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Issue 32.3

Editor: NANCY WRIGHT


EDITORIAL

By Hirsch Greenberg, CCJA President

 

CCJA INTERVIEW WITH ROBB NASH


CHANGING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM 

9

THE GLOBAL YOUTH JUSTICE MOVEMENT: HARNESSING THE POWER OF POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE

By John Winterdyk & Scott Bernard Peterson

 

13 

LA MISE EN OEUVRE DE LA CHARTE CANADIENNE DES DROITS DES VICTIMES: RÉFLEXIONS SUR LE TRAVAIL QUI NOUS ATTEND

Par Alrene Gaudreault

 

16

THE CHALLENGE OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: DIVERSE RESPONSES BY PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

By Stephen Howell

 

21

PERCEPTION VS. REALITY: CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. LET IT BEGIN WITH ME!

By Reverend Leon Remus

 

23

BARRIERS TO EDUCATION: ONGOING ISSUES/CHALLENGES – PERSPECTIVES FROM FEDERAL OFFENDERS

By Terry C. Kostiw

 

28

PEACE OFFICER SAFETY IN ALBERTA

By Dawn Rault & Melanie Rock

 

31

THE SECOND BRAIN: UNDERSTANDING THE BEHAVIOUR-CRIMINALITY NEXUS

By Jon Friel

 

32

INNOVATIVE INTERVENTIONS AT WILLIAMS LAKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

By Sarah Jackman


YOUNG RESEARCHERS’ CONTRIBUTION 

37

WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN CANADA: A FOCUS ON ABORIGINAL OFFENDERS

By Cheyenne Esmond

41

COMING EVENTS


Editorial 

By Hirsch Greenberg, CCJA President 

In this issue of the Justice Report we report on storytelling, peer pressure, new approaches, evidence-based research, relationships, police training, education, neuroscience, criminal behaviour, oppressive social systems, and wrongful convictions. Our contributors, from across Canada and one from the USA< are university students, academics and practitioners. Their topics lend an understanding of the breadth and depth of criminal justice issues, and they share a certain optimism. Read on!

Storytelling; we are hardwired to tell our stories. I first came across this notion from author Dr. Brené Brown (PhD). As Indigenous peoples tell us, it is important to take the time to listen to oral history-because it makes sense. In this issue’s CCJA interview, Robb Nash discusses storytelling as a way “to inspire hope and to encourage positive life choices”.

Understanding and responding to crime doesn’t belong exclusively to justice professionals and academics. The global youth justice movement, which harnesses the power of positive peer pressure, was begun in the U.S.A. almost 25-years ago by social-entrepreneur, Scott Bernard Peterson. John Winterdyk (Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta) and Peterson here investigate how youth accountability, rehabilitation and Extrajudicial Measures (outside the court) can come together. Yet, there is no such formalized program in Canada! Winterdyk and Peterson take a ground-breaking look at how such (youth) diversion programs readily align with the Extrajudicial Measures set forth in Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act (2013).

How are victims being impacted by the Canadian Victim Bill of Rights (CBVR)? It is to be evaluated in 2020, and reactions at the halfway mark have been lukewarm says Arlène reflects on the implementation of the CVBR, noting gaps in training and a need for jurisdictions and agencies to clearly lay out their obligations towards victims.

Is evidence-based practice all that it claims to be? Can there be more than a one-way approach? Critics of evidence-based practices question it as overly proscriptive, removing discretion from professional decision-making and making our relationship with others less humane. In the face of overwhelming caseloads, Stephen Howell (Camosun College, Victoria, BC) explores differences in ‘evidence-based practice’ in community corrections across the country. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the different evidence-based, practice approaches? Read Howell’s article to find out.

Perception versus Reality. (This sounds like my Philosophy 110 course!) – TO change reality, do we first change perceptions? Reverend Leon Remus contributes a challenge to this issue to the Justice Report; if we each take the time to build relationships one at a time and see past the stereotypes, we can change how the system works. This article offers an orientation of the spirit.

Terry Kostiw shares his rich experience as a parole and probation officer, and professor of criminology, criminal justice and corrections (Sheridan College, Ontario) by offering perspectives from federal offenders on the importance of formal education and on programs inside the walls. Explore with Terry, in Barriers to Education, a world where a majority of federal offenders lack appropriate formal education when entering and exiting the system.

Can improvements to occupational health and safety, mandatory training, personal protective equipment and reliable forms of communication improve peace officer safety? Dawn Rault and Melanie Rock (Canadian Institutes of Health Researchers funding recipients) review the death of a peace officer Alberta to find out. Is there an ultimate shield to protect peace officers? Rault and Rock investigate.

While in graduate school I came across an article published in the late 1980s by the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA. The author reminisced how we would not come to understand the mind-brain knot for another 200 years. I do not recall the author’s name, but the question of will we ever understand the mind, let alone control it via the brain, enough to relieve trauma is exciting. It is also controversial, raising ethical questions vis-à-vis One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or a Clockwork Orange. Jon Friel (R.Psych, Alberta) is on the leading edge of such investigations in The Second Brain: Understanding Behaviour-Criminality Nexus.

Inter-professional collaboration, working together to improve the quality of our human services, is illustrated by the innovations at Williams lake, BC. Sarah Jackman, Executive Director of Punky Lake Wilderness Camp and Society (PLWCS), recounts a creative response to socio-historic and economic conditions that fertilize criminal lifestyles by youth. Community and professionals come together to benefit the Cariboo Chicoltin (Williams Lake) region of British Columbia, allowing a glimpse into what’s possible!

Cheyenne Esmond (University of Regina) suggests that wrongful convictions are more than an accumulation of justice system errors. She probes the role of race and ethnicity, the police, juries, the judiciary and the crown as critical influences in her article, Wrongful Convictions in Canada; A Focus on Aboriginal Offenders.

The CCJA is pleased to present this collection of articles by authors, new and seasoned, highlighting important issues in criminal justice.


Abstracts

CHANGING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM SECTION

 

THE GLOBAL YOUTH JUSTICE MOVEMENT: HARNESSING THE POWER OF POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE

By John Winterdyk & Scott Bernard Peterson

What was begun as a ‘made in America Global Goal’ by social entrepreneur Scott Peterson in 1993, peer court volunteer-driven youth justice diversion programs (aka youth/teen/student court diversion program, youth jury and peer jury diversion programs, etc.) have mushroomed from 78 community-based programs in 1994 to over 1,700 programs around the world on four continents (i.e. North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia) as of 2017, and there’s no sign that this local volunteer-driven approach to Youth Justice and Juvenile Justice will slow down anytime soon. Yet, there is no such formalized program in Canada! To this end, Winterdyk and Peterson take a ground-breaking look at how such (youth) diversion programs readily align with the Extrajudicial Measures set forth in Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act (2013), Section 4. Extrajudicial means outside the court, and the measures aim at avoiding the formal court process (and criminal records) for youth when accountability and rehabilitation can be obtained through alternative means.

 

LA MISE EN OEUVRE DE LA CHARTE CANADIENNE DES DROITS DES VICTIMES: RÉFLEXIONS SUR LE TRAVAIL QUI NOUS ATTEND 

Par Alrene Gaudreault 

The coming into force of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR) in April 2015 attracted scant notice. Moreover, several initiatives have since been put in place to help victims avail themselves of their rights and remedies, but such supports vary greatly from one government to the next. Despite all efforts, the CVBR remains little known and has generated little discussion. It has not brought about any complaints to Department of Justice Canada, and it is unknown if any have been brought about in the provinces and territories. Successful implementation will require better training of stakeholders and clear identification by jurisdictions and agencies as to their obligations towards victims. The CVBR will be evaluated in 2020 and much work lies ahead. Reactions at the halfway mark have been lukewarm, to say the least.

 

THE CHALLENGE OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: DIVERSE RESPONSES BY PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS 

By Stephen Howell 

Community corrections has embraced evidence-based practice more readily than have other parts of the criminal justice system, and the research on offender assessment and treatment, produced largely in Canada since 1980, has been avidly received due to needs imposed by large caseloads. Services across the provinces and territories operate under the same Charter and federal legislation, generally deliver the same suite of services, and subscribed to the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model of case management developed by D. A. Andrews and James Bonta (Bonta and Andrews, 2016). Yet the organization and delivery of these services, and the application of ‘evidence-based practice’, differs significantly across the country. The Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS) model is emulated internationally, but viewed with caution at home. Comparative studies would demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches by provinces and territories.

 

PERCEPTION VS. REALITY: CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. LET IT BEGIN WITH ME! 

By Reverend Leon Remus 

Rather than looking at the criminal justice system to change, try making “be the change” your mantra. Walk a mile in my shoes is a wise saying. This is only possible by getting to know one another. If parole officer, guard, inmate and other justice stakeholders learn to get to know one another, perceptions will change and, with it, reality. Then and only then will our system change.

 

BARRIERS TO EDUCATION: ONGOING ISSUES/CHALLENGES – PERSPECTIVES FROM FEDERAL OFFENDERS 

By Terry C. Kostiw  

This research note provides an overview of barriers to a formal education that exist disproportionally for the criminal offender population – before, during and after incarceration. The aim of this research study was to hear directly from offenders on statutory release about their educational experiences. The survey questions focused on the perceived impact of educational attainment, or lack thereof, on their lives and what barriers they may have experienced. Their thoughts on future directions that may reduce the challenges of furthering one’s education were also solicited. While the correctional/criminological literature clearly informs us as to the negative correlation between a limited formal education and crime, the offender population in Canada remains quite disadvantaged; yet, despite efforts on the part of the federal and provincial correctional systems to address this concern, progress has been slow. Kostiw discusses educational roadblocks from an offender’s perspective and offers important implications of policy.

 

PEACE OFFICER SAFETY IN ALBERTA

By Dawn Rault & Melanie Rock

Rault and Rock explore the first-ever fatality inquiry (2017) in Alberta involving the death of a peace officer (2012) within a framework of the need for a robust parallel dialogue addressing occupational health and safety concerns, including the need for mandatory training, personal protective equipment, and reliable forms of communication and intelligence sharing.

 

THE SECOND BRAIN: UNDERSTANDING THE BEHAVIOUR-CRIMINALITY NEXUS 

By Jon Friel 

The brain/mind-behaviour relationship and the accepted use of medication for treating mental illness, make neuroscience relevant to criminology. Research into glial cells, which comprises 90% of the brain, offers a promise of ‘re-understanding’ the mind, but has just begun. This calls for professional caution in our work practices regarding treatment and rehabilitation programs.

 

INNOVATIVE INTERVENTIONS AT WILLIAMS LAKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA 

By Sarah Jackman 

This article informs on a creative response to socio-historic and economic factors that foster the adoption of a criminal lifestyle by youth – a program called Innovative Interventions, conceived and administered by the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp and Society (PLWCS) in partnership with Toosey First Nations Band, RCMP Community Policing, Youth for Christ and the Williams Lake Community Council for Restorative Justice (WLCCRJ) to benefit the Cariboo Chicoltin (Williams Lake) region of British Columbia. The program is held at the Old School Training and Recreation Centre and offers innovative and flexible employment- and life-skill mentorship programming for certain offenders and short camps stays for at-risk youth of all ages. Staff members include an Auxiliary Police Office (also Project Management and Economic Development worker for the Toosey First Nation), and Administrative and Program Support Worker, a local Elder, and a Youth Pastor form a local church who also works as the contractor and serves as both supervisor and mentor along with support from both the community and PLWCS staff. Funded through the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, Innovative Interventions delivers employment skills and develops self-esteem for youth through sanctioned hours spent at an abandoned elementary school in ‘Chilcotin Country’. Not all youth at Old School are on probation or fulfilling community service hours, some clients come from Restorative Justice forums and from community referrals or self-referrals. Proactive camps for all ages of high-risk youth are also available.

 

YOUNG RESEARCHERS’ CONTRIBUTIONS

 

WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN CANADA: A FOCUS ON ABORIGINAL OFFENDERS 

By Cheyenne Esmond 

Cheyenne Esmond explores wrongful convictions in Canada within a framework of a troubled justice system, pointing out that one cannot look at this issue without also probing the role race and ethnicity and the role police, juries, judiciaries and the crown play in wrongful convictions. Esmond shows how history repeats itself with respect to cases ranging from over a century to three decades ago and that, generally, “eyewitness error, professional misconduct, false confessions, erroneous forensic science, the use of jailhouse informants, and racial bias” figure prominently (Denov & Campbell 2005). In addition, the author illustrates that wrongful convictions undermine public confidence in the justice system.


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.

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