Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Restorative Justice in British Columbia: Exploring the Potential

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1 Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Restorative Justice in British Columbia: Exploring the Potential being a Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of MA in Restorative Justice in the University of Hull by Terri Kalaski August 2012

2 Acknowledgements The research that I have been able to carry out would not have been possible without the support of Royal Canadian Mounted Police E Division members and the Restorative Justice Programs in British Columbia. I would like to extend my appreciation to both groups for their willingness to contribute their thoughts, opinions and insight on Restorative Justice. In particular I would like to acknowledge the support of Inspector Brad Haugli, Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen RCMP Detachment for his assistance in realizing official support and approval for this research and to Staff Sergeant Dave Fayle for serving as subject matter expert. I would also like to acknowledge my dissertation supervisor Dr. Margarita Zernova for her guidance. And finally, I would like to thank my husband and family; their support and encouragement mean the world to me.

3 Table of Contents List of Tables... 1 Chapter One... 2 Introduction... 2 Research Aims and Objectives... 5 Hypothesis... 6 The Structure of the RCMP... 7 Outline of the following chapters Chapter Two: Literature Review RJ and Policing RJ in Canada RCMP and RJ Chapter Three: Methodology Research Methods Research Design Research Process Practical Considerations Ethical Considerations Limitations... 27

4 Data Recording and Analysis Chapter Four: Empirical Research - RCMP Findings Demographics and generalization: RCMP knowledge of RJ in the context of the YCJA Clarity on authority to refer to RJ: Knowledge of and previous experience with RJ programs: On the impact of training in RJ Key Findings Chapter Five: Empirical Research - BC RJ Program Findings Demographical information: Referral process and capacity Knowledge of RJ in the context of the YCJA Responses to the questions on Training: Key Findings: Chapter Six: Discussion Synthesis of Findings Significance of the Findings The training dilemma RCMP and RJ Programs YCJA Influence:... 61

5 Potential negative impacts from increasing referrals Chapter Seven: Conclusion Challenges, Opportunities and Balance Limitations of the Research Recommendations for Future Research Final Comments Bibliography: Appendix I Cover letter for RCMP Questionnaire RCMP Member Questionnaire on Restorative Justice Appendix II RCMP Member Semi-Structured Interview on Restorative Justice Appendix III Restorative Justice Questionnaire for BC Programs Appendix IV Restorative Justice Programs Semi-Structured Interview Questions

6 List of Tables Table 1: Role within RCMP Table 2: Gender of respondents Table 3: Years of Service Table 4: Rank of respondents Table 5: RCMP response to RJ as an option for youth Assault file Table 6: YCJA Option Table 7: Rate your experience using RJ Table 8: RCMP knowledge of local RJ Program Table 9: Members that refer regularly to local RJ program Table 10: Amount of training received Table 11: RJ is an effective tool Table 12: Most common way to receive referrals Table 15: Files received per month by RJ programs

7 Chapter One Introduction This paper will explore what influences a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (hereafter RCMP ) member in British Columbia (hereafter BC ) to refer a file to restorative justice (hereafter RJ ). According to the Canadian Inventory of RJ Programs there are RJ programs for youths and adults available in every province and territory in Canada (Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 2011). While this information reveals RJ programs are present throughout Canada it is not clear how or if these programs are utilized by RCMP or in what context. We know that RJ was identified as a national strategic priority for the RCMP in 1997 and removed from the priority list in 2002 (Deukmedjian, 2008) although questions remain as to how or if the change in priority has impacted the use of RJ within the RCMP. There is no national RCMP policy regarding the use of RJ. Given the scope of the RCMP s policing agreements across Canada, it is reasonable to assume that acceptance of RJ practice by the RCMP would provide a strong impetus for the remainder of policing agencies in Canada to embrace RJ as a legitimate element of the justice system (Deukmedjian, 2008). Criminal justice systems in many countries are under scrutiny. There are conversations taking place inside governments and in communities questioning the effectiveness of the traditional criminal justice system. Questions being asked include; is there the capacity to deal with the volume of files; are the files that are receiving charge approval appropriate for trial or are there other means of dealing with the files and is the criminal justice system meeting the goal of 2

8 reducing crime and increasing safety for communities? Some of these conversations are beginning to include discussions on the impact structural inequities including unemployment, global debt crisis and poverty to name a few, have on crime (Harding, 2007). RJ is a concept that is gaining traction as an option worthy of exploration that may contribute positively to community safety through the promotion of an effective justice system responsive and inclusive of community (Daly & Hayes, 2001) (Van Ness, 2005) (Harding, 2007) (Deukmedjian, 2008) (Minister of Justice and Attorney General, 2012). RJ provides an opportunity for all of those affected by crime - offenders, victims and community- to come together and work together to develop a means of addressing harm that result from crime. RJ requires a paradigm shift when thinking of justice. Howard Zehr, recognized by many as one of the first pioneers of RJ posited that in contrast to conventional understanding of crime as a violation of the state, RJ begins with the belief that crime is a violation of people and relationships (Zehr, 2002). Zehr further expanded this theory to identify three pillars of RJ : a focus on harms and needs, accountability through attending to obligations, and engagement or participation of those with a legitimate interest or stake in the offense (Zehr, 2002, pp ). There are a number of methods of engaging restoratively with the most common through restorative conferences. Globally, RJ conferences are interpreted in a variety of ways with the most widely used and accepted formats being victim offender mediation; family group conferencing and circle sentencing (Bazemore & Umbreit, 2001). 3

9 In Canada RJ practices can trace their roots back to two general origins and models, the dyadic restorative mediation of the Mennonite tradition and the peace-making circles of the aboriginal peoples (Chatterjee & Elliott, 2003, p. 348). A third model, Community Justice Forum (hereafter CJF ) was introduced by the RCMP by way of Australia and New Zealand. In 2003 the Government of Canada introduced the Youth Criminal Justice Act (hereafter YCJA ). This Act provided police officers with specific guidelines and conditions when to utilize an extra-judicial measure (hereafter EJM ) such as RJ (Marinos & Innocente, 2008; Vogt, et al., 2011). The focus of the new Act was to reduce the number of youth entering the criminal justice system as a result of minor offences while at the same time acknowledging the myriad of reasons that may result in a youth engaging in criminal acts. The YCJA provides law enforcement officers and Crown the ability to address behaviours that may lead to adult criminal behaviour. This is in stark contrast to the previous Young Offenders Act and has necessitated a shift in attitude and behaviour of police officers in response to youth crime (Barnhorst, 2004). 4

10 Research Aims and Objectives The research will address two questions: Are there developments or strategies that if implemented would increase referral rates to RJ programs by RCMP members in British Columbia; and are there potential negative consequences to encouraging an increase in referrals to RJ programs in British Columbia? To address these questions the research will examine what factors inform a police officer s decision to refer a file to their local RJ program, in particular files involving youth. The investigation will explore which elements weigh most heavily into the decision-making process; whether an officer is persuaded by external or internal influences or both; if there is opportunity to address those factors and if doing so would it result in an increase in referrals initiated by the RCMP in BC to RJ programs in BC? The research will also explore to what extent individual officers values impact their decisions to refer to the RJ programs. Objectives: To gain insight into what influences a RCMP member s decision to refer to their local RJ program To understand what role, if any, understanding of the YCJA impacts an officers decision to refer a file to RJ To learn what, if any, role the local RJ programs may have in encouraging an increase in referrals 5

11 To observe if there are valid concerns to increasing file referrals to RJ programs by RCMP members To address these questions the researcher undertook an empirical study to collect data from all operational RCMP members in BC 1. BC has 5000 police officers in operational positions representing the largest contingent of RCMP members in Canada. Using Survey Monkey, a questionnaire was made available to all 5000 police officers. In addition the researcher conducted six semi-structured interviews with RCMP members from different ranks as well as different geographic locations throughout BC; some were conducted in-person and some by telephone. In order to contrast and contextualize the data from RCMP members the researcher also conducted an empirical study of RJ programs in BC. All RJ programs in BC had the opportunity to respond to a questionnaire. Five semi-structured interviews with RJ programs in different areas of the province were conducted; some of these interviews were in-person and some were conducted by telephone. Hypothesis The working hypothesis for this paper states: 1 For the purposes of this research, operational is defined as police officers who are active in the field and who have the option of using RJ in response to a criminal act, as opposed to those police officers working in administrative or federal positions. 6

12 If RCMP members had a good understanding of the YCJA; received formal RJ training; had ease of access to a local RJ program and policy that supported RJ then they would utilize RJ more frequently. The Structure of the RCMP The RCMP is the Canadian national police service and an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety Canada. The RCMP is unique in the world as it is a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP is organized under the authority of the RCMP Act and is headed by a Commissioner who receives direction from the Minister of Public Safety Canada, and has the control and management of the RCMP and all matters pertaining to the RCMP. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police enforces throughout Canada laws made by, or under, the authority of the Canadian Parliament. Administration of justice within the provinces, including enforcement of the Criminal Code, is part of the power and duty delegated to the provincial governments. It provides total federal policing service to all Canadians and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports. Policing agreements cover 75% of the geography of Canada. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2011). 7

13 In 1996, the RCMP adopted a more regional management system employing the auspices of deputy commissioners. Four regions were developed: Pacific, North-western, Central and Atlantic. Within the over-arching umbrella of the four regions, the RCMP divides into 15 Divisions, plus Headquarters, Ottawa. Each division is managed by a Commanding Officer and is alphabetically designated. Divisions roughly approximate provincial boundaries and British Columbia is designated E Division (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2011). Within BC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provides municipal and provincial policing services to 72% of BC s population or 3.2 million people and federal policing services across the province. "E" Division is the largest Division in the RCMP and in terms of geography, the RCMP police 99.8% of BC. 8

14 RCMP Officers deployed in E Division Police officers* Civilian members** Public service Municipal employees*** Island District Lower 2, Mainland District North District Southeast 1, District Federal/EHQ/ 1, Corporate Support TOTAL 6, , ,334 *Includes Reservists and Special Constables (Community Safety Officers) **Positions per reporting structure ***Includes full-time and part-time positions as of August, 2011 (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2011) 9

15 Outline of the following chapters Chapter Two reviews relevant literature to the research. It should be noted that there is extremely limited research on the subject of police referrals to RJ programs. Chapter Three will discuss the methodology used in conducting this research and examine the limitations of the research and ethical considerations. Chapters Four and Five will present the findings from the research Chapter Six will provide a discussion of the findings in relation to the aims and objectives set out by the research question. Chapter Seven will offer a conclusion and propose areas for future research. 10

16 Chapter Two: Literature Review This section will consider research in the area of police referrals to RJ programs globally and examine if there exists in any jurisdiction specific policies or strategies that may impact referral rates. A challenge is the scarcity of research on what factors influence police referrals to RJ programs. This section will also discuss RJ in Canada to provide context and background for the empirical research. RJ and Policing Many countries around the world are examining their justice systems and seeking to transform their processes to allow for a more effective response to crime that will result in a reduction in the occurrence of crime and the fear of crime by their populace (Van Ness, 2005). In addition governments are concerned with evolving a response to crime that will provide a more efficient, timely and less costly response to criminal behaviour. The public is questioning what is justice (Harding, 2007)? RJ is receiving much attention internationally from criminal justice organizations and from individuals and communities that appreciate the interconnectedness of structural inequities and crime rates and are interested in exploring a social justice approach as a possible solution to crime and fear of crime (Daly & Hayes, 2001). One challenge is the very different lens with which the formal justice system views crime in comparison to the lens that RJ employs. 11

17 Three elements are fundamental to any RJ definition and practice. First, crime is viewed primarily as a conflict between individuals that results in injuries to victims, communities, and the offenders themselves, and only secondarily as a violation against the state. Second, the aim of the criminal justice process should be to create peace in communities by reconciling the parties and repairing the injuries caused by the dispute. Third, the criminal justice process should facilitate active participation by victims, offenders, and their communities in order to find solutions to the conflict (Galaway & Hudson, 2007, p. 2). RJ programs struggle to define their relationship with law enforcement agencies. Advocates of RJ have produced significant research questioning how connection or perceived connection to the criminal justice system may impact RJ (Hughes & Mossman, 2001) (Cormier, 2002) (Abramson, 2003) (Strang, 2003) (Ness, 2005) (Zehr, 2005) (Hudson, 2007) (Deukmedjian, 2008) (Woolford, 2009) (Allard, et al., 2010). Concerns include apprehension over the possibility of being perceived as being simply a cog in the wheel of the traditional criminal justice system; being held hostage to the political aims of the state justice system (Zernova, 2007, p. Kindle Location 2187); the professionalization of RJ processes (Zehr, 2005) and the delegation of personal problems to state agencies for resolution (Christie, 2006). It is important to consider these concerns in light of the exploration by government and law enforcement agencies into RJ recognizing the opportunity for RJ programs to work, together with police officers on the front lines, to affect a different response to crime. 12

18 The inchoate state of RJ in relation to the formal criminal justice system provides occasion to assess opportunities to create different ways of working together to respond to crime. However, moving RJ from theory to practice and evolving policy should be approached with some trepidation. Zehr speaks eloquently on the Subversion of Visions (2005, p. 232) and the possible consequences of institutionalization of RJ and the competing agendas of the formal justice system, with the focus on punishment and retribution. Kay Harris advocates the development of the vision of RJ and to resist the pressure for premature practicality (1989). The mandates of the diverse organizations and agencies bring attention to the practical difficulties of moving from a retributive model of justice to a restorative model. The RISE (Canberra Reintegrative Shaming Experiments) Project is one of the most in-depth empirical research projects on restorative policing with data gathered over a five year period from However, although the research sought information from police on their opinion about the leniency or severity of court and conference, their fairness and whether they were satisfied with the outcome the cases in the RISE program were randomly assigned to either the restorative program or court (Strang, et al., 2011). This approach to investigating satisfaction levels by participants (including police officers) in a restorative conference is well represented in research, however, research into the process a police officer goes through in determining to forward a file for a restorative resolution is relatively rare (Abramson, 2003). Van Ness s report An Overview of RJ around the World makes reference to the uses of RJ processes in the criminal justice system (2005, p. 6) including an excellent overview of RJ 13

19 processes in use by police. Van Ness includes information on legislation that promotes the use of RJ such as the New Zealand Children, Young Persons and their Families Act but it does not include any research on what factors influence a police officer to refer a file to RJ programs. The Thames Valley police have been at the forefront of Restorative Cautioning movement in England. There has been considerable research undertaken on this initiative focussing on the effectiveness of police as facilitators however little research has been undertaken on the factors influencing the use of RJ by police (Cunneen, 2009) (Hoyle, 2009) (Walgrave, 2009). At the same time, many governments seek to articulate policies and procedures that will provide guidance to policing agencies on the appropriate use of RJ practices and engagement with RJ programs. The 2003 Canadian YCJA is such an example. The Act recognised that the previous Young Offenders Act was not effective in deterring youth from crime and the rate of youth incarceration was increasing (Carrington & Schulenberg, 2003). The YCJA identified that the court system does not provide an appropriate response for most youth involved in crime and community agencies may be in a better position to respond. The YCJA also recognizes that police are the first point of contact for youth involved in anti-social behaviour and legislated police under Sec 6 of the Act to consider what steps are necessary to hold a youth accountable. The options include: 1. Pursue no further action 2. Warn the youth 14

20 3. Refer them to a program or community agency that may assist the youth in not continuing to commit crime (Vogt, et al., 2011) In Australia Each state and territory jurisdiction in Australia has a legislated RJ program for juveniles currently in operation, although these vary in purpose, operation and scope (Richards, 2010, p. 2). Research conducted by Richards provides a comprehensive overview of Australia s juvenile RJ programs including demographics of the referred youth; however it does not provide any information on how police determine which youth will be referred to RJ. Richards states, There are a range of factors that may influence police decisions about whether to refer a particular juvenile to a restorative conference, including offending history and offence type (2010, p. 7) and further suggests that there is limited data with which to draw on to form firm conclusions on what influences police referrals and suggests that additional research is required. Law enforcement agencies and RJ programs share concerns on how best to proceed, working to engage effectively with each other, recognizing that each group has a part to play in the criminal justice system and at times those roles may be in opposition. It is a symbiotic relationship with majority of RJ programs reliant on law enforcement agencies for referrals. As a consequence RJ programs ability to expand without the direct support of their local law enforcements agency is limited. To some extent, the growth of RJ programs are held hostage by their local law enforcement agencies. 15

21 RJ in Canada RJ in Canada has been heavily influenced by Aboriginal people. Canada s aboriginal population have a history of resolving conflict through the bringing together of community in peace-making circles. This approach is often referred to as peacemaker justice and reflects the aboriginal values of connectedness (Ross, 2006). Community is fundamental in traditional approaches to conflict resolution reflective of the aboriginal belief of interconnectedness between earth, plants and animals. As a consequence harm or crime in community is seen to affect every member and aspect of community life. The community as a whole then has a shared responsibility to arrive at a solution that will re-establish harmony. The wrongdoer in Navajo terms acts as if he has no relatives (Yazzie & Zion, 1996, p. 170). The circle process is reflective of the teachings of the medicine wheel that demonstrate the interconnectedness of four areas of life: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. The inference is all four of these dimensions exist in the both the individual and the collective. The collective is viewed as the source of both the individuals harm and healing (Sutherland, 2002) (Chatterjee & Elliott, 2003) (Ross, 2006). It is from this tradition that Western justice adopted sentencing circles and from sentencing circles the practice of RJ evolved. The terms sentencing circles and RJ however are Western terms, not Aboriginal terms (Sutherland, 2002) (Ross, 2006) (Aboriginal People's Collection, 2010) (Griffiths & Hamilton, 2010) (Stuart, 2010). Sentencing circles began in Canada in the 1990 s as a response from Aboriginal communities for more effective sentencing for their people (Cunneen, p. 113). Circle processes are part of Aboriginal 16

22 culture, however they were not used simply to administer punishment; they were a teaching tool and a way to harmonize the community and reflect restorative values of respect, trust, honesty, humility, sharing, inclusivity, love, empathy, courage and forgiveness (Pranis, et al., p. 47). The Kitchener Experiment is acknowledged as the first example in Canada of RJ practice within the criminal justice system in response to a criminal act. In 1974, probation officer Mark Yantzi, grounded in the Mennonite faith, sought a different way to work with youth in trouble with the law. In keeping with the peace-making traditions of the Mennonite faith, Yantzi sought a way to connect youths with the victims of their crime in the hopes of creating an understanding between the parties and to resolve the harm caused by the criminal act. The outcome was a model for victim/offender reconciliation programs (VORP) and the VORP model remains in use today as a means of bringing people together in a restorative fashion to deal with harm (Peachey, 2003). RCMP and RJ RJ and the RCMP have a history dating back to the early 1990 s when a contingent of officers from the RCMP travelled to Wagga Wagga, a city in New South Wales, Australia to explore what was then a controversial new model of dealing with youth crime and harm. This model became known as the Wagga model and was considered unique from other RJ models as it was developed and delivered by police officers under their authority to deliver cautions to people that admit guilt. The focus of the Wagga model was bringing family of the offender together with the victim of the crime to resolve the harm caused by the crime. This method was known as family group conferencing (hereafter FGC ) (Moore & O'Connell, 2003). 17

23 The RCMP perceived RJ as a program that closely aligned with the community policing strategy favoured by RCMP executive and the Federal Government. Community policing was defined as a strategic approach to crime that engaged with community to identify root causes of crime and address them in cooperation with outside social welfare agencies. RJ appeared to be an excellent fit within the strategy of community policing. RCMP adopted the FGC model nationally as the RJ process choice within the RCMP however chose to rename the model to Community Justice Forums. This new name was to indicate that the RCMP would be the catalyst for this program but not the owner of the program. That would be up to community and in doing so, provide the RCMP with a process that theoretically aligned to the strategy of community policing (Chatterjee & Elliott, 2003) (Deukmedjian, 2008). The RCMP in BC led the way in 1997 in implementing the family group conferencing tool in Sparwood, BC with other jurisdictions following shortly thereafter (Chatterjee & Elliott, 2003). Throughout the exploration of literature on police and RJ the question, What encourages police to refer to RJ programs as a means of resolving a criminal event? has not been addressed. There is a demonstrated scarcity of research examining what influences police officers willingness or reluctance to refer to RJ programs. Unfortunately, we could not locate published research on the effects of RJ on the criminal justice system. This is a significant gap in our current knowledge. We do not know how the increasing number of RJ programs will affect the role of police, attorneys, or court and correctional officers. (Latimer & Kleinknecht, 2000, p. 14) 18

24 Given that police officers act as gatekeepers for the criminal justice system, it is important to understand how attitudes and behaviours among police officers effect the use of alternative measures when responding to youth (Vogt, et al., p. 1). This research seeks to address this question within the context of RJ programs working with the RCMP in BC. The next chapter discusses the selected methodology. 19

25 Chapter Three: Methodology Research Methods This chapter outlines the rationalisation for the methodology chosen for this research project. The chapter will speak to the practical issues that warranted consideration in order to further the research and discuss ethics and confidentiality concerns, closing with a limitation on the methodology. The central questions of this research are: Are there developments or strategies that if implemented would increase referral rates to RJ programs by RCMP members in British Columbia and; are there potential negative consequences to encouraging an increase in referrals to RJ programs in British Columbia? The objectives of this research set out earlier include: 1. To gain insight into what influences a RCMP member s decision to refer to their local RJ program 2. To understand what role, if any, understanding of the YCJA impacts an officers decision to refer a file to RJ 3. To learn what, if any, role the local RJ programs may have in encouraging an increase in referrals 4. To observe if there are valid concerns to increasing file referrals to RJ programs by RCMP members 20

26 As evidenced by the review of literature in the previous chapter, there is regrettably little research on factors that influence police to refer, particularly youth files, to RJ programs. There is also little research exploring how the relationship between police and individual RJ programs may affect referral rates. Research Design In reviewing the research question a number of different methodologies were examined and rejected as not practicable for a variety of reasons which include: 1. Financially impracticable 2. Capacity of the researcher 3. Impractical due to time constraints 4. Impractical due to distances in BC 5. Lack of literature providing comparative data One methodology reviewed and rejected was a possibility of conducting a meta-analysis study which would have provided the most comprehensive look at all the variable influences. A meta-analysis can be understood as a statistical analysis of a collection of studies that aggregates the magnitude of a relationship between two or more variables (Glass, McGaw, & Smith, 1981). These studies may differ on several important characteristics, such as operationalization of independent and dependent variables, sample size, sample selection techniques and design quality. Meta-analytic statistics can describe the 21

27 typical strength of the effect under investigation, the degree of statistical significance, the variability, as well as provide researchers the opportunity to explore and identify potential moderating variables. (Latimer, et al., 2001, p. 3) However, this method was rejected as there is minimal research available on the research question and cost aspect, both financial and human; to undertake such a project was beyond the means of this researcher. Other potential methods of data collection reviewed and rejected included, field observation and participant observation; and case studies either individual or collective (Charbonneau, 2003). Carrington and Shulenberg reported in a Canadian Department of Justice report conducted in 2003 on elements that could potentially affect police decision-making with youth. These factors included the traits of the policing environment (make-up of community); size of policing organization; and characteristics of the offence and alleged offender (Carrington & Schulenberg, 2004). Although an excellent study the research examined all possible discretions available to police and does not provide research specific to RJ. The work of Carrington and Shulenberg informed the decision to work in combination with qualitative and quantitative methodology in order to establish the greatest probability of capturing influential factors which may be omitted from a statistical only analysis which may result in fundamentally incorrect conclusions. 22

28 Data accumulated by different methods but bearing on the same issue are part of what is called the "multi-method approach": "Different methods have different strengths and weaknesses. If they converge (agree) then we can be reasonably confident that we are getting the true picture" (GILLHAM, 2000, p.13, original emphasis). In fact, the "effectiveness of triangulation rests on the premise that the weaknesses in each single method will be compensated by the counter-balancing strengths of another" (JICK, 1979, p.604). Therefore, triangulation "can potentially generate what anthropologists call "holistic work" or "thick description" (JICK, 1979, p.609). [73] (Kohlbacher, 2006) The strength of qualitative, semi-structured interviewing is that it encourages the participants to speak their own truth without the researcher prefacing a predefined acceptable answer. It can be challenging to identify participants that are suitable and willing to provide honest opinions that are not influenced by personal agendas. In order to achieve well-informed accurate conclusions the researcher utilized data gathered from the questionnaires and interviews and employed data triangulation (Kumar, 2011). Research Process The research design that was utilized employed the service of both quantitative and qualitative measures, through the form of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews 23

29 which were conducted in person or by telephone. The combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods afforded a general overview of knowledge and attitude as well as a deeper insight into the underlying influences affecting decisions of the research subjects. In order to gather the most comprehensive sample the data collection method was required to be accessible to all potential subjects. A quantitative data collection methodology was determined to be most suitable given the vast geography of BC. Questionnaires were distributed by to all operational members of the RCMP in E Division and a separate questionnaire was sent to all RJ programs in BC. Both subject groups were given one month to respond. Semi-structured interviews followed over a two month period with both groups. Data was collected pertaining to three topic areas including general knowledge of the application of RJ within the Criminal Code and the YCJA; knowledge of local RJ programs or in the case of the questionnaire to the RJ programs connection to their local RCMP detachment; and training in RJ. The data collected provided an excellent sample of general knowledge of RJ practice and theory including information on the participants knowledge of the YCJA; and the level of training received or undertaken by both RCMP members and RJ practitioners. 24

30 Practical Considerations E Division has 5000 members who are operational with the potential to refer a file to a RJ program. There are 57 RJ Programs throughout BC. British Columbia is approximately 950,000 square kilometres, almost four times the size of Great Britain. The size of the province posed some challenges to the research as did the potential number of research participants. The RCMP organizes Canada into four separate regions and within each region there are designate divisions with an Officer in Charge. In order to distribute the research tool it was necessary to gain permission through these various Districts and Divisions, beginning with the home detachment of the researcher, up to and including Headquarters, Ottawa. The approval process took approximately five months. The researcher applied to the RJ Coordinator for British Columbia, housed within the Ministry of Justice for assistance in obtaining contact information for the RJ programs in BC. The Coordinator provided a contact list for programs that are supported by funding from the province. This included 40 of the 57 programs in the province. 25

31 Ethical Considerations A number of ethical considerations were considered when developing the research design and comments from Counsel, Legal Advisory Section, (RCMP Pacific Region), Department of Justice Canada were sought and received. In addition and of relevance to this research were the following: Confidentiality Informed consent Privacy To address these issues information on the voluntariness of participation and confirmation that the ability to track IP Address had been disabled in Survey Monkey was provided to potential participants. Contact information was provided for the researcher as well as her dissertation supervisor. To ensure that this approach was acceptable a completed Research Ethics Approval Form was submitted to the University of Hull departmental ethical research committee. The research methodology was approved. 26

32 Limitations The sample may present limitations both in the RCMP sampling as well as the RJ program sampling. The RCMP members were made aware of the questionnaire through the general account from E Division. A number of members indicated that they receive so much junk mail from that particular account that they regularly delete all without reviewing the content. A number of members who deleted the questionnaire indicated they would have been very willing to participate if they had been aware that it was a request to support a dissertation. The RJ program sampling was narrower than anticipated. It is recognized that the majority of these programs are volunteer run organizations and that accounts may not be checked on a regular basis. The research methods also present some limitations. In respect for the participants time the survey was designed to be fairly short while still gathering comprehensive data. The researcher was very pleasantly surprised at the number of open-ended responses by RCMP and regrets not providing more options for open-ended responses to specific questions. The researcher assumed that the RCMP members would provide a minimal response which was an error in the assessment of the audience and underestimated their engagement with the topic. It is also acknowledged that the RJ programs are heavily configured with volunteers and in respect for their time; their survey was designed to be fairly short. 27

33 In an attempt to minimize the effect of these issues, qualitative questions have been employed in semi-structured interviews with both groups of participants and data triangulation applied. Data Recording and Analysis Spread-sheets were utilised to compile the questionnaire information to facilitate ease of analysis and to make it possible to analyse two or more variables. Tape-recording was not possible with the telephone interviews and in order to maintain consistency, handwritten notes were taken in all semi-structured interviews with transcriptions produced as soon as possible after the fact. Qualitative data was coded to the themes of training, measurement of general knowledge of RJ and it applicability under the YCJA and knowledge of local RJ programs. This allowed the data to be analysed in relation to the original research question. The next chapter will discuss the findings of the empirical research. 28

34 Chapter Four: Empirical Research - RCMP Findings 2 The purpose of this chapter is to present the finding from the empirical research. The findings from the RCMP Member questionnaire concentrates on three thematic areas; what role training plays in referral rates; measurement of general knowledge of RJ and it applicability under the YCJA and knowledge of local RJ programs. Each respondent was allocated an identification number by the software and these numbers are referenced when quoting respondents. 3 Demographics and generalization: The questionnaire was distributed by to all operational RCMP members in BC. 462 members started the questionnaire and 80 were exempted as they were in non-operational roles. 2 RCMP Questionnaire located as Appendix I and interview questions Appendix II 3 All quotes are copied verbatim. The researcher is aware that some contain spelling and grammatical errors. 29

35 Please identify your role within the RCMP Answer Options Response Percent Response Count R/M 61.7% 285 R/Cst 4.5% 21 A/Cst 16.5% 76 None of the Above (disqualified from further participation in questionnaire) 17.3% 80 answered question 462 Table 1: Role within RCMP Note: R/M refers to Regular Member of the RCMP R/Cst references those in the role of Reserve Constable A/Cst references those in the role of Auxiliary Constable All are sworn as Peace Officers and have the same authorities in regards to arrest and detention. The Auxiliary Constable must work under the direct supervision of a Regular Member. 30

36 The participants further identified themselves by gender, years of service and rank. I identify as : Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Male 70.4% 226 Female 29.6% 95 answered question 321 Table 2: Gender of respondents Years of service. Answer Options Response Percent Response Count 0-3 years 18.6% years 30.3% years 13.0% years 14.6% years 13.9% years 9.6% 31 answered question 323 Table 3: Years of Service 31

37 My rank is: Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Constable 52.3% 169 Corporal 18.0% 58 Sergeant 11.1% 36 S/Sergeant 5.6% 18 Inspector 0.9% 3 Other 12.1% 39 answered question 323 Table 4: Rank of respondents In order to determine generalization, demographic information assembled from the questionnaire was compared to the demographic information on RCMP members nationally. With regard to gender 30% of the respondents to the questionnaire identified as female, the national average is 20% female RCMP members. With regards to rank distribution, nationally Constables represent 40% of the Force compared to 52% of the respondents; Corporals represent 13% nationally and 18% of the respondents, Sergeants and Staff Sergeants represent 10% of members nationally and 17% of the respondents and 2% of overall members identify as Inspectors and 1% of the respondents (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2012). Information on national figures on years of service was not available. The researcher is satisfied that the respondents to the questionnaire are an accurate representation of RCMP members nationally. 32

38 RCMP knowledge of RJ in the context of the YCJA The RCMP members indicated a generally good understanding of the overall application of the YCJA as evidenced by the following data: 70% of the respondents agreed that they had a good understanding of the YCJA 82% indicating that they understood what is meant by the term EJM 88% of the respondents identified RJ as an extrajudicial measure under the YCJA 88% identified RJ as an option for youth for a Mischief File under $5,000 and 86% identified RJ as an option for youth for a theft under $5000. When the RCMP members were assessed by questions that spoke to the intent or goals of the YCJA as opposed to the rules of the YCJA the data reflects what could be interpreted as lack of knowledge of the scope and power of the discretion awarded to police under the YCJA. 33

39 RJ is an option for police for an ASSAULT file involving youth? Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Disagree 26.2% 89 Neither Agree nor Disagree 5.3% 18 Agree 55.3% 188 Don't Know 13.2% 45 answered question 340 Table 5: RCMP response to RJ as an option for youth Assault file As defined by the YCJA, RJ is an option for police for an assault file involving youth. Number 7 on the RCMP Member questionnaire queries members stance on RJ as an option for a youth that had previous experience with the criminal justice system. RJ is an option for a youth who has been previously dealt with by EJM or has previously been found guilty of an offence. Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Disagree 55.3% 188 Neither Agree nor Disagree 8.5% 29 Agree 26.5% 90 Don't know 9.7% 33 Comment: 53 answered question 340 Table 6: YCJA Option 34

40 The YCJA states clearly that RJ is an option for a youth previously dealt with by EJM or previously found guilty of an offence. Clarity on authority to refer to RJ: In establishing who has the discretion to refer to RJ programs 59% of respondents acknowledged that the arresting officer retained the discretion to determine if a file could be referred to RJ. 13% were uncertain as to who made the determination to refer a file; 14% deferred to their supervisor and 12% believed it was the victims decision. In exploring whether or not members experience internal support when deciding to refer to RJ 44% of the respondents indicated that their supervisors had suggested RJ as a response to a criminal file at least once. 35

41 Knowledge of and previous experience with RJ programs: Rate your experience using RJ: Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Extremely satisfied 16.0% 52 Satisfied 35.3% 115 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 16.3% 53 Dissatisfied 2.5% 8 Extremely dissatisfied 1.5% 5 Have had no experience using RJ 28.5% 93 answered question 326 Table 7: Rate your experience using RJ The RCMP members were not reluctant to voice both their positive comments and express their concerns and frustrations in reference to RJ process and programs. The local RJ rep has an office with the door always closed. Never even met them in 6 years. Respondent 3 I don't see any negative consequences, the CJS is a revolving door; barriers to using RJ include not knowing how to access RJ resources, who is the RJ program; how many referrals can the RJ program handle and too much time involved for member; 36

42 inconsistency with program processes is problematic; package to refer is timeconsuming Interview Respondent 1 This program has been very successful in our jurisdiction. It is well managed and their mandate/purpose is communicated well. Respondent 16 Responses to the RCMP questionnaire assessing awareness of local programs returned data establishing three-quarters (75%) of surveyed members were aware of a RJ program in their area. I am aware of RJ program(s) in my area. Answer Options Response Percent Response Count Yes 75.7% 253 No 24.3% 81 answered question 334 Table 8: RCMP knowledge of local RJ Program Of the RCMP members that had an awareness of a local RJ program 41% referred to it on a regular basis. 37

43 Table 9: Members that refer regularly to local RJ program In examining whether or not the RJ programs were meeting the needs of the RCMP in terms of user friendly and ease of use, 47% of the RCMP respondents who were aware of local RJ programs, agreed that the referral process to the RJ program was user friendly and 42% agreed that the RJ program provided service within a timely fashion that met their needs as RCMP members. On average 68% of RCMP members were confident that the RJ program was able to conduct an unbiased, safe conference for victims and offenders. 38

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