Your resource for news, research, opinion and comment in the world of Criminology and Criminal Justice, brought to you by the Criminology Library, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
From Warriors to Guardians "Fundamental changes to both internal and
external policing culture are needed to transform cops from 'warriors'
to 'guardians', argue Sue Rahr and Stephen Rice, in the latest paper
from the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.
The strict military structure and protocol of many police
precincts defines how officers view their jobs and expectations for use
of power on the streets, write Rahr and Rice in their paper, the product
of a series of conferences that during the last six years targeted
major law enforcement policy issues." View the Full Report
When Cops Check Facebook
"America's police are using social media to fight crime, a practice that raises troubling questions.
In 2012, Brooklyn police officer Michael Rodrigues arrested a burglary gang, the Brower Boys, by adding gang members as friends on Facebook.
The day of the arrest was like gathering the lowest-hanging fruit. 'It’s break-in day on the avenue,' one gang member posted in his status
message. Officer Rodrigues and colleagues tracked the gang members to
the avenue in question. They photographed the young men committing the
crime, and then arrested them....
...Social media can produce evidence in some cases, but it also fails to
capture the complexity of human relationships—and can sometimes distort
them. For this reason, it is important to take care that social media
data is not misused or misinterpreted in the pursuit of justice."
For many police agencies the answer is yes — you never know when that record might come in handy in a future investigation.
But consider the case of Desmond Cole, a 33-year-old Toronto
journalist who says he has been stopped, questioned or followed by
police more than 50 times in Ontario. At what point, he asks, does
intelligence gathering become meddling and intrusion? Is it fair that
police have now accumulated, as Cole suspects, an internal database of
his many alleged encounters when he did nothing wrong?"
Body cameras were introduced as a tool of public accountability, but
making their videos available to the public might be too fraught, too
complex, and too expensive to actually put into practice.
Much of the ambiguity around body cameras comes down to this: Despite
their general popularity, despite being the only policy change called
for by the family of Michael Brown, body cameras are a little weird.
They are both a way for the public to see what police officers are doing
and a way for people to be surveilled. If a body-cam program, scaled
across an entire department, were to release its footage willy-nilly, it
would be a privacy catastrophe for untold people. Police-worn cameras
don't just capture footage from city streets or other public places.
Officers enter people's homes, often wh…
Certainly, no reasonable person could object to such a policy. But
government agents already perform such family interventions under
existing legal rules. So why mention this example in official talking
points, unless the object is to distract attention from the many areas
in which CSIS powers will be expanded in unsettling ways?
...Government counter-subversion campaigns—which involve the infiltration
and surveillance of anarchists and other radical groups that seek to
overthrow the existing social, economic, and political order—were
abandoned by CSIS years ago. However, the pow…
The 70 inmates in this facility go to work every day in the greenhouse.
Today, they’re potting seedlings in preparation for a big spring sale.
And yes, there’s a pen of bunnies to hang out with and pet. There are
But there aren't any gates, locks or uniforms — this is an open
prison. Everyone at the Kerava open prison applied to be here. They earn
about $8 an hour, have cell phones, do their grocery shopping in town
and get three days of vacation every couple of months. They pay rent to
the prison; they choose to study for a university degree in town instead
of working, they get a subsidy for it; they sometimes take supervised
camping and fishing trips."
That same day, also at Harvard Law School, U.S. District Judge Jed
Rakoff, who has become the archangel of candor on criminal justice
reform, gave a memorable speech in which he
candidly blasted lawyers for abdicating their responsibility “to help
create a safe, fair, and just society even when legal issues, in the
narrow sense, are not directly at stake.”
Penal Reform International: Global Prison Trends 2015
"This report is designed to describe key
global trends in the use and practice of imprisonment and to identify
some of the pressing challenges facing states that wish to organise
their penitentiary system in accordance with international norms and
standards. Topics include: Prison populations and rates of imprisonmentPrison managementPrison regimesNew technologiesCriminal justice, social policy and sustainable development
The report also includes a Special Focus pull-out section on the
impact of the ‘war on drugs’ and its implications for prison management.
Significant international developments, recent research projects and
precedent-setting court decisions are highlighted throughout.
Global Prison Trends is intended to be an annual publication.
Tracking trends and challenges in criminal justice systems will be vital
to designing and assessing measures intended to strengthen the rule of
law as a means to advancing su…
Audrey Macklin: European Politicians Envy Canada's Points System for Migrants. But how well has it Worked?
"When political parties across the world complain about their own
country’s 'inefficient' way of coping with immigration, they frequently
refer to us in Canada. The points system' of selecting permanent immigrants
according to their human capital – as calculated according to age,
education, occupation, language ability and optional job offer – holds
out the promise that the immigration system can do what eugenics could
not: control entry into the political community of only the best and the
brightest. And the fact that a Conservative government manages to cater
to its anti-immigrant base while cultivating a substantial immigrant
vote arouses curiosity and envy among European politicians of all
...Yet much of this must now be framed in the past tense, because the
present Conservative government is busily dismantling the pillars of
Kelly Hannah-Moffat is an expert on prisons, risk
assessment and punishment, particularly as experienced by women and
marginalized populations. A professor of sociology at the University of
Toronto Mississauga and director of the Centre of Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, she spoke with writer Jenny Hall about the practice – what is it, what is it supposed to accomplish, and how is it being used?"
This 'evidence-based' frame asserts that mass incarceration and 'overcriminalization' will be remedied by a handful of sentencing
reforms affecting 'low-level' offenders. An essential element of such
reform is the widespread use of 'evidence-based risk-assessment'
instruments to purportedly help authorities objectively determine who is 'dangerous' - and therefore must remain in prison - and who is not.
This isn't a miracle cure; it is a lavishly funded public relations
campaign advancing unfettered free-market 'solutions' to criminal
justice dilemmas and the politics of austerity. 'Bipartisanship' is driven by a right-wing agenda
and support from a constellation of libertarian a…
Communication Security Establishment's Cyberwarfare Toolbox Revealed
"Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada's electronic spy
agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its
U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many
parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico
and hotspots like the Middle East.
The little known Communications Security Establishment wanted to become more aggressive by 2015, the documents also said.
Revelations about the agency's prowess should serve as a 'major
wakeup call for all Canadians,' particularly in the context of the
current parliamentary debate over whether to give intelligence officials
the power to disrupt national security threats, says Ronald Deibert,
director of the Citizen Lab, the respected internet research group at
University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs."
The Radical Humaneness of Norway's Halden Prison
"To anyone familiar with the American correctional system, Halden seems
alien. Its modern, cheerful and well-appointed facilities, the relative
freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere —
these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found
in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether
Halden is a prison at all. It is, of course, but it is also something
more: the physical expression of an entire national philosophy about the
relative merits of punishment and forgiveness."
Anti-Homeless Spikes: "Sleeping Rough Opened my Eyes to the City's Barbed Cruelty"
"Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have warned
that homelessness in London is rising significantly faster than the
nationwide average, and faster than official estimates. And yet, we
don’t see as many people sleeping rough as in previous economic
downturns. Have our cities become better at hiding poverty, or have we
become more adept at not seeing it?
...The phenomenon of “defensive” or “disciplinary” architecture, as it is known, remains pervasive.
From ubiquitous protrusions on window ledges to bus-shelter seats that
pivot forward, from water sprinklers and loud muzak to hard tubular
rests, from metal park benches with solid dividers to forests of pointed
cement bollards under bridges, urban spaces are aggressively rejecting
soft, human bodies.
'When you’re designed against, you know it,' says Ocean Howell, who teaches architectural history at the University…
The criticism came at a Broadbent Institute Progress Summit panel
discussion headlined 'The Great Unravelling: Why it Matters How Canada
has become Less Democratic.'
Mark Bourrie, author ofKill the Messengers, and Michael Harris, author of Party of One,
focused on aspects of Mr. Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) governing
style that they exposed in their research and writing—the
centralization of power in the PMO, Mr. Harper’s extreme-discipline
manner of exercising power, the way Mr. Harper has held sway over his
MPs as well as the public service and the iron grip he has put on
government information and its dissemination."
Report Summary: Background - Explore the the early failure of
solitary confinement, the misguided return of solitary confinement int
he late 20th century, and the renewed consensus: solitary is a dangerous
and expensive correctional practice.Solitary Confinement increases crime - Solitary
permanently damages people who will one day return to Texas communities.
The consequences of overusing solitary is more crime in Texas
communities.Solitary is a huge cost to taxpayers - Solitary confinement costs Texas taxpayers at leas $46 Million a year.Overuse of solitary increases prison violence –
Solitary confinement makes prison less safe and deprives officers of the
option to incentivize good behavior. Violence escalates when officers
deny people in solitary basic needs. Other states have improved prison
safety by reducing solitary confinement.Mentally ill people deteriorate - The universal
Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavit - 2015. Corrections in Nunavut - Dept. of Justice
"This audit focused on whether the Nunavut Department of Justice was
meeting its key responsibilities for inmates within the corrections
system. We audited whether the Department of Justice: adequately planned for and operated facilities to house inmates, andadequately managed inmates in compliance with key rehabilitation and reintegration requirements.
...We concluded that the Department of Justice has not met its key
responsibilities for inmates within the correctional system. We
concluded that the Department of Justice did not adequately plan for and
operate facilities to house inmates, and did not adequately manage
inmates in compliance with key rehabilitation and reintegration
Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization "Author Malcolm Sparrow describes some of
the narrower traditions police organizations follow when they describe
their values and measure their performance (clearance rates, response
times, etc.). Sparrow uses the analogy of an airline pilot’s
sophisticated cockpit as he advocates that police managers use a broader
and richer information environment to assess performance. In easy to
understand language, he summarizes the work of several giants in the
policing field who have broadened the framework for monitoring and
measuring policing (Herman Goldstein, Mark Moore, Robert Behn, etc.)."
Report on Philadelphia Police: New Rules, Training Needed
"A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in
Philadelphia concluded Monday that there is "significant strife between
the community and the department," and recommended wholesale changes in
procedures and training.
The federal Office of Community
Oriented Policing Services (COPS) issued 48 findings and 91
recommendations for the Philadelphia department to consider in 'reforming its deadly force practices.'
...Much of the report echoed criticisms raised for years in community
meetings, past audits of the department, and lawsuits against the city....
Paul Messing, a Temple University Law School professor and
civil-rights lawyer, said the report 'confirmed what we've known for
years' - that the department's disciplinary process has 'a complete lack
The Justice Department's report also criticized
police policies on use of force, calling …
Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice "The National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS) is pleased to sponsor the Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services (JAJJS),
a refereed, multi-disciplinary publication dedicated to critically
examining a wide variety of topics related to juvenile justice. The
journal is intended to disseminate to juvenile justice practitioners and
researchers timely information focused on critical issues, including
effective strategies and practice; the operation and administration of
juvenile facilities such as detention, corrections, residential
treatment, shelter facilities, group homes, and other community-based
and institutional placements for youth; programming such as educational,
recreation, medical and mental health, focus groups, and life skills
training; trends in juvenile justice; legal issues that affect juvenile
justice practice; ethical issues in the treatment of juveniles; and
leadership and training in juvenile justice. The…
Sodexo justice services,
which runs six of the 21 newly privatised community rehabilitation
companies (CRCs) in England and Wales, intends to introduce the kiosks
so offenders can report in without having to see a probation officer.
The company’s 'new operating model' makes clear it intends to introduce 'biometric reporting' using cash machine-style kiosks.
The machines, which use fingerprint recognition technology to check
identities, allow an offender to report in, to give and receive
information, and to request a face-to-face meeting with a probation
officer. Offenders are to be allowed to report into probation using the
kiosks as a reward for good compliance with the early stages of their