Crime & Law

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Guantãnamo North

    Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada

    By Robert Diab     September 2008

    Long List selection for the 2009 George Ryga Award

  • Out There/In Here

    Masculinity, Violence and Prisoning

    By Elizabeth Comack     April 2008

    Elizabeth Comack explores the complicated connections between masculinity and violence in the lives of men incarcerated at a provincial prison. Moving between the spaces of ‘out there’ and ‘in here,’ the discussion traces the men’s lives in terms of their efforts to ‘do’ masculinity and the place of violence in that undertaking. In drawing out these connections, similarities with the lives of other men become apparent. In the process, we also learn that prisons are not a solution to public concerns about crime and violence. Prison is a gendered space in which violence is a systemic feature and the pressures on men to ‘do’ masculinity are even more pronounced. Sending racialized and economically marginalized men to prison only encourages and reaffirms aggression, dominance and the exercise of brute power as legitimate social practices. “A uniquely vivid and readable account of how masculinities and violence are constructed both in the community ‘out there’ and in prison, ‘in here.’ Drawing on life-history interviews of incarcerated men, Elizabeth Comack offers a fascinating analysis of the varying and interconnecting masculine and violent pathways by these men and how their changing and often contradictory social practices are related to local and regional hegemonic masculinities. Out There/In Here is a timely, scholarly and captivating contribution to the literature in criminology, masculinities, and gender studies–I highly recommend it!”–James W. Messerschmidt, Professor of Sociology/Women and Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine

  • Criminalizing Race, Criminalizing Poverty

    Welfare Fraud Enforcement in Canada

    By Wendy Chan and Kiran Mirchandani     January 2007

    The criminalization and penalization of poverty through increased surveillance and control of welfare recipients in recent years has led many poverty advocates to claim that “a war against the poor” is currently in progress. The authors argue that people of colour are most often the casualties in the governments’ desire to roll back the welfare state. Relying on myths and stereotypes about racial difference, the enforcement and policing of welfare fraud policies constructs people of colour as potential “cheaters” and “abusers” of the system. This has allowed for the stigmatizing and discriminatory treatment of people of colour to persist unchallenged within the welfare system.

  • Prison Voices

    Edited by Richard Jaccoma and Lee Weinstein     January 2007

    Prison Voices is an inmate-written book, made to encourage reading and writing in prisons. Within these pages twelve convict-authors reveal the dramatic details of their lives and their struggles. Some of the pieces are uplifting and hopeful; others breathtaking, steeped in remorse. At times the words we read are most shocking in the precision of the author’s self-reflection; at other times exasperating in what they reveal of the author’s self-destructiveness. Fill free to see a review of the book at

  • Risk and Trust

    Including or Excluding Citizens?

    By Law Commission of Canada     January 2007

    In recent years politicians, academics and social commentators have discussed and debated aspects of the “risk society.” For some, embracing a risk frame fulfils a socially productive role in that it helps identify and manage a range of harms and fears. However, as this multidisciplinary collection illustrates, peeling back the veneer of this often highly technocratic discourse reveals a series of moral judgments about the constitution of risk and its role in organizingcontemporary society. Exploring a broad range of case studies–including young women in conflict with the law, child soldiers, welfare recipients, genetic testing, biotechnology and new technologies–the contributors explore whether the concept of risk has undermined our sense of trust in society, effectively eroding the definition of citizenship, marginalizing particular people and groups, needlessly heightening societal fears and rendering invisible social inequalities.

  • Cops, Crime and Capitalism

    The Law and Order Agenda in Canada

    By Todd Gordon     January 2006

    Framed within a Marxist class analysis that highlights the way in which state power and capitalist social relations are racialized and gendered, Gordon’s study locates law and order policing as a central moment of capitalist state power. He argues that, as with policing historically, crime-fighting is not the principal aim of contemporary law and order policing–rather the aim is the production of a new social order based on the severely diminished expectations of working people. Crime fighting matters only insofar as it helps in this process. Law and order policing is not really a fight against rampant and escalating crime; rather it is aimed at forcefully limiting any possibilities the able-bodied poor may try to pursue to avoid the worst forms of wage labour.

  • Creating Criminals

    Prisons and People in a Market Society

    By Vivien Stern     January 2006

    Everywhere, the market society is producing more crime. More acts are being defined as crimes. More people are classified as criminals and more are being locked up in prison. With globalization, the crime and punishment problem is no longer insulated from pressures beyond national borders. The rich may retreat behind their expensive security into gated communities, but the poor are more and more at the mercy of criminals and corrupt policing. Vivien Stern argues that the trends towards more criminalization and more imprisonment are not making for more effective crime control or safer communities. She shows how the poor are criminalized and how commercial interests now shape society’s response to crime. She argues that the prospects for the future are serious without a new movement for reform.

  • STILL Blaming Children

    Youth Conduct and the Politics of Child Hating (2nd Edition)

    By Bernard Schissel     January 2006

    The media-enhanced moral panic surrounding youth has continued unabated over the past two decades. Its form and substance varies, but the politics of blaming and exploiting children underlies it all. Despite the reality that rates for most youth crime have gone down, the public condemnation of youth, especially through the news media, continue unabated, and the position of children and youth in our societies is still as precarious as ever. Put bluntly, the lives of too many children and youth are fraught with potential danger. Not only are they the victims of excessive legal scrutiny and scapegoats for panic-driven public policy, but they also go off to war proportionately more than adults and they work at unskilled jobs for no benefits and insultingly low wages. Children and youth live outside the protections of human rights. STILL Blaming Children, an expanded and updated version of Blaming Children, shows how “getting tough” on young offenders ignores the reality of their lives and the reality of their misconduct. The book ends by describing more humane and mindful alternatives for youth offenders, based on the human rights our children deserve.