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Issue 36.4

Editor-in-Chief, NANCY WRIGHT

Section Launch

A Success Story for Criminal Justice: Roberto

Lamenting the fact that good news often goes unreported, Doug Heckbert here launches this new section of the Justice Report: Success Stories in the Canadian Criminal Justice System. Heckbert, like other Canadian justice stakeholders, is committed to the idea of criminal justice education. The public needs to hear more than sensationalized and often over-reporting by media of horrific crimes and also new laws or regulations, such as abolishing solitary confinement for example, which can make people feel our system is failing. This lack of faith in public safety can be scary and make citizens question the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. Heckbert also points out that those working in criminal justice become accustomed to criticism and negative comments but often remain silent about the successes in criminal justice due to confidentiality. Yet, the public needs to hear about the good work done by criminal justice officials and about the stories of those accused whose decisions to change their attitudes and behavior and literally “turn their lives around” have made them our success stories. Heckbert is calling on criminal justice officials to assume the responsibility of “telling good news”, rather than just hoping the media will get around to it. Doug Heckbert here introduces us to this new section of the Justice Report and presents its first success story: Roberto.

Roberto Continued…

Making use of segments from his book, Go Ahead and Shoot Me! And Other True Cases About Ordinary Criminals (Durvile Press, 2021), former probation officer and justice stakeholder Doug Heckbert tells Roberto’s story. Drawing on the “Juanito” chapter of his book, Heckbert here offers new details that emerged from a recent
personal interview with Juanito, whose real name is Roberto. Alienation from his church and family had led Roberto to seek the company of those involved in drugs and crime. They made him feel as though he fit in – but he was only 18 and his life quickly spiraled out of control. Laying bare the social damage the accused had brought to the community and the personal impacts of his own bad choices, Heckbert traces Roberto’s assisted but-self-driven recovery through success.


Entre l’universel et le comparé : vers une criminologie authentiquement nationale et africaine

Professor-Researcher. Professor of Criminology at the FSJES, USMBA, Fez, Morocco. Member of the ESSOR Laboratory. Member of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA)

Driven by the ambition to encourage and stimulate the development of an authentically national and African criminology, the few Moroccan and African researchers are faced with a less than encouraging reality. Criminological education and research remain “provincial”. Knowledge is scattered and unorganized. As Canadian professor Denis Szabo would say it: is a matter of “esoteric researchers” and “bitter pamphleteers”. We are still waiting for the maturation and the intellectual and scientific emancipation of a team of Moroccan and African academic researchers who love ideas to introduce the spirit of renewal. There is still a long way to go. The Canadian approach in this matter marks a pathway for the development through teaching of a universal and comparative criminology.


Criminal Justice Studies, Mount Royal University (Calgary, AB)

There has been a steady flow of Indigenous individuals into the Canadian justice system and many people are wondering why. It has led some to question the integrity of the justice system and suspect a degree of structural discrimination within the Canadian correctional system’s policies and procedures. Indigenous peoples face such criminogenic factors as substance abuse, poverty, family violence and unemployment. These factors should be considered through court-mandated assessments but are not always, due to lack of training or oversight. A small portion of Indigenous offenders ever complete the programs they are in, and face long waits in starting correctional programming. Attempts must be made to reduce the dark figure of crime produced by unsolved or unreported crimes that make recidivism rates less accurate. As well, strategies must be implemented to reduce Indigenous recidivism and criminality. The recommendations for reducing Indigenous recidivism are simple in theory but will require a structural shift in Correctional Service Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people and an acknowledgement of past and present social challenges, such as colonial displacement from land, residential school abuse, and lingering structural discrimination in our justice system. From lack of program completion caused by processing times and deficits in staff training, it is clear that the CSC needs to enact systemic change.

The CCJA congratulates Megan Davidson as the recipient of a Mount Royal University scholarship, the benefits of which include CCJA membership and the publication of an article-style version of her winning paper in the Justice Report.

Training Anti-Fraud Professionals and Managing Anti-Fraud Operations: Challenges and Opportunities
PhD Candidate, Department of Science and Technology, York University (Toronto, ON)

As financial transactions move online, financial crimes also transition to cyberspace. The technological intricacies, social implications, and economic challenges implicit in cybercrime are pertinent concerns for the digital era. While the financial sector relies heavily on anti-fraud professionals to investigate and intervene in cyber fraud, operational complexities and training obstacles persist. Katelyn Wan Fei Ma highlights three common challenges to the training of professionals and management of anti-fraud operations and offers potential solutions: establishing a comprehensive, regularly updated fraud typology; strategic management of fraud victimization profiles; and an interdisciplinary approach to fraud data analysis.

Ambiguities of Crime and Punishment: Radicalization of Second-Generation Muslims in Canada and Belgium

In this expansive overview of radicalization processes affecting Muslim youth in Canada, Karime Elabderrahmani suggests that definitions of crime and punishment can become ambiguous in the light of theory and evidence positing social strain as a factor in the development of criminal behaviour. Social exclusion, poverty, rouble fitting in at school, and lack of opportunities for meaningful employment, suggest the author, are factors that all too often characterize the experience of second-generation Muslim citizens in Canada and Belgium; but who is responsible? Is it the parents, or is Islamophobia to blame? Given the fact that radicalization opportunists are always prowling online, and that second-generation Muslim Canadians and Belgians are increasingly considered vulnerable to their lure, Elabderrahmani is calling for more research into how socio-environmental factors come together to radicalize Muslim youth against Canadian society and the authorities and make them vulnerable targets for radical Islam extremist groups around the world. Negative sentiment and hate crimes against Muslim Canadians perpetrated by ‘mainstream Canadians’ have prompted a summit but there will be no easy fix. Elabderrahmani warns that Belgium’s experience may offer clues for Canada.

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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