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

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Examining the impacts associated with technology-facilitated sexual violence: A mixed methods approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-20
Abstract: 

Numerous cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) exemplify potentially tragic outcomes for victims including stress, anxiety, depression, and negative social/occupational consequences. A mixed methods approach was used to integrate survey data (N = 337) with interview data (N = 10) to gain a more in-depth understanding of TFSV victimization impacts for men and women as well as to examine the predominant feminist perspective in TFSV research. In addition, quantitative survey data (N = 521) were used to evaluate the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (ITS) in the context of TFSV victimization. The objective was to analyze the mechanisms underlying the relationship between TFSV victimization and suicidality, exclusively accounting for mediating factors of interpersonal victimization, depression, perceived burdensomeness (PB), and thwarted belongingness (TB). Results revealed several major themes that emerged among victims of TFSV including the mistrust of others, a continued sense of a loss of control, and fear of future repercussions stemming from the victimization. Pathway results showed that TFSV victimization increased suicidality serially through bullying, depression, and PB – suggesting a cascade of victimization experiences. TB was not a significant mediator.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Richard Frank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

From empty to angry: Extremism, modernity, and the search for identity

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-15
Abstract: 

An increase in the amount of high-profile incidents and attacks in the West perpetrated by individuals subscribing to a variety of extremist ideologies over the past decade has led to an influx of academic research concerned with uncovering how and why it is that individuals become radicalized toward ideologically-motivated extremist violence. While such research has examined a diverse range of social, demographic, and psychological variables and their potential link/correlation to the radicalization process, there has yet to emerge an accurate or reliable ‘profile’ with respect to who is more or less likely to become radicalized or join extremist/terrorist movements. The primary aim of this dissertation is to present a novel theoretical approach which centers the concept of individual identity as the fundamental factor which drives individuals in the West toward involvement with extremist movements. This theory of identity, which presupposes that macro-level structural factors fundamentally dictate how individuals experience and internalize identity on a micro-level, is outlined by tracing how the concept of ‘identity’ has historically evolved in ‘Western’ culture up to its current iteration in modern, hyper-connected, late-capitalist society. Once outlined, this theory of identity is empirically applied to the digital media content of two extremist movements via a mixed-method approach that utilizes topic modelling, sentiment analysis, and thematic/discourse analysis. More specifically, the content of the so-called Islamic State (including videos, magazines, and Twitter posts) and the user-generated comments of the notorious far-right online community r/The_Donald are examined through this theoretical lens and analyzed with this mixed-method approach. Results indicate that, wittingly or not, modern extremist movements routinely incorporate questions of identity into both their propaganda and general discussions in a manner that provides simplistic solutions and answers to the complex problems of identity and self that are created and amplified within modern Western culture. As such, this dissertation argues that the attraction of extremist ideology and the potential for extremist violence is, at current, an inevitable byproduct of modern macro-level structural and economic conditions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Richard Frank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

‘I don’t want to be alive’: Suicidal ideation and attempted suicide among prison inmates

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-12
Abstract: 

Suicide is a serious public health concern and prisoners represent a particularly high-risk group. Though research on the suicidality of prison inmates has gained considerable momentum in recent decades, there are several underexplored areas of inquiry. The purpose of this dissertation was to add knowledge to three underexplored avenues of research. First, very limited research has used a multi-level methodological approach to investigate how both micro-level prisoner and macro-level prison characteristics contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviour among prison inmates. Second, rates of suicide are highest among middle-aged and older adults; yet, little is known about the nature of suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide among older prison inmates, especially with respect to how they compare to younger counterparts. Third, suicide attempters represent a heterogenous group, whereby repeat-suicide attempters are clinically distinct from single-suicide attempters; however, most prison-based research has examined suicide attempters as a homogenous group, with a paucity of research which has aimed to identify factors that distinguish repeat-suicide attempters from single-suicide attempters. This dissertation used the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, a cross-sectional survey which collected data on a nationally representative sample of 18,185 prison inmates in the U.S. Results from the first study (Chapter 2) highlight that both micro-level prisoner and macro-level prison characteristics are important to consider as correlates of suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide. This study also highlights variations in predictive patterns for suicidal thoughts versus attempted suicide, as well as gendered patterns with respect to predicting suicidal thoughts/attempts. Results from the second study (Chapter 3) suggest that suicidal thoughts/attempts may manifest differently for younger and older prisoners, with differing patterns of risk. Results from the third study (Chapter 4) emphasize the importance of acknowledging the heterogeneity of suicide attempters, as repeat-suicide attempters potentially possess a differing risk profile as compared to single-suicide attempters. The collective results from this work may be of great use for prison administrators and mental health professionals working in prison settings who want to reduce suicide-related issues or otherwise improve the well-being of at-risk prisoners.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Simon Verdun-Jones
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Are bosses brokers? A network approach to leadership in organized crime

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-05-25
Abstract: 

Although research has been conducted on leaders of various types of organizations, there are concerns that such research cannot be generalized to organized crime groups. Using data provided by the Criminal Intelligence Service of Alberta, the current study adopts a social network approach to analyzing leadership in organized crime in Alberta, Canada. More specifically, it looks at whether leadership status can be used to predict centrality. Understanding the network centrality of leaders can help shed light on what leaders do, how they behave, and who they talk to, which in turn allows law enforcement to more effectively plan and assess the appropriateness of intervention strategies against organized crime groups. While past studies have used centrality measures to predict leadership, I argue that centrality comes with the territory of being a leader. Results indicated that leadership status was a significant positive predictor of both degree centrality and betweenness centrality.

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

X̱aaydaG̱a Tll Yahda TllG̱uhlG̱a Decolonizing justice: The formation of a Haida justice system

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-05-06
Abstract: 

The imposition of colonial governance, law, and justice superseded Indigenous Nation-based ways of governing and responding to wrongdoing. The Haida Nation and Haida Gwaii are uniquely situated to reassert the right to justice. Through semi-structured in-depth interviews, this study addressed the research questions: What does justice mean to the Haida? How could Haida conceptions of justice be implemented in modern-day? The emergent themes encompass the importance of community involvement, looking to the past to understand the present, overcoming trauma and healing and taking incremental steps towards the ultimate goal of sovereignty. The re-establishment of a Haida justice (tll yahda, make things right) system will take time and the importance of building capacity, healing, and focusing on our collective strengths was highlighted by participants. This study suggests that the formalization of a Haida Tll Yahda system is possible and offers suggestions for further actions to hold Canada to account for the ongoing harm it has caused.

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

A neighborhood-level analysis of immigration and crime in Vancouver, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-06
Abstract: 

In recent years, conflict and violence have propel the rate of displaced individuals to the highest levels since the Second World War, reigniting concerns on immigration and crime. Mass re-settlement initiatives have also changed the social and economic landscape of cities and neighborhoods, opening up an entirely new set of challenges for host nations. From an academic vantage, empirical inquiries are complicated by the dynamic, multifaceted and heterogeneous nature of immigration—complexities that also impact theory-based interpretations of the relationship. The polarization of sentiments complicate political and social perspectives. Advocates for restrictive immigration policies argue that immigrants are inextricably crime prone, while those in support of open immigration policies counter. Empirical research has proliferated in recent years, findings consistently show negative or null relationships between immigration and crime—yet researchers still know relatively little about why findings occur. As such, the current thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of the immigration-crime link by addressing empirical and methodological gaps that help identify contextual mechanisms that underlie the relationship. Empirically, multi-dimensional, theoretically derived measures of immigration are analyzed—attending to the limitation of overly broad, single dimension, measures. Limitations also stem from a paucity of research that test the relationship at smaller aggregate units. This gap is addressed using census-tract level data and spatially referenced crime data to test immigration effects on disaggregated property crime types across neighborhoods in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2003-2016. Methodological limitations develop from the use of global analytic models in assessments of ecological spatial data. Accordingly, local-level spatial analytic techniques are utilized—the spatial point pattern test and geographically weighted regression and a decomposition model. Overall, findings importantly show significant spatial variation in the effect of immigration on property crime (spatial non-stationarity). Results also demonstrate significant variation across immigration measure, property crime classification, effects are also distinguished between and within neighborhoods. Findings therefore, illustrate the context dependent nature of immigration effects on crime. Therefore, in order to develop a better understanding of the immigration-crime link future research should move beyond monolithic expectations and adopt research strategies that account for contextual factors that help explain differential relationships between immigration and crime.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Restorative Justice in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Bangladesh: Exploring Genesis and Praxis

Date created: 
2019-12-10
Abstract: 

More than a hundred countries around the world practice some form of restorative justice. Although research of these practices has expanded exponentially, there remain significant gaps in international comparative studies, understanding of community praxis, and perspectives of visionaries and practitioners on the genesis of RJ. This doctoral study bridges these gaps through thirty-eight semi-structured interviews and follow up surveys within the three research sites: British Columbia and Nova Scotia, in Canada, and Bangladesh. The research question addresses both genesis and praxis of RJ across the research sites. The data identifies the key factors that contributed to the genesis of restorative justice at each site. This growth is then situated within the phasic stages of social movements, arguing that restorative justice has not yet reached a ‘tipping point’ at any of the sites. The findings of this study illustrate the intricate nuances and complexities in the genesis of RJ, and enhances the understanding of community praxis in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Bangladesh. Whilst similarities in community praxis, such as a circle of care or community as volunteer, exists across the sites, this study finds additional distinct forms of community praxis, such as ‘reflective community’ in British Columbia and ‘learning community’ in Nova Scotia. The research contributes to the existing literature in three ways. First, it documents the stories and voices of restorative justice visionaries who played a pivotal role in the early days at the three sites. Second, it identifies and contributes to contemporary debates: the standardization of restorative justice; the application of restorative justice on gender-based violence; and the role of INGOs. Third, it contributes to the theoretical framework of community praxis in restorative justice through a proposed Community Engagement Framework as well as a conceptual framework for decolonization and restorative justice. This study posits that the proposed Decolonizing Framework for RJ would facilitate the evolution of culturally and socially conducive RJ practices in previously colonized countries, like Bangladesh.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Brenda Morrison
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Examining the effects of dating violence prevention programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Dating violence is a prevalent issue among adolescents and refers to any physical, psychological, or sexual violence perpetrated by a partner in a close relationship (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019a). Prevention programs aim to increase awareness of dating violence and promote healthy relationships. This meta-analysis examines the efficacy of programs targeting adolescents at increasing knowledge about dating violence, changing attitudes towards dating violence behaviours, increasing bystander behaviours, and reducing incidents of adolescent dating violence perpetration and victimization. A systematic search yielded 37 studies contributing 71 independent effect sizes. Studies were pooled by outcome measure and results suggest that prevention programs have a significant, positive impact on measures of knowledge, attitudes, and violence perpetration, but did not significantly impact experiences of victimization or bystander behaviours. In addition, nine moderators were used to examine the impacts of program, participant, and study characteristics. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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

Rationalizing professional misconduct: An examination of techniques of neutralization in lawyer discipline proceedings

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-11
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the use of neutralization techniques by lawyers to justify, excuse, and rationalize their behaviour in disciplinary action for misappropriation, real estate fraud, and conviction for serious financial criminal offences. In addition to assessing the nature and frequency of lawyer neutralizations, this study also considers the extent to which law society discipline hearing panels evaluate and respond to these defence and mitigation strategies in making a sanctioning determination. The dataset consists of 393 law society discipline decisions from eight of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies decided between 1990 and 2017. Content analysis addresses the characteristics of these lawyers, how they use techniques of neutralization and are disciplined by the law societies, and how hearing panels evaluate and respond to these rationalizations. The research findings have implications for neutralization theory and its application to lawyer discipline, for stakeholders and policymakers. The conclusions focus on three issues: 1) the prevalence of substance use and other mental health concerns in lawyer discipline cases, 2) the role of post-offence mitigation in the sanction determination, and 3) the suggestion that mitigating factors should be re-examined as techniques of neutralization with the goal of neutralizing some of them when imposing sanctions in disciplinary cases.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Joan Brockman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Exploring the covariates of domestic terrorism in Canada: A model of provincial variation in terrorist incidents

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-14
Abstract: 

The majority of research on terrorism is focused on the United States, with very few studies examining terrorism in the Canadian context. Additionally, no studies have examined structural-level factors associated with terrorism in Canada. Therefore, the present study aims to understand the covariates of terrorist incidents within Canada informed by social disorganization theory related to population composition, economic factors, trends in immigration, among other theoretically relevant variables retrieved from the Census of Canada. A series of negative binomial generalized estimating equations and generalized linear models are conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors associated with terrorism within Canada. The results show that the social disorganization perspective provides considerable utility in aiding the understanding the macro-level covariates of terrorism. Trends regarding the characteristics of terrorist incidents within Canada are also outlined, along with how the face of terrorism in Canada has changed over the years.

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