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

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Severe Sexual Violence: Addressing the Relationship Between Sexual Violence, Sexual Sadism, and Sexual Homicide

Date created: 
2014-07-17
Abstract: 

The notion that sexual murderers constitute a unique type of offender can be traced back to Krafft-Ebing’s (1886/1965) seminal work Psychopathia Sexualis where he makes an explicit link between sexual sadism and sexual homicide. Thought to be driven by sexually sadistic fantasies, sexual homicide is often thought to be a behavioural manifestation of sexual sadism. Known as the unique offender hypothesis much of the empirical literature on sexual homicide posits the sexual murder as severely sexually violent and qualitatively different from other types of offenders. More recently, the differential outcome of a sexual assault hypothesis has challenged the long-standing assumption that the sexual murderer is unique. It suggests that sexual homicide may be the result of a series of situational factors present during a sexual assault, and not necessarily sexual sadism. These conflicting findings reflect the theoretical and methodical issues surrounding the scientific study of sexual violence, sexual sadism, and sexual homicide. At the present time there exist few models of sexual homicide and there have been even fewer attempts to test these models empirically. Further complicating matters are the measurement and operationalization issues associated with sexual sadism. This study has three overarching goals. First, to examine the convergent and predictive validity of a series of crime scene variables empirically associated with sexual sadism. Second, to concurrently inspect the utility of both the unique offender hypothesis and the differential outcome of a sexual assault hypothesis. Finally, this study will test the theoretical factors common to prominent sexual homicide models. Overall, the results of this study demonstrated that select crime scene indicators are valid measures of sexual sadism. Moreover, sexual murderers do not constitute one homogenous group of offenders. Instead, there was evidence suggesting the unique offender hypothesis and the differential outcome of a sexual assault hypothesis are both valid. Finally, the core features of existing sexual homicide models (i.e., low self-esteem and deviant sexual preferences) are important in the prediction of sexual homicide.

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

One-Way Trip: Prisoner Suicides in Ontario, 1992-2006

Date created: 
2014-06-13
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the circumstances surrounding 110 prisoner suicides in Ontario’s provincial and federal correctional facilities between 1992 and 2006. Using data obtained from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, a detailed examination of all available files of Coroners’ inquests into suicides was conducted. Intersectionality served as a critical theoretical framework for the analysis of variables in this study. Several demographic, institutional, and clinical factors were associated with suicides in prisons. Consistent with findings from the Canadian and international literature, prisoner suicides are most common among young, single males. Suicides are more common in the early stages of incarceration, particularly among inmates housed in provincial remand facilities. A history of mental illness was documented in 39% of cases. The preferred method of suicide in prisons continues to be hanging, accounting for 94% of deaths in the sample. In light of the findings, prevention strategies and recommendations for change are discussed.

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

Serial sex offenders’ environmental consistency and crime site selection across series

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-05-06
Abstract: 

Crime linkage analysis constitutes a potential tool to help investigators prioritize suspects in cases of serial crimes. While crime linkage has been a burgeoning field of research for the last decade or so, a still scarce amount of research limits our knowledge on environmental consistency among serial sex offenders. Furthermore, methodological issues characterize previous studies on consistency. The current dissertation departs from previous studies in the crime linkage field by building on research coming from the criminal career field in order to move forward research on serial sex offenders’ environmental consistency and crime site selection. To this end, it is organized into three separate but related empirical studies. The first study examined consistency for specific geographic and environmental factors using various coefficients, two of them taken from the criminal career literature. While a high level of consistency was found, some environmental aspects of the crime showed better consistency than others, making them more valuable for crime linkage analysis. Findings also indicated on the bias associated with each coefficient and the potential contribution of coefficients from the criminal career field when measuring offenders’ consistency. In the second study, environmental consistency was further explored using a crime-event approach. More specifically, crime sites used by serial sex offenders were investigated across series to examine for their stability. Distinct and recurrent crimes sites used across series were identified, indicating that serial sex offenders operate over limited environments. In addition, preliminary data suggesting that a connection exists between the victim encounter site selected and the offender’s series progression was provided. More specifically, the use of sites known to “attract” potential victims decreased over series and offenders became more risk-taking in regard to sites selected to encounter their victims. In the third study, heterogeneity among serial sex offenders, with regard to offending frequency and duration, was assessed. Findings indicated that different crime series patterns were present, such patterns significantly influencing offenders’ levels of consistency. Taken together, the results of these three studies high¬lighted heterogeneity of serial sex offenders’ crime series patterns while demonstrating the relationship and stability between their past and future environmental behaviors.

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

Drunken goons, criminal idiots, and mayhem: Toward a police perspective on disorderly and riotous crowds

Date created: 
2014-05-27
Abstract: 

Crowd disorder, which refers to a wide range of both non-violent and violent public gatherings, involves a complex interaction between the crowd and the police (Stott & Reicher, 1998a). Given that the police are on the frontlines dealing directly with the crowd, they are in the unique position to understand the initiation and development of these crowd situations. Thus, their insights have the potential to offer valuable information for dealing with, and even preventing crowd disturbances. Despite an increased interest in understanding the police perspective, however, the vast majority of research has focused on the behaviour and perceptions of the crowd (Stott, 2003; Drury, Stott & Farsides, 2003). Further, the studies that have concentrated on the police viewpoint have been narrow in scope and predominantly conducted in Britain (e.g., Stott & Reicher, 1998a; Drury, Stott & Farsides, 2003). In an attempt to extend this literature, this thesis aims to develop the police perspective in a new context. Specifically, based on the events of the recent 2011 Stanley Cup riot, a sample of 460 Vancouver police officers was surveyed concerning their perceptions of the crowd and methods of crowd management. The results reveal that the while the police perspective can be reduced to four distinct factors, it becomes more complicated when the officers’ characteristics are introduced into the equation. The implications of these findings for both police departments and future researchers will be discussed.

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

Law Enforcement in Postal Services: What are the lessons for Canada?

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-14
Abstract: 

Postal crimes have long been an issue of public and governmental concern, and compared to relative international and national law enforcement entities; there are many lessons to be learned. There are significant differences between Canada and United States in regards to law enforcement within postal services. The number of postal related crimes is greater in the United States than in Canada, however the characteristics and dynamics of postal crimes and incidents are often identical. Mail is a crucial government service with legislated rights and responsibilities; mass-marketing fraud, vandalism and theft of property by the general public remain significant interrelated postal crime issues. This project paper examines the contrast between postal crimes and the objective of law enforcement and investigative bodies legislated to manage them. In addition, the implications of these findings and recommendations to law enforcement training and policy are outlined. The Canada Post Security and Investigation Services are analyzed through a qualitative lens. It is suggestive that the Security and Investigation Services would benefit from initiatives regarding the compilation of data in relation to postal crimes; extending their security leadership and providing a recognized security standard for the nation’s exclusive postal operation.

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

Decoding the FASD Enigma: Application of a New Multidisciplinary Policy Paradigm

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-02
Abstract: 

In this dissertation, a comprehensive, integrated, multileveled prevention paradigm is proposed to evaluate and/or reform existing FASD policies. There is a variety of evidentiary sources available to policy makers, but there is increasing pressure to utilize more rigorous approaches to analyze the “complex evidence base”. I consider the need for high quality evidence including research and non-research sources, as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches. Findings from my own research, as appropriate for each level’s focus, are also discussed. I begin with the tertiary prevention level which aims to provide individuals affected by FASD continuous interventions throughout their lives so they will “not commit” and can function in the community. However due to the secondary disabilities associated with FASD, these individuals are often found within the criminal justice system. I present a comparison of individuals diagnosed with FASD found within a serious and violent offender population with those who are not diagnosed. I highlight exemplar legal cases where FASD is considered. In addition, I discuss exemplar initiatives and programs addressing the management of affected individuals. The secondary prevention level focuses on interventions to modify those environmental conditions that increase the possibility of maternal drinking. I present an extensive list of risk factors for FASD. Next I reveal four themes of intervention from the literature: screening tools, research, education, and legal strategies. With those in mind, I examine a high risk population using the existing literature on social determinants. The goal of the primary prevention level is to modify the social and environmental conditions that increase the opportunities which create individuals affected by FASD. At this level, the evidence I bring to bear are data which juxtapose medical facility locations and recorded police contacts with intoxicated persons in the same area. My findings suggest an integrated systems approach would be an effective way to identify, validate, implement, and evaluate current FASD policy and practices. By employing this tri-level prevention paradigm, it is possible to address the complexities of FASD, identify the gaps in knowledge and services, and discuss more promising policy and practical initiatives.

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

International trade, human trafficking and jus cogens: opportunities for law reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council states of the middle east

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-23
Abstract: 

The European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are strong trading partners. The relationship between the two geo-political regions led to negotiations towards a EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1988, based on mutual economic, and political interests; however, violations of the rights of migrant workers in the private sector in the GCC have resulted in suspended negotiations. This study considers the potential consequences of the FTA draft on labour rights and migration, focusing on the trafficking of persons, using the Palermo Protocol (2000) definition of human trafficking. Concentrating on the prevention of trafficking, the current sponsorship system (kafala) in the GCC is examined and areas for labour, criminal and (im)migration law reform are identified. Similar to slavery, human trafficking should be exclusively catalogued as a jus cogens norm in international law. This study involves a synthesis of documentary analysis and parallel study, using a combination of legislation in the GCC and media reports of violations of the rights of migrant workers. The research findings indicate that the kafala system is a mechanism by which trafficking of persons is state-enabled. This research also shows that, the FTA can be used to leverage law reform in order to eliminate the kafala system, utilising EU initiatives as a best practice. Recommendations are made for evidence-based reform in the GCC, to prevent trafficking for the purposes of exploitation, forced labour and slavery.

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

Exploring the idea of ‘values’ for a reconciliation process of Bangladesh’s liberation war: A Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Criminology Perspective

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-28
Abstract: 

The 1971 Independence War, when Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan, was one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. Official, albeit disputed, figures put the number of deaths near 3 million—a death toll half that of the Holocaust in just nine months. After the war, the then President, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman—the Father of the Nation—chose to ‘forgive and forget’; however, this blanket amnesty failed to reflect the people’s desire for justice. Four decades later, the country is bringing to trial the local Bangladeshi collaborators for war crimes tied to the Independence War. Political tensions mount as verdicts of life imprisonment and death sentence are handed down, pushing the country to the verge of protracted civil unrest. This qualitative study explores the potential of a set of values as a foundation for a future reconciliation process in Bangladesh. Drawing on their use in the transitional contexts of Rwanda and Cambodia, four restorative justice (RJ) process values—participation, empowerment, reintegration and transformation—are used as deductive variables in the study. Ten in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted to explore how these variables could be used to ground a future reconciliation process. Deductive and inductive findings suggest RJ process values could play a guiding role in the reconciliation. Using the values unearthed through the research, a value-based model to ground this process is also proposed.

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

Greener Social Constructions: Marie Lake, Fort Chipewyan, and the Alberta Oil Sands

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-22
Abstract: 

There is considerable debate in the green criminological and environmental sociological literature regarding achieving environmental reform. This dissertation contributes to the discussion through a qualitative constructivist interpretation of regional/national news media depictions of two environmental/industrial controversies. The embroiled controversies pit concerned social actors from the Alberta communities of Marie Lake and Fort Chipewyan against Canadian oil sands proponents. Using grounded theory methods and NVivo 10 software, media depictions of the controversies were examined as indicative of the dominant voices at the intersection of a public conversation about the harms caused by the oil sands industry. Very few issue entrepreneur efforts resulted in meaningful environmental reforms, but several key findings emerged. First, we must provide empowering eco-solutions for government, appreciating that politicians are particularly adept at avoiding the negativity accompanying symbolically charged environmental issues. Second, there is value in embracing human interests as a means to save nature, recognizing that social actors can appear self-serving when they affix conventional environmental concerns to anthropocentric (human-centered) causes. Third, sensationalizing isolated aspects of an environmental issue can allow attention to be diverted from fundamental environmental considerations. Fourth, issue entrepreneurs must remain cognizant of the ways in which ideology can defile science during an environmental controversy. Fifth, issue entrepreneurs must acknowledge that scientists are frequently ill prepared to portray their environmental findings against political ideology, and in the media where suspenseful stories routinely take precedence to nuanced and contextualized environmental portrayals. Sixth, it is important to depict environmental controversies in ways that cast science as only one part of a broader landscape of environmental decision-making that also acknowledges localized/first-hand experiences, and the precautionary principle. Lastly, official “truth-seeking” investigations by authoritative governmental agencies often subjugate other important avenues for understanding environmental realities. These key findings are placed in a constructivist framework entitled greener social constructions. The framework contributes to an evolving body of environmental social constructivist literature critical of ways in which journalists, policymakers, environmentalists, criminologists, and concerned publics include the environment and environmentalism in their communications. Ultimately, greener social constructions are synonymous with conceiving more compelling ways to remake the planet’s future.

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

We Deal With It Ourselves ("Wi Deal Wid it Wiself"): A Look at Life in the Jamaican Garrison

Date created: 
2014-03-21
Abstract: 

Created by the Jamaican political administration to garner support from the marginalized and socially excluded groupings in the inner city, the garrison has morphed into a counter society that subverts all forms of legitimate authority. Protected and led by dons who were originally appointed to carry out the dictates of the politicians, these men now possess full control of the garrison and have an unswerving allegiance from the members of these communities. The provision of opportunities for skills training, jobs, and education for members of these areas could possibly remove the state of dependency and ultimately the power that those possessing an abundance of wealth wield. The study includes semi-structured interviews with ten (10) participants from the community of August Town, Jamaica who provided insight into life in the garrison. Using the theory of social disorganization as a framework, the study uncovers that the Jamaican garrison is an incubator for criminals and criminal activity.

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