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

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“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.

A qualitative study comparing Canadian and international legislation governing administrative segregation in correctional facilities

Date created: 
2018-08-10
Abstract: 

Administrative segregation, also known as solitary confinement, is a procedure used in correctional facilities to remove certain inmates from the general prison population. This is a controversial method since it can lead to mental and physical harm and sometimes even resulting in suicide. Canadian cases, such as the death of Ashley Smith, have shown the several issues involving the use of administrative segregation. Further, the UN Nelson Mandela Rules define separate confinement lasting longer than 15 days as torture. This qualitative study examined the federal and provincial legislation of Canada governing administrative segregation. Additionally, a review of the legislation involving administrative segregation from six European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, and Ireland) as well as Australia and New Zealand was conducted. The findings in the international statutes helped to establish recommendations for the Canadian legal system regarding the procedure of administrative segregation in correctional facilities.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Simon Verdun-Jones
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Appealing to the masses: The allure of social media

Date created: 
2018-01-26
Abstract: 

Social Media is one of the most prevalent forms of communication in today’s society. However, research has consistently noted that there are risks associated with the use of social media. The current study looks to understand what makes social media appealing to users that they forego or limit their privacy and security online. Consistent with previous research, the current study found that users considered both self-disclosure and self-exhibition as appealing characteristics of social media. Users want to both look at other users and expose themselves to other users. However, the findings indicated that the way users treat social media depends on their awareness and cognition of the risks of social media use. Users utilized the platforms to limit the information dispersed about them, but were not as limiting with service providers. The findings also indicated that users lacked knowledge or understanding of what "personal identifiable data" entails, to the detriment of their online privacy.

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

The isolated post: A qualitative analysis of the challenges of Northern policing

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

This study provides an understanding of the opinions and experiences of officers who are posted in Northern and remote rural communities across Canada. This area has often been neglected by research. Key findings include a discussion of challenges associated to living in remote areas, the duration of postings, the relationship with the community, the relocation of family, the multifaceted role, crime and social disorder, the lack of anonymity, and detachment sizes. This study provides strong support that remote postings present many unique challenges unknown to their urban counterparts.

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

A profile of medical cannabis users residing in Canada and the United Kingdom: Accounting for policy and experience

Date created: 
2018-03-21
Abstract: 

Cannabis remains among the most widely used, researched, and discussed drugs in the world. The science buttressing its use as a treatment for a variety of symptoms and medical conditions has evolved considerably since the 1960s; yet, the most common uses reported by patients are not recognized by the medical community. Despite this lack of accord, several countries have liberalized domestic policy in recent years to give eligible patients access to regulated suppliers and protection from legal repercussion. Alternatively, patients residing in countries without a medical exception continue to risk facing social stigmatization and other legal barriers created by prohibition. This study considers whether the profile of self-described medical users from two countries with very different policies is shaped by external forces, such as domestic policy, or unique features of the “cannabis career.” Data obtained from an online survey of self-described medical users residing primarily in Canada and the United Kingdom (n = 359) is used to better understand this drug-using population. The study describes the sample “profile” using information about respondents’ demographics, patterns of use, medical conditions and symptoms, healthcare involvement, reasons for use, and experience using cannabis. Cannabis career typologies are constructed with k-means cluster analysis and distinctions are drawn between Canadian and British respondents using descriptive and comparative statistical analyses. Respondents’ sociability and resourcefulness are investigated with a “sociability scale” and a descriptive account of their “cannabis network.” Finally, logistic regression is used to identify which factors are associated with elevated odds of encountering social, legal and supply-side barriers. Four models (“cannabis career,” “needs-based,” “resource-based,” and “risk-based”) are used to determine whether unique features of the user-profile can explain who encounters barriers beyond nationality/residency alone. Additionally, the study considers separately the subpopulation of users that grow their own as a means of overcoming the access barrier. With few exceptions, the profile of users is the same for Canadians and Britons; however, when it comes to the barriers, the notable distinctions are country-specific and largely stem from policy. The study describes the major similarities and differences between the two populations and considers their policy and research implications.

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

"They don't have a platform here": Exploring police perceptions of the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-17
Abstract: 

Recent high-profile lethal use of force incidents in the United States involving White police officers and Black males have cast unfavorable international attention on the policing profession. Research indicates that Black people are disproportionately represented at all levels of the criminal justice system within Canada and the United States; their relationship with the police in particular has been adverse throughout history (Warde, 2012; Kahn & Martin, 2016). The current qualitative analysis explored the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of municipal police officers in the GVR and examined the following research questions: (1) To what degree, if any, has the recent BLM movement affected municipal policing in the GVR? and; (2) What can municipal policing agencies in the Vancouver area do to distance themselves from the BLM movement and anti-police rhetoric that is occurring in many parts of the United States? The BLM movement is present in Canada, but the anti-police rhetoric currently spreading throughout the United States is not. Officers described a positive relationship with community members in the GVR further stating that interactions between themselves and the community have not changed since the emergence of the BLM movement. These findings indicate that the BLM movement is not a “one-size fits all” movement. The overall positive nature of community-police relations in this region exist regardless of the community’s exposure to an increase in controversial police behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rick Parent
Curt Griffiths
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Crude Crime: An analysis of energy prices and crime in Alberta

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-10
Abstract: 

The relationship between energy prices and levels of crime in Canada is under-researched, despite Canada’s dependency on its natural resources. There have been numerous media reports on the high level of crime and revenue from resource-based communities, such as Fort McMurray. However, these conclusions have not been substantiated by research. In this thesis, social disorganization theory and routine activity theory are used to examine crime patterns in Alberta. The current study explores the relationship between fluctuations in energy prices and crime rates in Alberta between the years 1998 to 2006. A fixed effects linear regression analysis is used to determine the association between crime rates and changes in both oil and natural gas prices while accounting for a number of variables. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between energy prices and break and enter, as well as theft from auto. In light of these findings, implications for future research and theoretical development are discussed.

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

An examination of the bedroom rapist

Date created: 
2017-09-22
Abstract: 

Research has found that sexual offenders are rational and consistent in their crime site selection strategies. However, one crime site location that has been largely understudied in sexual offending research is the ‘bedroom rape’ attack. Bedroom rapes are described as sexual assaults that occur within a victim’s own residence. This study uses Generalized Estimating Equations to examine data from a sample of 347 sexual assault events to determine which offender modus operandi and temporal variables are significant predictors of bedroom rape events. Findings indicate that a number of modus operandi and temporal variables are significant predictors. For instance, bedroom rape events are more likely to involve premeditation, coercion and an offender who commits a burglary in addition to the sexual offence. Conclusions on why offenders may choose this type of crime attack location are drawn and implications for situational crime prevention measures are discussed.

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

Fear and loathing on public transportation: Applying a spatial framework to crime patterns on Vancouver's Canada Line SkyTrain System

Date created: 
2017-09-25
Abstract: 

The expansion of mass forms of public transportation systems have often been resisted due to fears and concerns over an increased level of crime. The following study seeks to determine whether the SkyTrain’s Canada Line has increased levels of reported crime in six criminal offence categories: commercial burglary, residential burglary, mischief, theft, theft from vehicle, and theft of vehicle between January 2003 and December 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Time series regression, panel data analysis, and spatial point pattern tests are applied to determine whether such concerns should be merited or disregarded in the study of crime and transportation. Results demonstrate that census tracts that host a Canada Line SkyTrain station do not increase levels of crime. Rather, census tracts that host multiple SkyTrain stations and/or are situated in socially disorganized neighbourhoods are at a higher level of risk for criminal victimization. These findings are critical in removing the negative stigma surrounding mass forms of public transportation systems. Additionally, these results assist local police, transit authorities, and urban planners to create appropriate crime prevention strategies to prevent crime while restructuring public discourse about the potential criminogenic effects from public transportation systems.

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