CRI389Y0 Topics in Criminology: Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in Criminal Law: Historical Origins and New Directions in England and Canada

This course traces shifts in the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of legal subjects, as they have been defined in criminal law in England and Canada, beginning with the gradual emergence of the common law in England during the Medieval period, right up to the present day, including the history of approaches to political violence in England. Close
attention will be paid to recent developments that challenge traditional doctrines. The English legal system has recently adopted a number of innovations and proposals that
have not been tried in Canada, including new doctrines regarding police administration, antisocial behaviour, community policing, speech supporting terrorism and jury trials. In all these cases, there is significant modification of established legal doctrines regarding the relationship between the state and its subjects. The new Conservative government has modified some of these policies, partly in light of fiscal challenges. Canada has been at the forefront of other developments that modify that relationship, most notably regarding dangerousness assessment with a view to preventive detention, and the punishment of women offenders, where feminist theories have been influential. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate these developments in light of the history of legal rights, freedoms and responsibilities in the common law tradition. They will present their views of the nature, causes and validity of the developments in the written assignments. The course will be of special interest to students of Criminology, Political Science and History.

Prerequisites: none
CRI389Y – course outline

Field Trips: Excursions will include two trips to London. For one, students will visit the Foundling Museum, the British Museum, and the Tower of London, and will be taken on a guided “Jack the Ripper” walk. For the other London trip, students will visit sites of political violence in the city. Students will also meet with Oxford community policing services. The cost of these trips is CAD$255, paid to U of T for all fees and return bus transportation.

Instructor: William Watson received his B.Sc. from the University of Leicester, and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. His academic interests include the practice of forensic psychiatry, psychopathy, the provision of services to sub-populations of mentally disordered offenders who are identified, or self-identified, as having special needs, and the place of critical social science in public policy making. His publications include The Mentally Disordered Offender in an Era of Community Care: New Directions in Provision (co-edited with A. Grounds), and articles in Sociology, The International Journal of Comparative Sociology, History of Psychiatry, The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, and Social and Legal Studies. Dr. Watson has served as a consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of the Solicitor General, Canada.

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