Pilot study of method to review closed organized crime files

1. Introduction

The Evaluation Division, and the Research and Statistics Division of Justice Canada contracted with ARC Applied Research Consultants for the conduct of a pilot study to develop and test a methodology to review closed organized crime files dealt with by the Federal Prosecution Service (FPS). This pilot study is Phase 1 of a two-part review, which is to provide a clear description of the nature and volume of these files. In Phase 1, a method for the conduct of these file reviews was developed and tested. Subject to the findings and recommendations of Phase 1, Phase 2 may extend the tested method to a larger and more representative sample of files.

The Department of Justice has identified three purposes for the data on closed FPS organized crime files to be collected in Phases 1 and 2 of this research. These are:

  • To inform the formative and summative evaluations of the Measures to Combat Organized Crime Initiative (MCOC) to which the Department and its partners are committed through the Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF) submitted to Treasury Board in support of the funding approval process for the MCOC.
  • To provide the FPS with data on the volume and nature of organized crime files for which it is responsible.
  • To inform policy development within the Criminal Law Policy Section of Justice Canada.

It is important to note that at the beginning of Phase 1, FPS was unable to readily report what proportion of its file caseload was organized crime related, as there was no on-going monitoring of these types of files. Therefore, it was crucial to complete Phase 1 to seek the input of FPS regional offices on the definition of organized crime file and to develop a method for a larger and more representative file review in Phase 2.

This document reports on Phase 1, the pilot study. The key components of the pilot study were the development of an operational definition of an organized crime file, the identification and collection of data on a sample of files, which conform to this definition, and analysis of the results of the pilot test. The focus of this analysis was on the feasibility of extending the method to a larger sample of files for the purpose of generating nationally representative estimates of the volume and nature of closed organized crime files handled by the FPS.

In support of these key components of the pilot study, a number of preliminary tasks were completed in close consultation with representatives of the Department. These included:

  • A review of existing definitions of organized crime.
  • Analysis of data gathered for the 1998 Case Complexity Study.
  • A review of CASEVIEW as a potential data source.
  • An exploratory review of a sample of hardcopy files identified through the Case Complexity Study.
  • A one-day workshop with FPS regional prosecutors to develop an operational definition of organized crime files for the pilot study.

The conduct and findings of these preliminary tasks are described in Chapter II below. Chapter III summarizes the findings of site visits to the six participating regional offices and addresses the issue of data availability. Chapter IV describes the data collected and the general characteristics of the organized crime files reviewed during the site visits. Chapter V presents the method recommended for the conduct of Phase 2 of this study.

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