History of the Canadian Correctional System - Activities

History of the Canadian Correctional System

Classroom activities

1. Crime and punishment: In your opinion, what was the impact of a “crime and punishment” system on the offender? If you were an offender at that time, how would you feel after being subjected to public punishment or sentenced to a penitentiary with hard labour?

Note to teacher: Students can be encouraged to draw a parallel with physical cruelty versus discussion/negotiation in resolving conflicts with their parents, friends or teachers. Point out the advantages of a system of rehabilitation-reintegration (discussion-negotiation) that does not result in feelings of humiliation and vengeance, but instead encourages reflection and the changing of wrong behaviour.

2. Toward a concept of rehabilitation: We have seen that crime increased after the Great Depression and World War II, on account of poverty; what links do you see between a person’s economic situation and criminal behaviour?

3. Responding to new realities: The death penalty was abolished in Canada in 1976, but many American states still have it. Debate the pros and cons of the death penalty.

Note to teacher: This activity aims to encourage students to develop their argumentation skills – how to persuade using solid arguments, comparisons, concessions, series of hypotheses/consequences.

4. And now…: What effect did September 11, 2001, have on your sense of security? Discuss fear as a motivation for more severe treatment of offenders.

Proposed external resources

Visit to an old-institution museum or the Correctional Service Canada Museum in Kingston.

The Correctional Service of Canada's Speakers Bureau can help. Contact us at http://appsweb.csc-scc.gc.ca/bureau/welu.do?lang=eng.