About Us

The activities of the Psychology of Crime and Delinquency (PoCaD) Lab are diverse and generally focus on issues pertaining to the criminal justice system. Where applicable, we also approach the study of crime and delinquency from a developmental perspective with an emphasis on developmental processes as well as development as context. For example, we have published a number of articles using a longitudinal criminal database of 786 male Ontario offenders that spans a period of about 17 years (on average), from late childhood/early adolescence into adulthood. Variables included in the database are criminal offence information, risk assessment scores (LSI-OR), and developmental risk factors from childhood and adolescence.

PoCaD lab members also pursue other research interests that are described under Lab Publications and Current Studies.

LAB ANTI-RACISM STATEMENT: 

We of the Psychology of Crime and Delinquency (PoCaD) Lab acknowledge the existence and impact of institutional racism and white supremacy in the field of psychology. Dr. Kwame McKenzie from the Wellesley Institute has defined institutional racism as: 

  • “An ecological form of discrimination.
  • It refers to inequitable outcomes for different racialized groups.
  • There is a lack of effective action by an organization or organizations to eradicate the inequitable outcomes.”
    (McKenzie, 2017, p. 5)

The field of psychology is White-dominated with few BIPOC students and few BIPOC faculty and staff across institutions. There has historically been insufficient effort to recruit and retain BIPOC students, faculty, and staff. Research is largely conducted on White participants by White academics. We are not doing enough to serve our BIPOC communities. This needs to change.

As students and faculty in psychology, we have perpetuated White Supremacy in the field by: 1) insufficiently representing racialized individuals in our samples; 2) not dedicating sufficient attention to the role of race and ethnicity on outcomes studied; 3) reading and teaching research largely written by White scholars; and 4) insufficiently advocating for anti-racism. 

We recognize and take full responsibility for our mistakes and we are committed to doing better now and in the long-term. 

While our statement predominantly centres around the issue of racism, we recognize the absolute necessity for intersectionality in our work moving forward. The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who explains it using the following:

“Consider an analogy to traffic in an intersection, coming and going in all four directions. Discrimination, like traffic through an intersection, may flow in one direction, and it may flow in another. If an accident happens in an intersection, it can be caused by cars traveling from any number of directions and, sometimes, from all of them. Similarly, if a Black woman is harmed because she is in the intersection, her injury could result from sex discrimination or race discrimination.”

(Crenshaw, 1989, p. 149)

It is vital to acknowledge and understand the interconnectedness of various social categorizations, such as race and gender, in informing the nature of the discrimination that individuals face. It is with this commitment to intersectionality in our anti-racism work that we propose the following action plan. 

Our action plan includes activities in the following areas:

  • Education:
    • Regular Lab meetings where we discuss anti-racism readings.
    • Attendance at webinars discussing anti-racist research programs and culturally competent clinical care.
  • Research
    • Description of participant samples using specific and appropriate terminology (i.e., not “diverse;” Caughy et al., 2020).
    • Efforts to engage BIPOC populations in research, including, but not limited to:
      • Ethical recruitment of BIPOC participants and involvement of BIPOC populations in the start-to-finish research process.
      • Disseminating findings to participants and community members in meaningful and accessible ways.
  • Advocacy
    • Graduate student participation in community activism and student-led anti-racism initiatives.
    • Faculty participation on Ryerson’s Psychology Department’s newly-formed anti-racism task force.

This statement is a mere first step towards anti-racism, intended to display our commitment to the cause and hold us accountable to specific action items. We will continue to work within our Lab and in the Department of Psychology to uphold the action items. As we progress in our work, we understand that the actions required to combat racism may shift; therefore this statement will remain dynamic. 

There’s a lot to dismantle and rebuild. Let’s get to work.

Members of the Psychology of Crime and Delinquency (PoCaD) Lab

David Day, PhD

Amy Beaudry, MA

Deanna Klymkiw, MA

Sofija Lavrinsek, MA

Meena Rangan, BSc

Monique Tremblay, MA

References

Caughy, M. O., Seaton, E. K., Livas Stein, G., & White, R. M. B. (2020). Becoming an antiracist society: Setting a developmental research agenda [Webinar]. Society for Research in Child Development. https://www.srcd.org/event/becoming-antiracist-society-setting-developmental-research-agenda

Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989(8). https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8

McKenzie, K. (2017). Rethinking the definition of institutional racism. Wellesley Institute, Toronto, Canada. Retrieved July 7, 2020 from http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Rethinking-the-Definition-of-Institutional-Racism.pdf

Additional resources

Anthym, M., & Tuitt, F. (2019). When the levees break: The cost of vicarious trauma, microaggressions and emotional labor for Black administrators and faculty engaging in race work at traditionally White institutions. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32(9), 1072-1093. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2019.1645907 

Dawson, D., Mekawi, Y., & Watson-Singleton, N. N. (2020, June 19). How to not be a “Karen”: Managing the tensions of antiracist allyship. Medium. https://medium.com/thedearproject/how-to-not-be-a-karen-managing-the-tensions-of-antiracist-allyship-6f02f5514c4b

Melton, M. L. (2018). Ally, activist, advocate: Addressing role complexities for the multiculturally competent psychologist. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 49(1), 83. https://doi.org/10.1037/pro0000175 

Williams, M. T. (2019). Adverse racial climates in academia: Conceptualization, interventions, and call to action. New Ideas in Psychology, 55, 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2019.05.002