Criminology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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The prison experience from the prisoners' perspectives: Trauma healing within the correctional setting

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-13
Abstract: 

Childhood psychological trauma (CPT) has been identified as underlying generally accepted criminal risk factors and its role in the generation of criminal behaviours is profound. While psychological and behavioural impacts of unresolved CPT may continue throughout the lifetime, healing CPT is recognized as essential to rehabilitation and is possible throughout the lifetime. This dissertation examines the experiences of former prisoners of Canadian federal correctional institutions to gain an in-depth understanding of healing from CPT while in prison and during community re-entry, from their perspectives. A series of three in-depth interviews was held with 17 former prisoners who self-identified as having experienced CPT. Their experiences of CPT impacts prior to prison and their experiences of healing during incarceration and community re-entry were explored. Five primary results of this study emerged. (1) CPT impacts included chronic hyperarousal, automatic fight or flight responses, stress addiction and trauma-bonds. Prior to prison, men’s physical and psychological survival depended on their creation of autonomy and safety through threat-resistance, limited emotionality, revenge and violence, and a veneer of mask-ulinity. (2) In prison, inter-prisoner physical brutality extended pre-prison trauma; survival required hyper-mask-ulinity, which included maintaining a reputation of domination-violence, independence-power, limited emotionality and strategic relationship formation. (3) Correctional staff-prisoner interactions, based on a correctional culture of hyper-mask-ulinity, included domination, violence, emotional detachment and correctional officer solidarity that required physical and psychological brutality of prisoners. Prisoner survival depended on employment of resistance strategies, strategic relationship formation, and further emotional constriction. A correctional staff-prisoner Hyper-mask-ulinity Stand-off compounded CPT. (4) Peer-relationships and prisoner-created initiatives provided psychological and physical support consistent with factors of trauma healing, however these were experienced as ‘removal activities’ and constituted survival, and trauma-mitigating mechanisms. (5) Trauma-informed, gender responsive healing factors were experienced through relationships with community members, community-run initiatives, and experiences at Kwikwexwelhp Healing Lodge. Providing turning points in the life trajectory, these experiences facilitated initial stages of recovery from CPT, initiated growth, and enhanced rehabilitation. Consequential to the pervasive threatening environment few participants moved past Stage I of trauma recovery. Implementation of trauma-informed correctional care is recommended in Canadian federal prisons to facilitate CPT healing and enhance rehabilitation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole M. Myers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Cell towers and the ambient population: A spatial analysis of disaggregated property crime in Vancouver, BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-10
Abstract: 

The current study employs a new measure of the ambient population, constructed using cell tower location data from OpenCellID, to compare residential and ambient population-based crime rates in Vancouver, BC. Five disaggregated property crime types are examined at the dissemination area level. Findings demonstrate striking differences in the spatial patterns of crime rates constructed using these two different measures of the population at risk. Multivariate results from spatial error models also highlight the substantial impact that the use of a theoretically-informed crime rate denominator can have on Pseudo R2 values, variable retention, and trends in significant relationships. Implications for theory testing and policy are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Canada and the ‘Five Eyes’ Alliance: Current directions in domestic national security policies

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-13
Abstract: 

On June 18, 2015, the Canadian government passed the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) with the purpose of enhancing Canada’s national security strategy. The ATA has faced extensive criticism with many questioning the legality and necessity of the government’s approach to domestic national security. However, little attention has focused on how Canada’s national security measures compare to strategies implemented by other democratic nations. A comparative policy analysis is utilized to systematically examine some of the most controversial measures contained within the ATA in comparison to equivalent legislation existing among member-states of the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance. Relevant insights into the development of national security policies and practices are generated along with recommendations to improve Canada’s current national security framework.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Garth Davies
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Making meaning out of social harm in videogames

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-14
Abstract: 

A literature review demonstrates that videogame research has theoretical and empirical relevance to criminology. This thesis explores the construction of meaning around representations of social harm in videogames by answering two research questions: 1) How is social harm represented in videogames? 2) How do players construct meaning around videogame content relating to social harm? Study 1 is a qualitative content analysis of representations of social harm in the popular videogame Skyrim. Themes included crime and punishment, money and power, extrajudicial crime control, legitimacy of violence, and criminalization of race. These findings are contextualized against analogous real-world cultural constructs. Study 2 consists of 18 interviews with players about their experiences interpreting and responding to social harm representations in videogames. Players’ construction of meaning depended on factors including player-character relationship, playstyle, game genre, and play context. Preliminary metrics for measuring these factors are proposed, and implications for future research are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bryan Kinney
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Pulpit for sale: minorities and the privatization of prison chaplaincy in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-09
Abstract: 

Federal prison chaplaincy experienced a major shift in 2013 when the provision of these services was outsourced to a single for-profit company. The present study examines how privatization has impacted minority faith chaplains serving in federal institutions in Canada. The study also explores the theoretical concept of performativity and its impact on prison chaplaincy as a caring profession. Based on 10 in-depth semi-structured interviews with minority chaplains the results show that privatization led to: 1) increased levels of bureaucratization that have compromised the quality of spiritual care available to prisoners, 2) reduced resources for chaplains and 3) increased emotional exhaustion and frustration among chaplains.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Myers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody: An event perspective of the community safety partnership making process in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-20
Abstract: 

Community safety partnerships are becoming an important part of policing and crime prevention in Canada. These types of partnerships have long existed. However, with recent pressures on police services to respond to more complex social issues, alongside scrutiny of policing budgets, increasing attention is being paid to partnership creation. Much has been written about community safety partnerships. This literature, however, largely ignores the transactional phase of partnership-making. This phase is important for understanding how community safety partnerships emerge, develop and sustain themselves. Furthermore, little is written on the Canadian context, despite significant differences in Canadian police organizations and communities compared to the United Kingdom and the United States. The current study seeks to examine the community safety partnership making process through an event perspective. Findings from this study have implications for theories of partnerships, as well as practical implications for partnership making and the organizational structure of policing in Canada.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A comparison of serial and non-serial sex offenders

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-21
Abstract: 

Research on serial sex offending has predominantly focused on the modus operandi, victim selection and criminal career of offenders. Studies on psychosocial characteristics of SSOs remains limited and research assessing comparative differences between serial sex offenders (SSOs) and non-serial sex offenders (NSSOs) is nearly non-existent. Using a sample of 553 male sex offenders, the current study investigates differences in characteristics between SSOs and NSSOs. Results from a series of logistic regression analyses indicate significant distinctions between SSOs and NSSOs. Specifically, their sexual development, adult sexual lifestyle, and psychopathologies. A profile of SSOs is proposed and implications for investigative purposes and future research are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“The sufferings and persecution of my people back home is the one that really burns and boils in me every single day”: Exploring expressions of well-being in the Oromo diaspora

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-06-27
Abstract: 

Oromos are an Indigenous people living in the horn of Africa and in diaspora. Their long history of struggle against (internal) colonization creates a challenging context in which to strive for well-being. For the last 30-40 years, Canada has been a common destination and safe haven for many persecuted Oromos. The current project sought to explore Oromo conceptions of well-being through a qualitative study involving participant-observations and 14 interviews in three Canadian cities. The findings reveal that Oromo people’s origins in Oromia remain an important and continuing determinant of their health and well-being, despite migration to Canada. The findings suggest that our current understandings of determinants of immigrant health in Canada are too narrowly focused on post-migration conditions. These findings contribute to a growing body of literature that prioritize understandings of collective over individual well-being, as well as the important exploration of social determinants of immigrant health.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ted Palys
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“An Awkward Couple”: Examining the relationship between vulnerable witnesses and the Canadian criminal justice system

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-10
Abstract: 

This thesis explored strengths and weaknesses surrounding the Canadian criminal justice system (CJS) and vulnerable witnesses. Literature and case studies typically focus on the negative relationship between the courts and witnesses. Though special measures have been introduced and utilized within the adversarial system, the results indicate a gap in efficacy, specifically with vulnerable witnesses’. Interviews were conducted with vulnerable witness and stakeholders in the CJS and students were surveyed. Professionals who worked with vulnerable witnesses emphasized their dissatisfaction with the justice process. Fifteen interviews with criminal justice personnel who worked with vulnerable witnesses, and a vulnerable witness, together with a survey of nineteen undergraduate students were conducted. Consistent with previous research, the current study found that more assistance throughout the process is needed. Findings suggest that a better understanding of ‘vulnerability’ may lead to better treatment of vulnerable witnesses and enhance their ability to provide their “best evidence” in court.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gail Anderson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Patterns of female offending: Childhood and adolescent risk factors

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-08
Abstract: 

Differences in offending patterns between male and female youth are well established in the literature. In comparison to female youth, males are more involved in serious and violent offending and are also more likely to engage in offending that persists across the life course. Offending trajectory comparisons between males and females suggest that the trajectories of the highest rate female offenders are different from the highest rate trajectories of male offenders and that comparing trajectory association across gender can mask important within-group differences among female offenders. Indeed, little research has moved past analyzing female juvenile offenders as a homogenous group (Odgers et al., 2007). Consequently, there is limited understanding of the impact that risk and protective factors have on offending persistence or desistance specifically for female offenders. Using data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study, the current study examined the impact of key theoretical constructs on the offending trajectories of female adolescent offenders during emerging adulthood. Analyses using Traj for STATA revealed more heterogeneity in female offending trajectories than earlier indications in the literature. The results are discussed with reference to how childhood and adolescent risk factors help inform female offenders’ continued offending into adulthood.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jennifer Wong
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.