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Criminal Justice Review Paper

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Criminal Justice Critical Review

November 15 2018

Introduction to Criminal Justice

CJ – 1002 - 051

        The textbook “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” contains a plethora of information regarding the Canadian criminal justice system. This textbook offers many concepts, critiques, and analytics of the criminal justice system in Canada. The author, Curt T. Griffiths, offers information in chapter three to address the considerations of the criminal justice system with a particular focus on racism, discrimination, and inequality. This chapter can be compared and contrasted to chapter six which analyzes police strategy, operations, and engagement and its effectiveness within the Canadian criminal justice system. Although the text offers useful information in navigating the criminal justice system in Canada, it is also contains areas that can be improved. In the textbook “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” the author Curt Griffiths offers valuable ideas that explain the criminal justice system in Canada, but the information itself and the way the information is presented can be improved.  

        One of the most important issues that is addressed in “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” is the various forms of inequality that exist within the criminal justice system in Canada. Chapter three addresses the various issues such as racism, prejudice, and discrimination that exist in the criminal justice system. These issues have a large impact on people who engage within the criminal justice system. The existence of these realities has largely affected the experiences of victims and offenders, particularly those who are visible minorities. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, Griffiths addresses the fact that the health, wellness, and representation of these minorities have been significantly impacted. (Griffiths, 2018)

        Another area of the criminal justice system that is addressed in “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” is police strategies, operations, and engagement in chapter six. This chapter outlines the various strategies that the police use to respond to crime and the relationships that police have with various communities. Griffiths highlights the new evolution of policing that includes community-based policing, which incorporates elements of community policing with crime prevention, crime response, and crime attack strategies. This chapter also highlights the challenges that police face with vulnerable and at risk groups such as people with mental illness, aboriginal women, and the LGBTQ community. (Griffiths, 2018)

        Chapter three of “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” contains many valuable considerations that are critical to account for when navigating the Canadian criminal justice system. In this chapter, Griffiths acknowledges the challenges and inequities that are faced by women, Indigenous persons, sexual minorities, Muslims and black people. The information that is provided about how these individual groups of people are mistreated when engaging in the criminal justice system is important because it acknowledges the fact that the criminal justice system has underlying issues. By providing this information criminal justice personnel as well as the reader can become aware of these realities and thus make movements towards solving these inequities. Awareness of these issues is important because racial profiling and discrimination within the criminal justice system have a large effect on the benevolence of society. As Melchers (2006) suggests, “racial profiling beliefs facilitate a culture of entitlement, disrespect, and lawlessness,” (pg. 22). This is an important idea to make notice of as Melcher (2006) critiques, “these beliefs also render visible minority people more vulnerable to crime and disorder by driving a wedge between their communities and law enforcement,” (pg. 22). Much of the discrimination experienced by these groups is a result of subconscious stereotypes created by people that influence the way these particular groups are treated. By Griffiths’ critical analysis of this discrimination within the criminal justice system these inaccurate stereotypes can become realized and reformed in the conscious mind of people engaging in the criminal justice system. By acknowledging this reality, potential for removing some of the possible harm that can be inflicted from discriminatory dispositions becomes possible. This section of chapter three does an exceptional job of conceptualizing the idea of discrimination within the criminal justice system to further attempt to eliminate this persistent issue.

        Although chapter three of “Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, 6th Edition,” contains valuable information that conceptualizes discrimination and racism in the criminal justice system, further context of the development of racism within the Canadian criminal justice system would be beneficial. By providing context about previously formed racism found in legislation and immigration in Canada, chapter three would give the reader a better understanding of how discrimination came to be such a prevalent issue in the criminal justice system. For example, exploring the discrimination that was experienced by Asian immigrants when first coming to Canada would assist Griffiths in creating a clearer understanding of how discrimination became so pronounced in the criminal justice system. According to Mosher (1998), Asian immigrants in Canada experienced discrimination due to “obvious physical differences and alleged differences in moral philosophies and habits,” (p. 63). By adding information about Asian discrimination in Canada, the text can be further enriched by adding information that is less known to the general public. In many instances, people are familiar with the injustices experienced by black and aboriginal peoples, but not as familiar with less prominent forms of discrimination in Canada’s early history. This information about Asian discrimination is still very relevant to the topic of discrimination in the criminal justice system as Mosher (1998) acknowledges: “several laws imposed restrictions on the employment, business and social activities of … Asians” (p. 63). By including information about the discrimination experienced during early Chinese immigration, the scope of this chapter would be more inclusive to discrimination issues faced by Asian people when engaging with the criminal justice system.

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