Crime & Law
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Reconciliation and Canadian Law
When the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug’s traditional territory was threatened by mining exploration in 2006, they followed their traditional duty to protect the land and asked the mining exploration company, Platinex, to leave. Platinex left – and then sued the remote First Nation for $10 billion. The ensuing legal dispute lasted two years and eventually resulted in the jailing of community lead- ers. Ariss argues that though this jailing was extraordinarily punitive and is indicative of continuing colonialism within the legal system, some aspects of the case demonstrate the potential of Canadian law to understand, include and reflect Aboriginal perspectives. Connecting scholarship in Aboriginal rights and Canadian law, traditional Aboriginal law, social change and community activism, Keeping the Land explores the twists and turns of this legal dispute in order to gain a deeper understanding of the law’s contributions to and detractions from the process of reconciliation.
Rehabilitation in the Age of Risk
In recent years there has been significant media hype and moral panic over assaults and violent crimes perpetrated by young women. The governmental response to control crime and to provide protection to citizens has taken various, often contradictory, forms. The current research agenda on controlling youth violence in Canada, especially in light of provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is focused on risk assessment. The approach, however, ignores how “risk” is a socio-cultural phenomenon. Through interviews with young female offenders and youth justice authorities, Governing Girls examines female youth violence in the contemporary landscape of control and the increasing reliance on risk assessment tools to classify and manage youths’ level of risk. Exploring the meaning of treatment and rehabilitation in the age of risk, as well as analyzing the gender, race and class dimensions of the risk construct, Christie L. Barron questions the impact of risk rationality and argues that actuarial technologies depoliticize the process of control and further exclude and marginalize young female offenders.
Restorative Justice and Healthy Societies
“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)
Obscenity and Indecency Law in Canada
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.
Emotions and Mis/Representation of Crime in the News
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.
Covering Crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
Missing Women, Missing News examines newspaper coverage of the arrest and trial of Robert Pickton, the man charged with murdering 26 street-level sex workers from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It demonstrates how news narratives obscured the complex matrix of social and political conditions that made it possible for so many women to simply ‘disappear’ from a densely populated urban neighborhood without provoking an aggressive response by the state. Grounded in a theory of ideology, this book argues that the coverage offers a series of coherent explanations that hold particular individuals and practices accountable but largely omit, conceal, or erase the broader socio‐political context that renders those practices possible.
Exposing Undercover Investigations in Canada
“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.
Readings on the Criminalization of Poverty
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.
Unravelling Wrongful Convictions in Canada
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.
Wrongful Convictions in Canada
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.