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

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The emergence of violent narratives in the life-course trajectories of online forum participants

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-11
Abstract: 

Drawing from Life Course Theory (LCT) and General Strain Theory (GST), the current study sought to address the development of negative affect in the online context, specifically whether the turning point of entrance into adulthood was associated with a change in sentiment expressed online. A mixed methods approach was employed, whereby 96 individuals were sampled from 3 online Islamic forums, and approximately 3000 posts per user were analyzed over 9 years. Quantitative results display a development in sentiment over time (increasing in negativity) for both minors and adults. Qualitatively, most users displayed a change in overall posting content throughout their time online; but a select few did not display any development – these individuals were the most negative / extreme on the forum. Implications of these findings for research on the role of the Internet in the development of negative narratives and extremism are discussed, as well as avenues for future research.

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

A Macro Perspective on Police Oversight in British Columbia: An Exploratory Study of the Dynamics and Financial Cost of Accountability

Date created: 
2016-06-30
Abstract: 

Independent civilian oversight of police has had rapid growth over the past decade in response to a number of high profile cases of police misconduct and public dissatisfaction with internal police investigations. The dynamics of the oversight process, however, have not been studied. This study examines the oversight of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and municipal police in the Province of British Columbia. This includes the financial cost of oversight, trends in public complaints against the police and the benefits and challenges of the current oversight system. The role of oversight in increasing police accountability, improving public confidence and shifting police behavior is also examined. Thirteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with persons from oversight agencies, police unions, special interest groups and professional standards units. The findings reveal the cost of police oversight has increased by 93.6% over five years. Municipal police spend more on oversight per year despite having three times less police strength than the RCMP. Major challenges facing the system include timely processing of complaints, the administrative burden of minor complaints, the difficulty in determining return on investment, and the two-tier complaint model within the province.

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

Transformative Possibilities: A journey through tertiary restorative justice education

Date created: 
2016-08-19
Abstract: 

As the profile of restorative justice in tertiary education grows, this research examines the impact of Canada’s most long-standing undergraduate, restorative justice course. This dissertation documents the genesis of Simon Fraser University’s restorative justice course (RJC) from the perspective of several course developers. The study utilizes established survey and interview methods from the field of transformative learning to evaluate whether RJC students experienced perspective transformation, what they feel facilitated that transformation, the impact of it, and whether the transformation was enduring. The findings indicate that the majority of respondents experienced perspective transformation from retributive to restorative. For many, this transformation involved more than changing views about crime and justice. Students reported transformations of beliefs, feelings, and relationships that led to changes in behaviour with respect to their vocation, volunteer work, education, and personal lives. These transformations were sustained over time and participants provided feedback on how the RJC could play a role in advancing restorative justice beyond the university setting. This study provides concrete recommendations for how restorative justice education can create personal transformations that can move restorative justice from the margins to the mainstream inside and outside of the criminal justice system.

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

Is Treatment the Cure? Exploring the Possible Role of Implementing Mandatory Treatment Programs in the YCJA for Serious and Violent Youth

Date created: 
2016-05-25
Abstract: 

Since the adoption of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) a reduction in youth crime recidivism has prevailed, except for the most serious violent offenders. The purpose of this thesis was to explore whether the absence of mandatory treatment under the YCJA explains why this population of youth are at a high risk to re-offend after judicial intervention. Using a developmental and life-course theory lens, this thesis employed a case analysis, which examined 22 cases from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Through two analyses it was discovered that judicial ideologies and the decision-making processes of judges do not align with the current developmental research that has found individualized, intensive, and validated treatment programs are the best way to decrease the risk of recidivism for this population of youth. Due to their multi-level risk factors, without treatment their chances of recidivism and the likelihood of becoming career criminals increases substantially. Rather, it was found that the majority of youth in this study were sentenced as adults, and the role of rehabilitation was of no importance in the judges’ final decision. This thesis argues for the need of mandated treatment as the current establishment of the Canadian juvenile justice system has been ineffective in dealing with serious violent youth, and will continue to be, unless changes are implemented.

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

The Impact of Opinion Leadership and External Events on Forum Participants Following ISIS Online

Date created: 
2016-04-25
Abstract: 

The study monitors the evolution of perceptions and opinions of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS) during its involvement in Syria and Iraq in 2013-2014. Data is drawn from a web-forum discussing current Islamic affairs that followed ISIS as early as September 2013. These data are used to answer the question of whether or not there are opinion leaders facilitating the discussion of violent extremist material. An interrupted time series and ordinary least squares regression are used to address the research question by determining the most impactful events on the thread, and determining the causal role of opinion leaders on the way users connect. Results indicate that the content and success of discussion are most impacted by the involvement of opinion leaders and media related to a specific ISIS event.

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

Caretakers of the Mountain: Understanding the Burnaby Mountain Pipeline Blockade

Date created: 
2016-04-13
Abstract: 

In the Fall of 2014, citizens of Vancouver, Burnaby and members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation took part in a blockade in an attempt to prevent company Kinder Morgan from conducting survey work in Burnaby Mountain Park. The surveyors were met with intense local resistance by local long time protesters, as well as members of the community newly galvanized to environmental activism. A participant observation was conducted of the resistance to the pipeline development efforts. Field observations began during the initial monitoring of the site, and continued through the growing mobilization of the resistance, culminating with the mass arrests of protesters in November of that year. The ongoing analysis explores the philosophy of protest and ‘radicalism,’ as well as the role of consensus and conflict frameworks in the language of protesters and their use of various tactics of resistance.

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

Exploring the Long-Term Impact of a Foot Patrol Policing Initiative in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-21
Abstract: 

Foot patrol, one of the oldest methods of policing, is utilized by law enforcement agencies in North America and internationally. Existing research has recognized the positive impact of foot patrol policing on satisfaction among police and citizens, fear of crime, and citizen perceptions and attitudes. However, the effect of foot patrol on crime and disorder, particularly its long-term impact, remains less certain. As such, the current study examines a foot patrol policing initiative established in Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver, British Columbia using police incident data from 01 January 2007 to 31 December 2012 to determine whether foot patrol policing has been successful in reducing crime over time. Findings indicated that while the foot patrols had an overall impact in reducing certain classifications of crime, there was variation in its effect from year to year. Study limitations, as well as directions for future research, will also be discussed.

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

A case study of Sylvan Learning's approach to cyber bullying

Date created: 
2016-04-25
Abstract: 

Sylvan Learning is a private tutoring institution that provides students with a personalized style of learning. They assess each of their student’s particular educational needs by conducting questionnaires, and then apply the appropriate teaching styles. The results of the questionnaires suggest that many of the students are victims of both traditional face-to-face school yard bullying, and cyber bullying. As a result, the effect bullying has on students education is a major concern for this agency. This paper provides an examination of the current empirical literature on the topic of traditional face-to-face bullying, and cyber bullying. In addition, an overview of the current school policies for district 36 that deal with both face-to-face bullying, and cyber bullying are highlighted, as well as how Sylvan Learning can implement techniques to combat bullying in order to create safer, healthier learning environments.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bryan Kinney
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Framed: a Canadian news media analysis of accused persons deemed not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-04-14
Abstract: 

Few issues stir public interest, or generate as much controversy, as the verdict of Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCR). Even though very few living with mental illness ever come into conflict with the law, three prominent cases recently prompted changes to Canada’s criminal justice system. This retrospective, mixed methods study analyzed coverage of these cases from four national news media services between 2008 and 2015, and how they were portrayed. Six major themes emerged: feelings of victimization; tough-on-crime attitudes; perceived injustice; trial by public opinion; a hierarchy of human rights; and negative stereotypes. Although two-thirds of stories conveyed a neutral tone, there were limited perspectives with lived experience, and no significant improvements in reporting trends over time. The findings support research that show the media provide overwhelmingly dramatic and distorted narratives of mental illness that emphasize dangerousness, unpredictability, and criminality. Recommendations for the news media to re-frame representations of NCR accused persons include practicing equality, providing context, collaborating with healthcare and legal experts, and focusing on rehabilitation instead of vengeance.

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

From the Dark Side of Drug Use to Ordinary Citizens

Date created: 
2016-04-25
Abstract: 

For some, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is notorious for its mental illness, homelessness, and most importantly, its drug scene. Drug use and addiction plagues numerous lives and it does not distinguish between age, gender or socio-economic status. To better understand the motivators behind drug use, desistance and sobriety, qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 participants who previously used drugs, participated in that the drug scene, and sought treatment from a Downtown Eastside treatment organization. Using the principles of the developmental and life-course theories, this study uncovers that there are numerous factors that lead an individual into drug dependency, such as the lack of parental bonding resulting from early childhood trauma and the lack of pro-social skills; thus treatment is effective if it addresses those shortcomings. In essence, treatment is a time of self- transformation, where an individual is given tools to develop responsibility and accountability. With significance placed on those tasks, and the fear of loosing that responsibility, motivation for achieving and maintaining sobriety is achieved.

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