Volume 57, No. 1 | Go to abstracts
Unemployment, GDP, and Crime: The Importance of Multiple Measurements of the Economy
Frédéric Ouellet et Pierre Tremblay
Unintended Consequences of Multiple Bail Conditions for Youth
Jane B. Sprott and Jessica Sutherland
Beyond Frequency: Perceived Realism and the CSI Effect
Evelyn M. Maeder and Richard Corbett
Canadian Exclusion of Evidence under Section 24(2) of the Charter: An Empirical Model of Judicial Discourse
Melanie Janelle Murchison and Richard Jochelson
Université de Montréal
Occupational prestige is a measure used in sociology of occupations to establish the social status of a job as a hierarchized continuum. The measure can be defined according to income, level of supervision, independence, and competence. Based on interviews with violators committed to imprisonment (n = 133), this study assesses the applicability of the notion of prestige to illicit occupations. Results show that the domains of activities associated with illicit occupations are not consistent regarding prestige, contrary to licit occupations. Some of the characteristics that define the prestige of licit occupations, such as income and competence, contribute to define the prestige of illicit ones as well. The criminal milieu reveals specific characteristics, among which is the difficulty to obtain occupational stability. Studying criminality with the same notions we use for the population at large allows us to compare both environments to understand their components and differences. And understanding social desirability within the criminal milieu would allow for a better understanding of the permutations in an offender’s career, that is, what motivates a delinquent to go back and forth between criminal and conventional occupations.
Martin A. Andresen
School of Criminology, Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies, Simon Fraser University
The relationship between unemployment and crime is complex and consists of two independent and counteracting mechanisms: the motivation effect and the guardianship/opportunity effect. Cantor and Land (1985) put forth a model that synthesizes these two effects and found that guardianship/opportunity dominates motivation. Recent work questions this result and the use of unemployment to measure economic performance. Instead, some of this new research uses a direct measure of the economy at the US state level – gross state product, for example. In the present article, the relationship between crime and economic performance is investigated using unemployment, gross domestic product, a hybrid modelling approach, and Canadian provinces as the unit of analysis. It is found that both unemployment and gross domestic product matter for crime, guardianship/opportunity explains more results than motivation, and the strength of either effect depends on the crime type being analysed.
Jane B. Sprott and Jessica Sutherland
Department of Criminology, Ryerson University
Within the Criminal Code, and more recently the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the legislated goals of bail release conditions appear to be focused on the grounds for detention; in particular, to help ensure court attendance and to reduce the risk of reoffending. While Canadian research has explored the impact of multiple conditions on the likelihood of returning to court for failing to comply with orders, there has been no investigation into whether or not numerous conditions actually help to achieve their main legislated purposes of ensuring court attendance and reducing the likelihood of reoffending while on release. Using a large representative sample of completed youth court cases, we investigate the relationship between the imposition of numerous conditions and the achievement of those goals. We find that the use of numerous release conditions is not associated with an increased likelihood of court attendance or with a decreased likelihood of returning to court with new criminal (violence, property, drug) charges. Instead, numerous conditions are related only to an increased likelihood of subsequent failing-to-comply charges. The necessity of imposing numerous release conditions is called into question.
Evelyn M. Maeder and Richard Corbett
Although police, lawyers, judges, and even some community members believe that CSI-type shows have seriously affected the criminal justice system (termed the CSI effect), empirical research has not demonstrated a link between crime television viewing and verdicts. However, the literature has established that higher frequencies of crime television viewing are associated with increased expectations of evidence, different attitudes toward evidence types, and varying self-reported levels of understanding of scientific evidence. The present study sought to extend our understanding of the influence of crime television on attitudes, expectations, and verdicts by examining the influence of perceived realism (i.e., the degree to which television programs are viewed as accurate and realistic depictions of the field that they portray) in this context, since some research has identified perceived realism as a moderator of the effects of television on attitudes. Participants were asked to play the role of mock jurors and read a trial transcript in which the Crown presented DNA evidence. Participants also indicated the frequency with which they watched crime television programs (frequency), as well as the degree to which they felt these programs were accurate and realistic depictions of the criminal justice system (perceived realism). Results revealed a number of interesting direct and indirect effects of both frequency of viewing and perceived realism on mock juror information processing, attitudes, and decision making, suggesting that in order to truly understand the effect that crime television may have on potential jurors, their frequency of watching must be considered in combination with the degree to which they perceive these programs as realistic depictions of the justice system.
Melanie Janelle Murchison
Queen’s University Belfast
Department of Criminal Justice, University of Winnipeg
Margit Cohn and Mordechai Kremnitzer developed a multidimensional 17-parameter model, in 2005, to measure the judicial discourse in the decisions of constitutional courts. A court rendered a decision that was activist when it made a decision outside the traditional scope of judicial constraints on government action and that was restrained when they adhered to the principles of traditional adjudication roles. Previously, this model was successfully operationalized, by Jochelson et al. (2012), to analyse significant changes in the interpretation of search and seizure law in the judicial discourse of the Supreme Court of Canada, before and after 9/11. We now use the model to expand that analysis to section 24(2) exclusion of evidence cases under the Charter. By using a 1–10 Likert scale for each Cohn/Kremnitzer indicium of analysis, a value was assigned to each variable of every case and then the pre-9/11 case group were compared to the post-9/11 one. Our data analysis shows increased restraint on the part of the Supreme Court in 7 of the 13 variables of judicial discourse measured after 9/11, even when factoring in the landmark decision in R v Grant(2009). These changes are consistent with the post-9/11 literature on securitization: 9/11 was a moment when the state was given excuses to control, using security as justification for precautionary and risk-averse actions. While we cannot assert any causal relationships between these changes and 9/11, the caveats still permit significant findings, the most intriguing being that the Court has shifted, in its discourse on the exclusion of evidence, toward an ethic of more restraint. These findings stand alongside other studies that have found similarly in the area of search and seizure law.