News Archives




CrimSL Triple Feature at the Centre for Ethics

May 28th, 2020

This week, three Centre for Ethics events in their ongoing series, Ethics of AI in Context, Ethics in the City, and Ethics of COVID, featured members of the CrimSL community. All three online events are now available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube channel:


Law and Society Association Virtual Conference

May 27th, 2020

""The LSA 2020 (virtual) conference starts today. Here is where to find our faculty and students:

  • Thursday, May 28th, 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM, Navigating Immigration Law: Perspectives from Migrants and Bureaucrats: “’No Strings Attached, Just Ropes’: ‘Marriage Fraud’ Participants’ Social Metamorphoses Through Dam Cuoi Gia Arrangements” by Grace Tran.
  • Thursday, May 28th, 2:15 PM – 4:00 PM, Technolegal Practice in Civil and Criminal Justice: “Gatekeepers of Toxicity: Understanding Twitter’s Policies on Abuse and Hate Speech” by Daniel Konikoff.
  • Saturday, May 30th, 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM, Police-Citizen Encounters: “What’s in a Name? Officer Misidentification of Latinx Americans and Implications for the Study of Racial Disparities in Policing” by Ayobami Laniyonu.
  • Sunday May 31st, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PMKochenov’s “Citizenship” Author Meets Reader (AMR) Session: Reader Audrey Macklin.

Canada, Bio-Status, and COVID-19

May 15th, 2020

audrey webinar Director Audrey Macklin’s talk, “Canada, Bio-Status, and COVID-19,” part of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility’s online series Immigration Short-Takes: Mobility in the Time of COVID-19 is now available online.

Watch the video here

Criminologia – Criminology Podcast

May 7th, 2020

Criminologia PodA note from CrimSL PhD students Jona Zyfi and Daniel Konikoff, who have launched a criminology- and criminal justice-themed podcast, Criminologia:

“The series aims to facilitate critical dialogue and present theoretical ideas, empirical research findings, and policy solutions not only to social science scholars, but also criminal justice practitioners and the general public. Hosting leading academics, as well as graduate students, episodes cover a range of contemporary issues related to criminology such as crime, rights and justice, the criminal justice system, organized crime and terrorism, immigration, as well as law and society.

“An episode introducing the podcast, as well as the first official episode featuring an interview with University of Toronto Professor Emerita Rosemary Gartner, are now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

“Please follow us on Twitter @CriminologiaPod and subscribe to Criminologia for bi-weekly episodes. If you think this podcast seems of interest to anyone you may know, do not hesitate to share it. For more detailed information on our guests and upcoming episodes, you can visit our website.”

Expertise and Objectivity in Crisis: A Historical Perspective

May 6th, 2020

Catherine Evans’ May 4th talk, “Expertise and Objectivity in Crisis: A Historical Perspective”, is now available on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel. CrimSL co-sponsored this installment of The Ethics of COVID, the Centre for Ethics’ interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

 Welcome, Professor Kamari Maxine Clarke!

May 1st, 2020

john_pratt_controlling_risksOn May 1st, Professor Kamari Maxine Clarke officially joined the Centre as our newest faculty member, cross-appointed with the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies.



Big List of University of Toronto COVID-19 Pages

April 30th, 2020

cdc-k0KRNtqcjfw-unsplashThe University of Toronto is a big place, with lots of resources available to support the activities of students, faculty and staff. To help the CrimSL community keep track of them all, we’re gathering as many as we can in one big list. Where available, the list includes a breakdown of the subsections of the linked resource and information pages.

Do you know a U of T COVID-19 update page that should be listed here? Let us know!



Video: Foucault and Biopolitics

April 16th, 2020
Professor Mariana Valverde’s talk, “Michel Foucault and Biopolitics,” is now available online. This is the first of a planned series of talks, the Virtual University for the COVID Era.

Play “Michel Foulcault and Biopolitics” in a new window or watch the video below.

Policing the Pandemic

April 8th, 2020

""CrimSL PhD student Alex Luscombe, and Alexander McClelland, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa have launched the “Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project

“To track and visualize the massive and extraordinary expansions of police power in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the unequal patterns of enforcement this is likely to produce. The project aims to bring to light COVID-19 related patterns of police intervention to help understand who is being targeted, what justifications are being used by police, and how marginalized people are being impacted.”

This ongoing project includes an interactive map, a searchable database, a white paper published April 8th, and enforcement reports (April 4-13, 2020, April 14, 2020 – May 1, 2020).

Professor Audrey Macklin receives President’s Impact Award

February 24, 2020

Photo of Prof. Audrey MacklinCentre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies Director Audrey Macklin has received the President’s Impact Award, as well as this year’s Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award.

The University of Toronto President’s Impact Awards celebrate and honour faculty members whose research has led to significant impact beyond academia. U of T News writes:

For the profound impact she has made on migration and citizenship law, business and human rights, Professor Audrey Macklin has received the President’s Impact Award.

A scholar, educator and lawyer, Macklin holds the Chair in Human Rights and serves as the faculty adviser to the Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program

“My academic work as a human rights scholar has been inspired and enriched by engagement with tough policy questions in migration and in corporate accountability,” Macklin said. “I am honoured and grateful for this award, which will enable me to continue working with government, civil society and other actors to develop and promote just, feasible and effective laws, policies and practices – locally, nationally and internationally.”

Macklin has litigated high-profile cases, including that of Omar Khadr, and has represented interveners before the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court /Federal Court of Appeal. An author or contributor to critical policy reports on a wide range of topics, she is regularly invited to testify before Parliamentary Standing Committees and the Senate on pending legislation. She also consults for the United Nations and domestic tribunals, and participates in international human rights fact-finding missions.

Macklin will also receive this year’s Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award, one of of the Awards of Excellence, a program stewarded by Alumni Relations on behalf of the U of T Alumni Association. Due to their common aim to honour research impact, the Carolyn Tuohy and President’s Impact Awards share the same nomination process and are adjudicated by the same committee.

The University of Toronto President’s Impact Awards celebrate and honour faculty members whose research has led to significant impact beyond academiaCongratulations, Audrey!

Affective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback

January 16, 2020

Affective Justice The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback book coverAffective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback by Kamari Maxine Clarke (Professor, Carleton University), was published by Duke University Press in November 2019. 

From the publisher: 

Since its inception in 2001, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been met with resistance by various African states and their leaders, who see the court as a new iteration of colonial violence and control. In Affective Justice Kamari Maxine Clarke explores the African Union’s pushback against the ICC in order to theorize affect’s role in shaping forms of justice in the contemporary period. Drawing on fieldwork in The Hague, the African Union in Addis Ababa, sites of postelection violence in Kenya, and Boko Haram’s circuits in Northern Nigeria, Clarke formulates the concept of affective justice—an emotional response to competing interpretations of justice—to trace how affect becomes manifest in judicial practices. By detailing the effects of the ICC’s all-African indictments, she outlines how affective responses to these call into question the “objectivity” of the ICC’s mission to protect those victimized by violence and prosecute perpetrators of those crimes. In analyzing the effects of such cases, Clarke provides a fuller theorization of how people articulate what justice is and the mechanisms through which they do so. 

Dr. Clarke will be joining the faculty at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies this year.  

From Carelton University, where she is now Full Professor in Global and International Studies: 

[Dr. Clarke’s] research spans issues related to the rise of the rule of law movement, international courts and tribunals, the export, spread and re-contextualization of international norms, secularism and religious transnationalism, The United Nations and African Union treaty negotiations, and Africa’s insertion into international law circuits. By exploring the increasing judicialization of politics in international criminal law circuits, her work explores the implications for rethinking culture, power, and justice in the contemporary period. She works on theories of legal pluralism, law, aesthetics and politics, and social and political theory. 


Where to Find CrimSL at #ASCSF19

November 13, 2019

CrimSL faculty, students, junior fellows and post-docs are in San Fransisco this week at the 2019 Meeting of the American Society of Criminology. Here is where to find their work:

Please note:

  • All times are in Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8)
  • In the interest of space, only CrimSL-affiliated researchers are listed below. See the full meeting program for information about co-authors.

Wed, Nov 13 

8:00 to 9:20am 
Empirically Studying Police Strategies: Exports, Espionage, and Enforcement 

Private High Policing: A Comparison of Industrial-Espionage Complexes in Canada and the United States 

Alex Luscombe 

11:00am to 12:20pm 
Communities and Place: The Association between Marijuana Decriminalization, Crime, Policing and Spatial Dynamics  

We’re On To You: The Relationship between Neighborhoods and Police Supervisors on Cannabis Intelligence Carding 

  •  Akwasi Owusu-Bempah 

Does the De-Criminalization of Cannabis Reduce Drug Arrests in Minority Neighborhoods? The Case of Chicago  

  • Akwasi Owusu-Bempah 
Homicide–Comparative Perspectives from Other Countries  

Homicide Trends in Israel Over a Century (1925-2015) 

  • Dikla Yogev 
12:30 to 1:50pm 
Ethnographies of the Carceral State I  

A Changing Landscape: Segregation practices in Canada? 

  • Kelly Hannah-Moffat 
2:00 to 3:20pm 
Body Worn Cameras I  

Police Body-Worn Cameras and Axon Enterprises’ Claims in Media  

  • Erick Laming  

Thu, Nov 14 

8:00 to 9:20am 
Understanding Inequalities in Policing – Jessica Bundy, Chair 

The Impacts of Police “Street Checks” on Youth in Two Canadian Cities 

  • Jessica T. Bundy 
  • Scot Wortley 
  • Julian Tanner 
  • Kadija Lodge-Tulloch 
12:30 to 1:50pm 
Contemporary Theoretical Debates in the Sociology of Punishment I 
  • Kelly Hannah-Moffat (discussant) 
Immigration and Criminology I 

The role of privatization in Canada’s immigration detention centers 

  • Jona Zyfi 
2:00 to 3:20  
Media Constructions of Race and Criminality 

Canadian Mainstream and Indigenous Media Depictions of Missing and Murdered Tina Fontaine 

  • Ferdouse Asefi, 
3:30 to 4:50pm 
Professional Development: Navigating Media and Public Criminology as a Young Scholar 
  • Julius Haag (discussant) 
5:00 to 6:20pm 
Police Work in the Current Technological and Digital Age 

Big Data, Ethics and Police Background Checks 

  • Paula Maurutto 
  • Kelly Hannah-Moffat 

Fri, Nov 15 

11:00am to 12:20pm 
Policing Youth and Juveniles  

Snitches Get Stitches: Why Youth Fail to Report Crime to the Police 

  • Kadija Lodge-Tulloch 
  • Julian Tanner 
  • Jessica T. Bundy 
  • Scot Wortley 
Public Policy and Perceptions of Crime and Punishment
  • Grant Valentine, Chair 

Marketing with Emotion: The Interplay Between Emotional Narratives and Political Marketing in Canadian Criminal Justice Legislation  

  • Grant John Valentine 
12:30 to 1:50pm 
Social Issues in Criminal Justice and Punishment 

“It just makes you have more problems”: An Examination of Snitching-codes Amongst Young People in Toronto, ON  

  • Julius Haag 
2:00 to 3:20pm 
The (Stalled) Gender Revolution in Incarceration Contexts  

Foreign National Women in the Spanish Prison System: Responsibilization, deportation and social exclusion 

  • Ana Ballesteros-Pena 
3:30 to 4:50pm 
Cross-National and International Police Strategies  

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Perceptions of Street Checks in Halifax, Nova Scotia 

  • Jessica T. Bundy 
  • Scot Wortley 

William Watson Receives 2019 Arbor Award

October 29, 2019

Photo of William Watson holding his award and flanked by Chancellor Patten and President Gertler Dr. William Watson, Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator at CrimSL, is one of this year’s recipients of U of T’s Arbor Award, which recognizes and celebrates the incredible volunteers who consistently contribute to the experience of U of T students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community.

From Woodsworth College’s Award Recipients profile:

For the past 12 years, William has graciously and with great success been the reader at the Woodsworth College convocation ceremonies. He takes this responsibility very seriously and will spend time before each ceremony ensuring that he has the correct pronunciation of each student’s name – students have been known to thank him for ‘pronouncing their name correctly’!

The 2019 Arbor Award ceremony was held on Monday, October 10, 2019.

Call for Papers – International Workshop. Expanding the Penal Landscape: The Immigration Detention Phenomena

April 20-21, 2020

Call for papers

Coordinator: Ana Ballesteros Pena (University of Toronto, Canada & University of A Coruña, Spain)

Scientific Committee: Ana Ballesteros Pena (University of Toronto, Canada & University of A Coruña, Spain), Prof. Mary Bosworth (University of Oxford, United Kingdom), Prof. Jose A. Brandariz (University of A Coruña, Spain), Prof. Elisa García España (University of Malaga, Spain), Prof. Kelly Hannah-Moffat (University of Toronto, Canada) & Prof. Audrey Macklin (University of Toronto, Canada).

Over the last few decades, we have witnessed the proliferation of practices of migration control. These include the creation, reinforcement and development of borders; the multiplication and diversification of practices and spaces of detention; the implementation of different initiatives of supervision and control of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers before detention and after release; the use of violent practices of push-backs, strategies of containment, and spectacles of transporting migrants and asylum seekers; the prosecution of organizations and individuals supporting migrants and asylum seekers; and the amplification of deportation practices. At the same time, both people on the move and the organizations and citizens supporting them have accumulated knowledge and developed strategies to resist, manage, and overcome the aforementioned attempts to constrain human mobility. This multiplicity of practices is being analyzed from within various disciplines including, but not limited to sociology, political science, anthropology, legal geography, criminology, and migration studies.

Some of these analyses have identified the punitive nature of migration enforcement practices but these processes are frequently characterized as outside the field of “punishment”. Scholars such as Hannah-Moffat and Lynch (2012) have pointed to the need to expand “definitional boundaries of the category of ‘punishment’” (Hannah-Moffat and Lynch, 2012: 119). According to them, these boundaries “tend to neglect a number of questions about what constitutes punishment in diverse settings, and are limited in their ability to explain on-the-ground punitive practices, particularly in contexts that challenge traditional understandings of the penal realm” (Hannah-Moffat and Lynch, 2012: 119). In this vein, Bosworth, Franko and Pickering (2018: 35) argue that the term “punishment” should be fundamentally adjusted so as to include the proliferation of “bordered forms of penality” (Bosworth, Franko and Pickering, 2018: 46). Others have studied the racialized, gendered, and (post)colonial character of border and/or migration control and immigration detention (Bosworth, Parmar and Vázquez, 2018).

This international interdisciplinary workshop provides an opportunity to reflect, both conceptually and empirically, on the explosion of penal and punitive forms and consequences of border and migration control practices in the Global North and South.

We seek contributions on the following topics, amongst others:

  • Immigration detention, including pre- and post-detention practices
  • The role of different actors in the immigration detention complex
  • Agency and resistance of different actors involved in detention, supervision, and other forms of border and migration control
  • Border control mechanisms
  • Other exclusionary practices against migrants and asylum seekers
  • Spatial practices of detention, containment and exclusion
  • The impact of gender, race, and (post/neo)colonialism in practices of border control and/or immigration detention
  • Emergent places of detention and containment: informal settlements, hotspots, temporary reception centers and the like.

Confirmed keynote speakers are: Prof. Yolanda Vázquez, Associate Professor of Law, College of Law, University of Cincinnati (United States) and Prof. Leanne Weber, Associate Professor of Criminology, School of Social Sciences, Monash University (Australia).

This interdisciplinary event will be of interest to scholars from criminology, sociology, social policy, law, human geography, anthropology, political science, and psychology. Early career scholars are encouraged to send abstracts. Attendance is free. We have limited funds available to cover travel and accommodation for junior participants outside Canada.

Please email your proposal (250 words maximum) to the coordinator by 23:59pm (GMT-4) on 6 December, 2019 at

We aim to publish the papers discussed in this international workshop as a special issue of a journal.  If you are interested in putting your work forward for consideration, please indicate this in your proposal.

Information about acceptance will be sent by 17 January, 2020.

The workshop is part of the European Commission funded project Governmigration: Governing irregular immigration through detention. Discourses and practices from an interdisciplinary approach, under the scientific program Horizon 2020 within Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions. It is sponsored jointly by the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto (Canada) and the ECRIM Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of A Coruña (Spain).

Thank you!

Ana Ballesteros


Bosworth, M., Franko, K. and Pickering, S. (2018). Punishment, globalization and migration control: ‘Get them the hell out of here’. Punishment and Society. 20 (1) 34-53.

Bosworth, M. Parmar, A. and Vázquez, Y. (2018). Race, Criminal Justice, and Migration Control: Enforcing the Boundaries of Belonging, Oxford, Oxford Press.

Hannah-Moffat, K. and Lynch, M. (2012). Theorizing punishment’s boundaries: An introduction. Theoretical Criminology 16(2) 119– 121

Welcome, Dr. David Scott!

September 30, 2019

Scott - 002 (2)

Welcome, Dr. David Scott, who is Visiting Faculty at CrimSL this fall. Dr. Scott is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Open University, UK. His current research interests are focussed on the ethical foundations of penal abolitionism; the historical relationship between penal abolitionism and the politics of social justice; and anti-carceral approaches prisons, punishment and social harms. With Michael Coyle, Dr. Scott is co-editing the International Handbook of Penal Abolition (forthcoming 2020, Routledge) and Contesting Carceral Logic (forthcoming 2021, Routledge).  

Dr. Scott will be participating in a number of events at the Centre, including as commentator at the seminar From prison democracy to prison bureaucracy: the movement to organize imprisoned labourers in the United States with speaker Amanda Hughett on Friday, October 4th, 2019. On Octeober 28th, he will present “Prison is not a home: homelessness and the prison as a zone of abandonment” in a lunchtime double-header with Centre postdoc Ana Ballesteros Pena. 


Understanding the Work in Sex Work

September 25, 2019

Working Women in Canada An Intersectional Approach book coverCrimSL PhD student Andrea Sterling has co-authored a chapter in a new book published by Women’s Press. Working Women in Canada: An Intersectional Approach, edited by Leslie Nichols, “is a relevant and in-depth look into the past, present, and future of women’s responsibilities and professions in Canada.” 

“Understanding the Work in Sex Work: Canadian Contexts,” by Kara Gillies, Elene Lam, Tuulia Law, Rai Reece, Andrea Sterling, and Emily van der Meulen is one of eighteen chapters that consider Canadian industries across a broad spectrum, including political, academic, sport, sex trade, retail, and entrepreneurial work.” 



CrimSL Professor to Chair Structured Intervention Unit Implementation Advisory Panel

September 10, 2019

Photo of Prof. Tony Doob

Professor Emeritus Tony Doob has been appointed as the chair of a new Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness advisory panel. The Structured Intervention Unit (SIU) Implementation Advisory Panel “will help monitor and assess the implementation of SIUs established by Bill C-83,” provide feedback to the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, and alert the Minister directly about any problems or concerns related to the implementation of the new system. 

Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Actreceived royal assent in June. Provisions of Bill C-83 will eliminate the use of administrative and disciplinary segregation in all federal correctional institutions on November 30 and establish SIUs. “In SIUs, offenders who need to be separated from the mainstream inmate population for safety reasons will have enhanced access to rehabilitative interventions and mental healthcare and meaningful interactions with other people.” 

Professor Doob is quoted in the government press release announcing the panel: “We know from recent debates there are few simple solutions to the complex, multi-dimensional problems of accommodating offenders who need to be separated from the general population. I am pleased to chair this panel that will have a role in advising how structured intervention units might be implemented in a thoughtful, humane fashion.”  

The seven other members of the panel have expertise in fields including forensic psychiatry, human rights, criminal law, correctional operations and the rehabilitation of Indigenous offenders. 

Media coverage: 


Welcome, Professor Laniyonu!

August 12, 2019

Photo of Ayobami LaniyonuA message on behalf of Centre Director Audrey Macklin:

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Ayobami Laniyonu, who is CrimSL’s newest faculty member. Dr. Laniyonu joined the Centre as an Assistant Professor in July, having previously served as Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Policing Equity in New York City. Dr. Laniyonu earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Political Science in 2018, with a specialization in Racial and Ethnic Politics & Statistical Methodology. 

Dr. Laniyonu’s research interests include criminal justice reform, urban politics, and statistical methodologies, with a particular emphasis on spatial statistics. He is currently working on a series of projects that explore police use of force against the homeless and individuals with serious mental illness, the effect gentrification on eviction rates in large urban areas, and the effect of police violence on political behavior. His past research has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law ReviewPolitical Behaviour, the British Journal of Criminology, and more. “Coffee Shops and Street Stops: Policing Practices in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, published in Urban Affairs in 2017, was the winner of the Law and Society Association’s 2018 Best Graduate Student Paper Prize 

This year, Dr. Laniyonu will be teaching two undergraduate courses, CRI 390H – Topics in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies: The Politics of the Criminal Justice System and CRI 428H – Neighbourhoods and Crime, as well as CRI 2010H – Methodological Issues in Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the graduate level. 

To read more about Assistant Professor Ayobami Lanoyonu’s research and publications, check out his faculty profile and his website. He has an office on the second floor of the Canadiana Gallery and can be reached at please feel encouraged to introduce yourselves and get acquainted. Welcome, Ayo!    

The International Congress of Law and Mental Health

July 30, 2019

36th International Congress of Law and Mental Health, Rome July 21st – 26th 2019The International Congress of Law and Mental Health was held July 21st to 26th in Rome. Representing the Centre were CrimSL professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, PhD student Jihyun Kwon, post-doctoral fellow Kelly Struthers Montford, and Paula Maurutto, who is cross-appointed from the Department of Sociology. Their research was presented across four sessions: 

Oversight Capture: The Performance of Accountability and Transparency in the Administrative Segregation Review Process,” by Kelly Struthers Montford, Jihyun Kwon, and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, was part of the session Accountability for Disability Violence. 

Abstract: “Various high profile cases and recent reports show the ongoing and excessive use of segregation in Canadian prisons. This is despite the Correctional Services of Canada’s official policy to ‘use the least restrictive measures’ and ‘consider alternatives,’ and despite its establishment of various accountability and oversight measures meant to ensure policy and procedural compliance. This presentation expands the work of Braithwaite and others on regulatory capture to argue that segregation oversight mechanisms—e.g., Segregation Review Boards and mandatory reporting—remain ineffective due to the structural and ideological inseparability of the institutions and the decision-making processes they are meant to regulate. Instead, review processes merely mimic and reproduce a larger penal culture of risk adversity, without providing meaningful opportunities for regulation and oversight. Such measures should be understood as the performance of accountability rather than ensuring fair treatment. This presentation will show that these administrative procedures effectively replace traditional external oversight performed by courts, and thus undermine the transparency of the review process. Because segregation is positioned as an indispensable tool of ‘security’ and ‘safety,’ the presentation will argue that the oversight process further legitimizes its normative and frequent use, rather than serving to curtail and diminish its position as a form of population and institutional management.” 

Specialized Courts and the Management of Complex and Mental Health Needs,” by Paula Maurutto and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, was part of the session Disability and Criminal In/Justice. 

Abstract: “This presentation will examine innovations in how Canadian courts and community organizations are seeking to address the complex and mental health needs of individuals who come into conflict with the law. These individuals are more vulnerable to detention and arrest and are more likely to be remanded to detention facilities and custody for relatively minor offences. A number of specialized court models, including Community/Wellness, Mental Health, and Gladue (Indigenous) courts have emerged to manage those with mental health and complex needs. Each court has distinct practices for addressing those with complex needs. By comparing the legal processes and the forms of knowledge used across different courts, we observed how different judicial contexts influence understandings of risk and, in turn, how perceptions of risk reciprocally affect the type and management of sanctions for those that present with mental health and complex needs. Using national qualitative interviews from specialized courts, the presentation will examine 1) how courts understand and intervene upon the legal subject with mental health and complex needs, and 2) how legal provisions and community involvement shape court responses. Our data showed how risk and need information is adapted, modified, and tailored to fit within the legal parameters of specialized courts.   

Challenges Associated with Administering of Sexual Violence and Anti-Harassment Policies in a University Context,” by Kelly Hannah-Moffat, was part of the session Addressing Sexual Violence on a University Campus. 

Abstract: “Recent high profile sexual assault and other forms of harassment cases and the unifying #Metoo movement have heightened our social awareness of sexual violence in society, and more specifically on university campuses. Most universities have policies that address the various forms of sexual violence and endeavor to produce environments free from sexual and other forms of harassment and violence.  This presentation will examine the nuances of sexual violence policy development, reporting and investigations, and changing legislative requirements in a university context. Some of the themes discussed include: the complexity of administering sexual violence cases on campus; balancing due process with demands for visible accountability by faculty, staff, and students; the difficulties associated with disclosures that do not result in official actionable reports; time limits to reporting; the strengths and weaknesses of workplace cultural reviews in units when there are allegations of a toxic culture and unreported incidents but an absence of willing complainants. This presentation will also explore the issues associated with internal and external investigations. Some of the challenges of identifying remedies and the management of institutional reputational risk will be addressed. 

Nuancing Penal Segregation,” by Kelly Hannah-Moffat, was part of the session Administrative Segregation: Policy-Based Evidence or Evidence-Based Policy?   

Abstract: “The practice of solitary confinement/segregation and various forms of restrictive confinement are complex and have been exceedingly criticized, especially as related to prisoners with mental health difficulties. The vast empirical literature documents the damaging effects of segregation and it is the subject of human rights litigation. One Canadian jurisdiction that recently passed legislation has re-defined segregation to include any form of restrictive conferment that exceeds 22 hours and severely limits the use of this practice for mentally ill prisoners. This definition alters and broadens the definition of segregation from a particular type of housing (space) to time in cell. Absent from these important critiques and reforms of segregation is a fulsome discussion of how prisoners use segregation to manage the pains of incarceration, alternatives, and operational challenges of managing an increasingly complex penal population. Acknowledging the harm of segregation, this presentation will situate penal segregation in a wider context of institutional risk management, human rights, and prisoner autonomy. 

Border Criminologies Blog: Workshop Retrospective

July 2, 2019

Border Criminologies logoFollowing the Detention practices, criminalization of migrants and border control in Canada workshop, which ran May 12-13 at CrimSL, Centre Post-Doctoral Fellow Ana Ballesteros Pena and Centre PhD students Grace Tran and Jona Zyfi have published a post on the  Border Criminologies blog. Based at the Centre for Criminology within the University of Oxford Faculty of Law, Border Criminologies is an international network of researchers, practitioners, and those who have experienced border control.

Read their full text here

The ECRIM Research Group, University of A Coruña, Spain, has also published an overview of the workshop.

CLSA Article Prize

June 17, 2019

Canadian Journal of Law and SocietyCrimSL PhD student Andrea Sterling and Dr. Emily van der Meulen (Ryerson University) have won an honourable mention for the Canadian Law and Society Association (CSLA)’s 2019 CSLA Article Prize, awarded each year for the best article published in the Canadian Journal of Law & Society.

We Are Not Criminals”: Sex Work Clients in Canada and the Constitution of Risk Knowledge” by Andrea Sterling and Emily van der Meulen was published in Canadian Journal of Law & Society Volume 33, Issue 3.


While Canada has long criminalized aspects of sex work, the specific act of purchasing sexual services was not against the law per se. In 2014, however, the then Conservative government implemented new legislation targeting sex work clients. Given the criminalization and persistent stigmatization of their activities, assessing clients’ changing actions, perceptions, and knowledge of the new legislation is challenging. We thus turned to a major Canadian online sex work review forum to examine postings on forum threads. This paper examines the risk knowledge practices in which clients engage as they try to make sense of the modified legal regime and avoid new legal risks. Our findings illuminate clients’ varied understandings of their own criminalization.

Law & Society Association International Prize 2019

June 5, 2019

Kelly Hannah-Moffat is presented with her award in front of a screen with the LSA logoKelly Hannah-Moffat, CrimSL colleague and Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity, is this year’s winner of the International Prize.  Kelly’s nominators highlighted the unusual quality and originality of her work, and praised “her ability to speak to interdisciplinary audiences, particularly those that bridge law and society and criminology”. Kelly’s work on risk in criminal law and criminal justice developed originally in the context of research on imprisonment, but has recently expanded into research on specialized courts, and even more recently into uses of ‘big data’ and algorithms. Berkeley’s Jonathan Simon, described Kelly as “the pre-eminent scholar on risk and the law”.

Although Kelly’s work is often theoretical, she participates actively in policy discussions on women’s imprisonment and other issues, and is regularly asked to speak at workshops for judges and similar events. She directly engages with the practitioners who have devised the risk assessment tools that she has done much to scrutinize, and her work has been influential outside Canada and especially in the UK.  She is a worthy winner of the LSA’s International Prize.

Kelly and Mariana Valverde were presented with the International Prize and the Ronald Pipkin Service Award, respectively, on May 29th at the LSA 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Photograph by Fernando Avila

CrimSL at the LSA 2019 Annual Meeting

May 29, 2019

LSA 2019 graphic displaying this year's "Dignity" themeThe LSA 2019 Annual Meeting starts today in Washington D.C. Between our alumni, our cross-appointed and graduate faculty, our speaker series presenters, and visitors and friends to the Centre, you could fill all your days there. Here is where to find our current faculty and students: 


Prisons and Power in Latin America II (10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)  
  • Chair: Kelly Hannah-Moffat, University of Toronto  
  • Responsabilization and Power Strategies and Effects in a Peculiar Prison in Latin America” by Fernando Avila, University of Toronto and Maximo Sozzo, Universidad Nacional del Litoral  
Socio-Legal Studies of South Asia (10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)   
  • “Decolonizing Security and Development Discourse: A Case Study of Karachi’s Qayyumabad” by Sabeen Kazmi, University of Toronto  
Corporate Problems and Possibilities (12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) 
  • “The Multiple Spatiotemporalities of Corporations at the Intersection of Public and Private” by Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto 
Punishment and Dignity (12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)  
  • Chair: Ayobami Laniyonu, University of Toronto 
  • “Phantom Pain – The Impact of Images of Black Death in the United States on Black Attitudes and Behavior in Britain” by Ayobami Laniyonu, University of Toronto 
Presidential Address and Award Ceremony (4:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) 
  • Ronald Pipkin Service Award, for sustained and extraordinary service to the Association: Mariana Valverde 
  • Law and Society Association International Prize, for significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society: Kelly Hannah-Moffat 


Institutional Bypass: A Strategy to Promote Reforms for Development  Author Meets Reader (AMR) Session (11:50 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.)  
  • Readers: Amy Cohen, Ohio State University; Kevin Davis, New York University; Marta Machado, FGV São Paulo Law School; David Trubek, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto  
Debating Birthright Citizenship Again (12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)  
  • Participants: Linda Bosniak, Rutgers Law School; Audrey Macklin, University of Toronto; Rachel Rosenbloom, Northeastern Univ. School of Law; Siobhan Somerville, U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Jackie Stevens, Northwestern University; Leti Volpp, UC Berkeley School of Law  
Sovereignty, Solidarity, Autonomy, Affinity: Global Configurations Beyond (Trans-)disciplinary Figurations (2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)  
  • “Authoritarianism, Neoliberalism, and the Juridified Political Sphere” by Honor Brabazon, University of Toronto  
Gender, Crime, and Punishment (2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)  
  • “Paradoxes of Social Rehabilitation: Impact of Gender, Nationality and Citizenship in the Carceral Pathways of Foreign National Women in Portugal and Spain” by Ana Ballesteros Pena, University of Toronto and University of A Coruña and Raquel Matos, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa


Law and Security: Technologies, Sites and Practices (Panel 2) (8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)  
  • Discussant: Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto  
States of Anxiety: Managing Difference in (Post)colonial Constitutionalism (8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)  
  • Chair/Discussant: Catherine Evans, University of Toronto  
The Penal State After Release: Reentry, the Paper Trail, and the Perpetuation of Stigma (8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)  
  • “Data Brokers and the Production of New Risk Logics” by Paula Maurutto, University of Toronto and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, University of Toronto 
Police Reform: From Concepts to Cases (11:50 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.) 
  •  Readers: Matthew Light, University of Toronto; Sebastian Sclofsky, California State University, Stanislaus; Olga Semukhina, Tarleton State University  
Law, Technology, and Social Media (2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)  
  • “Digital Oversight: How Social Media Users “Oversee” Police Misconduct in North America” by Daniel Konikoff, University of Toronto  
Logics of Capital, Logics of Law (2:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)  
  • Chair/Discussant: Honor Brabazon, University of Toronto  


Immigration Bureaucracy in Comparative Perspective (8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)  
  • “How the Wedding Cake Crumbles: ‘Marriage Fraud’ Participants’ Negotiations of Citizenship, Marriage, and Intimacy Along and Past Securitized State Borders” by Grace Tran, University of Toronto  
Recent Research in Comparative Policing I (8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)  
  • Chair: Matthew Light, University of Toronto  


Detention practices, criminalization of migrants and border control in Canada

May 22, 2019

Workshop participants gathered at a ring of tables

On Sunday, May 12 and Monday, May 13, academics from across Canada and beyond gathered at CrimSL for a two-day workshop organized with ecrim, the Research group on Criminology, Legal Psychology and Criminal Justice in the 21st century at the University of A Coruña, Spain.

The workshop, “Detention practices, criminalization of migrants and border control in Canada” was part of a European Commission funded project under the scientific program Horizon 2020 within Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions, Governmigration: Governing irregular migration through detention. Discourses and practices from an interdisciplinary approach.

Participants included CrimSL director Audrey Macklin, who presented “State of containment,” and Centre alumna Sarah Turnbull (Birkbeck, University of London), who presented “Beyond detention: Detainability, deportability, and precarity in the community.” Moderators included Professors Macklin and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, PhD student Jona Zyfi, and postdoctoral fellow Ana Ballesteros Pena.

The event was coordinated by Ana Ballesteros Pena, with the help of PhD students Fernando Avila, Daniel Konikoff, Grace Tran, and Jona Zyfi.

For highlights from the two day event, check out the Day 1 roundup, Day 2 roundup, and #governmigration on Twitter.


Big Data and Criminal Justice – What Canadians Need to Know

May 21, 2019

Big Data and Criminal Justice – What Canadians Need to Know report cover

“Every Google search, credit card purchase, social media interaction, and doctor’s visit leave traces of information about you, where you’ve been, who you’ve interacted with, and what you like. What’s more, advertisers, data brokers, and government agencies can collect and analyze the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind as you go about your day. Welcome to the world of ‘big data.’”

The Broadbent Institute has published a new report by CrimSL PhD student Daniel Konikoff and Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bembah—CrimSL PhD Grad, instructor and cross-appointed faculty at the Centre, and Broadbent Policy Fellow. In Big Data and Criminal Justice – What Canadians Need to Know, Konikoff and Owusu-Bempa “outline what ‘big data’ is, how it is used in the context of criminal justice in Canada and beyond, and how we might think about the potential beneficial and detrimental effects of these technologies on our society.”

Full report (11 pages, PDF)


Fieldwork meets friendship: undergrads travel to Mexico to research organized crime and corruption

May 7, 2019
By Jovana Jankovic – A&S News

Group photo of program participants in Mexico

Mexico may be a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful landscapes and rich history, but a group of undergraduate students recently visited for a very different reason: to learn about organized crime, corruption, drug cartels and the massive “narco-insurgency” that large-scale criminal organizations are waging against the Mexican state.

As part of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s International/Indigenous Course Modules  (ICM) program, students from the fourth-year undergraduate course on organized crime and corruption traveled to Mexico City to meet with Mexican scholars, students, government officials and civil society activists to learn how organized crime groups develop and how states are combatting the violence and corruption these groups provoke.

Associate Professor Matthew Light of the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies developed this innovative course, the first of its kind at U of T. He believes contemporary Mexico is an excellent practical illustration of the theoretical and historical concepts he presents to his students, so an experiential learning opportunity seemed like the perfect fit for his course material.

Read the full article on the Arts & Science website

Photo credit: Solomiya-Mariya Zakharchuk.


The Ronald Pipkin Service Award

May 7, 2019

Photo of Prof. Mariana Valverde

Professor Mariana Valverde is the 2019 recipient of the Ronald Pipkin Service Award, in recognition of her incredible work as Program Chair at last year’s LSA meeting in Toronto. 

The Ronald Pipkin Service Award is “awarded annually to a Law and Society Association member who has demonstrated sustained and extraordinary service to the Association.”


“A Quality that is Very Rare to Find” CrimSL MA Student Recognized by the CULJP

April 23, 2019

CrimSL MA student Gihad Nasr has won an honourable mention for the Consortium for Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs (CULJP)’s 2019 Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award for the undergraduate research paper “Carceral Space” that she wrote at UTM in 2017-2018.

The selection committee noted that “This was an excellent undergraduate research paper of a quality that is very rare to find in a stand-alone undergraduate course.”

Nasr wrote a blog post for the Peel Social Lab’s blog, Peel Urbanscapes, describing her research and findings.

The Undergraduate Student Paper Award is reviewed by senior law and society scholars and recognizes primary research, secondary research, archival/historical research, and theoretical approaches. Nasr’s paper was nominated by Professor Sida Liu.


How the Wedding Cake Crumbles

April 10, 2019

On April 4th, CrimSL PhD student Grace Tran presented “‘How the Wedding Cake Crumbles’: Negotiations of Marriage, Sex, and Intimacy along the Canadian Border” at NYU’s Sexuality and Borders Symposium as part of the Reproductive Justice, Marriage and Transnational Kinship panel.


In 2011, the Harper administration launched a nationwide, tough-on-marriage-fraud campaign with the intention of ‘cracking down’ on instances of fraudulent marriage Canada. This campaign echoes the salient trend of regulating and surveilling state borders in the name of national security. Against this changing policy landscape, my research presents the first detailed study of how immigrants present themselves to Canadian state authorities when regularizing their legal status through marriage, by undertaking the first in-depth, descriptive empirical account of individuals who have knowingly and willingly participated in what the Canadian government would consider ‘marriage fraud.’  I explore the ways in which citizenship and declarations of “love” at the border unfold along gendered, racialized lines by considering the following questions: How do participants in ‘marriage fraud’ understand their strategies, decisions, goals, and motivations for participating in these arrangements? How do these actors navigate difficult situations that require nuanced performances of ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ love, desire, and intimacy, such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and honeymoon nights? How does undergoing the Canadian spousal sponsorship process affect individuals’ understandings of self, love, marriage, and intimacy?

Drawing on preliminary interviews with participants from the Vietnamese-Canadian community who have participated in dam cuoi gia (‘fake weddings’) as marriage brokers and as sponsors, this paper documents the experiences of those directly affected by the concept of ‘marriage fraud’ to shed light on the ways in which love, marriage, and intimacy are sustained, negotiated, and reproduced along state borders during a time of intensified border control. I argue that before, during, and even long after undergoing the immigration application process, participants’ interactions with a voyeuristic Canadian immigration system trigger persisting and complex transformative effects that they must constantly negotiate; this, in turn, shapes actors’ identities and understandings of what it means to engage in an act deemed criminal by the government, to be part of an ‘authentic’ marriage, to engage in intimacy, to be part of a ‘family’ unit, and to belong (or not belong) in Canada. My paper aims to provide valuable insights into how nation-state sovereignty is negotiated at the border, how the construct of a ‘real’ as opposed to ‘fraudulent’ marriage affects transnational couples, and how marriage decisions shape the lives of all parties involved, including the couple and the state charged with policing and surveilling the legitimacy of their relationship.

W5: The Narco Riviera

April 1, 2019
CrimSL PhD student Valentin Pereda was interviewed for new W5 documentary on the rising problem of organized crime in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The full documentary is available on YouTube.

“These organizations have tried not to hurt tourists,” says Pereda in a Toronto Star piece accompanying the documentary. “But they don’t really care that much when it comes to using violence. If a tourist gets caught in the crossfire, they’re not going to care.”


CrimSL at #ISA2019

March 28, 2019

On Wednesday, March 27, CrimSL PhD student Grace Tran presented her research on the legal regulation of marriage and policing of marriage fraud at the International Studies’ Association 60th Annual Meeting in Toronto.

“What’s Love Got to Do with It: Presentations and Negotiations of ‘Real’ and ‘Authentic’ Marriages Along and Beyond the Canadian Border” was part of the 21st Century Concerns ISA Poster Gallery.




Halifax Street Checks Report

March 27, 2019

cover of the NSHRC street checks reportOn Wednesday, March 27, CrimSLProfessor Scot Wortley presented his report on police street checks in Halifax prepared for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

The research included analysis of 12 years of data from Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP, community consultative meetings, interviews with police and community representatives, and an online survey. The report culminates in a series of recommendations for removing or regulating the practice of street checks, implementing data collection on all police stops (of which street checks are just a small fraction), and improving police-community relations.

“The research clearly demonstrates that police street check practices have had a disproportionate and negative impact on the African Nova Scotian community,” says Dr. Wortley in a press release from the NSHRC. “Street checks have contributed to the criminalization of black youth, eroded trust in law enforcement and undermined the perceived legitimacy of the entire criminal justice system.

“Concrete action is required. I hope this report can make a difference and lead to a stronger, more trusting relationship between the police and the community”

Full report (186 pages, PDF)

Media coverage
The list below will be updated as coverage continues:

Coverage of the directive by Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Mark Furey, to stop using street checks in association with quotas, announced on March 28th in response to the report:

Ongoing coverage of reactions to the report:

Halifax police board votes to suspend street checks

Nova Scotia places moratorium on the use of street checks:

On the question of police apology:

Community meetings

Former chief justice of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Michael MacDonald, to examine legality of Halifax street checks

Halifax Police to purge 14 years of street check data by 2020

New Halifax Police Chief

Halifax police commissioners to consider asking for plans to address street checks

Nova Scotia to ban police street checks after jurist finds they are illegal

Halifax police chief to apologize to Black citizens for racial bias in policing

Halifax police apologize to Black community for street checks

End-of-year coverage

Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field

March 26, 2019

Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field book coverCrimSL Professor Mariana Valverde has authored a chapter in a new book published by University of Minnesota Press. Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field, edited by Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran, Rachel Rebouché, and Hila Shamir,

“[A]masses nineteen chapters from leading feminist scholars and activists to critically describe and assess contemporary feminist engagements with state and state-like power. Providing a clear, cross-cutting, critical lens to map developments in feminist governance around the world, the book makes sense of the costs and benefits of current feminist realities to reimagine feminist futures.”

Professor Valverde’s chapter, “From Bad to Worse Via a Successful Constitutional Challenge: The Tragedy of Feminist Engagement with Prostitution Law Reform in Canada” is a sobering article on prostitution reform in Canada.
Other contributors include: Libby Adler (Northeastern University), Aziza Ahmed Northeastern University, Elizabeth Bernstein (Barnard College), Amy J. Cohen Ohio State University), Karen Engle (University of Texas at Austin), Jacob Gersen (Harvard University), Leigh Goodmark (University of Maryland), Aeyal Gross (Tel Aviv University), Aya Gruber (University of Colorado, Boulder), Janet Halley (Harvard University), Rema Hammami (Birzeit University, Palestine), Vanja Hamzić (University of London), Isabel Cristina Jaramillo-Sierra, Prabha Kotiswaran (King’s College London), Maleiha Malik (King’s College London), Vasuki Nesiah (New York University), Dianne Otto (Melbourne Law School), Helen Reece; Darren Rosenblum (Pace University), Jeannie Suk Gersen (Harvard University)

Advocacy and Groundbreaking Research: Audrey Macklin Recognized

March 15, 2019

Photo of Prof. Audrey MacklinCiting her “decades-long efforts to champion the legal rights of people on the margins,” CrimSL Director Audrey Macklin is one of the winners of the 2019 U of T Alumni Association Awards of Excellence, presented to UofT’s most outstanding faculty, staff and student leaders.

From the awards profile:

“Former child soldier Omar Khadr owes his freedom to many people, and one of the most important is U of T Law professor Audrey Macklin. Her pro bono work on Khadr’s behalf is perhaps the most public example of her decades-long efforts to champion the legal rights of people on the margins, [emphasis in original] especially migrants and refugees.

“The Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize honours both her advocacy and her groundbreaking research. Holder of the Chair in Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, Macklin was one of the first academics to write about issues such as foreign live-in caregivers, and the links between human rights and the mining and oil industries.”


Borders and Barriers: The 2019 Graduate Student Conference

March 14, 2019

Photo of the conference auditorium before the event showing the podium and a projected slide with the conference title

On Friday, March 8, students from universities across Canada gathered at CrimSL for the annual graduate student conference.

This year’s conference, Borders and Barriers: Understanding Criminalization and Challenges to Human Rightsprovided a venue for emerging scholars to “critically understand, rethink, and reconcile our common conceptualization of borders … to explore not only the human rights barriers they erect through policy and practice, but also their dire consequences on individuals and societies at a global, humanistic level.”

As Professor Matthew Light noted in his opening remarks, this kind of event is very important for anyone planning a scholarly career. The graduate conference provides graduate students an opportunity to present their academic research in an interdisciplinary context and network with others doing work on related issues. 

Graduate students from across a range of fields including criminology, law, sociology, and information shared research on legislation and policy, migration and asylum, spatiality, prison re-entry, and moreThe presentations included work at different stages of the research process, and each of the three sessions was followed by lively discussion and thoughtful feedback from the audience. 

Congratulations to the conference organizersCrimSL PhD students Daniel KonikoffKadija Lodge-Tulloch, and Jona Zyfiand volunteers on the success of the conference. 

Check out conference highlights on Twitter with the hashtag #crimGSC 


CBC Docs POV: Year of the Gun

March 13, 2019

Year of the Gun title graphicCrimSL PhD student Adam Ellis appears in CBC Docs POV’s Year of the Gun, a recent documentary produced and directed by Marc de Guerre. The full documentary is available within Canada on the CBC website and CBC Gem.



Adam Ellis at the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence

February 22, 2019

Adam Ellis speaks to the SenateOn February 18th, CrimSL PhD student Adam Ellis presented to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, which is studying Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms.

In his presentation, Ellis shares the story of his own experience with gangs and argues that while restrictions on legal guns would reduce violence, “this cannot be the only piece.” Rather, he says, “we must seek to understand how broader social contexts such as systemic racism, marginalization and patriarchy may fuel the gun violence that takes place at the community level.” 

Ellis also describes his research on trauma, PTSD and gang violence, and describes his current work with former gang leaders turned PhDs in a coalition known as Thug Criminology, investigating “issues such as gun crime, including how guns are moving across the border, who is involved in their transportation and why these operations take place.” 

Bill C-71 passed third reading in the House of Commons on September 24, 2018, and was referred to the committee Standing Senate Committee on National Security at second reading in the Senate on December 11. Adam Ellis’ full presentation to the Senate committee is available as video (timestamp 16:23:43 – 16:28:27; Q&A timestamp 16:36:46 – 17:21:30). The meeting transcript is also available.

New Research in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society

February 22, 2019

Canadian Journal of Law and SocietyHave you checked out the latest print issue of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society ( vol. 33, no. 3)?

CrimSL PhD student Andrea Sterling is first author the lead article, “We Are Not Criminals”: Sex Work Clients in Canada and the Constitution of Risk Knowledge” by Andrea Sterling and Emily van der Meulen 

Also in the issue is an article co-authored by PhD grad Anna Pratt (Associate Professor, Criminology at York University) and MA grad Jessica Templeman, who is now doing her PhD at York: “Jurisdiction, Sovereignties and Akwesasne: Shiprider and the Re-Crafting of Canada-US Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement” by Anna C. Pratt and Jessica Templeman


CrimSL at #WSC2019

February 13, 2019

Photo of Scot Wortley, Jessica Bundy and Kadija Lodge-Tulloch, and Julian Tanner

Last week, CrimSL PhD students Jessica Bundy and Kadija Lodge-Tulloch, CrimSL professor Scot Wortley, and Julian Tanner (U of T Sociology) traveled to Honolulu, Hawai’i for the 2019 conference of the Western Society of Criminology.

In the Youth and Crime panel, Jessica Bundy, Julian Tanner, Kadija Lodge-Tulloch, and Scot Wortley presented “Speak No Evil: Why Youth Fail to Report Crime to the Police”

Abstract: Over the past decade, police services across North America have noticed a decline in youth reporting of violent crime and willingness to cooperate with investigations. Some have identified this trend as part of a new “no snitching” culture. To what extent do young people report violent crime to the police? Why do youth decide not to cooperate with police? This paper examines these questions with data from a Toronto survey of 500 youth (15-24 years old) residing in economically disadvantaged, high crime communities. The results suggest that most youth respondents have either experienced or witnessed a violent crime, and that they did not report these incidents. Respondents provide multiple justifications for their noncompliance. Common themes include: fear of the offender, distrust of the police, perceptions of police ineffectiveness, and a desire not to be labelled a snitch. In general, the results suggest that youth feel that the potential costs of reporting violence outweigh the potential benefits and thus decide to remain silent. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

In a second panel, Race and Policing, Jessica Bundy, Julian Tanner, and Scot Wortley presented “Race, Street Checks and Police Legitimacy: Results from Two Canadian Studies”

Abstract: This paper will present results from two Canadian research projects examining the extent and impact of police stop, question and frisk tactics among youth. The first study, conducted by the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria, involves a survey of 264 youth from three cities in British Columbia. The second study, conducted by the researchers from the University of Toronto, involves a survey of 500 youth from Ontario. The quantitative findings reveal that Indigenous youth from British Columbia – and Black youth from Ontario – are much more likely to be stopped, questioned and searched by the police than white youth. These racial differences remain significant after controlling for other theoretically relevant variables. An examination of qualitative data from both studies further reveals how police “street checks” can undermine trust in the police, especially within minority communities. Low levels of trust, in turn, decrease the likelihood that youth will report crime and cooperate with police investigations. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

Photograph from Jessica Bundy

TEDxToronto: The Untapped Promise of Cannabis Legalization

January 28, 2019

Screenshot of a YouTube video showing Akwasi Owusu-Bempah with the caption Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, MA, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology at the U of T“I’m going to start by telling you a story of two young men.”

Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a CrimSL PhD graduate who now teaches at the Centre as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at UTM, gave a talk on The Untapped Promise of Cannabis Legalization at the TEDxToronto conference in October.

From TEDx: 

Cannabis legalization is spreading across the globe. In this visionary talk, criminologist Akwasi Owusu-Bempah shares his insights on the people who have been most impacted by drug prohibition and explains how the economic benefits of legalization can be used to promote positive social change. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. His work focuses on the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular interest in the area of policing. Akwasi is now studying various aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada. His current projects include a study of Black males’ perceptions of and experiences with the police in Greater Toronto Area. 


Interview With Mariana Valverde: Quayside Toronto

January 11, 2019

Screenshot of a Youtube video with Mariana Valverde giving an interviewProfessor Mariana Valverde was recently interviewed by Dr. Peter Carr of the University of Waterloo. Dr. Carr writes:

This interview discusses the Sidewalk Labs / Waterfront Toronto Smart City project and focuses particularly on the governance aspects of the project. Mariana argues that the existing governance arrangements for project governance, control of the data that it gathers and protections for privacy of residents and other users of the new community are inadequate and require urgent attention.

While believing that information technology can be applied in positive ways for improving the lives of people in cities, Mariana questions whether Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs are an appropriate partner for Waterfront Toronto’s efforts to create a Smart City community.


A History of Law in Canada, Vol. 1

December 17, 2018

book cover of A History of Law in Canada, Vol. 1Dr. Philip Girard, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School who has been a Visiting Professor here at CrimSL for the last year and a half, and Dr. Jim Phillips, cross-appointed to CrimSL from U of T Faculty of Law and a former director the Centre, have recently published a book with Dr. R. Blake Brown, a professor in the Department of History and Atlantic Canada Studies at Saint Mary’s University. A History of Law in Canada, Vol. 1: Beginnings to 1866 was published by University of Toronto Press this November, and will be available as an ebook later this week. 

From the publisher: 

This book is the first of two volumes devoted to the history of law in Canada. This volume begins at a time just prior to European contact and continues to the 1860s, while volume two will start with Confederation and end at approximately 2000. The history of law includes substantive law, legal institutions, legal actors and legal culture. The book assumes that since 1500 there have been three legal systems in Canada – the Indigenous, the French, and the English. At all times, these systems have co-existed and interacted, with the relative power and influence of each being more or less dominant in different periods. 

The history of law cannot be treated in isolation, and this book examines law as a dynamic process, shaped by and affecting other histories over the long term. The law guided and was guided by economic developments, was influenced and moulded by the nature and trajectory of political ideas and institutions, and variously exacerbated and mediated by inter-cultural exchange and conflict. These themes are apparent in this examination, and through most areas of law including family law, constitutional, commercial, land settlement and tenure, and criminal.


OHRC Interim Report on Race and Policing

December 13, 2018

Scot Wortley speaks at the OHRC press conference, framed by TV news ticker tapeOn Monday, December 10th, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released an interim report on race and policing. “A Collective Impact: Interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service” includes as one of its section the Wortley Report, a preliminary report by CrimSL Professor Scot Wortley, which provides a preliminary analysis of police use of force cases investigated by the Government of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

From the Wortley Report’s introduction: 

The study is designed to address the following five research questions with respect to the TPS:

  1. To what extent are Black people represented in police use of force incidents?
  2. To what extent are Black people represented in police use of force cases – including police shootings?
  3. To what extent do cases involving Black civilians differ from cases involving civilians from other racial groups?
  4. What proportion of SIU investigations result in criminal charges against police officers?
  5. What proportion of SIU cases experience problems with police cooperation? 

There has been extensive coverage of the OHRC report in local, national, and international media. Professor Wortley, CrimSL PhD grad and instructor Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, and PhD student Julius Haag have made television, radio, and print appearances regarding the report. The list below will be updated as coverage continues: 

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah: 

Mariana Valverde on Waterfront Toronto, Sidewalk Labs, and Toronto’s Quayside Development

December 12, 2018

photo of the Toronto waterfrontProfessor Mariana Valverde has published a series of blog posts for Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression on Waterfront Toronto, Google’s Sidewalk Labs, and the development of Toronto’s Quayside district: 

[Note: List to be updated as series progresses]


December 3rd, 2018: “Mystery on the Waterfront: How the “Smart City” Allure Led a Major Public Agency in Toronto Into a Reckless Deal with Big Tech” cowritten with Alexandra Flynn 

December 4th, 2018: “Public Lands, Private Control, and Housing Needs in the “Smart City” Quayside Development 

December 7th, 2018: “The waterfront toronto crisis: what are the options?” cowritten with Nabeel Ahmed

January 14th, 2019: “What Is a Data Trust and Why Are We Even Talking About It? Sidewalk Labs’ Magic Tricks

February 19, 2019: “Toronto’s Leadership Dithers While Sidewalk Labs Plans City Revenue Grab

May 13, 2019: “Google’s “Urban Data” Plan: Evading Regulation While Promoting the Appearance of Transparency

July 2, 2019: “The Google ‘Smart City’ Plan: Financial Language of Hi-Tech Colonialism


Law and the “Sharing Economy”: Regulating Online Market Platforms

November 27, 2018

Law and the

CrimSL Professor Mariana Valverde has authored a chapter in a new book published today by University of Ottawa Press. Law and the “Sharing Economy” Regulating Online Market Platforms, edited by Derek McKee, Finn Makela, and Teresa Scassa, looks at the so-called “sharing economy” and the regulation of the technological platforms on which it operates. 

Professor Valverde’s chapter, “Urban Cowboy E-Capitalism Meets Dysfunctional Municipal Policy-Making: What the Uber Story Tells Us about Canadian Local Governance” looks at Canadian cities and the challenges of regulating Uber: 

When Uber began operating in Canadian cities without first seeking approval from municipal licensing authorities, and taxi drivers started to protest in large numbers, municipal authorities were faced with an unprecedented law-breaking situation. Some mayors, such as Toronto’s John Tory, responded not by defending municipal regulation but by praising ‘innovation’. This article looks at how Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal dealt with the regulatory crisis posed by Uber. It concludes that only provincial governments have both the legal powers and the political muscle to develop ride-sharing company regulations that simultaneously protect the public interest, drivers’ economic wellbeing, and the licenced taxi industry. 

Other contributors include: Harry Arthurs (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), Francesco Ducci (University of Toronto Faculty of Law), Gautrais Vincent (Université de Montréal Faculty of Law), Sabrina Tremblay-Huet (Université de Sherbrooke Faculty of Law), Michael Geist (University of Ottawa Faculty of Law), Marie-Cecile Escande Varniol (Université Lumière Lyon 2), Eric Tucker (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), and Nofar Sheffi (University of New South Wales Law). 

From the publisher: 

Controversy shrouds sharing economy platforms. It stems partially from the platforms’ economic impact, which is felt most acutely in certain sectors: Uber drivers compete with taxi drivers; Airbnb hosts compete with hotels. Other consequences lie elsewhere: Uber is associated with a trend toward low-paying, precarious work, whereas Airbnb is accused of exacerbating real estate speculation and raising the cost of long-term rental housing. 

While governments in some jurisdictions have attempted to rein in the platforms, technology has enabled such companies to bypass conventional regulatory categories, generating accusations of “unfair competition” as well as debates about the merits of existing regulatory regimes. Indeed, the platforms blur a number of familiar distinctions, including personal versus commercial activity; infrastructure versus content; contractual autonomy versus hierarchical control. These ambiguities can stymie legal regimes that rely on these distinctions as organizing principles, including those relating to labour, competition, tax, insurance, information, the prohibition of discrimination, as well as specialized sectoral regulation. 

This book is organized around five themes: technologies of regulation; regulating technology; the sites of regulation (local to global); regulating markets; and regulating labour. Together, the chapters offer a rich variety of insights on the regulation of the sharing economy, both in terms of the traditional areas of law they bring to bear, and the theoretical perspectives that inform their analysis.


“Why are things like this?” Senator Murray Sinclair at the 2018 Edwards Lecture

November 20, 2018

Senator Murray Sinclair receives a standing ovation“We are calling upon Canadians to ask themselves what kind of country they want to leave for their children and grandchildren.”

On Monday, November 19th, CrimSL hosted Senator Murray Sinclair, who delivered the 20th John Ll. J. Edwards Lecture. The enthusiasm was overwhelming. The Hart House Debates Room was filled to capacity, and the lecture was watched live via webcast by even more attendees in the Music Room. It is a testament to the stature and achievements of Senator Sinclair that so many people wished to attend.

The evening began with a drum song from Jenny Blackbird, a multidisciplinary artist, hand drummer, singer, fashion designer, and jingle dress dancer affiliated with the University of Toronto Centre for Indigenous Studies. After a welcome from CrimSL Director Audrey Macklin, Senator Sinclair was introduced by poet and author Lee Maracle, an Indigenous Elder and instructor at the Centre for Indigenous Studies and mentor to Indigenous students at U of T. Detailing Senator Sinclair’s many roles and accomplishments over the course of his career, she highlighted his role in creating an impetus to action among Canadians: “The Senator didn’t make recommendations, he made ninety-four calls to action. Pick one and do it.” 

In his lecture, titled “The Accidental Jurist: Thoughts on a life in the law,” Senator Sinclair spoke about his childhood and the effects that residential schools had on his family members and that public schools had on him. As an illustration, he shared the video “Perfect Crime” by Aaron Peters. Senator Sinclair noted that, of his childhood peers, he was the only one who graduated high school and went to university, which left him asking “why are things like this?” He went to law school to become a politician and change things. 

Senator Sinclair shared reflections on significant moments in his career: realizing, after a workshop with Elders following the repatriation of the Canadian constitution, that he needed to “set out on my journey to learn what it means to be Anishinaabe”; speaking with a man he had once sent to prison, who said that he worked to instill in his son that “It does not have to be like this for you.” 

Senator Sinclair ended with a discussion of the importance of respect. “In reconciliation, we need to find a way to build a relationship that is founded on respect,” he said. “We are not there yet. Reconciliation will take us a while because it took us a while to build this relationship built on disrespect. It will take us a while because it is a long time coming.”

“Reconciliation is not going to happen so long as one side believes that it is about rights and the other side believes that it is about benevolence. It has to be more. We have to be more than kind.” 

Named after the founder of the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, John Ll. J. Edwards, this is an annual public lecture on issues related to criminal law, crime, policing, punishment, and security sponsored by the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, the UofT Faculty of Law, and Woodsworth College. 

Photo caption: Senator Murray Sinclair receives a standing ovation at the end of the 2018 Edwards lecture


CrimSL at the 2018 ASC meeting

November 20, 2018

Julius Haag presents at ASC 2018. Photograph by Derek Silva

This November, CrimSL faculty, students and alumni traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the 2018 American Society of Criminology meeting. They presented research, chaired sessions, and participated in roundtables. Here is a sampling of where they appeared: 

PhD student Alex Luscombe and PhD grad Akwasi Owusu-Bempah presented “Race, Cannabis and the Canadian War on Drugs: An Examination of Cannabis Arrest Data by Race in Six Major Cities” in the session “A New Era of Policing? New Technologies, New Methods, Old Victims.” 

PhD student Adam Ellis presented “My Life in ‘Urban War’: Exploring Trauma, PTSD and Gang Violence through the Lens of a Former-Street Soldier” in the session Marginalization, Strain, and Mental Health in Life-Course Criminology.” He also chaired the roundtable “Researcher, Expert, and/or Spectacle? Insider/Outsider Academics and the Advancement of Thug Criminology,” where CrimSL Professor Scot Wortley was a discussant. 

PhD student Dikla Yogev chaired the roundtable “Police Legitimacy and Crime Reporting” and also presented the paper “The complexity of police legitimacy.” 

PhD grad Katharina Maier presented “On the Outside: The Day of Release from Prison” in the session “Comparative Perspectives on Prisoner Reentry” and chaired the session “Employment & the Reentry Process.” 

In the session “Race and Policing,” Professor Wortley and PhD student Julius Haag presented “The Impact of Police-Citizen Encounters on Perceptions of Justice: Lived Experiences of Youth in Toronto, ON.”

Photo caption: Julius Haag presents at ASC 2018. Photograph by Derek Silva.


Community forum on gangs and gang violence

October 9, 2018

Photo of a panel discussion

On Thursday, October 4th, CrimSL hosted a community forum on gangs and gang violence. “The Rose(s) that Grew From Concrete: Conversations with Former Gang Members about Violence, Trauma and Policy Options” brought together community members, academics, members of the Toronto Police Service Gun & Gang Taskforce, and former gang members.

In recent months gang violence in the city has drawn the attention of law enforcement, politicians, media, and the public. While there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the so-called gang problem, there has been inconsistent and often conflicting knowledge that has informed the issue. The goal of this community forum was to provide an intellectual bridge where former gang members, researchers, policy makers, law enforcement and state officials are able to discuss and explore the gang phenomena in more detail.

Former gang members gave firsthand accounts of the causes and consequences of gang violence and how they became involved. Panelists and audience members discussed poverty, youth programming and the need for long-term sustainable funding to address community needs, the negative impacts of the criminal justice system on racialized and marginalized youth, and recent proposals to address gun violence in Toronto.

Photograph from Julius Haag.


CrimSL at the 2018 LSA Conference

June 11, 2018

 The 2018 meeting of the Law and Society Association, ‘Law at the crossroads,’ was held in Toronto from June 7th to 10th. The conference brought together scholars from around the world to a forum for discussion on myriad topics in the areas of legal research, sociolegal studies, criminology, and more. The Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies was well represented, with CrimSL faculty, PhD students, and alumni were among the conference organizers, volunteers, session chairs, discussants and presenters.

Professor Mariana Valverde was program chair for the conference and Centre Director Audrey Macklin was chair of the Local Arrangements Committee. Professor Valverde was also a discussant for two sessions and presented at the Law and Society Association/Canadian Law and Society Association Junior Scholars Workshops on June 6th.

The conference program featured research by many current PhD students at the Centre: “Making Enemies: Military Justice, Civilian Protesters and ‘Treason Against the Homeland’ in Venezuela,” by Giancarlo Fiorella; “The Power and Limits of Judicial Review: Analyzing the Interaction between the Court and the Police Complaints System in Producing ‘Accountability,’” by Jihyun Kwon; “Halfway House Residency, Reentry, and Desistance: The Narratives of Indigenous Ex-Prisoners,” Katharina Maier; “Implicating the state: the production and authorization of Indigenous people’s social histories in Canada, from Indian Agents to Gladue Reports,” by Jacquie Briggs; and “Power and order in a non-traditional prison. The case of Punta de Rieles prison in Uruguay,” by Fernando Avila. “The Queen’s Red Children: Commissions, Law & Empire in Canada,” by Mayana Slobodian was accepted for presentation at the conference, and her presence there was missed by friends and colleagues. The session Kinder, Gentler, More Benevolent: Interrogating the Myth of Canada’s Liberal Settler Colonialism was chaired by PhD student Jacquie Briggs, with CrimSL Professor Catherine Evans and PhD student Mayana Slobodian scheduled as discussants.

Centre faculty also presented research, including “Old Age and Law in the British Empire” by CrimSL Professor Catherine Evans. “Police unionism and ‘lawfare’ in postcolonial India” by CrimSL Professor Beatrice Jauregui; “Property as a Site of Colonial Contestation: The Legal Form and the Legality of Anti-Colonial Protest” by CrimSL Professor Honor Brabazon; and “Police, Politics, and Demobilization: Exploring Policy Feedback Effects in Britain” by Ayobami Laniyonu, who will join the Centre in 2019. Finally, CrimSL Professor Matthew Light was a reader in one of the Author Meets Reader sessions, Recent Socio-Legal Books on Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union.


Congratulations to 2018 LSA Graduate Student Paper Prize winner Ayobami Laniyonu

May 22, 2018

Photo of Ayobami LaniyonuAyobami Laniyonu, who will be joining the Centre in July 2019 as an assistant professor, has been awarded the 2018 Law and Society Association Graduate Student Paper Prize for “Coffee Shops and Street Stops: Policing Practices in Gentrifying Neighborhoods.” The Law and Society Association presents this award to the graduate student paper that best represents outstanding law and society research.

From the awards announcement: “This article explores the effect of gentrification and neighborhood change on policing patterns. Ayobami approaches the challenging topic of spatial implications of the postindustrial policing hypothesis. Analyzing recently released quantitative data from New York City, Ayobami tests the implications of the extant research, finding a strong and positive association between gentrification and Stop-and-Frisk police stops. His article emphasizes the importance of spatial dimensions in the analysis of urban policing. Ayobami’s work was nominated by Professor Mona Lynch.” Laniyonu wrote a blog post discussing the research published in this prize-winning paper for the Urban Affairs Forum.

Laniyonu is currently a PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles and a research scientist at the Center for Policing Equity. His research explores the impact of the criminal justice system on political behavior and the impact of urban revitalization on policing practices.

This prize, and the other 2018 LSA awards, will be presented at the International Meeting in Toronto on Thursday, June 7 at 1:30 pm. Congratulations to Ayobami and to all of the award winners!


CrimSL PhD student collaborates on open-source investigation of political violence

May 14, 2018

Screenshot of the navigable three-dimensional digital platformSince early this year, CrimSL PhD student Giancarlo Fiorella has been collaborating with the Bellingcat Investigation Team and Forensic Architecture on an open source investigation into the events that lead to the death of Óscar Pérez in a raid on a safe house in El Junquito, Venezuela on January 15, 2018.

On May 13, 2018, the team published a report, in English and Spanish, researched and authored by Fiorella and Aliaume Leroy, of the Bellingcat Investigation Team, which describes the investigation so far. Fiorella and Leroy also published an op-ed in the New York Times appealing to members of the public to help with the investigation by getting in touch with videos, photos and details from El Junquito the morning of the raid.

The team is using open-source forensics—collecting, identifying, verifying, and plotting in space and time available media online to reconstruct a narrative—and have located about 60 pieces of evidence, including tweets, videos, and photos from citizens, security forces, and Pérez himself, and leaked audio of police radio communications, within a navigable three-dimensional digital platform that shows a model of the safe house and the environment of El Junquito around it.

Fiorella, whose research interests centre on political violence in Venezuela, protest policing, and social movements, wrote that “working on this report made me gain a new perspective on the incredible work that Venezuelan journalists are doing, in the most adverse conditions possible. We could not have concluded this report without their tireless efforts to uncover the truth and reveal it to others.”

A note for prospective students: the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies does not have a program in forensic studies. You can learn more about the University of Toronto Mississauga undergraduate forensic science program from their website or by contacting their office at 905-828-3726.


Context for the arrest in the Toronto van attack

April 25, 2018

In the wake of the van attack in Toronto on Monday, April 23rd, scholars from the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies have provided expert commentary and insight in various media regarding the arrest of the suspect without the use of lethal force. This list will be updated as media appearances continue.

  • Professor Scot Wortley and PhD student Erick Laming, along with U of T Mississauga psychology professor Judith Andersen, spoke with U of T News about the police officer’s conduct and the de-escalation training that Toronto Police receive.
  • Professor Wortley also spoke with several CBC radio programmes: Afternoon Drive, The Homestretch, and On The Coast. 
  • Professors Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner wrote, in their The Lawyer’s Daily column, about the lessons for reducing police shootings that can be drawn from Monday’s events
  • PhD student Erick Laming spoke with USA Today about police-involved shootings in the US and Canada.
  • Criminological Highlights shared a look at research addressing the question “What should we do to reduce police shootings of civilians?” from their most recent issue.


Vice series on cannabis arrests and race

April 20, 2018

PhD student Alex Luscombe and PhD graduate Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, who teaches a course at the Centre as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at UTM, collaborated with journalist Rachel Browne on a Vice News Canada series about cannabis arrests and race. In the lead up to legalization later this year, they looked at arrest statistics for six Canadian cities: Regina, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Ottawa. They compared race-based data from police with census data from Statistics Canada. The first part of the series, written by Browne, gives a city-by-city breakdown of the racial disparities that the analysis demonstrated.

In the second part of the series, Luscombe and Owusu-Bempah co-authored an op-ed arguing that legalization alone won’t solve the problem of overrepresentation. They discuss the limitations posed by Canada’s lack of systemically collected, racially disaggregated criminal justice data “racial disparities in arrests for drug offences are the result of broader policing practices that are themselves heavily racialized.”

“Drug legalization will only amount to racial justice if the broader forces that promote injustice in Canada’s law enforcement apparatus are addressed. Effective oversight of police stop and search activities in general, and of drug law enforcement in particular, are crucial. This requires access to meaningful and reliable data that should be proactively released and not left up to our news agencies to acquire under inadequate freedom of information laws.”

In the third and final part of the series, Browne wrote about the calls for the federal government to proactively grant mass pardons for cannabis possession in the lead up to legalization.


Indigenous Youth Perspectives on the Justice System: Listening and learning

April 20, 2018

On Friday, April 20th, Kruger Hall Commons, Woodsworth College, held Indigenous Youth Perspectives on the Justice System: Listening and learning. This event was a collaboration between the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, the Ontario Justice Education Network, the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, the Ontario Child Advocate, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (VP & Provost Division), Woodsworth College, and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The event was an opportunity for students, scholars, practitioners, and community members in Toronto to support Indigenous youth in their ongoing work towards justice system education and reform. The speakers delivered an update on the implementation of recommendations identified at the Aboriginal Youth Designing a Better Justice System event in August 2017 and the Feathers of Hope: A First Nations Youth Action Plan forum and report released March 2016, and shared their efforts to develop technology solutions to build a justice system that is reflective of Aboriginal experiences and responsive to Aboriginal traditions.


Vanessa Iafolla at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

April 18, 2018

Vanessa Iafolla testifies before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

On April 18th, CrimSL PhD graduate Vanessa Iafolla, now a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo, testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. As part of the Statutory Review of the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act, Dr. Iafolla shared her research on money laundering and terrorism.

The review of the act, which takes place every five years, is meant to ensure that anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislative framework keeps pace with technological, market, and environmental developments and commitments.

Iafolla discussed several issues regarding the identification and reporting of suspicious financial activity, including the need for guidance and feedback, the role of discretion and subjective judgements, and the impact of corporate secrecy. Iafolla’s testimony and her responses to questions from members of the committee can be read in the Evidence for the committee meeting and are also available as video (timestamp 16:39:42).


Special Advisors Appointed for Adult Corrections

April 6, 2018

Photo of Prof. Kelly Hannah-MoffatDr. Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Professor of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and University of Toronto Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity, has been appointed as Ontario’s independent expert on human rights and corrections. In this role, she will provide impartial advice, including advice regarding the province’s plan to track inmates placed in restrictive confinement and segregation, and regarding the way public data is released.

Professor Hannah-Moffat’s advice will assist the government’s implementation of a joint agreement with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), reached in January 2018, which continues the implementation of ten public interest remedies that were mandated in the 2013 settlement with former inmate Christina Jahn. In this agreement, Ontario committed to appointing special advisors to analyze and comment on the continued improvement of services and the conditions of confinement for individuals in Ontario’s adult correctional institutions—particularly those with mental health issues. The Honourable Justice David Cole has been appointed as Ontario’s independent reviewer to monitor the government’s compliance with both the 2013 settlement and the terms of the new agreement.


2018 Graduate Student Conference: Rethinking Law, Criminal Justice Policy, and Regulation

March 9, 2018

Victoria Baker presents at the conference The 2018 Graduate Student Conference was held on Friday, March 9, 2018. The annual conference provides graduate students with an opportunity to present their academic research in an interdisciplinary context and network with others doing work on related issues.

Graduate students from the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, Ryerson University, and Carleton University presented in sessions facilitated by conference organizers and Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies PhD Students Samantha Aeby, Andrea Sterling, and Jihyun Kwon.

Check out conference highlights on Twitter with the hashtag #crimGSC


Keynote address: Beyond privatization and neoliberalism: analysing hybrid networks of urban development

February 2018

Professor Mariana Valverde’s keynote address at the Birbeck Law review 2017 Conference, ‘Law and the City: Exploring the Urban Revolution in Critical Legal Studies,’ is available as a podcast on Soundcloud.




Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies on the Travel Ban

The Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies joins with other members of the University Community in denouncing US President Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning the entry of resettled refugees and nationals of seven Muslim majority states. Our scholarly interest in revealing discourses and practices of criminalization, discrimination, stigmatization and securitization is coupled with practical commitment to naming and opposing injustice. The Executive Order’s criminalization of refugees, its vilification of migrants on the basis of national origin and faith community, and the arbitrary abuse of authority entailed by its implementation, each and all exhibit contempt for human rights and the rule of law.

The Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies will continue to work with and across the University to find ways to mitigate the damaging impact of the Executive Order for those directly and indirectly affected. As Canadian scholars with strong links to the United States, we wish to express our solidarity with our American colleagues who are protesting this Executive Order, and with those students and faculty who are directly and indirectly its victims. The Executive Order gravely threatens the vitality of the US academy. Mindful of the destructive effect of this travel ban on international scholarly interaction, we offer US-based professional associations with which many of us are affiliated (including the Law and Society Association and the American Society for Criminology), our assistance and support in relocating conferences and workshops outside the United States, in order that all invited participants be able to attend.

February 8, 2017

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic announced today that it has delivered a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Minister Hussen urging the Canadian government to recognize that the United States is not presently a safe country for asylum seekers to obtain refugee protection. The letter is supported by a report that explains how three recent Executive Orders issued by President Trump put asylum seekers in the United States at heightened risk of human rights abuses and removal to countries where they face persecution.
Centre Director Audrey Macklin is among a group of law professors who co-authored an open letter to the Canadian government, signed by 240 colleagues, calling on Canada to halt enforcement of the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement. She is one of the Canadian law professors who have issued a media release calling on the Canadian government to halt enforcement of the Safe Third Country Agreement in light of the Harvard report.

 Forum on Race, Policing & Black Lives Matter

by Julius Haag, Centre PhD candidate

On October 14, 2016, the Centre hosted a public forum entitled Race, Policing and Black Lives Matter. The event, organized by Prof. Honor Brabazon of the Centre, brought together a compelling group of presenters, including Marques Banks, from the Black Movement-Law Project, Anthony Morgan, a human rights and public interest lawyer, Prof. Idil Abdillahi, a professor of social work at Ryerson University, and Ravyn Wngz, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. The event was moderated by Prof. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of UTM. The presentations explored the growth and genesis of Black Lives Matter Toronto, the role of law and lawyers in the ongoing struggle for black lives, the crisis of racism and sanism facing black people in Toronto with mental health issues, and the urgent need for continued action to protect black lives and to eradicate anti-blackness in our society.

The presenters illustrated how racialized policing is part of a larger crisis facing racialized people. They demonstrated that the issues currently confronted by black people are not new, but the most recent iteration of centuries of oppression rooted in colonialism and slavery. Rayvn Wngz spoke of the importance of solidarity and collaboration between Black Lives Matter Toronto and other groups facing systemic oppression and marginalization, including Indigenous People in Canada. Anthony Morgan noted that this event took place almost 50 years to the day from the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California. He noted that, much like the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter Toronto is a movement founded by young people who are fighting to advance important social justice issues.

The presentations were followed by a lively and engaging question period. The organizers also created a hashtag for the event, #CrimBLMForum, and encouraged participants and attendees to tweet about their experiences and impressions of the event.


Congratulations on the appointment of Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat as Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity

MA student Kristina Seefeldt discusses Solitary Confinement in the Ottawa Citizen, in Canada cannot Continue to use Solitary Confinement

PhD Jacqueline Briggs pens a powerful op-ed detailing the Aboriginal Justice Crisis in Canada in the Toronto Star. Shameful Anniversary could spur action on aboriginal justice crisis.

Post-Doctoral Student Natasha Madon and Emeritus Prof Tony Doob author an eye-opening report about The Retention of Women in the Private Practice of Criminal Law that was presented recently at the CLA conference

Prof Kelley Hannah-Moffat is interviewed regarding Solitary Confinement in this CBC piece


Prof Mariana Valverde discusses New Toronto Police Officers in the Toronto Star.

Prof Kelley Hannah-Moffat discusses the implications of a correctional worker’s strike in the Toronto Star Ontario jail guards’ impending strike threatens prisoner rights: expert

Column in The Toronto Star by Roy McMurtry and Tony Doob, Four Fixes for Canada’s Broken Justice System

A new research report by Mariana Valverde and Jacqueline BriggsThe University as Urban Developer.

Tony Doob, Victoria Sytsma and Scot Wortley were interviewed by The Varsity for its story Terrible Things Happen, on students with criminal histories.

How to consult in gentrifying neighbourhoods by Prof. Mariana Valverde in Spacing Magazine.

Prof. Mariana Valverde is interviewed on the Uber controversy in Toronto.

Professor Mariana Valverde gave a keynote speech at the Brazilian Empirical Legal Studies Association Annual Conference entitled : What counts as theory, today? A post-philosophical framework for socio-legal empirical research.

Professor Emeritus Anthony Doob writes on The Harper Decade: The Conservative Take on Crime Policy

Centre alumnus Akwasi Owusu-Bempah writes in the Globe and Mail : The End of Carding is just the Beginning.

Professor Matt Light and former Centre postdoc and CLTA assistant professor Gavin Slade have co-edited a special issue of Theoretical Criminology on crime and criminal justice in the post-Soviet region.

Junior Fellow Kyle Kirkup pens an article in the Globe and Mail titled It’s Unstoppable: Same-sex marriage is coming to the U.S.

PhD candidate Katharina Maier has been awarded one of the Vanier CSG Scholarships for her research project, “Half way to freedom? How female offenders rebuild their lives within the halfway house setting.” Congratulations!


Professor Rosemary Gartner co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime.

Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat talks about the increase in the number of women in federal prisons. Read more about Women Inmates on the Rise.

Centre alumnus Nicole Myers’ work on bail with Abby Deshman of the CCLA continues to receive attention. Read the latest about the Reliance on sureties boosting Ontario remand numbers featuring comments by Professor Tony Doob.

Centre Director Kelly Hannah-Moffat gave the 8th Annual Lecture of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research on May 19th in Glasgow, Scotland. The Howard League Scotland posted a write-up of her lecture ‘Moving targets: Reputational risk, rights and accountability in punishment.’ Read it here.

Professors Kelly Hannah-Moffat and Paula Maurutto were cited by The Toronto Star in No charges, no trial, but presumed guilty about the impact of criminal records. They have been working with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to examine how criminal records are being used, by whom and how much information is being disclosed. Read the CCLA’s report ‘False Promises, Hidden Costs’ for more information.

Centre Director Kelly Hannah-Moffat gave the 8th Annual Lecture of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research on May 19th in Glasgow, Scotland. The Howard League Scotland posted a write-up of her lecture ‘Moving targets: Reputational risk, rights and accountability in punishment.’ Read it here

Jim Phillips is the recipient of the 2013 David Walter Mundell Medal. Recognizing Exceptional Legal Writing, the Mundell Medal honours those who have made a distinguished contribution to law and letters. It celebrates great legal writing and recognizes that the artful use of language in the right style has the power to give life to ideas. Jim Phillips is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto with a cross-appointment in the Department of History. He has written extensively in the field of legal history and particularly the history of criminal law in British North America/Canada. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, which is devoted to the promotion of scholarship on the history of Canadian law. Professor Phillips obtained both his PhD in History and his LLB from Dalhousie University. He also clerked for former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bertha Wilson. Read the News Release. 

Professor Matt Light has done field research both in southern Russia and in neighbouring Georgia. In these interviews with journalist Steve Paikin of “The Agenda” on Ontario Public Television, Prof. Light assesses the reasons for, risks to, and consequences of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi. View the recent panel discussion or listen to an interview from a few years ago for more information.

UofT News has published an article on the sex trade panel After Bedford v. Canada: What next for regulating sex work in Canada? that the Centre’s Marianna Valverde and Adiel Weaver helped to organize last month. Read the article or the transcript of the panel discussion.