State Control
Criminal Justice Politics in Canada

Ratner, R.S. and McMullan, John L. (eds)
Publisher:  University of British Columbia Press
Year Published:  1988  
ISBN:  ISBN 0-7748-0275-8
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3392

Abstract:  This book of essays by scholars in criminology, sociology and law, from universities across Canada, is more than just a collection. The essays were commissioned and planned to provide both a fresh theoretical approach to the sociology of the state and empirical examinations of particular Canadian issues in criminal justice. The body consists of an introduction and conclusion by the editors and three sections dealing with criminal justice reform, the state and criminal justice, and the Canadian state. Each section contains a theoretical paper, a case study and a critique of both by a third scholar.
The perspective of most contributors is neo-Marxist. They leave behind the relatively simple approach to the state as an instrument of the ruling class and embrace variations of the premise that the state, in advanced capitalist systems, acquires relative, though never absolute, autonomy. This approach allows the state and its apparatus of social control to be seen as an arena where class conflict can take place and resistance and reform are possible.
Case studies include: the Toronto Citizens Independent Review of Police Activities (CIRPA) and its interaction with the Public Complaints Office; the history of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, and an examination of the crisis in socialist politics in Canada. Altogether, a stimulating and provocative collection that should interest students in sociology, criminology, law, politics, science and Canadian studies, as well as activists in the field of criminal justice.