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Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

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Indigenous Peoples: Crime and Justice

Course Code: CRIM 3355
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course uses the tools of criminology to examine crime and deviance of Aboriginal peoples and community responses to this behaviour. A critical examination of various theories to explain the nature and patterns of Aboriginal crime and delinquency is provided. A critical examination of the Aboriginal experience with the criminal justice system is included. Innovative Canadian and international services for Aboriginals will also be examined.

Course Content

  1. Defining the Problem:  A Statistical Overview
    • Aboriginal conditions in Canada:  social, economic, health and welfare
    • Criminal justice statistics:  arrest rates, crime patterns, incarceration and recidivism rates of Aboriginal people in Canada
    • Aboriginal  young offenders:  a statistical overview
    • A statistical comparison to non-Aboriginal Canadians
  2. Introduction to Theory:  Nature and Requirements
    • What is a “theory”?
    • Criteria of theory, theory testing
    • Theory, research and social policy
  3. Theories of Criminality
    • Introduction to basic concepts in sociology and psychology, for example:  culture, values, personality, stereotypes, ethnicity, socialization, racism
    • A critical analysis of various sociological, interpersonal, and psychological theories to explain Aboriginal crime and delinquency.  This includes:
      • the role of history and impact of residential schools
        • culture conflict
        • anomie theory and social structure
        • alcohol, drugs and crime
        • personality theories
        • socialization, learning and the family
        • assimilation/acculturation
        • social disorganization
        • labeling, stereotypes, and discrimination
        • critical conflict theory
  4. Aboriginal Peoples and the Criminal Justice System
    • A critical analysis of the role of the criminal justice agents with respect to Aboriginal youth and Aboriginal adult offenders. Topics include:
      • police surveillance, visibility and arrests of Aboriginal people
      • Aboriginal youths and police relations
      • communication in the courtroom:  linguistic and cultural difficulties
      • judicial sentencing:  discrimination versus differential treatment
      • corrections:  meeting the needs of Aboriginal offenders 
      • high recidivism rates of Aboriginal offenders:  the revolving door
  5. Justice Programs for Aboriginal Peoples:  the Development of Alternatives
    • An examination of the issues to consider when developing and implementing alternative programs:
      • community input and participation
      • needs and concerns
      • self-determination
      • resources and support services
      • cross-cultural awareness and training
      • the importance of truth and reconciliation
      • a critical analysis of justice services developed for, and by, Aboriginal people, such as:
        • native court workers
        • Aboriginal Justice of the Peace Programs
        • Aboriginal Police Services
        • tribal courts, elders councils, circle sentencing, restorative justice, healing circles
        • native brotherhoods and sisterhoods in correctional institutes
        • spirituality inside correctional institutes
        • life skills programs for Aboriginal youth
        • recommendations for future programming
  6. International Comparisons:  Justice Programs for Aboriginal Communities
    • various international comparisons will be critically analysed (Australia, U.S.A., New Guinea)

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • lectures
  • seminar presentations
  • audio visual materials including video
  • small group discussions
  • research projects
  • research papers

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:

  1. Short Answer Tests
  2. Exams
  3. Oral Presentation
  4. Research Project/ Term Paper
  5. Class Participation

An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Midterm exam  30%
Final exam  30%
Research paper  30%
Seminar attendance & participation      10%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

The primary objective of this course is to use the tools of criminology to examine the crime and deviance of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and community responses to this behaviour.

At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the nature and extent of Aboriginal criminality.
  2. Apply, through critical analysis, specific theoretical perspectives to explain the nature and extent of Aboriginal crime and delinquency. 
  3. Explain, through critical analysis, the role of Criminal Justice agents with respect to Aboriginal offenders.
  4. Critically analyse several justice initiatives developed for and by Aboriginal peoples and to critically analyse such initiatives.

course prerequisites

CRIM 1100 or CRIM 1150

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.

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