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Chapter 2

SOC209H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Cybercrime, Industrial Espionage

Course Code
Philip Goodman

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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
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
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
- 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 progs. and services for women offenders
Adapting the Administration of Justice to the Task Environments of Criminal
- 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 environ. 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 enviro’s i.e. neighbourhoods
with large populations of recently arrived with immigrants to high income
- Unique challenges faced by CJS personnel in northern areas where few
resources and community based programs are available for victims and
- 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
- 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
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