In Philip K. Dick’s short story Minority Report, the institution of Precrime punishes people with imprisonment for crimes they would have committed had they not been prevented. With Dick’s allegorical inspiration, the authors of Criminal Law and Precrime: Legal Studies in Canadian Punishment and Surveillance in Anticipation of Criminal Guilt posit that recent developments in Canadian law indicate a trend toward imposing punitive measures at increasingly earlier stages of the prosecutorial process. The result is a potentially new field of criminal management that could be characterized as "precrime"—particularly the use of the law as a technology of surveillance and prevention since "terror" became a justification for intervention.
The authors note that as risk management logics (based in actuarial sciences) have shifted to precautionary ones (based in administrative sciences), the law has responded by developing techniques in the arena of criminal regulation in light of the "war on terror": the need to ensure security, the proliferation of digital data, and the development of drones, social networking, and cloud storage to gather personal data. The authors view shifts in criminal investigation; the substantive criminal law of sexual expression, conduct, and work; and civil forfeiture as emblematic of precrime populism. The unifying theme of these techniques is that they occur prior to state-identified crime, arise out of a precautionary philosophy, and seek to presume (or circumvent) criminality.
The book is a provocative read for scholars and students in criminal law, policing, and surveillance, as well as for those interested in how areas of law, such as immigration, health, and anti-terrorism, are mobilizing the logics of risk and surveillance in new ways that emphasize precaution. The authors invite legal scholars to place the analytical lens of precrime on criminal and regulatory practices in Canada as well as other Western nations across the globe.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Precriminalities: Police Investigation, Substantive Criminal Law, and Administrative Processes
Chapter 2: Creating Police Powers: A Canadian Judicial Innovation
Chapter 3: Sex, Sexuality, and the Law: ‘Society’s Proper Functioning’ and Precautionary Governance of Sex Work
Chapter 4: Administering Criminal Law - Preventing Crime and Punishing the Precriminal
Chapter 5: The Future of Precrime: Where Do We Go Now?
Richard Jochelson is an associate professor on the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba and holds his Ph.D. in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, a Masters in Law from University of Toronto Law School, and a Law Degree from University of Calgary Law School (Gold Medal). A former law clerk, he worked for ten years teaching criminal and constitutional law at the University of Winnipeg prior to joining Robson Hall. Jochelson is a member of the Bar of Manitoba, a co-applicant on several Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) awards, and has co-authored and co-edited several peer-reviewed articles and books, most recently The Disappearance of Criminal Law: Police Powers and the Supreme Court.
James Gacek is currently a doctoral candidate at Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh. He has lectured in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. Situated within broader research interests in prison sociology, critical criminology, and carceral geography, his Ph.D. research focuses upon the socio-legal and geographical relationship between criminalized people and the territorial stigmatization of marginalized neighborhoods in Canada. Gacek is an American Sociological Association Paper Award winner (2014).
Lauren Menzie is a graduate student in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. She is working as a section instructor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton. Her research interests are centered onthe evolution of Canadian criminal law and governance, including the legal regulation of sex and criminal law’s emergence into the realm of administrative civil processes. Her research examines the regulation of nonconsensual sexual interaction, the social and legal discourses surrounding consent, and how law denunciates certain expressions of sexuality.
With contributions from:
Kirsten Kramar currently teaches in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. She is a notable law and society scholar. She has published several academic books and monographs dealing with sexuality and the law, moral regulation, and the law of infanticide. She is also widely published in the area of the law of policing. She was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Winnipeg for eleven years prior to moving to Calgary. She is a winner of multiple SSHRC grants and a notable expert in the area of forensic evidence in cases of infanticide.