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

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A crime scene approach to distinguishing sexual murderers

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-25
Abstract: 

Previous studies have identified two main types of sexual murderers: ‘angry’ and ‘sadistic’. Similar to the ‘organized murderer’ of the FBI, the sadistic sexual murderer has been described as likely to inflict mutilation, use restraints, humiliate, and force anal sex on the victim. All four behaviours are found on several sadism scales developed to measure sadism in sex offenders. This study compares crime-scene characteristics for sexual murderers who have used these four behaviours associated to sexual sadism. Using a sample of 85 Canadian sexual murderers, logistic regression models were created to identify potential differences between sexual murderers who adopted such “sadistic” behaviours and those who did not. Findings, for example, show sexual murderers who have inflicted mutilation on the victim are more likely to pre-select and pre-meditate the crimes. Findings will be discussed in light of the literature on sexual sadism and the implications for the investigation of these crimes.

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

Experimental lacustrine taphonomy: Decompositional changes in freshwater lake submerged Ovis aries skeletal remains within the Pacific Coastal Western Hemlock Zone

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

This aquatic field experiment examined the effect of freshwater submergence on sectioned sub-adult Ovis aries (domestic sheep) femoral cortical bone discs. As a proxy for skeletonized human remains, samples (n = 130) were deployed across ten sites at Marion Lake, B.C., Canada. Specimens were recovered consecutively over a 16-month period and analyzed macroscopically and microscopically for structural (artefact, abrasion, cracking, bioerosion) and colour change. Atmospheric, lake surface, and core temperature were also monitored, along with precipitation, water pH, cage movement, and elemental analysis of silt composition. Bivariate analyses show a significant relationship between taphonomic signifiers and the location of submergence, elapsed time of submergence, and findings suggest that seasonality may impact the rate of decomposition. The location of the cages was linked to the appearance of periosteal abrasion and encrustation, and the loss of pre-deployment artefacts also suggests that intentional human-induced disarticulation of bones might be obscured over time.

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

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.