Crime, Deviance and the City: Public Criminology ColloquiumResearch Centre West - RCW002 (Lower level)
“CRIME MATTERS": THE CRIMINOLOGICAL IMAGINATION and PUBLIC CRIMINOLOGY.
Presenter: Dr. Chris McCormick
Date: September 17th
In three parts, I discuss the necessity of looking at the mis/representation of crime in the news, my work in writing a newspaper column, and some ideas for creative change. The first uses several examples to show how pervasive media images and ideas are in our society, and how they inform public perceptions of the nature and extent of crime. The second looks at a near-ten year career as a columnist, writing on crime and criminal justice issues ranging from bike theft to social protest. The third discusses several ways in which social scientists can intervene in public discourse as informed citizens as more than simply subject matter experts. In this way I illustrate how the task is three-fold, to educate oneself, one’s students, and the community.
A VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES: PERCEPTIONS AND RESPONSES TO ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND YOUTH CRIME
Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Schulenberg
Date: September 24th
Effective prevention and intervention strategies target risk factors that increase the likelihood for antisocial behaviour, including youth crime. We often learn about youth crime from the media but rarely gain a glimpse into what Canadian research finds about the nature of youth crime, the views of police, probation, and other system actors on the causes of antisocial behaviour along with how we should respond when it occurs. To understand how and why we respond to youth in conflict with the law in the ways that we do, this presentation will explore several related questions. Do those in the criminal justice system respond to antisocial behaviour from a "get tough on crime" approach? How are their responses to youth crime affected by their definitions and perspectives on factors increasing the likelihood of criminal behaviour? What do they see as "working" given the characteristics of the youth, the offence, the context, and available resources? What factors are taken into consideration when deciding how to handle the situation? This presentation will question our notions of justice, meaningful consequences, and consider the implications when system actors' views on risk factors, antisocial behaviour, and appropriate responses to youth crime differ.
TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF HOMEGROWN TERRORIST RADICALIZATION
Presenter: Dr. Lorne Dawson
Date: October 1st
Since the Madrid train bombings in 2004 the attention of security authorities has slowly but steadily shifted from the threat posed by the agents of international terrorist organizations to that posed by “homegrown” terrorist radicalization: citizens inspired by a radical ideology independently forming groups to attack the people of their own country. In the last ten years numerous incidents have occurred throughout Europe, Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, and elsewhere. In this brief lecture I will survey what we know and do not know about this phenomenon, placing recent events in Canada in a broader explanatory context (e.g., the London, Ont. youth involved in the terrorist attack on the Algerian gas plant; the VIA rail bomb plot; the Victoria Canada Day bomb plot). In doing so, I will also briefly discuss the main methodological hurdles preventing us from knowing even more about this relatively rare yet ominous phenomenon, and the need to grasp the social psychological processes at work in turning what often appear to be “remarkably ordinary” people into killers willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause with which they frequently have only a tangential personal connection.
SOCIAL CONTEXT AND INEQUALITY: WHEN PRISONS ARE THE RESPONSE TO POVERTY, RACISM, VIOLENCE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Presenter: Dr. Kim Pate
Date: October 8th
Kim will discuss the current trends in the increase criminalization and imprisonment of women, especially those who are poor, racialized, victimized and have mental health issues. Within the context of current legislative and political trends, she will further elucidate some of the issues that contribute to the over classification and limited programming and treatment options which contribute to women being the fastest growing prison population in Canada and internationally. Kim will identify some key challenges and future opportunities for judges wishing to address social context and inequality.
THROUGH THE GLASS: One Woman's Pursuit of Justice, Healing and Forgiveness
Presenter: Shannon Moroney
Date: October 15th
When Shannon Moroney married in October of 2005, she had no idea that her happy life as a newlywed was about to come crashing down around her. One month after her wedding, a police officer arrived at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, had been arrested and charged in the brutal assault and kidnapping of two women. In the aftermath of these crimes, Shannon dealt with a heavy burden of grief, the stress and publicity of a major criminal investigation, and the painful stigma of guilt-by-association, all while attempting to understand what had made Jason turn to such violence.
KIDS GONE WILD: WORRYING ABOUT SEX BRACELETS, RAINBOW PARTIES, AND SEXTING
Presenter: Dr. Joel Best
Date: October 22nd
There is a long history of adults worrying about “these kids today”–about their costumes, tastes, and behavior. When we look backward, earlier generations’ fears about rock and roll or going steady seem exaggerated, even silly. But reports that today’s youth are out of control--endangering themselves and perhaps the larger society–may seem quite reasonable. Stories about sex bracelets, rainbow parties, and sexting all emerged during the first decade of the twenty-first century; all three depicted young people engaged in shocking sexual practices. The sex bracelet and rainbow party stories are best understood as contemporary legends, tales that were widespread in spite of there being little evidence that the behaviors they described were at all common. In contrast, critics could point to dramatic instances of sexting leading to harm, and various authorities did devise policies to deal with sexting. Comparing the ways people learned about and addressed these problems illustrates the dynamics of contemporary fears.
THE ROLE OF GLADUE IN THE COURT SYSTEM
Presenters: Justice Gethin Edward, Robert Kindon, Sarah Dover, and Lisa VanEvery
Date: October 29th
This presentation will provide students and community members with an overview of how Gladue came about, the role of defense counsel, the considerations taken in the preparation of a Gladue report, and how the crown balances its responsibility to the public while dealing with the over-representation of aboriginal offenders in the Canadian criminal justice system
WHAT IS JUSTICE?
Presenter: Dr. Justin Piché
Date: November 5th
In the Canadian context we are exposed to commentary that privileges criminalization as a way of interpreting and favours punishment as a way of responding to complex harms and conflicts in our communities. This way of seeing and acting in the world is oriented around notions of 'justice' such as deterrence (sending a message that given acts will not be tolerated), incapacitation (warehousing the criminalized for prolonged periods of time in the name of preventing future harms beyond prison walls), and 'just desserts' (making sure those with whom the law in in conflict receive the punishment they deserve). Underpinning these notions of 'justice' are assumptions about what the victimized and/or criminalized, as well as members of their families and communities, need from 'justice'. Rare, however, are efforts to interrogate these assumptions and ask stakeholders affected by criminalized conflicts and harms what they need from 'justice'. This presentation aims to engage Wilfrid Laurier University students and residents of Brantford, Ontario in such a discussion, by studying a number of real-world scenarios and asking the question "what is 'justice'?" This vision of 'justice' from the ground-up will then be contrasted to state responses to these conflicts and harms as a means of evaluating whether participants are satisfied with the status quo.
THE FUTURE OF POLICING IN CANADA: CHALLENGES AND POSSIBILITIES
Presenter: Dr. Tullio Caputo
Date: November 12th
There is a conversation going on in Canada today about the future and sustainability of public policing. This conversation involves major stakeholders in the policing community including: police leaders, police associations, and police governance bodies as well as all levels of government and the general public. To date, a major focus has been the economics of policing including cutting costs, streamlining service delivery and searching for economies of scale. At the same time, however, a combination of both external and internal factors has placed questions about the future of public policing into a much broader context. Questions about the changing nature of harm, the impact of technology, and the consequences of globalization have raised serious concerns about the changing role of public policing. As well, the current protracted economic downturn, jurisdictional issues, ongoing legislative changes and a myriad of internal forces have changed public expectations. This presentation discusses the context within which this conversation is taking place, explores some of the key issues at stake and considers the implications of these for the future of policing in Canada.
SOCIAL REGULATION OF DRUGS: THE NEW 'NORMAL'?
Presenter: Dr. Patricia Erickson
Date: November 19th
A Norwegian researcher recently described normalization as the “most important development in the sociology of drug use in several decades.” This talk will trace the evolution of normalization of illicit drug use in Canada from the 1970’s to the present. Based on decades of research, it will be seen that markers of stigma and subcultural isolation have given way to widespread use, mainstream acceptability and lifestyle choices. Particular attention will be paid to the growing gap between punitive drug prohibition policies and the attitudes and behavior of drug users and nonusers alike. Illustrations will be provided by recent interview studies with socially integrated adult cannabis users and university students. Hence, social regulation, it is argued, which involves drug users setting their own standards of how/when/where/with whom to consume certain substances, has largely replaced the total ban dictated by the criminal law. Thus despite continued enforcement and even expansion of the drug laws, norms around appropriate use have come to resemble those for legally regulated substances like alcohol and tobacco. The implications for the future of Canadian drug policy will be considered.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN CANADA: A HUMAN RIGHTS DISCUSSION
Presenter: Dr. Bernard Schissel
Date: November 26th
Child rights, most of which are universally agreed upon. form the framework for this presentation. I explore the state of children and youth in Canada by describing the social and economic nature of Canada's young in the context of the human rights protections accorded to young people in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in the United Nations Convention on the Child, to which Canada is a signatory. These important agreements articulate the basic rights of food, clothing and shelter, freedom from ill-health, freedom from harm, freedom from legal discrimination and freedom from labour and consumer exploitation. In the west we often hear news reports of children being exploited in troubled spots in other parts of the world and, rightly so, our hearts go out to the young people and their families. Interestingly, this compassion for suffering children outside of our borders often masks an antipathy toward children and youth within our borders, especially disadvantaged young people who come into contact with the justice system. My presentation addresses this antipathy.