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Essay on Criminology and Criminal Justice

Discuss whether or not the Canadian Criminal Justice System is really a system

A criminal justice system is a network of private agencies and government aimed at managing accused and convicted criminals. This system typically aims at addressing the impacts of criminal behavior in society. It has the objective of guarding people’s right to safety and ensuring that all citizens enjoy their human rights (Joyce, 2017). Criminal justice systems in various countries have three key roles; to enforce the law, ensure public safety, and deliver justice to people that have committed a crime. Ideally, the criminal justice system comprises three major components; law enforcement (the police), the courts, and corrections (Joyce, 2017). Law enforcement is the first component of the criminal justice system as it is the system that people first encounter if they go against the law. Law enforcement consists of police officers, deputies, criminal investigators, government agents, and detectives who protect the community and enforce legal policies (Joyce, 2017).

On the other hand, courts in the criminal justice system determine the innocence of suspects of crime and deliver justice to people according to the ruling. Courts are run by judges whose primary responsibility is to ensure that the rule of law is abided by and adjudicate the things that happen to every offender in question. The third and last component of the criminal justice system is corrections (Joyce, 2017). This component handles the punishment and sentencing of offenders and is issued by the court. After the conviction of offenders in courts, the corrections system separates the offenders from the rest of society. The correction systems adhere to laws made by the different legal systems globally: civil law and common law (Joyce, 2017). Common law is a group of unwritten laws according to the legal precedents established by the courts.

On the other hand, civil laws are part of the laws set by the country which relate to the private affairs of citizens, for instance, private ownership marriage as opposed to crime (Joyce, 2017). Overall, the criminal justice system is essential in society. It addresses the impacts of criminal behavior and ensures that all citizens in a country are safe and well protected.

Based on the components of the criminal justice system, it is right to say that the Canadian criminal justice system is a system (Joyce, 2017). This is because, similar to other criminal justice systems, the Canadian criminal justice system is structured in a manner that can ensure public safety by protecting society against people who violate the law (Reiner, 2015). The criminal justice system in Canada does this by laying down the type of behaviors that are deemed acceptable and stating the nature and severity of the punishment that would be given to people once they make an offense (Reiner, 2015). Moreover, similar to other criminal justice systems, the Canadian Criminal Justice System has three critical components: law enforcement (police officers), correctional services, and the courts. Consequently, similar to other judicial systems, the Canadian criminal justice system also has three key roles; enforcing laws, delivering justice to its citizens, and ensuring public safety. Besides, the correctional system in the country also abides by the law systems of the country (Reiner, 2015). Like other countries, Canada is also a binaural country with both civil and common law systems (Joyce, 2017). Therefore, with the extensive similarities that the Canadian Criminal Justice System has with other criminal justice systems globally, it can be said that the Canadian Criminal Justice System is really a system.

Define and Contrast the Social Contract Perspective and the Radical Perspective on the Role of the Police

The social contract theory is a theory about society and the association between rules and laws and the reasons why society needs them (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). The social contract is unwritten and asserts that people should not break laws or particular moral codes. In exchange for this, they would reap benefits such as; security and other necessities required to live (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). The social contract theory of policing was envisioned by philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. The theory perceives police as a protective force against social disorder and crime. The theory also insists that people live together according to an agreement that establishes political and moral rules of behavior (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). According to Hobbes, the Social Contract in policing ideally involves citizens relinquishing their freedom to utilize force to attain justice and entrust this duty to the public agency (police) to use force when protecting the society and its members (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). The social contract perspective sees the police as a protective force against social order and crime.

On the other hand, the radical perspective asserts that the current role of police and the criminal justice system is only to serve the ruling class’s interest and hence result in inequality in society (Reiner, 2015). The theory supports the notion that those in power, particularly in capitalist societies like Canada, where the economy is significantly driven by a free market and private enterprise, including supply and demand, establish laws to control the lower classes.

The Social Contract Perspective (SCT) differs from the Radical Perspective. The social contract perspective (SCT) considers the police a neutral political force that operates primarily to protect the public and enforce the law (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). Under the social contract perspective (SCT), citizens are claimed to have voluntarily surrendered some of their rights and powers and given them to the police force. The theory also perceives the police as a protective force against social disorder and crime (Taylor & Auerhahn, 2015). However, contrary to the Social Contract Perspective (SCT), the Radical Perspective on the role of policing regards the police as an instrument utilized by the government and powerful interests to suppress, stifle protest, suppress dissent, and maintain the status quo (Reiner, 2015). On the other hand, as opposed to the SCT, which asserts that the role of the police is to protect the people, the Radical Perspective claims that the role of the police is to support the government. The government, in turn, supports the interests of the ruling class, which depicts that the police are not politically neutral.

Explain the Mr. Big Technique Used in Police Investigations and Discuss why it is Considered Controversial

The Mr. Big technique, also known as the Canadian technique, is a covert investigation procedure utilized by undercover police to get confessions from suspects in cases like murder. In this technique, police officers establish a fictitious grey area or criminal establishment and then manipulate the suspect into joining it (Connors et al., 2019). After the suspect joins the organization, the police then create a relationship with the suspect and get to have their confidence (Connors et al., 2019). After gaining their confidence, they ask these criminals to help them do a criminal act and pay them for it. When the suspect becomes fully enmeshed into the criminal gang, they are persuaded to give information regarding their criminal history, often as a critical item, before being entirely accepted as the organization member. The confession may often be demanded as a sign of loyalty, good faith, and trustworthiness, and the criminal is convinced that their confession serves as insurance (Connors et al., 2019). However, these confessions are usually recorded without the suspect’s knowledge. Once the police get the confession they were looking for from the criminal or become convinced of the person’s innocence when working with them on the criminal affairs, the fake organization is closed down. However, they get arrested when the suspect is found guilty (Connors et al., 2019). In Canada, the Mr. Big technique is often used as a last resort, particularly in cases of murder where evidence is not found. Still, the police are intensely suspicious that the suspect may have committed the offense but have little or no evidence to prove it.

While Mr. Big technique is quite helpful in securing convictions of guilty suspects in cases with insufficient evidence, the technique is still considered quite controversial. This is because of concerns about the risk of obtaining a false confession (Connors et al., 2019). This is because someone may want to continue working for the organization. Therefore, despite not having criminal records, they may give false confessions of crimes that they did with the hope that if they lie about the criminal activities they may have engaged in, they would be incorporated into the group (Connors et al., 2019). On the other hand, the technique is also controversial because it relates to concerns regarding a breach of constraints on police interrogation, unfair prejudice, and the general mistake of using deceit to conduct police operations. To work effectively, Mr. Big Operations have to prejudice a defendant unfairly because to gather evidence from the undercover operations; it is vital for the undercover police using the technique to reveal to the jury that the defendant is willing to undertake criminal activities and hence alter the jury’s perception of the defendant (Connors et al., 2019). Besides, the technique also breaches the constraint of lawful interrogation by the police. When gathering information about the victim’s crime using the method, the police abuse the criminal process and overlook the rules of police questioning processes (Connors et al., 2019). When questioning suspects in the Mr. Big technique, police often fail to abide by the rules of police questioning and also fail to apply the police conduct during their undercover operations, which circumvent the suspect’s rights which would initially be protected if the police followed the suitable protocols, making the technique quite controversial.

Explain the Broken Windows approach, zero-tolerance policing, and problem-oriented policing and discuss their effectiveness in reducing crime and disorder

The broken window approach is a theory that asserts that the visible signs of crime like antisocial behavior and crime establish an environment that encourages further crime. The theory asserts that policing methods that target minor crimes, such as public drinking, help bring lawfulness and order to society (Thompson, 2015). The theory proposed by George Kelling and James QWilson in 1982 associates incivility and disorder within a society with the subsequent happening of serious crime (Thompson, 2015). It further asserts that visible signs of crime and disorder, however minor, influence further and more grave crime levels in society.

On the other hand, zero-tolerance policing (ZTP) is a technique that aims at minimizing both minor and graver crimes through aggressive law enforcement and relentless maintenance of order even against minor incivilities and disorders (Greene, 2014). ZTP urges police officers to enforce every law facet on all kinds of crimes and even pay attention to minor crimes such as antisocial behavior and littering.

Moreover, problem-oriented policing (POP), also regarded as Problem Solving Policing (PSP), is a policing technique used to deal with crime and disorders in the society which involve the recognition of a given issue through analysis to recognize the issue and establish a tailored response and an assessment of the impacts of the response (Goldstein, 2018). This policing is often conducted through four key steps; scanning the problem, problem analysis, response to the problem, and assessment. This policing aims to assess and solve crime problems that are persistent in society by examining the underlying factors that influence the occurrence of these problems (Goldstein, 2018). Before solving the problems, the police using the Problem-Oriented Policing approach first aim to understand the cause of the crime and deal with these causes (Goldstein, 2018). In an attempt to understand the problem, the police using this approach may establish partnerships with the community, institutions, and agencies to gain a good comprehension of the problem (Goldstein, 2018). The problem-oriented policing approach is beneficial in society as it helps minimize crime issues in society, foster peace, increase job satisfaction among police and make it easy for the police to meet the law enforcement objectives in the society.

The three methods of policing explained above are critical in helping the police reduce crime. This is because all the methods help police officers deal with the root cause of crime and mitigate the occurrence of significant crimes by dealing with minor and less visible crimes. This makes people understand that there are bound to be repercussions whenever they engage against the law. Making the public understand that they are likely to be punished for their offenses, even the most negligible ones, they are likely to become keener on their behaviors and become good citizens. Besides, the above-discussed methods are also quite effective in reducing crime in society as they establish accountability for law enforcement agencies to establish and maintain a good relationship with the community and increase the use of policing strategies that establish trust with trust people. Being that the above methods of policing make police officers focus on punishing and finding the root cause of even the most minor mistakes in the society, police officers are put in a position that they have to interact with the society in person, go to the grassroots so that they can be able to not the occurrence of even the most minor criminal offense. Working closely with society helps them maintain a good relationship with people within society and establish trust among them.


Connors, C. J., Patry, M. W., & Smith, S. M. (2019). The Mr. Big technique on trial by jury. Psychology, Crime & Law25(1), 1-22.

Greene, J. R. (2014). Zero tolerance and policing. In The Oxford handbook of police and policing.

Goldstein, H. (2018). On problem-oriented policing: the Stockholm lecture. Crime science7(1), 1-9.

Joyce, P. (2017). Criminal justice: An introduction. Routledge.

Meyer, J., & O’Malley, P. (2013). Missing the punitive turn? Canadian criminal justice, ‘balance’, and penal modernism. In The new punitiveness (pp. 227-243). Willan.

Reiner, R. (2015). Political economy and policing: A tale of two freudian slips. Globalisation criminal law and criminal justice: Theoretical, comparative and transnational perspectives, 65-86.

Taylor, C. J., & Auerhahn, K. (2015). Community justice and public safety: Assessing criminal justice policy through the lens of the social contract. Criminology & Criminal Justice15(3), 300-320.

Thompson, J. P. (2015, May). Broken policing: The origins of the “Broken Windows” policy. In New Labor Forum (Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 42-47). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.


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