Editor: NANCY WRIGHT
By Irving Kulik, Executive Director of the CCJA
REMEMBERING SENATOR EARL ADAMS HASTINGS
By Mary E. Campbell
Note: The CCJA apologizes to Mary E. Campbell for a layout error in this article. The end of the final sentence on page 8 is missing and should have read as follows: “In 1967 or 1968, he has recounted, a man came to see him in his Calgary office on behalf of the man’s brother serving a murder sentence.”
YOUTH AT RISK COMMUNITY SAFETY PROGRAM – CHANGING DIRECTION AND CHANGING LIVES
By Karen Reid Sidhu
FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF BITE MARK ANALYSIS
By Saverio De Marco
PRESUMED GUILTY: WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN CANADA
By Brandi Chrismas
BY Irving Kulik, Executive Director of the CCJA
As we begin a new fiscal year at CCJA there are a number of interesting developments I would like to share with the membership. Firstly, as the affiliate presidents know, our Board commenced a strategic planning exercise last summer and this will probably continue until the coming fall. Essentially we are examining the changing nature and demographics of our membership and seeking the approaches that best serve our members and the long term goals of CCJA. In the meantime I have undertaken discussions with affiliate presidents and intend on participating in more regional events in order to strengthen our bonds. The work of the Policy Review Committee gives us a great deal of credibility in the area of public policy development and our biennial congress is a rich source of professional education and networking. More however can be done in the intervening year as well as in connecting with the public at large on an on-going basis. How we accomplish these objectives and others will be the topics of our review and we welcome the input of all our affiliates and members.
We have begun serious planning for our next congress to take place in Toronto at the Sheraton Centre Hotel October 25-27, 2017. This event is unique in our history in that we will be partnering with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth, as well as our affiliate, the Criminal Justice Association of Ontario. The congress is entitled Canadian Youth and Justice: Advancing Ideas, Evidence and Innovation. We will have issued a Call for Abstracts by the time you read this editorial. We will entertain presentations in research and innovation within the areas of youth special needs such as mental health, substance abuse and others, Aboriginal youth, community resiliency, police and community initiatives and other related issues. The subject areas are broad enough to attract presenters from academia, governments as well as eager practitioners who will enlighten the delegates and share their successes and best practices. The involvement and assistance of management and key staff at Children and Youth has been tremendous and we are expecting a most impressive turnout. On a daily basis we hear and read about the current challenges and problems faced by our youth. Hopefully we will learn about some breakthroughs and good news stories at Congress 2017.
The federal government has recognized the seriousness of violence among indigenous women with the announcement of an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. It is anticipated to commence in the summer of 2016. Moreover the Status of Women is starting discussions on a national action plan on violence against women. The issue of sexualized violence has also received national coverage with the recent trial of a former media broadcaster. The intense scrutiny of the victims’ testimonies in court revealed how difficult a sexual assault trial can be for victims, and various questions have been raised as to whether this trial and the ensuing media coverage will deter women from reporting sexual assault to the police in the future.
While we are still more than a year away from Congress 2017, in 2019 CCJA will be celebrating its first centenary, marking the events that have taken place since 1919 and the role that CCJA has played. For this reason we have also begun talking about the 2019 congress and we have issued some guidelines for affiliates who may be interested in hosting the 2019 conference. More to come!
Finally, it is time to kick off our board election process. We will be issuing a call for nominations from all members of the Association and even if you have never been on this board I would urge you to consider putting your name forth as a candidate. We can always benefit from new ideas. The board is composed of one director from each province, one for the Territories and four positions at-large. Each CCJA member can vote for any and all positions but, you must reside in the province that you aim to represent, unless you are vying for the at-large positions. Four year terms commencing September 1, 2016, are available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI, Newfoundland-Labrador and the Territories. In addition the four at-large director positions need to be filled. Give it some thought and get involved. It can be a great experience and learning opportunity.
Have a great and warm spring!
May marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest members of the Senate in history. Earl Adams Hastings was perhaps an unlikely candidate for that recognition – a “Prairie boy” who went straight into the military after high school, then worked in agriculture and oil. There was nothing in his early life that suggested he would become not only an outstanding Parliamentarian but also one of the most committed prison justice advocates of the last century.
Submitted by Colleen Kerr – Crime Reduction Strategy Manager, City of Surrey Vulnerable or problematic adults usually start off as vulnerable or problematic children, and it is more often than not that they also lived in vulnerable households. The highest proportion of them also come from lone parent households (most often led by single moms). But, the good news is that supports along the way including the influence of a strong and positive mentor or being provided positive opportunities will very often turn lives around. This is the story of one way we are doing this in the City of Surrey.
THE CASE FOR LESS IMPRISONMENT/PUNISHMENT AND FOR MORE REHABILITATION/TREATMENT OF SEXUAL OFFENDERS IN THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
This article discusses the fact that sentencing in Canadian courts reflects a belief in imprisoning/punishing the sexual offender over rehabilitating/treating, yet scientific research does not support the tenet that substantial imprisonment/punishment of sexual offenders reduces sexual offences. Noting the different sex treatment programs available for male and female offenders within the criminal justice system, Horodeckyj notes that these are not always available and are not mandatory. Reporting that a plethora of research studies show that substantial prison terms, as opposed to moderate or short, do less to reduce crime, including sex offences, and little in terms of rehabilitation. The author proposes a number legislative changes based on best practices derived from such studies.
This article reports on research undertaken, by student-author Saverio De Marco, into the critical analysis of the field of forensic odontology, an integral part of forensic science, to ascertain the overall reliability of its use in criminal investigations. Research obtained from various sources including crime scene photographs, peer reviewed articles, textbooks, legal cases, and the National Academy of Sciences Report focused mainly on how one historically questioned component of the forensic odontology field – bite mark analysis – was used in the Theodore (Ted) Bundy criminal investigation. The research conducted for this article evidences the fact that bite mark analysis proved an extremely useful forensic tool in determining the outcome of the Ted Bundy case. However, even though this case has undeniably increased the overall credibility of the use of bite mark analysis, this latter has not yet received the necessary acceptance and support from the scientific community to become a routine and recognized form of admissible evidence in civil or criminal investigations.
The strategies and challenges of securing empirical data are regularly documented to celebrate access, inform the research community of new techniques, and expose novel sources of data. A widely unknown data collection strategy uses litigation to access records produced by the youth criminal legal system, which can consist of prosecution files composed of police statements, case synopses, victim statements, and other textual documentation of legal evidence. Using this data collection strategy in Canadian youth justice research, Coady reviews how a researcher can make an application to a court and use the Youth Criminal Justice Act to petition a judge to grant access to youth records for research or statistical purposes. Drawing on his own experience and mapping the arguments that he used when successfully litigating for data, the author presents a strategy for accessing data on youth criminalization in Canada.
Saviotti takes the reader through the legal, moral and ethical impingements that have historically characterized Canada’s attitude toward the Lubicon Cree Nation. Their settlement is in Little Buffalo, close to Little Buffalo Lake and Lubicon Lake. Saviotti notes that the Lubicon people traditionally engaged in hunting, trapping and gathering, activities that were culturally, socially and economically important to their culture and also one of a small number of remote communities that have never signed a Treaty Agreement. Historically, says Saviotti, this community practiced shared decision-making, enjoyed peaceful relations with other First Nations communities, and had their own laws and legal order and a ‘for-the-people’ government. Due to their sui generis relationship with the government, reports Saviotti, a majority of negotiations to control their traditional lands have failed throughout history and currently more than 70% percent of Lubicon territory has been leased for future resource development, including oil sands extraction. The Lubicon have received no compensation in return, but have seen their land and wildlife poisoned and people made sick by the resulting pollution.
Noting that the presumption of innocence is an important legal principle in Canada, and calling for greater accountability among agents within the Canadian CJS, student-author Brandi Chrismas explores the issue of wrongful convictions in this country. Demonstrating that 20% of all convictions in Canadian criminal courts are wrongful, Chrismas reports on several known issues/problems that contribute to wrongful convictions. Chrismas also presents a number of reasons to explain why some aspects of measures already in place to prevent wrongful convictions could be improved and also explores why parole conditions become a Catch-22 for the wrongfully convicted.
One particular pre-trial process in which an accused person may not receive counsel is at the plea bargain stage; yet plea bargaining, aka plea negotiations/plea bargaining, between Crown prosecutors (both provincial and federal) and a self-represented-accused (SRA) is not always accessible. While self-represented accused are permitted to enter into plea negotiations, prosecutors in practice are reluctant to deal with them. Establishing substantive fairness in the plea discussion process would require a positive obligation on prosecutors to engage in plea discussions with people regardless of their ability to retain counsel. Plea negotiations as discussed in this article are those conducted in Nova Scotia by both provincial and federal prosecutors.
Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the Association’s views, but are included to encourage reflection and action on the criminal justice system throughout Canada.