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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Disability Injustice

Confronting Criminalization in Canada

An exploration of disability in the historical and contemporary Canadian criminal justice system.

Ableism is embedded in Canadian criminal justice institutions, policies, and practices, making incarceration and institutionalization dangerous—even deadly—for disabled people. Disability Injustice brings together original work from a range of scholars and activists who explore disability in the historical and contemporary Canadian criminal justice system. The contributors confront topics such as eugenics and crime control, the pathologizing of difference as deviance, processes of criminalization, and the role of disability justice activism in contesting longstanding discrimination. Weaving together disability and sociolegal studies, criminology, and law, Disability Injustice examines disability in contexts that include policing and surveillance, sentencing and the courts, prisons and other carceral spaces, and alternatives to confinement. This collection highlights how, with a deeper understanding of disability, we can and should challenge the practices of crime control and the processes of criminalization.


“This book brings together interdisciplinary and diverse work from across Canada – from jury selection and everyday surveillance to the policing of the sexuality of people with disabilities outside of the legal system. It is a fantastic accomplishment!”

Chris Chapman, co-editor of Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada

Table of Contents

1 Resisting the Criminalization of Disability: Cripping Disability Injustice toward Accessible Decarceral Futures / Kelly Fritsch, Jeffrey Monaghan, and Emily van der Meulen
Part 1: Practices and Processes of Criminalization
2 From Prisoner to Patient: Mental Health and Toronto’s Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Females, 1880–1969 / Theresa L. Raymond
3 Histories of Living in a Negative Relation to the Law: Resistance to HIV Criminalization / Alexander McClelland
4 The Criminalization of Sex Work: Creating Conditions for Disability / Lindsay Blewett
5 The Judicialization of Everyday Life in Quebec: Intellectual Disability, Sexuality, and Control / Guillaume Ouellet, Lisandre Labrecque-Lebeau, Pierre Pariseau-Legault, and Emmanuelle Bernheim
Part 2: The Criminal (In)Justice System
6 Police Encounters with “People in Crisis”: Mental Health and Policing / Alok Mukherjee
7 Therapeutic Justice or Epistemic Injustice? The Case of Mental Health Courts in Québec / Sue-Ann MacDonald, Véronique Fortin, and Stéphanie Houde
8 Conceptualizing Jury Representation: Research on Physical Disability and the “Larger Community” in Canadian Jury Rolls / Richard Jochelson and Michelle Bertrand
9 Punishing Disability and Trauma: Evaluating the Use of Segregation in Canadian Prisons / Megan Rusciano
Part 3: Reconceptualizing Disability and Reframing Justice
10 Disability, Politics, and Collectively Reimagining Justice: Challenging the Ableist Contours of the 1969 Canadian Criminal Code Reform / River Rossi
11 The Politics of Death-Making/Assisted Suicide: A Castoriadan Reading / Ravi Malhotra
12 #Endpoliceviolence: Nonhegemonic Bodies, Police Violence, and Abolitionist Politics / Abigail Curlew

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