#MeToo. Black Lives Matter. Decriminalize Drugs. No More Stolen Sisters. Stop Stranger Attacks.
Do we need more cops or to defund police? Harm reduction or treatment? Tougher sentences or prison abolition? The debate about Canada’s criminal justice system has rarely been so polarized – or so in need of fresh ideas.
Indictment brings the heartrending and captivating stories of survivors and offenders alike to the forefront to help us understand why the criminal justice system is facing such an existential crisis. It offers a new transformative justice vision – one that reviewers call “revolutionary” and “a beautiful vision for healthy communities that are safe for everyone”.
Benjamin Perrin draws on his expertise as a lawyer, former top criminal justice advisor to the prime minister, and law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada to investigate the criminal justice system itself. Indictment critiques the system from a trauma-informed perspective, examining its treatment of victims of crime, Indigenous people and Black Canadians, people with substance use and mental health disorders, and people experiencing homelessness, poverty, and unemployment.
Perrin also shares insights from others on the frontlines, including prosecutors and defence lawyers, police chiefs, Indigenous leaders, victim support workers, corrections officers, public health experts, gang outreach workers, prisoner and victims’ rights advocates, criminologists, psychologists, and leading trauma experts. Bringing forward the voices of marginalized people, along with their stories of survival and resilience, Indictment shows that a better way is possible.
“Indictment offers a clear, compassionate, and practical vision for a much-needed transformation of the criminal justice system — a system consumed by the over-representation of Indigenous people and other marginalized Canadians. Through their powerful stories we find the key to doing justice better and breaking down the barriers that exist in our society. Building something new is never easy, but when we see this vision realized, it will be well worth it for all Canadians.”
Puglaas, The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., O.B.C., K.C., former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Indictment dismantled everything I thought I knew about the criminal justice system. This powerful book is a necessary read. Benjamin Perrin utilizes poignant stories of lived experiences showing why the criminal justice system doesn’t work for any of us. He offers a beautiful vision for healthy communities that are safe for everyone. Read this book and you will never see things the same way again.”
Clara Hughes, O.C., O.M., 6-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate
First Year JD Student, UBC
Criminal Law: Canadian Law, Indigenous Laws & Critical Perspectives is an innovative open access eBook for Criminal Law & Procedure JD/JID courses. It is also a valuable resource for Criminology and Law & Society courses as well as for students, researchers and the general public.
This is the first Canadian open access criminal law casebook, incorporating a wide range of traditional and audio/visual materials such as podcasts and documentary films. It is also notable for being the first to present Indigenous laws alongside Canadian criminal law. Cree law is featured throughout and the editors hope to include more Indigenous laws in future editions.
Considered by many to be an emerging core competency for lawyers and other legal professionals, a trauma-informed approach is taken in this eBook. This is reflected in the selection of materials, use of content notes, inclusion of mental health and counselling resources, and substantive materials on trauma-informed lawyering, cultural humility, vicarious trauma, and resilience.
Critical perspectives are also included on topics such as criminal law as colonial violence, anti-Black racism, intersectionality, social determinants of justice, victims of crime, wrongful convictions, policing, restorative justice, incarceration and prison abolition, and the criminalization of people who use substances and/or experience homelessness, poverty and mental health issues.
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Benjamin Perrin: Professor, University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law
Dr. David Milward: Director of the JD/JID program; Associate Professor, University of Victoria, Faculty of Law
Dr. Michelle Lawrence: Director of the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence; Associate Professor, University of Victoria, Faculty of Law
Myrna McCallum: host of “The Trauma-Informed Lawyer” Podcast and co-editor of Trauma-Informed Law: A Pathway to Healing and Resilience (ABA, 2023)
The Globe & Mail
North America is in the middle of a health emergency. Life expectancies are declining. Someone is dying every two hours in Canada from illicit drug overdose. Fentanyl has become a looming presence—an opioid more powerful, pervasive, and deadly than any previous street drug.
The victims are many—and often not whom we might expect. They include the poor and forgotten but also our neighbours: professionals, students, and parents. Despite the thousands of deaths, these victims have remained largely invisible.
But not anymore. Benjamin Perrin, a law and policy expert, shines a light in this darkest of corners—and his findings challenge many assumptions about the crisis. Why do people use drugs despite the risk of overdosing? Can we crack down on the fentanyl supply? Do supervised consumption sites and providing “safe drugs” enable the problem? Which treatments work? Would decriminalizing all drugs help or do further harm?
In this urgent and humane look at a devastating epidemic, Perrin draws on behind-the-scenes interviews with those on the frontlines, including undercover police officers, intelligence analysts, border agents, prosecutors, healthcare professionals, Indigenous organizations, activists, and people who use drugs. Not only does he unveil the many complexities of this situation, but he also offers a new way forward—one that may save thousands of lives.
FINALIST: 2021 BC Book Awards' George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature; BC and Yukon Book Prizes, for both the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes; 2021 J. W. Dafoe Book Prize; 2020 Lane Anderson Award for best science writing in Canada
“Overdose is a necessary and searching investigation into a devastating epidemic that should never have happened. Benjamin Perrin painstakingly shows that it need not continue if we, as a society, heed the evidence.”
—Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
How victims of crime are treated by the justice system has emerged as a major societal issue, spurring legislative reforms, public inquiries, complaints against judges, and public debate. Victim Law: The Law of Victims of Crime in Canada is an invaluable peer-reviewed resource for judges, Crown prosecutors, defence counsel, police, victim service professionals, policy-makers, and scholars.
In this timely book, one of the architects of the new federal Victims Bill of Rights Act examines the growing body of legislation and case law related to victims of crime throughout the criminal justice, corrections, and youth criminal justice systems and under provincial and territorial laws. In addition to providing a comprehensive legal account of victim law, legislative and policy recommendations are made to enhance the responsiveness of the justice system to victims.
This resource separates itself into three parts; Federal Victim Law, Provincial Victim Law, and Territorial Victim Law. Each of these parts discuss in very specific detail the definition of "victim" and go on to related Acts that impact this area of law, including remedies for victims.
Victim Law was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Friesen, 2020 SCC 9, which is the leading case on sentencing for sexual offences against children. Professor Perrin’s legal scholarship has been cited with approval by other courts across Canada, including the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice – Ontario, the Provincial Court of Alberta, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Territorial Court of the Yukon and Nunavut Court of Justice.
“Victim Law is a sobering look at the realities faced by victims of crime. Victims are often marginalized and vulnerable and the law has been slow to recognize their interests and rights. My gratitude on behalf of victims to Benjamin Perrin for writing this book and helping us all better understand these critical issues within our justice system.”
Sheldon Kennedy, Lead Director, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre; Co-Founder, Respect Group; Author, Why I Didn’t Say Anything - The Sheldon Kennedy Story and former NHL Hockey Player