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

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Finding an Appropriate Balance: A Comparison of Specialized and Traditional Probation Caseloads and their Related Outcomes for Young Offenders in British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-10-08
Abstract: 

A major youth justice policy issue in Canada is the management of young offenders who are mentally disordered, violent, and/or gang-involved. As probation is the most commonly applied youth sentence in Canada, specialized youth probation caseloads were introduced to meet the unique needs of these young offenders. These youth probation officers are assigned reduced caseloads, thereby facilitating more intensive supervision and individualized case management plans. The present study focuses on two specialized youth probation caseloads in Vancouver, British Columbia: the Serious-Violent/Gang-Involved Young Offender Caseload and the Mentally Disordered Young Offender Caseload. To determine whether the supervision received and the outcomes of specially supervised youth are different than those for youth supervised on traditional caseloads, this dissertation relies on data from 192 youth probationers’ case files assigned to a specialized or a traditional caseload in the Lower Mainland, between 2004 and 2011, and who had a mental health condition, a serious-violent conviction, or who were associated with a criminal organization. In addition, it includes seven semi-structured qualitative interviews with the youth probation officers who supervised the specialized caseloads. This mixed methodology permitted a careful examination of the in-depth profiles and specific typologies of the youth probationers; an evaluation of the practices employed by the specialist officers; and finally, an assessment of the outcomes of the youth probationers supervised by specialist probation officers compared to youth supervised by traditional probation officers, as measured through recidivism, chronic offending, and changes in risk assessment ratings. Several of the proposed research hypotheses were confirmed, as specially supervised youth probationers, overall, received more intensive supervision, as compared to youth who were assigned to traditional caseloads. Moreover, they had reduced probabilities of recidivism, had lower likelihoods of becoming chronic offenders, and had comparatively better risk assessment ratings than the traditionally managed young offenders. This research provides important implications related to the community supervision of mentally disordered and violent/gang young offenders, and recommendations for continued and future youth probation practices and policies are offered.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Raymond Corrado
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

A qualitative study of the issues that govern the compensation process for wrongful convictions

Date created: 
2014-12-08
Abstract: 

Compensation for wrongful convictions in Canada is an ad hoc process that must be reformed. Once exonerated, wrongfully convicted persons deserve reasonable and expeditious compensation awards for the miscarriage of justice that they have suffered. This study involves the use of two qualitative methods to investigate the compensation process for wrongful convictions in Canada. First, a review of archival records was performed based on the examination of a number of wrongful conviction cases, along with assessments of the compensation recommendations from the seven Commissions of Inquiry into wrongful convictions in five Canadian provinces. Second, in-depth interviews were conducted with prominent legal and government experts on compensation for wrongful convictions. This study provides a forum for continued exploration of this societal problem, with the objectives of heightening awareness of its nature and scope and proposing recommendations for an improved compensation scheme.

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

Assessing Security Threats to Canada's Energy Infrastructure: The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline

Date created: 
2014-07-29
Abstract: 

Safe and secure critical infrastructure is essential for the functioning of Canada's society. A robust system of infrastructure allows Canada to be a leader on the world stage but also presents potential security risks. Using open source data, this paper identifies why energy infrastructure is the ideal target for malicious attack and includes a focus on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. Using the Harmonized Threat and Risk Assessment Methodology, to perform a risk based analysis; the likelihood of an attack on the Northern Gateway was assessed. A risk rating of low to medium was found, with a variety of vulnerabilities and possible threat actors identified.

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.

Violence by Clients against Street-Level Sex Workers: Applying Situational Crime Prevention Strategies

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

Street-level sex workers are at high risk of violence. In Canada, a total of 161 sex workers have been murdered from 1991 to 2012 due to their engagement in sex work. Close to 70% of these homicides occurred in western Canada (Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey, personal communication, May 6, 2014). Although most interactions between sex workers and their clients tend to be non-violent in nature, research indicates that the majority of the violence against sex workers is committed by their clients. This paper provides an overview of the violence perpetrated by clients against street-level sex workers primarily focusing on British Columbia. By applying the situational crime prevention framework to this problem, this paper reveals the potential in addressing the opportunistic nature of the violence to reduce the risk of violence to street-level sex workers. This paper concludes with strategies to address the situational factors contributing to the violence that can be applied in both street and unsanctioned indoor venues by the broader community, indoor management, and sex workers.

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

Beyond a Split-Second: An Exploratory Study of Police Use of Force and Use of Force Training in Canada

Date created: 
2014-07-11
Abstract: 

The authority to use force, including lethal force is a defining feature of the police profession. A police officer’s decision to use force carries potentially significant consequences for all involved and is arguably the most heavily scrutinized aspect of modern police work, despite its rare use. Situations involving the use of force are often characterized by a rapidly evolving scenario, complex environment, considerable uncertainty, and a potentially high degree of fear. These factors make it extremely challenging for officers to decide when and how to act. The high stakes nature of police use of force events and the level of scrutiny that the use of force attracts places a premium on the quality of training that officers are given, both in terms of content and application. Yet, in spite of the importance ascribed to training, the research in this area is limited, particularly from a Canadian perspective. What is known about use of force training comes largely from research and experience in the U.S.A., a significantly different policing environment than Canada. Using a qualitative research framework, this thesis seeks to fill the gap in Canadian use of force research and shed light on recruit and in-service training that is given to police officers. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with ten Canadian police academy and department-based use of force instructors, this study explores the factors involved in police use of force situations and how use of force training prepares officers for use of force events in Canada. The findings indicate that while current police training is evolving to better prepare officers for the realities of police use of force encounters, it is nonetheless limited by a number of factors. These factors are identified and discussed noting the implications for police services, policing scholars, and police oversight bodies.

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

Latent class analysis of sexual offending - extracting offender and offense characteristics for investigative interviewing and interrogation process

Date created: 
2014-07-07
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to explore how offender-related and victim-related case characteristics in a sexual assault impact offenders’ decisions to confess or not during interrogation. Five offender and five victim profiles were identified and then offender by victim profile combinations were assessed to see how specific case characteristics influenced offenders to make a decision trade-off of admitting to or denying their involvement in a sexual assault event. The implications of these results for sexual assault investigations and offender profiling are discussed. In addition, interrogation strategies are provided for each offender-victim combination that is related to a decision not to confess during interrogation.

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

Gangs and Drugs: Maintaining Border Security Using Crime Analysis and GIS

Date created: 
2014-06-27
Abstract: 

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Canadian border. There are multiple layers of complexity involved in protecting Canadian land and citizens. Drug smuggling in particular is a large focus for the agency. This paper provides an overview on the fundamentals of crime analysis as it is used in the intelligence capacity to conduct risk assessments as they pertain to foreign travellers and goods attempting to enter Canada. In addition, the complexity of gang networks as they are involved in drug smuggling are examined, as well as how CBSA can utilize network analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) to aid investigations and operations planning.

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

Criminalizing Terrorism: The Impact of Context and Cohort Effects on the Sentencing Outcomes of Terrorist Offenders

Date created: 
2014-08-14
Abstract: 

Despite the recent criminalization of terrorism specific offenses little is known about the legal processing of terrorist offenders, and even less is known about how the context that terrorist offenders are adjudicated in impact sentencing outcomes. Collectively, this dissertation explores how changing contextual environments related to legal responses, the timing of an offender’s adjudication and perceptions of threat impact the sentencing outcomes of terrorist offenders by utilizing a sample of terrorist offenders convicted both recently, and historically, in Canada (n = 153), and by further employing a sample of terrorist offenders recently adjudicated in the United Kingdom (n = 156). Across studies the context that offenders are sanctioned in impact sentencing outcomes, and cohort effects are uncovered. Terrorism specific offenses are readily utilized, and the criminalization of terrorism offenses appear to have provided law enforcement with legal measures that assist in the proactive prevention of terrorist incidents. However, general criminal provisions still have a significant role to play in the adjudication of terrorist offenders as offenders sanctioned of general criminal provisions only, or both general and terrorism specific offenses, are sentenced more severely than offenders convicted of terrorism specific offenses alone. The timing of an offender’s adjudication also impacts sentencing outcomes as offenders sanctioned in the latter stages of a terrorist campaign are generally sentenced more severely than offenders adjudicated at the onset for similar crimes, while variability in the sentence outcomes achieved throughout a terrorist campaign are characterized by cohort effects. Furthermore, being sanctioned in proximity to major terrorist incidents is found to affect sentencing outcomes as offenders sentenced following these events are punished less severely. Finally, offenders who are characterized by factors that are associated with increased perceptions of threat receive harsher punishments; however the impact of perceptions of threat on sentencing outcomes can be limited to specific time periods.

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

The Anatomy of a City: A Forensic Investigation of the Geography of d2H and d18O Values of Tap Waters Within the Metro Vancouver Area

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-01
Abstract: 

The isotopic patterns of d18O and d2H in tap water were investigated across a single regional district of Metro Vancouver (MV). Isotopic analysis of human tissues can reveal the individual’s geographical history with the isotopic signatures reflecting those of water consumed during the time of tissue formation. MV tap water samples were collected and analyzed for its isotopic compositions through the use of Triple Liquid Water Isotope Analyzer (TLWIA). This study found that isotopic compositions of MV tap water were unique to its water source and varied across the regional district, depending on the water distribution system supplied by multiple water sources. This allows for MV tap water to be sourced solely by its isotopic signatures. This finding has significant forensic importance as it suggests the possibility of ultimately sourcing human values to specific areas within MV, which could aid in forensic investigations.

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

We’re not in Vancouver anymore, Toto: Explaining crime in rural and northern British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-06-04
Abstract: 

Crime patterns differ across different geographical areas. However, much of the explanations for these differences explicitly focus on urban population areas. The result is that rural areas have been neglected. The current work seeks to explain rural concentrations of crime with an emphasis on violent crime through the use of an alternative to crime rates: a crime location quotient. Data was gathered from the British Columbia Policing Jurisdiction Crime Trends, 2000 – 2009 (BCPJ) and includes the raw counts of both property and violent offending from the Uniform Crime Reporting 2 (UCR2) Survey, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada (N=140). A comparison between crime rates and location quotients suggests that, within British Columbia, rural areas appear to specialize in violent offending. Traditional, urban based theories are tested with ordinary least squares regression for their use in explaining property and violent offending within British Columbia and it is concluded that property offending is explained well with traditional theories although the theories are less useful for violent offending. It is speculated that the reason for this difference is that traditional theories have been developed within urban areas so might miss out on some of the specific characteristics of rural police jurisdictions. As a result, the differences between rural and urban areas and differences between rural and urban violence are identified and used to develop a rural specific theoretical construct for explaining violence. The new theoretical construct is then evaluated in terms of the empirical explanatory power along with the scope and range of the theory as it relates to the British Columbian context. The new theory is then repositioned within the larger social ecological school of crime and fit back into the existing literature about rural crime. The while there are limitations with focusing on a single province, important considerations for explaining rural crime are evident and suggestions for future research take into account these results.

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