Congratulations to Marianne Quirouette who, along with her co-authors, received the Canadian Law and Society Association’s prize for the best English-language article published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society in 2016. Marianne recently completed and defended her dissertation entitled Risks, Needs & Reality Checks: Community Work with Disadvantaged Justice-Involved Individuals, under the supervision of Professor Hannah-Moffat. Marianne has now begun a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Ottawa where she is studying defense lawyers’ approaches to representing poor and marginalized clients in lower criminal courts.
The winning CJLS article comes out of a yearlong longitudinal study of the factors and processes affecting transitions away from homelessness for 51 young people in Toronto and Halifax. Quirouette and her co-authors (including Tyler Frederick, U of T SOC alumni PhD 2012) found that conflict with the law impacts youth in two types of ways that negatively affect their ability to transition out of homelessness. First, it produces short – and long – term practical barriers to housing, education, and work because of arrest, court, jail, records, and oversight from other authorities. Second, it negatively affects self-perception, motivation, and hope for the future. The authors found these two effects lengthened the process of becoming housed and threatened stability, wellness, and ability to access opportunities. Findings highlight how conflict with law and regulation—even occurring before and during homelessness—has serious repercussions for young people well after they have left the streets. The citation and abstract of the article follow.
Marianne Quirouette, Tyler Frederick, Jean Hughes, Jeff Karabanow and Sean Kidd, “‘Conflict with the Law’: Regulation & Homeless Youth Trajectories Toward Stability” (2016) 31 CJLS 383. https://doi.org/10.1017/cls.2016.26
Youth without housing experience more regulation and conflict with criminal justice than their housed counterparts. Using in-depth qualitative interviews with fifty-one young people, we focus on how efforts to move away from homelessness towards long-term housing stability are impacted by conflict with law, a term referring to a broad range of experiences with various authorities in the legal system, social services, shelters, etc. Our paper comes out of a yearlong longitudinal study of the factors and processes affecting the transition away from youth homelessness in Toronto and Halifax. We consider practical barriers generated by conflict with law, but also the role that it can play in shaping the identity processes at the heart of successful transitions. Our findings highlight how conflict with law and regulation—even occurring before and during homelessness—has serious repercussions for young people well after they have left the streets.
Marianne Quirouette, who is currently completing her PhD program in the Department of Sociology, has been awarded a prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships to pursue research in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program seeks to support the top postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will “positively contribute to the country’s economic, social and research-based growth.” It is highly competitive and Marianne is one of 23 recipients in the Social Sciences and Humanities from the most recent competition, ranked 2nd of the eligible 157 applications reviewed by the selection committee.
Marianne’s postdoctoral program will build on the research that she has been conducting for her Doctorate. Her PhD dissertation, entitled, Risks, Needs and Reality Checks: Community Work with Disadvantaged Justice-Involved Individuals. This study draws from 105 interviews and two years of fieldwork focusing on the governance of ‘complex-need’ clients who are criminalized and depend on services offered by practitioners in and out of the justice system. Marianne shows that the production, sharing and use of risk knowledges helps community practitioners address a variety of objectives and interests. Her dissertation is supervised by Professors Hannah-Moffat, Phil Goodman and Paula Maurutto.
For her postdoctoral program, Marianne will continue to focus her research on people with multiple disadvantages in the Canadian legal system, this time centering her research on the role of defense lawyers. The title of her postdoctoral project is, Working the Margins: Defense Lawyers in Criminal Courts Negotiating Complexity and Disadvantage. The project abstract follows.
Canada’s criminal justice system is overflowing with multiply disadvantaged people accused of low-level crimes or administrative offenses. To avoid being held in custody, many agree to onerous bail conditions or participate in pre-trial ‘alternatives’ like diversion or specialized courts. These programs require collaboration between courts and non-legal stakeholders, increasing demand for information sharing. To date, no one has studied how criminal defense lawyers negotiate these problem-solving practices – a gap my study addresses. I document and analyze how they work with marginalized clients with complex and intersecting issues (e.g., homelessness, mental health, substance use); how they manage social and therapeutic needs ‘with’ community practitioners while representing their clients’ rights; and how they use and contribute to legal narratives and court practices. I use a case study approach and employ four strategies: (i) observation in two provincial criminal courts, one in Ottawa, one in Toronto [e.g., bail court, drug treatment court], (ii) Semi-structured interviews with defense lawyers [N=40], (iii) Field work in local and provincial committee meetings, and; (iv) Analysis of documents that structure defense work (e.g., protocols, intake forms, and letters of community support). I document legal narratives and practices that are rarely examined, but have significant effects on defendants whose lives are structured by such interventions. Findings will be of interest to legal and human service professionals or academics interested in institutional partnerships and the governance of complex risks/needs. Findings will raise awareness of how current practices can undermine clients’ legal rights (e.g., to be tried within a reasonable time, to be presumed innocent). They also support national and international law and policy reform efforts, allowing professionals, policy makers and advocates to better understand the effects of criminal justice practices.