Based on the author's personal experience, he proposes consideration of the theoretical choices offered Montreal criminologists over the past 25 years. At first, the sole object of criminology was the etiology and social treatment of crime. At the end of the 60's and for the following ten years or so, there were many expressions of doubt both at the socio-political level as well as concerning the social sciences and criminology as such. The movements for the defence of minority rights and new theoretical orientations led the author to question the production of norms and attribution of the «quatity» of deviant rather than the factors of delinquency. He explains here how from a criminology of acting out he eventually arrived at a criminology of social control. More in-depth analyses of punishment and penal justice led the author to question the very existence of the entire criminal justice system and, like L. Hulsman, to take an abolitionist position. He then describes how he conceives the role of the clinician in this perspective.
The author describes the relationship that has been established over the past 25 years between university centres doing research in criminology and the Federal Government, pointing out both areas of agreement and as an expert and participant in the field, advocates a pluralistic type of collaboration between the University and the public authorities.
Strategic analysis views crime as a confrontation and as a mean to an end. It is characterised by : 1) it concentrates on crime; 2) it takes cognizance of the circumstances under which the crime is committed; 3) it presents the crime as a decision influenced by its anticipated results. Felson's routine activity approach, which is similar to strategic analysis, is presented in this article. Other recent developments in criminology have made it possible to present several assertions with a view to explaining certain aspects of theft, in particular, the choice of target. These assertions are : 1) thefts vary according to the opportunities offered potential thieves; 2) opportunity is defined as the contact between a potential criminal and a suitable target; 3) the number of contacts between potential criminals and suitable targets varies directly with the number of targets and their accessibility; 4) the suitability of targets varies in direct proportion to their value and vulnerability. It varies in inverse proportion to their inertia.
During the I960's, the founders of criminology wanted to have it recognized as an autonomous discipline, not only because of its subject matter, but above all by assigning it an integrative mission. In this article, we propose to take this kind of integrative approach vis-à-vis the delinquent behaviour of adolescents. Based on a precise knowledge of the major forms of delinquent conduct, we formulate and validate a multidisciplinary theory of its emergence and development. With the aid of a typology of the delinquent, we then focus our attention on the practical implications of this knowledge of the subject and of the discovery of the mechanisms of its etiology. In this way, criminology can be shown to be both a science and multidisciplinary profession, hence integrative.
Is critical criminology “passée”? Have its fathers, the British and American sociologists who wrote Critical Criminology in the mid seventies exhaust its potential interest and flavour?
It would be too bad because critical criminology never really took place. There never was a serious and rigorous attempt at unfolding the historical, epistemological, socio-political roots of the discipline, a critical look at it that took nothing for granted.
Reminding the readers of the very serious and highly publicised debate around Traditional and Critical Theory in the late thirties launched by the sociologists and philosophers of the Frankfurt School, the author shows that, far from being outdated, critical theory is of the utmost practicality in criminology, even more so because its founding fathers have taken, since, a less partisan and doctrinaire view of it. The applications of their intellectual and socio-political orientations to criminology are numerous, calling for a serious socio-historical analysis of the discipline and of its academic origins that should throw light on where it is going and its impotence at developing a paradigm.
The main objective of this essay is to put forward some ideas in the right to punish. These ideas are put in the Canadian context and in relation to the criminal law. The criminal procedure and the criminal justice system. The first part defines the proper concepts : aims, justifications, scopes, limits and interconnections. Results cannot be properly evaluated if the basic definitions are not clear and precise. The second part presents a model for the revision and reform of criminal policies and practices. This model is based on a study of drug legislations and practices.
This paper is an attempt at the refutation of certain fallacies, which have gained a wide currency in legal and criminological thinking. These fallacies are the following. First, the mistaken interpretation of universal statements such as “Any person condemns murder” as the expression of a cross-cultural consensus about the blameworthiness of a certain type of behaviour; such statements, it is argued, are mere tautologies reflecting the cogency of our linguistic customs. Second, the erroneous belief that criminology can dogmatically account for the sum of the facts which appertain to its field of study, by means of a single, all-encompassing explanation; arguments are given to show that the fate of criminological studies is fragmentation. Third, it is argued that the criminal justice system should be conceived as an apparatus for social provocation rather than as institutionalized social reaction. Fourth, it is pointed out that we must draw an unambiguous distinction between the legal notion of a sentence and the intuitive notion of punishment; stressing this difference leads the author to compare briefly the main tenets of what he respectively calls dogmatic and sceptical criminology. Finally, the necessity to recognize as separate issues the justification and the allocation of criminal sanctions is proven and it is shown how the penal fascination with capital punishment is responsible for blurring the distinction between these issues.
This article examines criminal justice policies and strategies of change, from agenda setting to decision-making, implementation and evaluation. Since 1960, change has been incremental, almost without regard to the predominant liberal or conservative ideological strategies. The author maintains, even if it is an old cliché, that reforming society is a better social policy than reforming the criminal justice system... if we have a choice!
This paper provides an overview of some of the changes undergone by the juvenile justice system in Quebec since 1960, with a particular attention to the evolution of its legal framework. Major legislative changes have stressed children's rights and diversion. The underlying philosophy of the law has been changed extensively, particularly concerning young offenders. Statistics reveal that the number of court referrals has increased considerably over time, and that diversion policies have been unable to change this trend. Juvenile court dispositions seem to show a greater degree of intervention than before.
The analysis of plea bargaining and diversion shows how criminological theories and principles are shaped by organizational constraints; it also indicates the limits of theories and the need for practical knowledge. The concepts of control and power which are so suspicious to criminologists, should be replaced in an organizational perspective in order to give a new meaning to knowledge and praxis.
Public opinion plays a role in crime policies to the extent that judges take it into consideration in their sentences and the government authorities rely on its support, for example, when changing certain laws (criminalizing or decriminalizing behaviour that is or is no longer disapproved of by the community). However, public opinion is not always based on fact. For example, the public holds that the majority of criminals are dangerous, whereas violent crimes constitute only from 6% to 10% of all crimes. The population believes that the death sentence is an effective deterrent, whereas crimi-nological research has shown that this is not so. The «vox populi» necessitates caution. It speaks “emotionally”, and although it must be heard, it is not always advisable to obey it.
To proceed with an account and evaluation of the policies and practices in adult corrections in Quebec from 1960 to 1985 is to cover the period when the most spectacular reforms took place. The article points out that it is only since 1969 that Quebec has a centralized correctional sector under the authority of a director general. Before this date it was the sheriff who, in each of the territorial divisions in which he worked, assumed all correctional responsibility, by law, without any common philosophical basis. Quebec having proceeded with the construction of its adult correctional system step by step, by means of five year plans, the study of the assessment and evaluation of its policies and practices is divided into five year periods. This method has the advantage of furnishing the reader with a detailed view of the entire ascending progression of the correctional sector from 1960 to 1985, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. Above all, it gives the reader an understanding of the philosophical trends that guided its establishment and describes the principal actors and circumstancial events whereby, in the 1980's, the sector has come to function according to a unity of thought, and in a context of complimentarity with the other agencies of the criminal justice system.
What is the situation on the labour market today for graduates of the School of Criminology who obtained their bachelor degrees from 1970 on? Based on the answers to a questionnaire covering the 14 years concerned, the professional careers of 546 of the 1001 graduates are traced and described. Of these, 48% are men and 52% women, 48% being between the ages of 25 and 30. The survey shows that two out of three graduates have jobs directly related to their training, that their principal employer is the civil service and that there is less room in the workplace for women than for men.