Canadian Corrections and Criminal Justice System Essay
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Canadian criminal justice system corrections
The Canadian justice system
Since the last decade, there's been a huge hue and cry pertaining unjust convictions and its disastrous consequences. As in the case of Canada, there have been numerous high profile cases which concluded with unjust verdicts, putting the Canadian justice system and its judicial process in question. Even though, the media's attention has increased on this matter, academic literature on the issue is razor-thin in case of Canada (Denov & Campbell, 2005). The media's coverage of crimes and criminal justice is now excessively given coverage during the last decade, since it's a form of entertainment and news. Criminal justice and crime have emerged as a viable form of entertainment across the media spectrum. In case of TV shows, depictions of criminal justice and crime are observed in courtroom TV seasons as well as daily talk's shows.
Popular culture and criminal courts
The crime investigation TV shows are in intense demand which gave birth to CSI and Law and Order. Majority of the people have no practical experience with criminal justice courts, hence their sole source of information is the media. Hence, fictitious and non-fictitious (TV shows, movies and real-life cases) form beliefs, attitudes and opinions about the outlook and behavior of a criminal (also called criminal prototype). It also forms the basis of public's understanding and opinion making in case of resolving a criminal offence (investigation process) and how felons should be prosecuted (Dowler et al., 2006; Reid, 2015).
A Case Study
Christie Blatchford's initial article in National Post discusses at length the slow proceedings of the justice system in Canada. She gives her proof by mentioning two cases to corroborate her findings. According to her, the judges and prosecutors ask an irrelevant question in court which wastes precious time and plays a pivotal role in delays. One case highlighted in the article had taken a span of five years which gives ample evidence of how slow Canada's justice system is. The writer than puts this in contrast with American courts which are fast in decision making as in a case of American Sniper, the verdict was given in two hours only, which in Canadian courts is equivalent to a lunch break. The trial continued for two weeks in comparison to the trial of Luke Magnotta which was elongated to three months and verdict was passed in eight days, even though both court cases commenced their legal proceedings in the same time frame. Hence, the writer confirms the slowness of the justice system of Canada (Blatchford, 2015)
Jacques Gallant's next article in The Star mentions the differences of laws in Canadian federal and provincial courts. Provincial courts haven't been able to alert the media with respect to banning the publications, whilst the federal government adheres to the law smoothly. This article cites a case in Nova Scotia which shows the compulsion of the matter at hand and informing the journalists about banning some publication. The federal courts namely those working in Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia are adhering to this law, whilst Ontario faces troubles implementing this law. The issue became visible when The Star argued over the ban on both cases and the verdict was in their favor. As per the article, the Ontario's justice system needs to work on ironing out its flaws and strengthen its system. Lawyers and journalist from Alberta and Nova Scotia can sign up free of charge for receiving the notification since it doesn't impede the routine of the judges (Gallant, 2015)
The law is never constant and evolves continually taking in consideration multiple factors (Introduction to the Canadian Criminal Justice System, 2015). Both articles discuss the slow pace of the justice system of Canada and the time it takes for the courts to hand out a verdict or inform people about anything. Canadian courts are still pending decisions on certain cases, aforementioned in the article where cases are five years old and more. The ongoing ones consume more time in comparison to the ones taking place in neighboring countries. The notification system with internet in place is still working at snail's pace and not being taken fully advantage of.
Media's self-created image
In both articles, the media
have shown that justice system works slowly. They have indicated that justice system has become sluggish in concluding the trials in a timely manner. Excessive amount of time is wasted in lunch breaks. This depiction of the Canadian court system forms the basis of the public's opinion about the justice system. As per the media, the Canadian nation has lost faith in their justice system and deems it incompetent. As per the media, the Canadian nation deems its justice system slow and incompetent. According to the survey conducted in 2003, the results speak otherwise. It indicates that people have a positive image about their justice system as per media's created image on behalf of the public (Grossman & Roberts, 2011). Apart from that, public has more faith in the justice system as compared to the parliament, which proves that media is depicting a false image of its justice system whilst people have a positive outlook about it.
A comparison of both writers
The article composed by Christie Blatchford had many elements of sensationalism, which can be judged by the fact that it's composed in point-of-view of the first person. It was a blend of mixed emotions and her personal bias instead of letting the public be the judge of it. The article referred to a case of American Sniper as the basis of the topic she was highlighting. She took in comparison the case of American Sniper with Luke Magnotta and indicated the distinction between both justice systems. She gave her personal experiences as proof of the matter at hand, yet the sensationalism conflicted with objectivity in the article. The consequent article by Jacques Gallant was more factual than sensationalist. It was composed in an objective fashion and had an advisory tone to it. The matter at hand was conferred openly basing the evidence given by the writer whilst keeping in mind the notification system's need. The article shied away from eliciting an emotional response, rather defended the issue on grounds of objectivity.
Media is in favor of the victims as compared to other people within the justice system domain. From 1979 to 1984, 28 victim support groups came into being composed of a total of 150 branches all over Canada, having at least 250,000 to 400,000 associates (English 1984).
Organizations like Victims of Violence and Citizens United for Safety and Justice, and same as their American equivalents are comprised of mostly middle class, white, middle aged and educated people who lost a dear one due to a criminal offence. During this time frame, the representatives from these support groups started making an appearance in the media, courts and political events for gauging public support and lobby government for an overall system change. With the media at hand, groups wielded more sway over the government to work in favor of the victims (KENNEY, 2009)
Some flawed criticism
The articles seem to disparage the judges both ways for hindering the courts proceedings. The postponements and delayed trials are the fault on the judge's end since they give the final verdict after a lot of time. The media acts as the public's surrogate witnessing as well as reporting on concerned issues to the public. The line everyone has heard which says justice shouldn't be just done, but it should be observed being done. Although, it's a quintessential public service, but it's a huge undertaking, since the legal proceedings and processes can be quite complex. Albeit it is a public process; not an instinctive one and neither is it extremely observer friendly. Judges and lawyers often indulge in court jargon during court proceedings, which to a layman is plainly undecipherable. Most journalists refer to the court jargon as legal-ese, albeit, it's not that easy to begin with. Apart from that, it's the lingua franca of the court house, as the support personnel also speak it fluently (The Canadian Judicial System and the Media, 2007)
Media's lack of professionalism
The media has mostly shown justice system in a negative spotlight. Despite some positive aspects, there's always an air of negativity in the media which creates doubt in people's mind about the justice system. Furthermore, the public also believes that crime rates have surged due to negligence of the courts (Grossman & Roberts, 2011), since the justice system has clearly never been able to give punishments accordingly to the criminals, or in other cases responds slowly. For instance, Duke Lacrosse case was covered by the media from the start and instigated controversy immediately. In the beginning, the media was criticized for treating the accuser poorly; after some time, the critics noted that media hadn't observed the feebleness of the prosecution's case. The critics thought that media treated the accused poorly, hastily judging them, missing the…
Sources Used in Documents:
Blatchford, C. (2015, Febuary 27). News. Retrieved from National Post: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/27/christie-blatchford-canadians-seem-to-imagine-that-slow-justice-is-better-justice-but-thats-not-the-case/
Denov, M., & Campbell, K. (2005). Understanding the Causes, Effects, and Responses to Wrongful Conviction in Canada. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.
Entmann, R., & Gross, K. (2008). Race to judgment: stereotyping media and criminal defendants. 93-133. Retrieved from: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1495&context=lcp
Gallant, J. (2015, Febuary 23). Crime. Retrieved from The Star: http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/02/23/ontario-courts-slow-to-speak-up-about-hush-orders.html
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