Wrongful Convictions and the State Risk Harm Paradigm

Myles Frederick McLellan


What has been seen in the last thirty-five years is a significant shift in the psyche of contemporary society. Beck’s theory of “risk society” has captured the concerns of governments and its institutions to focus fears on risks and insecurity. Within the criminal justice context, this has led to the pervasive consciousness that crime has become part of the everyday experience to be controlled by risk management techniques framed within Foucault’s concept of “governmentality.” Crime has become a ubiquitous risk that must be routinely assessed and managed. This shift in criminological thought has also been seen in the move away from the liberal ideals of due process to the favoring of public protection over the rights of individuals found within the normative model of crime control. The problem in this devaluation of due process is the consequent imbalance of power between the individual and the State. Due process rights are enshrined in the Charter to protect against this imbalance and are never more important than when loss of liberty is at stake, most particularly when the errors due to the constriction of these rights contribute to the acknowledged systemic factors that lead to wrongful convictions.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijlpa.v2i1.4117


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