Crime & Law

  • Security, With Care

    Restorative Justice and Healthy Societies

    By Elizabeth M. Elliott     February 2011

    “I learned that the problems were much deeper than a flawed criminal justice system, and that our work needed to begin in our relationships with each other and the natural world, and most importantly, with ourselves.” (from the preface)

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  • Sex and the Supreme Court

    Obscenity and Indecency Law in Canada

    By Richard Jochelson and Kirsten Kramar     February 2011

    Canadian laws pertaining to pornography and bawdy houses were first developed during the Victorian era, when “non-normative” sexualities were understood as a corruption of conservative morals and harmful to society as a whole. Tracing the socio-legal history of contemporary obscenity and indecency laws, Kramar and Jochelson contend that the law continues to function to protect society from harm. Today, rather than seeing harm to conservative values, the court sees harm to liberal political values. While reforms have been made, especially in light of feminist and queer challenges, Kramar and Jochelson use Foucault’s governmentality framework to show that the liberal harm strategy for governing obscenity and indecency continues to disguise power.

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  • Constructing Danger

    Emotions and Mis/Representation of Crime in the News (Second Edition)

    By Christopher McCormick     September 2010

    Crime reporting is often thought to be simply an objective and factual description of an event. In Constructing Danger Chris McCormick argues that crime is more than simply reported: it is constructed. And sometimes it is distorted, exaggerated and manipulated in order to create certain impressions of and opinions about the world. Examining issues such as how misrepresentations of AIDS perpetuates harmful stereotypes, the underrepresentation of women in the news, the trivialization of sexual assault and the sensationalized focus on violent crime, this book challenges readers to approach the news with a more critical eye and to recognize how misrepresentations lead to a distorted perception of the world. Further, this book asks the reader to consider the consequences of holding this distorted vision, from increased surveillance and legislation to the normalization of violence.

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  • Mr. Big

    Exposing Undercover Investigations in Canada

    By Joan Brockman and Kouri T. Keenan     September 2010

    “Mr. Big” is a sting operation designed to obtain a confession and other evidence from a suspect targeted by undercover police officers posing as members of the criminal underworld. In a typical scenario, undercover operatives convince the suspects that they are big-time criminals, offer them various amounts of money and other incentives to help make their legal problems go away. In order to evaluate the legitimacy of this police practice, Keenan and Brockman survey over 80 cases of the use of the Mr. Big ruse by police in Canada - and find that this procedure is not as successful as it appears. The authors argue that the Mr. Big procedure encourages a police culture of violence and convictions rather than justice and suggest that this practice must be drastically curtailed if we are to have a legal system that is focused on the pursuit of justice.

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  • Poverty, Regulation & Social Justice

    Readings on the Criminalization of Poverty

    Edited by Diane Crocker and Val Marie Johnson     April 2010

    Emerging from a public colloquium on the criminalization of poverty, this volume critically interrogates how state and private practices have increasingly come to over-regulate people with severely limited economic resources, and understands this regulation as part of the dynamics of liberal capitalism. Exploring issues such as homelessness, social assistance and single mothers, and written from a diversity of perspectives from academics to frontline workers, policy-makers and those affected first hand by these practices, this book aims to help readers imagine a more compassionate future.

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  • When Justice Is a Game

    Unravelling Wrongful Convictions in Canada

    By MaDonna Maidment     October 2009

    All too often the police do not get the right person. Wrongful convictions are framed as mistakes or failures of the justice system. However, many of the wrongfully convicted are from among the poor and visible minority groups. The law then becomes an ideological mask relieving us of the responsibility of engaging with the real issues that underscore wrongful convictions. MaDonna Maidment illustrates how the desire to get a conviction and paint the police and the courts in a positive light often means that false evidence and court decisions based on prejudice and racism lead to innocent people being convicted. “The official version of the law,” says Maidment, “despite its claims of impartiality, neutrality and objectivity, is a tool of the state and its elite club members designed to maintain the illegitimate domination of society.” Turning back to the very sys-tem that got it wrong in the first place therefore should be a non-starter.

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  • The Politics of Restorative Justice

    A Critical Introduction

    By Andrew Woolford     August 2009

    This book invites the reader to reconsider restorative justice and its politics. Through an examination of restorative themes, theories and practices, three distinct ways in which politics affect restorative justice are explored. First, restorative justice is situated in a context in which political actors, as well as structural forces, either enable or obstruct its practice. Second, restorative justice is understood as a contributor to political power in that its practice helps govern individual and collective behaviour. Finally, restorative justice is described as a social movement requiring an enabling politics that will allow it to promote a justice that does more than affirm the status quo - it must aspire toward a transformative politics concerned with class-based, gendered, racialized and other injustices.

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  • Manufacturing Guilt (2nd edition)

    Wrongful Convictions in Canada

    By Barrie Anderson and Dawn Anderson     July 2009

    Manufacturing Guilt, 2nd edition, updates the cases presented in the first edition and includes two new chapters: one concerning the case of James Driskell and another regarding Dr. Charles Smith, whose role in forensic pathology evidence led to several wrongful convictions. In this new edition, the authors demonstrate that the same factors at play in the criminalization of the powerless and marginalized are found in cases of wrongful conviction. Contrary to popular belief, wrongful convictions are not due simply to “unintended errors,” but rather are too often the result of the deliberate actions of those working in the criminal justice system. Using Canadian cases of miscarriages of justice, the authors argue that understanding wrongful convictions and how to prevent them is incomplete outside the broader societal context in which they occur, particularly regarding racial and social inequality.

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  • Racism and Justice

    Critical Dialogue on the Politics of Identity, Inequality and Change

    Edited by Singh Bolaria, Sean P. Hier and Daniel Lett     March 2009

    The essays in this volume explore the prospect for post-raciality. It is common to find the prefix “post” treated as an epochal synonym for “after” or “beyond,” as somehow distinct from what came before. But the post as post-racial politics is better conceptualized in terms of a set of interrelated institutional and cultural changes that can neither be separated from historical relations nor which are reducible to the past. This volume presents a set of essays that collectively prioritize complexity over simplicity, progress over retrenchment, unity over diversity, and polemics over dogmatism. It seeks to inform discussion and debate about the prospect for a post-racial politics that is neither oblivious to the importance of racial classification nor the persistence of racism and injustice. The volume will leave readers better informed about race, racism and justice and with as many questions as answers.

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  • Victim No More

    Women’s Resistance to Law, Culture and Power

    Edited by Ellen Faulkner and Gayle MacDonald     March 2009

    This book challenges the idea that women are simply victims. It celebrates women’s resistance. It explores the moments beyond victimization. It argues that women do not stay crushed and broken, but move on, build and grow. The contributors to this edited edition celebrate the various forms of resistance: political resistance at both the collective and individual levels, legal resistance and resistance to cultural forms and labels. The editors argue that “Women-as-victim is not an emancipatory cry that encourages all women to join efforts in combating patriarchy. It is, at its core, highly analogous to the right-wing, conservative agendas that keep women politically passive, smiling stewards of male futures, still adhering to ‘men’s way’ in the boardroom and the bedroom.”

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