Featured projects : Prison, punishment and social control / Projets en vedette : Prison, répression et contrôle social

The application deadlines for the doctoral (January 10) and master’s programs (January 15) offered by the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa are rapidly approaching.  From January 1 to 10 you will find a few of the many examples of research projects being led by professors in each of our ten research fields.  Today’s edition showcases a few projects within the research field of “Prison, punishment and social control”.

Les dates limites pour postuler aux programmes de doctorat (10 janvier) et de maîtrise (15 janvier) offerts par le département de criminologie à l'Université d'Ottawa approchent rapidement. Entre le 1 et 10 janvier, vous trouverez quelque uns des nombreux exemples de projet de recherche conduits par les professeurs dans chacun de nos dix champs de recherche. L'édition d'aujourd'hui expose quelques projets dans le champ de recherche de « Prison, répression et contrôle social».

Prison, Punishment and Social Control / Prison, répression et contrôle social

Increasingly punitive political responses toward crime is suggested by growing prison populations in the U.S. and the UK, and the introduction of harsh penal policies in Canada (e.g., increasing minimum sentences). Yet, the public tends to believe that the courts are not 'harsh' enough in dealing with criminals and that sentences are 'too lenient'. Such public attitudes contribute to the implementation of increasingly harsh criminal justice policies that are socially damaging and economically costly. Punitive attitudes are understood as being reflective of cognitive ‘shortcuts’ or assumptions (e.g., underestimating actual sentencing trends, overestimating crime rates). Still, little is known about intuitive or very rapidly formulated punitive attitudes. Professor Carolyn Côté-Lussier’s research will be the first to identify the role of instantaneous responses in linking social structural factors (e.g., social inequality) and criminal stereotypes to punitive intuitions. It will also make important advancements in terms of establishing the role of intuition in explaining public support for harsh criminal justice policy. The planned studies have received funding from a SSHRC Insight Development grant and will use cutting edge methodologies (e.g., facial electromyography) from the University of Ottawa’s INSPIRE laboratory to detect individuals' rapid intuitive punitive responses. Beginning in Fall 2017, Professor Côté-Lussier will be accepting undergraduate and graduate level research assistants, and graduate level students who wish to work on this project for their thesis.

  • Détermination de la sanction dans la pénalité : l’hypothèse d’une socialité vindicatoire dans la vie quotidienne (Françoise Vanhamme)

Francoise Vanhamme is particularly interested in the field of penology, that is to say penalties, its uses, functions, and the arguments in support of it. Most of her research is in the determination of penalties in a narrow sense (court rulings) and in a larger and macro social sense: the context-specific definition of punishable actions, the legal justification for theoretical and practical punishment, the functions of penalties, the history of reforms in sentencing in the west, and so on. However, in order to better understand the social logic surrounding criminal penalties, part of her research—conducted in collaboration with V. Strimelle—currently covers the reaction and sanction modes and systems in community and day-to-day life, which inevitably leads to the exploration and systematization of things that raise problems for individuals and social groups, as well as the regulation of these problematized situations.

Françoise Vanhamme s'intéresse particulièrement au domaine de la pénologie, c'est-à-dire à la peine, à ses usages, à ses fonctions, aux discours qui les soutiennent. Son principal domaine de recherche est la détermination de la peine comprise dans un sens étroit (les décisions des tribunaux) et dans un sens plus large et macrosocial : la définition en contexte des actes punissables, les justifications du droit de punir en théorie et en pratique, les fonctions de la peine, l'histoire des réformes du sentencing en Occident… Toutefois, pour mieux comprendre les logiques sociales qui entourent les peines pénales, une part de ses recherches porte actuellement, et en collaboration avec Véronique Strimelle, sur les modes et systèmes de réaction et de sanction dans la vie collective et quotidienne, ce qui mène inévitablement à explorer et à systématiser ce qui pose problème aux individus et aux groupes sociaux et à la régulation de ces situations de tort.