Flashcards in Lecture 9: Sentencing and Offender Treatment Deck (54):
What are some goals of sentencing?
Specific deterrence (deter individual from reoffending)
General deterrence (sentencing that will reduce the probability that members of the general public will offend in the future, make an example of someone) Incapacitation
Reparation (addressing an imbalance, e.g., making an offender pay back in accordance with how much he stole)
Is one sentencing goal more dominant than the others in Canada?
At present, it is not clear if one is more dominant. Judges often consider more than one goal when handing down a sentence, these goals can at times be incompatible with others, and judges across Canada likely hand down goals for different reasons even when dealing with offenders/offences that are similar
What do provincial courts in Canada have jurisdiction over?
Most criminal and civil matters
What do Federal courts in Canada have jurisdiction over?
focus exclusively on matters specified in federal legislation (e.g., cases involving crown corporations, such as Canada post)
What is the four tier hierarchy of legal superiority?
The bottom layer is administrative tribunals (resemble courts but are not officially a part of the court system) then the lowest layer of the 4 tier system is provincial and territorial courts (aka inferior courts, the cases heard in these courts range from criminal offences e.g., traffic violations and civil issues e.g., small claims), Next is provincial and territorial superior courts (primary court of appeal for inferior courts and deal with more serious criminal and civil cases that involve a jury). Above these courts are the can be found the provincial and territorial courts of appeal (reviews decisions made my superior courts. Finally at the top is the supreme court of canada.
What is the supreme court of Canada?
Created in 1875, the supreme court consists of 8 judges plus the chief justice, who are all appointed by the federal government. The supreme court is the final court of appeal in Canada, and lower canadian courts are bounded by its rulings. the supreme court also provides guidance to the federal government on law related matters, such as the interpretation of the Canadian constitution.
What are sentencing principles?
Sentencing principles in Canada are meant to guide a judges sentencing decisions. Where as sentencing goals are the reasons why a judge is giving out a certain sanction
What is the fundamental principle of sentencing (as defined in section 718.1 of the criminal code)?
The belief that sentences should be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility to the offender. Judges should consider the seriousness of the offence and any other factor that might relate to the offenders responsibility (e.g.., age at time of offence)
Beyond the fundamental principle a few other principles exist, what are they?
- A sentence should be adjusted to account for any relevant aggravating or mittigating circumstances relating to them
-sentences should be similar for similar offenders committing similar offences under similar circumstances
-where consecutive sentences are imposed, the combined sentence should not be unduly harsh
-an offender should not be deprived of liberty if less restrictive sanctions are appropriate
-if reasonable sanctions other than imprisonment should be considered.
What is absolute discharge?
The release of an offender into the community with no conditions put in place
What is conditional discharge?
The release of an offender into the community with conditions put in place
What is restitution?
a sentence where the offender has to make a monetary payment to the victim or community
What is a fine?
A sentence where the offender has to make a monetary payment to the courts
What is community service?
a sentence served to the community
What is imprisonment?
The most serious consequence that can be given to offenders in Canada, sentence length can vary depending on the seriousness of the crime. Sentences less than two years are served in provincial/territorial prisons, more than 2 years is in federal penitentiaries
Are these sentencing options effective?
All these options are punishment based at their core
Punishment based strategies generally result in higher rates of recidivism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend). Punishment can work, but it doesn’t seem to work in this context. Which begs the question why is that?
bc Conditions of punishment not being met, risk factors, Deterrence based strategies assume that criminals are thinking about consequences (wont do something because of the fear of getting caught)
What are the criteria needed for punishment to be effective?
Punishment must be delivered immediately, Punishment must be given consistently, Intensity. In the Canadian justice system, punishment is anything but immediate, consistent and severe
When was the death penalty abolished in Canada?
1976/1999. In the US 38 states permit the death penalty, 3500 inmates on death row
What are some arguments against the death penalty?
The DP does not act as a deterrent (if this was true, the Canadian crime rates should have sky rocketed since the death penalty but the opposite is true), The DP is expensive, The DP is biased (most are minority groups), The DP is handed down to the innocent
What is sentencing disparity?
Variations in the severity of sentences handed down by different judges when presiding over similar cases committed by similar offenders, or by the same judge over similar cases across time.
What is unwarranted sentencing disparity?
Variations in sentencing for similar crimes committed under similar circumstances that result from reliance by the judge on legally irrelevant factors.
What is systematic sentencing disparity?
Consistent disagreement among judges about sentencing decisions because of factors such as how lenient judges think sentences should be, sources of systematic disparity can include differences between personalities, philosophy, experience etc.
What is unsystematic disparity?
Inconsistencies in a judges sentencing decisions over time when judging the same type of offender or crime because of factors such as the judges mood (rapidly changing or fluctuating variables
What are the 2 ways to study sentencing disparity?
Laboratory based simulation studies or the examination of official sentencing statistics in an attempt to uncover variations in the judicial sentencing decisions.
What laboratory based simulation studies?
Researchers present mock judges or real judges with details of a case and examine if and how sentencing decisions assigned to those cases by the judges vary. Because the details of a given case are held constant, any variation that is found across judges (or for the same judge over time) can presumably be attributed to a reliance on legally irrelevant factors
Why does sentencing disparity exist?
Ultimately because the law in Canada allows judges a great deal of discretion
What is a common approach used to reduce sentencing disparity in many jurisdictions?
Sentencing guidelines which are guidelines intended to reduce the degree of discretion that judges have when handing down sentences. they attempt to provide a more consistent, structured and often restrictive method for arriving at sentencing decisions.
What are the 3 principles of effective correctional intervention?
The need principle, the risk principle, the responsivity principle
What is the need principle?
Principle that correctional interventions should target criminogenic needs rather than non-criminogenic needs (i.e., factors that are known to relate to reoffending)
What is the risk principle?
A principle that states: The offender’s level of risk should match the level of intervention (e.g., high risk offenders = intensive intervention, low risk offenders = little or no
what is the responsivity principle?
Principle that correctional interventions should match the general learning style of offenders (using cognitive behavioural therapy). Match service to: What we know generally about offenders (general responsivity) and Individual differences of offenders (specific responsivity)
Why Meta- Analysis?
A meta analysis is the statistical aggregation of the results derived from many independent studies in order to integrate the findings. The Primary unit of analysis is the effect size. The effect size reflects the degree to which the comparison and treatment groups differ on a particular measure
Describe what the effect size means
Effect sizes are correlations for the most part (for this course). It will typically tell you the impact of the treatment. Effect sizes vary in two ways: The sign can be positive or negative (direction of the effect) and magnitude. Positive effect size means treatment is working relevant to the comparison group and the magnitude tells you how big it is.
Describe the development of meta analysis
First meta-analysis in this area conducted by Garrett he Found cognitive behavioural/family treatment was the best
Whitehead and lab conducted a meta-analysis, but did not find promising evidence
Andrews and colleagues decided to conduct their own meta-analysis on a broad sample of offender treatment studies and Found support for their principles of effective correctional treatment (ECT) by focusing on an understanding of the "psychology of human conduct" (cannot rely on punishment to stop reoffending), risk, need and responsivity.
What are some examples of criminogenic needs?
-Changing antisocial attitudes
-Changing antisocial feelings
-Reducing antisocial peer associations
-Promoting identification with prosocial role models
-Promoting familial affection/communication
-Promoting familial monitoring and supervision
-Increasing self control, self-management and problem solving
- Substance abuse
-Academic and vocational deficits
Recognition of risky situations (relapse prevention)
What are some examples of non-criminogenic needs?
-Increasing self esteem (Without Reductions in Antisocial Thinking, Feeling and Peers)
-Focusing on Vague Emotional/Personal Problem
-Increasing Cohesiveness of Antisocial Peer Groups
-Neighborhood-Wide Improvements Without Touching the Needs of Higher Risk Individuals
-Increasing Conventional Ambition (Work/School) Without Concrete Assistance to Achieve Them Changing Antisocial Feelings
-Fear of Official Punishment (i.e. “Scared Straight”)
Physical Training Programs
What works? the Carleton U meta analysis
374 comparisons (e.g., police cautioning vs. additional processing, probation vs. custody etc)
Only 2 of the comparisons produced a positive effect of .20 or .22. The mean effect size was a minimal -.03 (-0.03 means that the interventions resulted in increased rated of re-offending relative to whatever comparison groups were examined (the - sign), but only very slightly (because the effect size is near 0)
More processing associated with slightly increased recidivism rates
If any effect on recidivism, "less is better than more" (sometimes not an option though for people who are serious interpersonal, violent offenders)
Also coded for the principles of risk, need and responsivity
Created an appropriate treatment variable (range 0-3) based on principles of ECT. Explored their utility with specific populations as well. Also explored the impact of staff characteristics on program effectiveness
What are the conclusions?
Higher risk clients must be targeted
Criminogenic needs must be included within the treatment targets (the more the better)
Adherence to general and specific responsivity principles is advised
Increased adherence to principles of ECT maximize reductions in re-offending
Non-residential settings are the key if maximum reductions in recidivism are desired
Effective correctional workers must be relied on
What was the historical background of offender treatment research?
Extensive debate over "what works" in offender rehabilitation. Early literature reviews by Bailey and Logan did not present favourable conclusions regarding the effectiveness of correctional interventions. Martinson presented the "nothing works" conclusion in his paper that evaluated 231 primary research studies
What is parole?
The release of offenders from prison into the community before their sentence term is complete
What 4 things does parole involve?
1) The conditional release of offenders into a community so they can serve the remainder of their sentence outside an institution 2) an attempt to rehabilitate offenders so they can become productive contributors to society 3) a high degree of community supervision to ensure the parolee is abiding by certain rules 4) a clause that if, the conditions of parole are not met an offender's parole can be revoked and they can be sent back to prison.
What is the parole board of Canada?
The organization responsible for making parole decisions
What is temporary absence?
A form of parole that allows the offender to enter the community on a temporary basis (e.g., for the purpose of attending correctional programs)
What is day parole?
a form of parole that allows the offender to enter the community for up to one day and return at night (e.g., for the purpose of holding down a job)
What is full parole?
A form of parole that allows the offender to serve the remainder of his/her sentence under supervision in the community.
What is statutory release?
most federal inmates must be released with supervision by law after serving two thirds of their sentence. however, offenders serving life sentences are not eligible for statutory release
How are parole decision made in Canada?
In Canada, offenders must serve the first third of their sentence of the first seven years, whichever is less before being eligible for full parole. When making a decision parole board members carefully review the risk that an offender might present to society if they are released
When do parole decisions seem to be more successful?
when offenders are granted parole based on discretionary decision making they are more likely to complete their supervision period compared with offenders released as a result of statute based systems
What is the aboriginal over representation problem?
the discrepancy between the relatively low proportion og aboriginal people in the general Canadian population and the relatively high proportion of aboriginal people involved in the criminal justice system
What factors have been highlighted as potential contributors to the aboriginal overrepresentation problem?
Aboriginal people may commit more crimes than non-aboriginal, and the crimes they commit may be more likely to result in incarceration, they appear to be processed in a different way than non-aboriginals (access to lawyers), certain policies seem to have a more adverse effect on aboriginal people because they are more economically disadvantaged (can't pay a fine so would have to serve time).
What is restorative justice?
an approach for dealing with crime that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by it. based on the philosophy that when victims, offenders and community members meet voluntarily to decide how to achieve this, transformation can result.
What has been done to try to reduce the aboriginal problem?
Special courts have been developed that specialize in cases involving aboriginal offenders. Judges in these courts have access to resources that should allow them to provide appropriate sentences to aboriginals (Gladue reports can be provided-mitigate or reduce the culpability).
How do we find out about attitudes towards sentencing?
-Public opinion polls- most common (Very generalizable/representative but very surface level, cant get very deep information)
-Focus groups- second most common (attitudes that emerge are unlikely to be representative because it is a small group of people, but can go very deep)