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

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'Victim', 'Deviant', or 'Worker' but Nothing in Between: Revisiting Prostitution Discourse in Bedford v. Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-10
Abstract: 

Controversy around the concept of prostitution and appropriate social policy responses to it has long existed. Perspectives on prostitution constantly conflate with notions of human trafficking, exploitation, and victimization, thereby influencing our understanding of choice, consent, and violence. From 1990 until very recently, Canadian courts failed to address the criminalization of prostitution related activities despite the actual acts of prostitution remaining legal. This study attempts to address current understandings of prostitution through a discourse analysis of the evidence tendered before the three levels of court in the 2013 Ontario Bedford challenge to the constitutionality of prostitution related offences in Canada. Three dominant discourses were identified, namely a victim discourse, a deviant discourse, and a worker discourse, with each providing opposing views of how prostitution should be viewed and what the most appropriate policy response to it entails. Until prostitution discourses are re-inscribed to include the voices of sex workers, the dispute pertaining to prostitution will persist, while the implementation of a favourable solution will remain inhibited.

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

Neighbourhood effects on fear of crime in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-17
Abstract: 

Fear of crime is a social problem with potentially serious consequences, including altering or restricting one’s behaviour. Changes to one’s routine for this purpose are known as constrained behaviours. Although gender stands out as a particularly strong indicator of fear, an abundance of literature – primarily based in the United States – explores its causes. Demographic factors, a history of victimization, social ties, perceived disorder, and neighbourhood structural factors all play a role. The focus of this research is to determine the extent to which these theoretical approaches explain perceived risk and constrained behaviours in Canada. This study uses data from the General Social Survey and the Census and employs a multilevel analytic approach. The results suggest that factors which affect an individual’s perception of risk differ from those that affect constrained behaviours. The results also indicate that neighbourhood context is an important factor in understanding the dynamics of fear of crime.

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

Risk in Review: A Qualitative Investigation of Winko Criteria Interpretation in British Columbia Review Board Hearings

Date created: 
2015-09-22
Abstract: 

This thesis provided up-to-date findings on the practices of the British Columbia Review Board, the governing body that oversees disposition decisions for individuals who are found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder (NCRMD). Compared with an earlier study, this work gathered information on factors the Board includes in its decision making process, allowing for comparison to decisions made after substantial changes to Canada’s Criminal Code provisions surrounding NCR accused. A content analysis was performed on 24 written decisions, revealing that an individual’s mental illness and associated history, their medication compliance and insight, and their index offence were most frequently listed among justifications for a given decision.Overall, the findings imply that the Board is consistent in its decision making and follows Code mandate when it comes to balancing public safety and individual liberty, but may not be considering risk factors most strongly related to recidivism amongst NCR accused.

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

Female police officers in Canada: The influence of gender on law enforcement

Date created: 
2015-09-10
Abstract: 

Although females have been serving as police officers in Canada for approximately four decades, they continue to make up only a small proportion of this profession (20% in 2012, Statistics Canada, 2012). As such, national and provincial police organizations are currently employing recruitment strategies with aim of addressing this gender disparity. Despite these initiatives, the role of females within law enforcement remains complex, controversial, and limited. This study explores the issues surrounding female police officers and their contributions to Canadian law enforcement. The primary focus of the study is to identify officers’ perceptions about females’ appropriateness and capabilities as police officers, and to provide a current assessment of female officers’ occupational experiences. Sixteen current and former police officers (female n=11 and male n=5) from various police departments in the area of Vancouver, Canada, and one female police chief from the province of Ontario, Canada were interviewed for this project. The findings of the study provide an assessment of the influence of gender on policing; including constructive polices to enhance the role and experiences of female police officers in the future.

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

“Stripped”: an analysis of revenge porn victims’ lives after victimization

Date created: 
2015-08-04
Abstract: 

This study examines the experiences of female revenge porn victims. To date, no other academic studies have exclusively focused on experiences of victimization in revenge porn cases. Researchers have focused on legal and moral aspects of revenge porn rather than on victims’ experiences. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted between February 2014 and January 2015 with 18 revenge porn victims to understand how they experienced victimization and its effects on their lives. Inductive analysis revealed six main themes among the interviews: (1) emotional effects of revenge porn, (2) coping mechanisms, (3) relationships, (4) dealing with the law, (5) revenge porn as a gendered crime, and (6) intimate partner violence. The findings underscore the need for new policies and laws that would afford protection to revenge porn victims and the need for in-depth research on revenge porn victimology.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Brian Burtch
Sheri Fabian
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“On to the next one:” Using social network data to inform police target prioritization

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-05
Abstract: 

As part of the portfolio of strategies used to achieve crime reductions, law enforcement agencies routinely establish a list of offenders to be targeted as priorities. Rarely considered, however, is the fact that targets are embedded in larger social networks. These networks are a rich resource to be exploited as they facilitate: 1) efficient prioritization by understanding which offenders have access to more resources in the network, and 2) assessments of the impact of intervention strategies. Drawing from law enforcement data, the personal networks of two mutually connected police targets from a mid-size city in British Columbia, Canada were constructed. Results show that of the 101 associates in their combined network, 50 percent have a crime-affiliated attribute. The network further divides into seven distinct communities, ranging from four to 25 members. Membership to these communities suggests how opportunities, criminal and non-criminal, form and are more likely to occur within one’s immediate network of associates as opposed to the larger network. As such, seven key players that have the highest propensity to facilitate crime-like behaviours are identified via a measure of “network capital,” and located within the communities for informed target selection.

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

“It’s a difficult discussion”: International police and judicial cooperation aimed at combating serious transnational organized crime in the cross-border Meuse–Rhine Euregion of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany

Date created: 
2015-07-23
Abstract: 

Globalization presents an important opportunity for police and justice officials around the world to cooperate with one another to bring offenders of serious transnational organized crime to justice. Numerous trends and developments are emerging in Europe—especially in the cross-border Meuse–Rhine Euregion, where the three countries of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany meet. Indeed, the police and justice officials of the Meuse–Rhine Euregion are acknowledged as the “pioneers” of routine cross-border police and judicial cooperation, and due to various factors, their work is arguably among the most long-standing, advanced, and intense in the world. Despite an expanding legal framework, however, operational problems still arise in practice. Therefore, one question becomes: how may international police and judicial cooperation in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion be improved? The Meuse–Rhine Euregion frames this multi-site case study, which uses the Organizational Behavior (OB) approach to examine the state-of-the-art. Specifically, the analysis of scholarly literature, international law, and in-depth personal interviews with 44 English-speaking police detectives, senior police commanders, prosecutors, and examining magistrates from 21 organizations across the three countries in this Euregion provides the data to answer this study’s four main research questions, namely: (1) What is the status quo with respect to international police and judicial cooperation aimed at combating serious transnational organized crime in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion, according to police and justice officials?; (2) How does the process of international police and judicial cooperation aimed at combating serious transnational organized crime in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion operate in practice, according to police and justice officials?; (3) What variables affect (facilitate/impede) international police and judicial cooperation aimed at combating serious transnational organized crime in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion, according to police and justice officials?; and (4) How can international police and judicial cooperation aimed at combating serious transnational organized crime in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion be improved? The findings of this study may help improve international police and judicial cooperation in the Meuse–Rhine Euregion, and inspire similar cooperative efforts around the world.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Curt T. Griffiths
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Housing First: A Strategy to Reduce Homelessness and Recidivism

Date created: 
2015-08-07
Abstract: 

The housing initiative at the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society originated from the observation that homelessness is a prominent issue among clientele. Three staff members who address the homelessness issue provide housing supports (e.g., helping clients find affordable housing in a tight rental market), complementary supports (e.g., life skills), and referrals to clinical supports (e.g., alcohol and drug counselling). This paper provides an overview of different approaches to homelessness, including Housing First. Housing First involves the immediate provision of housing, which is subsequently combined with wrap-around supports. Research from the United States and Canada has demonstrated that Housing First not only has a positive impact on housing stability but also reduces criminal justice involvement and creates cost offsets in health and criminal justice services. Importantly, Housing First has been successfully adapted to meet the unique needs of Aboriginal people, a population which is over-represented in homeless counts across Canada.

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

An analysis of decision making and criminal outcomes in sexual offenders

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-26
Abstract: 

In 1985, Clarke and Cornish proposed the rational choice framework to study criminal decision making. According to their approach, decisions of a criminal nature are not different than any other type of decision, and are thus orientated toward the satisfaction of commonplace needs. We adopted this approach and looked at a sample of 898 male sexual offenders as decision makers, framing their sexually coercive decisions as means to obtain desired outcomes. Clarke and Cornish specifically proposed four models to understand criminal decision making (initial involvement, crime events, persistence, and desistance); aspects of these models were used in three distinct studies. Study 1 explored what Clarke and Cornish called “background factors” of decision making and it examined three particular types of factors: traits, states, and knowledge. Results indicated that offenders’ personality traits, their specialized knowledge about sexual coercion, and their states at the onset of their offenses all impacted decision making during sexual crimes and over their sexual criminal careers in identifiable patterns, suggesting a more direct influence of background factors than initially hypothesized by Clarke and Cornish. Study 2 investigated how the various sexually coercive decisions made in the course of sexual crime incidents were linked to the resulting outcomes experienced by offenders. Results indicated that specific offending decisions about the selection of a victim, the location and time of the offense, and the method of assault were all found to contribute to the production and avoidance of, respectively, specific immediate positive and negative outcomes for offenders, validating Clarke and Cornish’s concept of bounded rationality. Finally, Study 3 investigated the aftermath of experiences of outcomes in offenders and looked specifically at evidence indicating possible reinforcing and/or deterrent effects of outcomes experienced in prior sex crimes on offenders’ decisions to persist in sexual offending after release. Analyses indicated that the experience of previous positive outcomes in sexual crime is a significant explanatory factor of offenders’ decisions to persist in or desist from sexual crime upon release, indicating that Clarke and Cornish’s rational choice approach is a valid framework for examining decisions made about the direction of a criminal career.

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

"We can't just tell the good stories": Reflections on Experiences of Storytelling and Restorative Justice

Date created: 
2015-08-17
Abstract: 

This qualitative study examined the experiences of storytellers who publicly share their story of restoration and/or transformation in the aftermath of traumatic violence. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participants. Five participants spoke from a “harmed” perspective (victim), and five participants spoke from a “dual” perspective (offender and victim). Publicly sharing one’s story allows the storyteller to make personal and relational gains by providing opportunities to make sense of the trauma, learn more about themselves and others, and strengthen relationships. Audience feedback informs the storyteller’s perception of how their story influences story-listeners’ views on harm and its resolution. Storytelling is a teaching tool that can invite dialogue and build stronger communities. Sharing the story contributes to the journey past trauma by allowing for the reestablishment of order, connection, and empowerment. The results of this study can inform the practices of storytellers, story-listeners, restorative justice advocates, and may be used by helping professions.

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