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  • A Festschrift in Honour of Anthony N. Doob
  • Jane B. Sprott and Julian R. Roberts, Guest Editors

This issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice marks the scholarly contributions of Anthony N. Doob, one of the most prolific criminologists in Canada. One cannot read about criminological issues within Canada without discovering some of his scholarship. His research is as impressive in breadth as it is in depth. Not surprisingly, he is consistently one of the top three most-cited scholars within Canada, but his scholarship extends beyond Canada: He has consistently been one of the top 25 most-cited scholars in international journals since the 1980s (Cohn 2011).

Tony’s influence on Canadian criminology, generally, and the formulation of criminal-justice-related policies, more specifically, extends back to the early 1970s. At that time, the Law Reform Commission of Canada was engaged in an extensive study of the law of evidence. There was interest, at the time, in making statutory changes to the rules governing the admissibility of evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. Tony was asked by the commission to conduct social science research to inform the validity of the then current approaches and to provide an evidentiary basis for formulating proposals to reform the existing law. Evidence-based legal policy research of this kind was almost unheard of in Canada at that time. Not only was his research pioneering and innovative; it opened a window to the potential use of such empirically based research in public policy formation. It was the first of many such contributions.

Tony went on to become the (longest serving) Director of the Centre of Criminology (University of Toronto), and in 1983, he was appointed a Commissioner of the Canadian Sentencing Commission. In this capacity, he served as the link between the commission and the academic research community, ensuring that attention was paid to the large body of empirical work relevant to the commission’s mandate. As a consequence, the commission developed an evidence-based sentencing policy, and its report is still the only thorough empirical investigation of sentencing in Canada (Canadian Sentencing Commission 1987). It has been, and will continue to be, the reference point for all subsequent discussions of sentencing in this country. [End Page 457]

While this would be a remarkable career in and of itself, it was but the beginning. While he may be most known for his research on, and influence on, youth justice policy in Canada, he has, in fact, written on most aspects of the criminal justice system, including policing, bail, plea-bargaining, court delay, sentencing and sentencing guidelines, the use of imprisonment, parole, and on issues specifically related to racial discrimination, crime and violence in Aboriginal communities, and violence against women. Further, he has provided insights into the media depiction and public perceptions of criminal justice policy and crime, and into criminal justice policy development, more generally. The work he produces consistently has considerable academic and applied significance.

We could not highlight all of Tony’s contributions to Canadian criminology within this Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice festschrift. Due to space limitations this is obviously but a brief glimpse into the breadth of his scholarship. Nevertheless, the following eight articles, we hope, demonstrate the range and impact of Tony’s scholarship.

Sentencing – within Canada and internationally – is a topic that has interested Tony for many years. Drawing on many of Tony’s insights on sentencing, Michael Tonry compares the evolution, over the last few decades, of sentencing policy in Canada and the United States and tries, as Tony has done, to explain the divergences. Allan Manson explores a sentencing topic that he and Tony have both shared an interest in: how to impose sentences for multiple offences in a way that makes both pragmatic and theoretical sense. Finally, Simon Verdun-Jones and Amanda Butler explore how mental disorder and/or neurocognitive impairments impact sentencing through being considered an aggravating or mitigating factor.

Evidence-based policy has become a basic requirement for decision making by all public officials. Throughout his career, Tony has consistently used empirical evidence to inform public debates and policy. Cheryl Webster and Howard Bebbington continue Tony’s tradition...


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pp. 457-459
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