Students of the Honours: Special Topics (SOC 402) course, led by Dr. Vicki Chartrand of the Department of Sociology, published or co-published research papers in the Canadian Criminal Justice Association’s Justice Report. The CCJA is an independent national voluntary organization working for an improved criminal justice system and Canada, aims to promote rational, informed and responsible debate in order to develop a more humane, equitable, and effective justice system.
Student Jennifer Moore’s article, entitled “Solitary Confinement as a Function of the State’s Power Over Life,” examines the excesses of state power over the lives of its citizens, particularly through the criminal justice system. Recalling past abuses of state power in relation to corporal punishment, such as public hangings, whippings, etc. Moore sets the stage for a lively and well-informed discussion of current abuses of state power in prisons within a context of solitary confinement and Lisa Guenther’s notion of social death.
Student-author Aliosha Hurry penned an article entitled “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Police Negligence Rooted in Colonial Sentiment,” in which she police negligence regarding cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women throughout Canada as a barrier to justice for Indigenous families and communities and as a factor in the perceived slow response time by the Canadian government. Pointing out that this pervasive, longstanding, and systemic police neglect is increasingly viewed as driven by the historical force of colonialism, Hurry looks to colonial past and for answers and illustrates that colonial sentiment in Canada lingers in present day.
Finally, Dr. Vicki Chartrand and student Emily Lampron published an overview of the Centre for Justice Exchange’s activities. The Centre for Justice Exchange was created in 2012 and is currently running in the Bishop’s University Sociology Department. The group is comprised of academic, student, and individual volunteers who respond to information requests from people in prisons across Canada. This outreach aims to advance more consultative and inclusive forms of justice and accountability and is predicated on the belief that without access and resources, people in prison are isolated from much needed supports and information. The Centre recently held its first prison art exhibit at which Reuben Robertson, a Mi’gmaq/Acadian, speaking on his own incarceration experience, highlighted the inherent power dynamics at play within the Canadian criminal justice system.
Dr. Vicki Chartrand, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology