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January 2018

Volume 60, No. 1 | Go to abstracts

Articles

Page 1

A Unique Response to Offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Perceptions of the Alexis FASD Justice Program
Katherine Flannigan, Jacqueline Pei, Carmen Rasmussen, Sandra Potts, Teresa O’Riordan

Page 34

A Nationwide Survey of Child Interviewing Practices in Canada
Sonja P. Brubacher, Kim Roberts, Barry Cooper, Heather Price, Lynn Barry, McKenzie Vanderloon

Page 69

Détermination de la peine dans le système de justice pénale pour adolescents : examen des dilemmes éthiques vécus par les acteurs judiciaires Québécois
Isabelle Linteau, Denis Lafortune, Chloé Leclerc

Page 96

A Different Lens? How Ethnic Minority Media Cover Crime
Aziz Douai, Barbara Perry

Research Note

Page 122

Re-examining the Relationship between Age and Confidence in the Police in Canada
Natasha S. Madon

 

Abstracts

A Unique Response to Offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Perceptions of the Alexis FASD Justice Program

Katherine Flannigan, Jacqueline Pei, Carmen Rasmussen, Sandra Potts, Teresa O’Riordan

Despite our knowledge that individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are over-represented and vulnerable in the justice system, there is a critical paucity of research related to supporting offenders with FASD. The Alexis FASD Justice Program (AFJP) is an innovative and multidisciplinary justice program in rural Alberta that uses information from neurocognitive assessments to inform court decisions for adults with suspected FASD. In the current study, the perspectives of AFJP services providers were explored, with the goal of identifying the perceived impacts and challenges of the program. Through two focus groups with a total of 18 participants, four themes were identified: building capacity, humanizing the offender, creating bridges, and moving forward. These themes are discussed in reference to existing recommended practices for working with offenders with FASD, and future avenues for research are identified.

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A Nationwide Survey of Child Interviewing Practices in Canada

Sonja P. Brubacher, Kim Roberts, Barry Cooper, Heather Price, Lynn Barry, McKenzie Vanderloon

The goal of the present study was to create professional awareness about the degree of consensus and consistency in the interview techniques that ultimately influence child victims’ experiences and progression through the legal system in Canada. We surveyed 200 professionals who interview children in Canada about the guidelines and techniques they use, their perceptions of their training and interviewing arrangements, and the needs and challenges they face in daily practice. Results revealed a wide variety of practices in use across the country, and differences in length of training and who provided it. Police and child protection workers tended to differ on their satisfaction with interviewing arrangements. Commonalities were observed across organizations and locales in that most interviewers could readily identify challenges in talking to vulnerable witnesses and desires for additional training (e.g., greater topic breadth and regular follow-ups). Responses revealed awareness of contemporary research, as well as pockets of more traditional thinking, about child witness capabilities and interviewing techniques. Although variety in interviewing guidelines and training providers is not necessarily problematic, the development of a single nationwide policy on the core components of vulnerable witness interviewing, to which training programs must adhere, could have particular value.

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Détermination de la peine dans le système de justice pénale pour adolescents : examen des dilemmes éthiques vécus par les acteurs judiciaires Québécois

Isabelle Linteau, Denis Lafortune, Chloé Leclerc

Sentencing is inherently a complex decision, and even more so under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Determining a sentence implies the consideration of numerous factors, and requires a balance between principles and purposes that, under certain circumstances, may seem to conflict, besides giving rise to debates. The judicial actors who have to give a decision on sentencing in court are thus likely to face ethical dilemmas, which this study aims to better understand. To that end, semi-directed interviews were conducted on a sample of 31 judicial stakeholders, in seven administrative regions in Québec. Their content analysis brings out three main types of situation that lead to ethical dilemmas. For the most part, these reflect a conflict between the enforcement of a fair penalty, on the one hand, and the goal of rehabilitating and socially reintegrating the offender, on the other. This study sheds new light on the nature of the experienced dilemmas and the context in which they emerge. Future studies shall explore how to solve them.

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A Different Lens? How Ethnic Minority Media Cover Crime

Aziz Douai, Barbara Perry

There is a growing body of literature on the nexus of media, race, and crime, which reveals that crime is exaggerated in mainstream media and that these same venues tend to racialize crime and criminalize race. The impact of this is that inaccurate public perceptions about the frequency, seriousness, and demographic distribution of crime are reinforced. Interestingly, however, there have been no focused efforts to explore the ways in which crime is featured within the media targeting specific racial and ethnic communities. We know little about whether such outlets reproduce these patterns. This pilot study is intended to initiate an examination of the representation of crime news in Canada’s ethnic media, exploring the patterns of crime reporting in such outlets and comparing the ways in which such news is presented to different audiences. We conducted a content analysis of two English-language newspapers in the Greater Toronto Area, which nonetheless serve specific racial and ethnic communities. Quantitative (e.g., frequency) and qualitative (e.g., themes) findings from the study offer insights into crime reporting patterns, as well as the nature of crime coverage in the studied newspapers.

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Re-examining the Relationship between Age and Confidence in the Police in Canada

Natasha S. Madon

When views of police across age groups are examined, it is commonly found that young people hold more negative views of police than their adult counterparts. The argument is thus made that views of police become more favourable with age and that the nature of this relationship is linear. The 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization is used to re-examine this relationship by observing the trajectory of perceptions of police from adolescence into adulthood. Calling into question the presumed linear relationship between age and attitudes towards the police, this study finds that the direction of the relationship between the two variables is contingent upon what portion of the population is examined. The findings of the regression analyses demonstrate that for those under 25, there is a negative relationship between age and confidence in police, while for those 20 and older, the relationship is positive. These findings highlight that those who are youngest are not the most negative towards police. Directions for future research are explored.

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