sentencing - strong support for treatment and prevention programs  General view among Canadians that sentencing = too lenient - also general view that crime preventions is more cost effective than law enforcement in addressing crime problems  Research shows trust in CJS affected by a number of factors: - Type of contact the person polled has had with system (experience) - Less positive views of police are held by those who have been arrested by police or who have had contact with them as victims of crime (esp. violent ones), traffic violators or as a witness to a crime - More positive views of police held when the contact with police has been restricted to non-enforcement situations i.e. public info sessions - Some evidence that community residents have more negative views of police if there’s high level of disorder in the community which can be seen as responsibility of the police (highlights unrealistic perceptions of public)  People who have had contact with the criminal courts are more likely to rate the courts as doing a poor job or providing justice quickly - also tend to view the courts favourably in terms of ensuring a fair trial for accused  Police are most visible component of the CJS - makes it hard for Canadians to develop an understanding of what these people do  Variety of factors influence perception of crime and fear of crime among community residents - Research sows that fear of crime is ^ in areas where there’s a ^ proportion of low-income families, visible minority residents and lone-parent families -Residents who identify social disorder in their neighbourhood also report ^ levels of fear of crime - Older Citizens (65 +) tend to be more fearful of crime - Previous victims also more fearful of crime Media and Crime  Television, internet, newspaper= primary sources of info about crime and the CJs in Canada  CJS = slow to develop info. Policies to counter the images of crime displayed in media  Media tendency to exaggerate crimes- even though they’re statistically rare- causes considerable harm to victims, their families and communities - Skews peoples perceptions of crime and justice, and their responses to survey questions  Research show media reporting on crime doesn’t reflect actual patterns of crime - Violent offences = overrepresented - Disproportionate focus on sensational events  Crime stories rarely explore causes of crime- specifically role of various criminogenic factors i.e. poverty, physical/sexual abuse experienced by offender - incidents reported are often ones w/negative outcomes - Example: When was the last time you heard about a positive story of an offender released?  Media does this for ratings = advertising dollars = revenue for the newspaper, radio, TV station - public has appetite for crime and chaos i.e. CSI shows, criminal minds etc.  Increasing use of internet as new trend = new source of news - Facebook, twitter, cellphones, = significant impact on how info is assessed - Extent that new technologies have affected perceptions of crime and justice hasn’t been determined yet - Youth more likely to use computers and cellphones  CJS= slow to develop effective strategies to provide people with accurate and timely info and to counter images of crime and c
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