Research

Criminal defence lawyers and the representation of marginalized clients in Ontario and Québec

This series of projects aim to highlight how criminal defence lawyers in provincial courts in Ontario and Québec take into account social and systemic factors (e.g. past and present poverty, racism, social exclusion, lack of housing, mental health and substance use supports, collateral consequences) throughout the legal process and in their practice. It intends on documenting and analyzing (1) when and how they consider and respond to social disadvantage in their professional practice, (2) strategies used to negotiate bail, diversion, and plea bargaining, (3) arguments and formal evidence used at sentencing stages and (4) collaboration with nonlegal stakeholders who contribute to legal narratives and practices.

The aim of these projects is also to better understand how local practices and perspectives have changed because of the pandemic and other intersecting issues (ex: legal aid cuts, bail directives, IRCA) have impacted your perspective and practice.

Funding: 2022-2025 PI: M, Quirouette, Research Support for New Academics, FRQSC 2020-2023 PI: M, Quirouette CRSH, Insight Development Grant 2017 - 2018 PI: M, Quirouette – Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Publications

  • Conference2024

    Drug Treatment Court : Perspectives and Practices of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    Presented in 2024 by Nicolas Spallanzani-Sarrasin at the Law & Society Association meeting in Denver.

    Defence lawyers working in lower criminal courts are increasingly invited to be 'holistic' and to consider a range of options including specialized therapeutic justice programs like drug treatment courts (Van Cleve 2012). While criminal justice system is adjudicative by design, in practice, marginalized accused are often processed under managerial (Resnik 1982; Kohler-Haussmann 2013, 2014) or therapeutic (Wexler & Winnick 1996) models of justice. For the defence, this raises new ethical and practical challenges and questions. Scholars have been critical of specialized courts, showing how they circumvent the principles of presumption of innocence (Hannah-Moffat and Maurutto 2012), imposing onerous conditions and surveillance for participants (Moore and Lyons 2007; Moore 2014), often lacking the resources required to support participants long term (Quirouette et al 2016). What is not known however, is how criminal defence lawyers navigate this setting, advising clients or participating in drug treatment court (DTC) programs. Our paper examines this very question, drawing primarily from qualitative interviews with defence working in private practice and with legal aid, in two Canadian urban centers (n=102). We report on what participants said about their experiences, impressions, and strategies. Based on our thematic analysis, we present 3 key themes (1) when and why DTC can be desirable, (2) when and why DTC is undesirable, and (3) practices outside DTC's borrow from the form and logic. We present these findings and discuss their relevance, raising questions about access to health and social support resources, about interdisciplinary interventions and about the ways in which people are criminalized rather than helped.

    Quirouette, M., Batista, C., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N., Maier, K.
  • Conference2024

    ‘We’re In the Trenches Here’: Criminal Defense Work with Marginalized Clients in Rural and Northern Canada

    Presented in 2024 by Cecília Batista at the Law & Society Association in Denver.

    Both in the US and in Canada, research has shown how access to justice is especially complicated for marginalized individuals in rural or remote areas. Yet, little is known about how criminal defense lawyers navigate supporting disadvantaged clients outside urban centers. In our study, we draw from 145 in-depth interviews documenting the perspectives and practices of criminal defense lawyers in urban and non-urban regions of eastern Canada. Focusing primarily on 40 participants working in rural and northern courts, we identify three key themes, related to their work representing marginalized clients. First, we report on how participants experience unique challenges related to geographic remoteness, delayed court processes and local resources gaps. Second, we document strategies they use to navigate this environment and help accused secure a better outcome: going above and beyond their formal duties, taking on extreme amounts of travelling and making use of technology. Third, we describe, and analyze, how they talk about working with other legal actors that populate court communities, like prosecutors and judges. We discuss the relevance of our findings in light of recent debates about expanding therapeutic justice, improving access to legal aid supports and community resources, and addressing the over representation of indigenous people in courts and corrections.

    Quirouette, M., Batista, C.
  • Conference2024

    (Dis)advantage, Collateral Consequences and the Right to Effective Legal Assistance

    Presented in 2024 by Meritxell Abellan-Almenara at the Law & Society Association meeting in Denver.

    Research on the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction has grown exponentially in the past years. However, the overwhelming focus has been on the offenders' experience of such consequences, the impact they have on social reentry pathways and different criminal record expungement initiatives. While a few authors have shown an interest in the perceptions and practices of criminal justice actors, questions persist about the effects expanding collateral consequences have had on the criminal defense lawyers' duty to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 65 criminal defense lawyers and engaging with scholarship on privilege and the reproduction of inequality by the criminal justice system, the current study explores the ways criminal defense lawyers with different levels of privilege consider the collateral consequences of a conviction for their disadvantaged clients. The findings suggest that the imposition on lawyers of the duty to inform defendants of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction as part of their right to effective legal assistance has exacerbated the privilege imbalance between private practice and legal aid lawyers. The study contributes to a better understanding of the ways collateral consequences of criminal convictions (re)produce inequality within the criminal justice system and beyond.

    Quirouette, M., Abellan-Almenara, M, Batista, C.
  • Conference2024

    La reconnaissance du passé colonial : la perspective des avocats de la défense criminelle

    Presented in 2024 at a Observatoire des Profilages's webinar

    No abstract submitted.

    To access the presentation, please follow the Link

    Batista, C.
  • Academic Article2023

    L’influence des arrêts Antic, Myers et Zora sur la mise en liberté provisoire : défense des personnes marginalisées et pratiques à géométrie variable

    Accepted

    La Cour suprême est récemment intervenue dans les arrêts Antic, Myers et Zora sur des questions entourant la mise en liberté provisoire par voie judiciaire et l’infraction d’omission de se conformer à une promesse ou une ordonnance, communément appelée « bris de condition ». Les avocat.e.s de la défense jouent un rôle important dans l'élaboration des pratiques des tribunaux de juridiction criminelle, surtout auprès des populations marginalisées. Au stade de la mise en liberté provisoire, ils et elles sont en mesure d'avancer des arguments qui tiennent compte des désavantages sociaux et systémiques. Nous proposons une analyse qualitative à partir d’entretiens auprès d’avocat.e.s de la défense pratiquant en pratique privée et à l’aide juridique. À partir de deux études de cas – Montréal (n=51) et Toronto (n=51) – nous analysons les perceptions des avocat.e.s par rapport aux impacts des décisions majeures de la Cour suprême sur les pratiques lors de la mise en liberté provisoire, aux conditions de surveillance et à la prise en compte des facteurs sociaux et de la marginalisation à ce stade des procédures judiciaires. Nous concluons que la mise en œuvre du droit à ce stade du processus judiciaire reste à géométrie variable, corollaire de la discrétion octroyée aux juges et au Ministère public. L’application des enseignements de la CSC qui exigent de respecter les droits fondamentaux des personnes prévenues est limitée par les rapports de pouvoir au sein des tribunaux de première instance et la pression exercée par le manque de ressources et le contexte de justice managériale.

    Quirouette, M., Coupienne, M., Batista, C.
  • Academic Article2023

    La représentation des personnes en situation d’itinérance : perspectives et pratiques des avocat.e.s de la défense criminelle

    Conditionally accepted | "Criminologie"

    It is widely recognized that people experiencing homelessness (PEH) are profiled, (over)criminalized and face many obstacles when they find themselves in court. Many struggle to access justice, secure legal representation and negotiate bail conditions or therapeutic obligations (Bernheim et Laniel, 2013; Sylvestre et al., 2019; Roy et al., 2020). In this context, defense lawyers play an important role, helping clients negotiate, advocating for their rights and engaging with extrajudicial procedures (ex. referrals and collaboration with psychosocial services). Focusing on these issues, our article draws on semi-directed interviews conducted with criminal defense lawyers (n=65) who practice in Quebec in order to identify and understand their point of view on (1) their willingness to represent PEH, (2) obstacles to access justice, (3) the issues related to the formal and informal recognition of those obstacles and the social profiling experienced by their clients and (4) the defense strategies as well as the reactions of the court and the other actors. Our article highlights strategies deployed by lawyers (shopping, collaboration, resistance) to represent PEH, highlighting the important challenges caused by court culture, criminal justice system overload and lack of resources.

    Quirouette, M., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N.
  • Conference2023

    Consideration of homelessness in canadian criminal courts

    Presented in 2023 at the 23rd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology – Florence, Italy

    It is widely recognized that people experiencing homelessness are controlled, excluded and (over)criminalized, in Canada and elsewhere (Gaetz 2013; Bellot et al. 2021). Moreover, they face several obstacles when they find themselves in court, particularly in connexion with the (lack of) presumption of innocence and access to justice (Bernheim 2019); conditions of release (Sylvestre, et al, 2020) as well as the therapeutic requirements and the feeling of procedural injustice (Sylvestre et al 2011; Roy et al 2022). At the same time, ‘support’ and adaptability programs (ex. PAJ-IC) and certain case law (Matte v. R. 2020; R. v. Zora, 2020) are reshaping the legal relevance of homelessness. In many of these circumstances, defense lawyers play an important role. Their perceptions and practices are important to document and understand, especially in our current context, where social (e.g. housing, poverty) and legal (e.g. legal aid, court delays) crises are converging, and where the possibilities of negotiation, advocacy, socio-therapeutic intervention or argumentation for sentencing are changing rapidly. Our project includes semi structured interviews conducted with defence lawyers - in private practice and with legal aid - working in Montreal (N=50), in rural areas or in northern Quebec (N=15). In our paper, we describe and analyse when and how they (1) work with and represent unhoused clients (2) raise and value the legal significance of profiling practices suffered by this group and (3) perceive how other judicial actors recognize the importance of this profiling. We draw from literature focused on the role of the defence, practice management, court cultures, justice models, and the social and legal relevance of homelessness in the courts. Our analysis highlights challenges experienced by defence lawyers and their unhoused clients, and also maps out promising practices and calls for action.

    Quirouette, M., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N.
  • Conference2023

    Collaboration entre avocat.e.s de la défense et intervenant.e.s communautaires : pratiques à l’étape de l’enquête sur remise en liberté

    Présenté en 2023 à la Quatrième conférence biennale sur le droit pénal à Sherbooke, Québec

    Les avocat.e.s de la défense jouent un rôle important dans l'élaboration des pratiques des tribunaux de juridiction criminelle, surtout auprès des populations marginalisées. Au stade de la mise en liberté provisoire, les avocat.e.s de la défense sont en mesure d'avancer des arguments qui tiennent compte des effets des désavantages sociaux et systémiques. Considérant les préoccupations de la CSC dans l’arrêt Antic à l’égard du manque d’uniformité territoriale dans l’application des règles de droit relatives à la mise en liberté provisoire, nous proposons une analyse qualitative à partir d’entretiens auprès d’avocat.e.s de la défense pratiquant en zone urbaine en pratique privée et à l’aide juridique. À partir de deux études de cas – Montréal (n=50) et Toronto (n=50) – nous analyserons les impacts des décisions majeures de la Cour suprême (Gladue, Antic et Zora) sur les pratiques lors de la mise en liberté provisoire, et, corollairement, la prise en compte les facteurs sociaux et la marginalisation de leur clientèle à ce stade des procédures judiciaires. Notre présentation porte sur l’expérience, le point de vue et le travail des avocat.e.s de la défense qui représentent des accusés marginalisés au stade de la mise en liberté provisoire. Plus précisément, les pratiques et les stratégies utilisées par les avocat.e.s pour éviter la détention provisoire ou des conditions de mise en liberté restrictives avant le procès ou la condamnation de leur clientèle.

    Quirouette, M., Coupienne, M.
  • Conference2023

    Justice for Marginalized Accused: Managerial and Therapeutic Practices in Criminal Courts

    Presented in 2023 by Nicolas Spallanzani-Sarrasin at the 23rd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Florence, Italy

    In recent years, we have been able to observe a marked interest in the development of specialized courts and therapeutic justice programs. These have multiplied in several cities – including Toronto and Montreal - and target various social issues, including mental health, homelessness and drug use. Although in certain contexts, these programs seem to show advantages (possibility of avoiding detention, accessing supports and psychosocial intervention), they are also criticized in the academic literature (presumption of innocence, punitive measure imposing therapy, blending of clinical and legal roles). Criminal Defence lawyers is urban centres are well positioned to have insights about specialized courts and how they are useful or not, for their marginalized clients. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with private practice and duty counsel criminal defence lawyers working in Montreal, Toronto, our article aims to identify and understand when and how lawyers talk about one type of specialized courts – Drug Treatment. More specifically, we focus on (1) appreciation; (2) criticism, and (3) alternative strategies. We draw our theoretical framework from the literature on therapeutic and managerial justice, court culture and on the role of criminal defence lawyers. We argue that despite the great differences between the different specialized courts, lawyers are often pushed to refer their clients to these programs, criticizing the fact that they make the criminalization of marginalized people invisible and reify problematic notions of individual responsibility prominent in corrections.

    Quirouette, M., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N., Batista, C.
  • Conference2022

    Criminal Defence Work: The ‘Relevance’ Of Marginalization at Bail and Sentencing

    Presented in 2022 at the Law and Society Association Conference in Lisbon, Portugal

    Defence lawyers play an important part in shaping narratives and emerging practices in lower criminal courts. Working with marginalized accused who experience homelessness, racism, mental health issues and barriers to accessing supports, lawyers collaborate with non-legal stakeholders to validate and guide diversion and ‘therapeutic justice’ or rehabilitative interventions. Increasingly, defence lawyers also make arguments that take into account social and systemic factors – and that reply on social science evidence and expertise. My research documents how criminal lawyers manage their practice and make legal arguments about the importance of social context and structural factors (e.g. colonial legacy, anti-black racism, lack of housing and substance use supports). Analyzing 80 semi structured interviews - with duty counsel, legal aid, and private lawyers - I map and analyze when and how they use structural factors and sociological evidence and arguments to challenge or shape conditions of release, court processes and case outcomes. I show that these arguments are especially important to study at the front end of the criminal justice system, where people are regulated and pre-punished via bail, as well as at sentencing, where more nuanced discussion of the social can be supported by contextualizing evidence. With this paper I expand understandings of social control and punishment and of managerial, therapeutic and rights-based justice models.

    Quirouette, M.
  • The Intersecting Institutions of Criminal Justice and Injustice

    The Intersecting Institutions of Criminal Justice and Injustice Project consists of a series of related empirical, theoretically informed, and policy-relevant research projects on the relationship between the criminal justice system and the marginalization of individuals from vulnerable communities in Canada. The research will focus on four criminal justice 'nodes' (policing, courts, prison, and reintegration) and study the dynamics internal to each node as they relate to processes of marginalization. The project aims to develop a holistic understanding of cross-organizational dynamics and forms of cumulative disadvantage in Canada's criminal justice system.

    For the court node group, our first project is a bilingual national survey that aims to learn about criminal defence lawyers' practices, experiences and perspectives in relation to: socioeconomic factors and marginalization of clients they work with; consideration of socioeconomic factors and marginalization at bail, plea and sentencing; alternative practices: diversion and specialized courts; and the impact of case law, COVID-19 and key issues in criminal courts.

    Funding: 2021-2029 M, Quirouette, Co-investigator, junior lead, courts sector. PI: S, Bucerius, SSHRC Partnership Grant.

    Examining long term trajectories in the transition away from youth homelessness in four cities across Canada

    Research conducted by our group (2011-2014) has shown that the process of getting out of homelessness can be long and arduous, while many young people face obstacles related to lack of access to housing or the impact of their legal situation. Although some also achieve durable stability, our research was limited to short periods in this process, limiting understanding of longer-term outcomes and justifying a second study. In this context, our goal is to better understand the longitudinal trajectories of young people with a history of homelessness, to design policies and interventions that promote successful exits from homelessness. Based on interviews with young people (16-28 years old) conducted in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax, we explore the factors that influence their trajectory, their stability and their well-being, including the type of support in the short, medium and long term. We are interested in the institutional factors that influence the risk of instability and homelessness. Finally, we seek to understand how these young people build their community model and how their transition to homelessness varies according to intersectional characteristics related to gender, sexual orientation, socio-cultural origin, immigration status or disabilities. The recruitment and data collection phase for this project is still ongoing.

    Funding: 2022-2025 M, Quirouette – Co-investigator, Montréal Lead PI: T, Frederick Making the Shift - Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab

    Pandemic Policing of the Homeless in Canada: From Crime Control to Public Health Strategy

    The COVID-19 Policing and Homelessness Initiative is a rapid response research project based at the University of Toronto Scarborough. The project's goal is to promote and support a move away from the criminalization of poverty, with solutions that serve the immediate and long-term needs of people without housing.

    Funding: 2020 - M, Quirouette, Co-investigator and team lead: Montreal, PI: Joe Hermer, Toronto COVID-19 Action Initiative 2020 University of Toronto

    Publications

  • Conference2023

    Point de vue des intervenants sociaux et de personnes marginalisées sur la judiciarisation de la pandémie

    Presented in 2023 at the 25e Journée annuelle de santé publique du Québec, Montréal.

    No abstract submitted.

    To access the itinerary, please follow this link.

    Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N.
  • Conference2022

    Quand plusieurs crises convergent : Gestion punitive de l’itinérance et les défis/stratégies des intervenants de première ligne

    Presented online at the CICC conference

    No abstract submitted.

    To access, please follow the link

    Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N. , Beaulieu, K.
  • Conference2022

    Pandémie et inégalités : défis et stratégies des intervenants de première ligne durant la pandémie

    Presented in 2022 at a Observatoire des Profilages's webinar

    No abstract submitted.

    To access the presentation, please follow the Link

    Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N. , Beaulieu, K.
  • Conference2022

    Punitive Governance in a pandemic: Challenges and Innovation for Frontline Workers in the Homelessness service sector

    Presented at the Law and Society Association Conference in 2022. University of Lisbon.

    People experiencing homelessness (PEH) are pressed to survive both in public spaces, where they face intense judicialization and criminalization, as well as in spaces of care, where they also experience punitive governance. Frontline service providers, in shelters, or conducting street outreach, regularly engage with security forces and the police. The social profiling and punitive control of PEH has been widely documented, yet little is known about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on key issues important to practitioners and their clients. Our paper reports on 43 semi-structured interviews conducted with Montreal practitioners, focusing on local themes such as COVID tickets, encampments, and increased security forces in shelters. Engaging with work on the punitive governance of homelessness and a criminology of crisis, we analyze how frontline workers face challenges while also pushing to adapt, innovate and resist punitive approaches. Our work can help clarify when and how pandemic-related laws, regulations, police practices, and agency rules impact practitioners and the people they work with. We contribute to a better understanding of the control, punishment and exclusion of PEH and of legal violence, while also focusing on community and frontline resilience.

    Quirouette, M., Beaulieu, K. , Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N.
  • Conference2022

    Quand plusieurs crises convergent: Gestion punitive de l’itinérance et les défis/stratégies des intervenants de première ligne

    Presented at the Association internationale des criminologues de langue française in 2022.

    Les personnes en situation d’itinérance (PSI) qui tentent de (sur)vivre dans les espaces publics sont confrontées à une criminalisation accrue qui se produit aussi dans les espaces de soins. Les intervenants de première ligne, dans les refuges ou dans la rue, doivent régulièrement collaborer avec la police. Les pratiques de profilage social et de contrôle punitif exercées ont été largement documentées, mais des lacunes subsistent quant aux impacts de la pandémie. En effet, la criminologie contemporaine s’est peu intéressée au concept de crise. Pourtant, nous traversons une intersection de crises en lien avec le logement, les surdoses, les violences policières et bien entendu la COVID-19. Ces moments peuvent être riches pour les chercheurs en sciences sociales, parce qu’ils dévoilent les hiérarchies et priorités sociales. Nous proposons de développer autour du cadre de crise en discutant du repli sur la police pendant la pandémie et des conséquences pour les personnes marginalisées. À l’aide d’entrevues semi-structurées menées à Montréal (n = 43) nous documentons des thèmes d’importance tels que les contraventions liées aux mesures sanitaires, les campements et les agents de sécurité dans les refuges. En nous basant sur la criminologie des crises ainsi que des études sur la gestion punitive de l'itinérance à Montréal, nous analysons les défis et les stratégies que les travailleurs de première ligne utilisent pour résister aux approches punitives. Notre étude aide donc à clarifier quelles sont les conséquences d’une gestion punitive de l’itinérance pour les praticiens et leurs clients, tout en proposant une réflexion sur les réponses des institutions pénales aux situations de crises. Nous contribuons à une meilleure compréhension du profilage social, de la violence légale, du contrôle et de l'exclusion des populations marginalisées, tout en portant une attention particulière à la résilience communautaire et à l'innovation des intervenants de première ligne.

    Quirouette, M., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N., Beaulieu, K.
  • Academic Article2022

    Gestion punitive de l’itinérance durant la pandémie: Défis et stratégies des intervenant· e· s de première ligne à Montréal

    Published in "Criminologie"

    People experiencing homelessness (PEH) are pressed to survive both in public spaces, where they face intense judicialization and criminalization, as well as in spaces of care, where they also experience punitive governance. Frontline service providers, in shelters, or conducting street outreach, regularly engage with security forces and the police. The social profiling and punitive control of PEH has been widely documented, yet little is known about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on key issues important to practitioners and their clients. Our paper reports on 43 semi-structured interviews conducted with Montreal practitioners, focusing on local themes such as COVID tickets, encampments, and increased security forces in shelters. Engaging with work on the punitive governance of homelessness and a criminology of crisis, we analyze how frontline workers face challenges while also pushing to adapt, innovate and resist punitive approaches. Our work can help clarify when and how pandemic-related laws, regulations, police practices, and agency rules impact practitioners and the people they work with. We contribute to a better understanding of the control, punishment and exclusion of PEH and of legal violence, while also focusing on community and frontline resilience.

    Quirouette, M., Beaulieu, K., Spallanzani-Sarrasin, N.
  • Rethinking state responsibility: Developing and assessing participatory strategies and mechanisms to empower marginalized individuals and communities in holding the state responsible in the context of criminal justice

    This project brings together researchers from Canada and England to, first, develop a concept of 'state responsibility' in criminal law that offers analytical tools for engaging with the wrongs and harms attributed to the state at various stages of criminal justice processes. This will enable a more accurate attribution of responsibility and informed state-based decisions that require the state to account and respond to its own wrongdoing. Second, we will analyze the implementation of 'state responsibility' by addressing the role that individuals and communities should, have, and can play in holding the state accountable. We will empirically assess the implementation of the available mechanisms that are meant to enable this type of engagement (case law, interviews, focus groups). Third, building on these findings, we will compare and identify strategies and mechanisms in Canada and England for empowering individuals and communities in holding the state responsible and responsive.

    Funding: 2023 - 2028 M, Quirouette, Co-investigator, Université de Montréal PI : M, Manikis, SSHRC Insight Grant McGill University

    La représentation juridique des personnes en situation d’itinérance par les avocat.e.s de la défense criminelle et pénale.

    Nicolas Spallanzani-Sarrasin's master's thesis

    Research shows people experiencing homelessness (PEH) are controlled, excluded, (over)criminalized and that they face many obstacles when they find themselves in court (access to a lawyer, ability to negotiate, inappropriate sentences, etc.). Despite the influence they have on legal proceedings and access to justice, we know little about the work of defense lawyers representing PEH. How do they identify who is experiencing homelessness (visible or hidden) and how do they adapt their practice when working with this clientele? What strategies do they use to negotiate with other actors involved (crown attorney, judges, socio-judicial stakeholders, etc.) at different stages of the judicial process, in particular bail and sentencing? Finally, in what contexts do they collaborate with therapeutic justice programs and what are the impacts of their interactions with non-legal actors, like social workers or community stakeholders? To answer these questions, I rely on data from semi-structured interviews conducted with criminal defense lawyers (N=41) working in the Greater Montreal area (Montreal, Laval, Longueuil) between July and December 2021. Following a “codebook” type analysis based on interviews and socio-legal literature, I argue that lawyers who represent PEH are limited in their ability to negotiate, mainly due to lack of resources (underfunding of legal aid, lack of affordable housing, mental health services and therapies, etc.) as well as the very functioning of the judicial system (fast pace, emphasis on individual responsibility, etc.). To overcome these obstacles, criminal defense lawyers are called upon to perform various extrajudicial tasks (accompaniment for the application for legal aid, referral to psychosocial resources, collaboration with community organizations, etc.), sometimes going as far as adopting a role similar to the one of a social worker. My findings underscore the importance of modifying laws that disproportionately target PEH, investing in community support and providing the necessary tools to legal professionals so that they can find alternatives to the criminalization not only of PEH, but also of several socio-economically disadvantaged and/or marginalized defendants.

    To access the thesis please follow the link: https://papyrus.bib.umontreal.ca/xmlui/handle/1866/27889

    Faire évoluer la détermination de la peine : discours d'avocat.e.s de la défense sur l'utilisation des rapports Impact of Race and Culture Assessment dans les tribunaux de Toronto

    Bintou Diarra's master's thesis - Accepted. Under publication

    Court officials and the legal relevance of anti-indigenous discrimination & colonial history

    Cecília Batista's master's thesis - Drafting

    Publication

  • Conference2024

    La reconnaissance du passé colonial : la perspective des avocats de la défense criminelle

    Presented in 2024 at a Observatoire des Profilages's webinar

    No abstract submitted.

    To access the presentation, please follow the Link

    Batista, C.
  • L’influence du contexte d’itinérance et des déterminants sociaux dans les décisions judiciaire

    Nicolas Spallanzani-Sarrasin's doctoral dissertation - Drafting

    « C’est une partie de mon travail avec laquelle j’ai beaucoup de difficultés » : une contre-histoire sur la collaboration entre intervenant.e.s de première ligne en itinérance et policier.ère.s lors de la COVID-19

    Karl Beaulieu master's thesis

    People experiencing homelessness (PEH) face many challenges including judicialization, criminalization (Bellot & Sylvestre, 2017), banishment and seizures (Herring, 2019) while they survive in the streets. Studies show they also experience this punitive governance in spaces of care (Dej, 2020). Frontline workers (FW) have to work with complex tensions in the context of their work, they have to insure wellbeing of PEH, while also negotiating tasks of control alongside police public forces (Stuart, 2016). Scholars that study disasters and crisis help us appreciate how such exceptional times can exacerbate discretion bringing both collaboration but also resistance in the streets (Brodkin, 2021). In Quebec, the resolution of the pandemic has been qualified as ’’punitive’’ (Fortin et al., 2022) while some scholars found disproportionate patterns of control in poor and racialized neighbourhoods (Luscombe & McClelland, 2020a). The social profiling and punitive control of PEH has been widely documented and studied in Montreal, yet little is known about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on key issues that matter to practitioners who have been widely mobilized (Alcadipani et al., 2020). Following 42 interviews realized with frontline workers in the homelessness sector, I used a counter-story methodology to challenge the master narrative of collaboration. Results suggest that FW rather limited their interactions with police officers in many amplified situations of overlapping crisis that marginalized their clients, bringing strategies to insure PEH wellbeing without relying on police interactions. Both, when they rely on or avoid police support, they faced more complex dilemmas that have amplified consequences for their clients. Finally, I discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on their practices considering the context in which takes place homelessness governance.

    To access the thesis, please follow this link