The roles and responsibilities of governments in the justice system
o Each level of government I.e. provincial municipal and federal play different roles in
the justice system.
o Responsibilities are divided and made clear by the constitution act,1867
o Federal law /government decided what is considered a criminal offence
o Provincial governments usually in charge of law enforcement as well as
administering the justice system.
o Federal also plays a large role in policing using the RCMP
o RCMP is involved with federal policing as well as municipal and provincial policing
o Parliament in Ottawa has absolute power to create, change and repeal criminal law
for the whole country.
o Also establishes the punishment that will be imposed for all federal offences
o Things that are considered a crime are all listed in the criminal code along with the
procedures for responding to certain crimes.
o Original version of the criminal code dates from 1869 initially consolidated in 1892
o Federal offences are set out in different acts or statutes
o The criminal code is the most important statue governing the prosecution of crime,
o There are other number of federal laws that affect the criminal justice system such
as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
o This guarantees freedoms, legal rights and equality rights for every person in
Canada including those accused of committing a crime
o Most importantly//it provides protection and makes sure there is fairness during
o All the components have to operate in a way that does not violate the rights given to
Canadians Portfolio of public safety and emergency preparedness
The portfolio includes the federal agencies that are responsible for public safety and
security. It is directed by the federal minister. It provides strategic policy advice and
a wide range of programs and services related to public safety.
o RCMP operates as federal police force across Canada
o Operates the Canadian police college, police info Centre (CPIC, forensic laboratory
services and other specialized services.
Federal Prosecutors, Courts, and Judges
o The justice system is staffed by full time judges, lawyers, prosecutors.
o The federal prosecution service conducts prosecutions all across Canada for the
Attorney General of Canada.
o Judges are chosen through the office of commissioner for Federal judicial Affairs (
federal governments appoints them)
o Correctional service looks over the operation of federal correctional insitituions.
o Responsibility is shared with post release supervision of federal offenders
o There are three provincial police services. Ontario provincial police, the surete du
Quebec and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary .
o Provincial governments oversee independent municipal police departments
wherever they exist
The Flow of Cases Through the justice system
o Offences reported by police
o Trial and conviction by judge/jury
o Sentencing hearing
o Federal prison or provincial prison
o Custody/rehabilitation decision to release
o Community Supervision
o End sentence
o These are the stages of cases that go through the justice system however these
stages don’t indicate the dynamics and challenges that come with making these
decisions to arrest, incarcerate, the roles of the victim and many other variables that
contribute. o The Canadian criminal justice system is an adversarial system
o adversarial system
means that the justice system looks at each party to present their case before
the neutral judge or jury
o A presumption of innocence is expected, until proven guilty
o The crown must gather evidence to prove the defendant is guilty
o “Doli incapax”
deals with youth
a child under twelve can not be criminally responsible for their actions
o Insanity and those that are incapable of knowing the act was wrong because of
mental disorder cannot be held responsible for their criminal actions
o Attempts at criminal acts are seen as crimes also
o The basic goal of adversarial system is that the truth will come out eventually from
the evidence presented by the defense and the crown
The exercise of Discretion by Criminal Justice Personnel
Personnel in the criminal justice system respond to many events that have a wide
variety of circumstances, they are able to carry out their tasks within the framework
of written laws and policies but they also exercise considerable discretion when
This can lead to inconsistencies in how laws are applied, how cases are processed in
courts and what decisions are made about offenders by correctional officers, parole
boards and parole officers.
The justice process is structed to provide criminal justice professionals with a lot of
From community control to state Law” Centralization of Authority
o Before criminal law, law was maintained through social controls
o Behavior was based on
o There was pressure to conform
o The reaction to harmful acts usually took form in a group retaliation and was based
usually on revenge.
o Societies evolved and became more complex.
o Social control mechanisms were placed by formal methods of social control which
includes laws enacted by the state. o Bad behavior was no longer responded to on a personal, group or village level but
was viewed as an act against society as a whole.
o Residents became less involved with the process of social control
o The increased centralization of the social control function resulted in the transfer of
power and authoritie