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SOC209H5 (126)
Chapter 1-4

Chapters 1-4 Notes

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC209H5
Professor
Paula Maurutto
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 1: The Criminal Justice System: An Overview Adversarial system (of criminal justice) – Justice system in which advocates (pleader in a court of law) for each party present their cases before a neutral judge or a jury; the parties in the dispute have the responsibility for finding and presenting evidence Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – A component of the Constitution Act that guarantees basic rights and freedoms Civil law – General category of laws relating to contracts, torts, inheritances, divorce, custody of children, ownership of property, and so on Conflict model (of criminal justice) – view that crime and punishment reflect the power some groups have to influence the formulation and application of criminal law Constitution Act, 1867 – Constitutional authority for the division of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments Crime – Act or omission that is prohibited by criminal law Crime control model (of criminal justice) – orientation to criminal justice in which the protection of the community and the apprehension of offenders are paramount Criminal code – federal legislation that sets out criminal laws, procedures for prosecuting federal offences, and sentences and procedures for the administration of justice Criminal law – body of law, which deals with conduct, considered so harmful to society as a whole that it is prohibited by statute and prosecuted and punished by the government Discretion – The freedom to choose between different options when confronted with the need to make a decision Due process model (of criminal justice) – orientation to criminal justice in which the legal rights of individual citizens, including those suspected of committing a crime against the State, are paramount Hybrid (or elective) offences – offences that can be prosecuted either summarily or by indictment – a decision that is always made by the Crown Interoperability – ability of hardware and software from multiple databases from multiple agencies to community with one another Restorative justice – approach to justice based on the principle that criminal behaviour injures the victim, the offender, and the community Rule of law – Foundation of the Canadian legal system Stare decisis – principle by which the higher courts set precedents that he lower courts must follow Value consensus model – view that crime and punishment reflect commonly held opinions and limits of tolerance What is the Criminal Justice System?  Contains all the agencies, organizations, and personnel involved in the prevention of and response to crime and dealing with persons charged with criminal offences o Crime prevention and crime reduction o Hearing of criminal cases o Sentencing  Operated and controlled almost entirely by governments  Crime funnel shows actual crime is a great number reduced by detected crime, reported crime, recorded crime, arrests, convictions  Citizens volunteer in aiding the victims of crime, staffing community police officers, or work with at-risk youth o Non-governmental organizations: St. John’s Ambulance Roles and Responsibilities of Governments in Criminal Justice  The divisions and responsibilities between federal and provincial governments is outlined in the Constitution Act, 1867  Federal government decides which behaviours constitute criminal offences  Provincial/territorial governments are responsible for law enforcement and administering the justice system Federal Government  Parliament in Ottawa has absolute power to create, amend, and repeal criminal law for the entire country  Sets procedures for prosecution, prosecutes some federal offences o Include abduction and witchcraft and narcotics o Federal offence to possess, traffic in, make, import, or grow certain drugs or narcotics (i.e. marijuana, molly, meth, and cocaine)  Criminal code is the most important statute governing the prosecution of criminal offences  Charter of Rights guarantees fundamental freedoms, legal rights, and equality rights for any person in Canada, including those accused of crimes  RCMP operates as a federal police force across Canada Provincial and Territorial Governments  Pass laws, oversee police services, prosecute offences, manage courthouses, employ some judges, run programs for offenders, and operate correctional institutions  Underage drinking, speeding, cell phone while driving  Three provincial police services: Ontario Provincial Police, Surete du Quebec, and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary  Every province and territory has an attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer who is responsible for laying charges and prosecuting cases Municipal Governments  Enact bylaws, which are only valid within the city limits which include minor penalties such as violating bylaws Flow of Cases through the Justice System Criminal Justice Process  Offences reported to the police  trial and conviction by judge/jury  sentencing  EITHER federal penitentiary (2 years and over) OR provincial penitentiary (under 2 years)  IF FEDERAL custody and rehabilitation  NPB Decision to release or statutory release  community supervision  end of sentence  long term supervision order  Canadian criminal justice system is adversarial  Principles include: presumption of innocence, the crown bears the burden of proof, doli incapax (child under 12 cannot be held criminal responsible), insanity, and attempts are crimes Foundations of the Legal System  Canadian legal system is of common law; based on the notion of precedent where when a judge makes a decision that’s said to be legally enforced, this decision becomes a precedent (rule that will guide judges in making subsequent decisions in similar cases)  Courts are organized in a hierarchy, with the Supreme Court of Canada at the top  All legal systems in Canada are governed by the principle of the rule of law: o Legal system must be fair and impartial in its responses o Only elected officials can decide what is against the law o Law must be written clearly so that everyone can understand which action is being referred to o Law must apply equally to everyone o Penalty must be defined for breaking the law  Public law deals with matters that affect society as a whole in its interactions with governments o Criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law, and taxation law o Criminal law acts as a mechanisms of social control, maintains order, defines parameters of acceptable behaviour, reduces risk of personal retaliation, criminalizes behaviour, prevents crime  Criminal justice system concerns itself only with the offenders who are alleged to be criminally liable for wrongdoing  Civil law is essentially concerned with disputes between individuals o Divorce, disputes over inheritance, and breaches of contract o Liability is determined by reasonable belief rather than beyond a reasonable doubt (criminal law)  Two critical parts of a crime are the commission of an act (actus reus) and the mental intent to commit the act (mens rea) o Commits an act or fails to commit an act when under legal responsibility o Has the intent (mens rea) to commit the act o No have a legal defence or justification for committing the act o Violates a provision in criminal law  Principles that provide the foundation for Canadian law: o An act does not make a person guilty unless (s)/he has a guilty mind  i.e. Children under 12 o No crime without a law, no punishment without a law (laws cannot be applied retroactively) o Ignorance of the law is no excuse o No one is compelled to incriminate himself o No one should be twice troubled by the same cause  Two primary sources of the criminal law in Canada: legislation and judicial decisions  Three categories of criminal offences: o Summary conviction offences (misdemeanours) o Indictable offences (serious crimes, may carry max penalty) o Hybrid offences (fall between both; i.e. sexual assault) Models of Criminal Justice Administration  Two competing value systems underlying the administration of criminal justice: o Crime control model – primary purpose of criminal justice system is the protection of the public through deterrence and incapacitation o Due process model – emphasizes procedural fairness and a presumption of innocence Emergence of Restorative Justice  Restorative justice is an approach to problem solving that involves the victim, offender, social networks, justice agencies, and the community  6 main objectives: fully address needs of victims, enable offenders to acknowledge and assume responsibility, create a community of support and assistance for the victim, provide an alternative to the adversarial system, provide a means of avoiding escalation, prevent reoffending  Can be utilized at: police (pre-charge), crown (post-charge, pre- conviction), court (post-conviction, pre-sentence), corrections (post- sentence, pre-reintegration)  Contributes to lower rates of reoffending Chapter 2: Challenges in Criminal Justice Crime rate – number of criminal incidents known to the police as a ratio to the size of the population Criminal injury compensation – financial remuneration paid to crime victims Dark figure of crime – difference between how much crime occurs and how much is reported to or discovered by the police Restitution – court-ordered payment that the offender makes to the victim to compensate for loss of or damage to property Task environment – cultural, geographic, and community setting in which the criminal justice system operates and justice personnel make decisions Ensuring “Justice” in a multicultural society  Hijabs, niqabs  Mormons Meeting the needs of special groups of offenders  Sex offenders, violent offenders, elderly offenders, offenders with mental illness, drug-addicted offenders, offenders with fetal alcohol syndrome, offenders with HIV/AIDS Addressing crime and justice issues in first nations and Inuit communities  There are high rates of crime in many Aboriginal communities and the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people at all stages of the justice process  Women are particularly vulnerable to violence and few programs and resources are available to assist them  Court services are delivered via “fly-in” or “drive-in”  Rate of violent crime in Ontario was notably higher in First nations communities than in small urban area  Nearly half the female offenders in surveyed First Nations communities were charged with violent crimes compared to ¼ of female offenders in the rural and small urban areas Providing financial compensation for crime victims  Compensation for property offences o Police may recover stolen property, or offender may agree to pay restitution, or com
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