Carleton University ends student placements with police over failures to address racism

Law enforcement agencies facing mounting public scrutiny over racist practices.

Carleton University’s criminology school says it will no longer place students to work with police forces and prisons as a show of solidarity with the movement to address systemic racism in Canada’s criminal justice institutions.

Carleton’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice said in a statement Tuesday that the move will affect about 22 student placement positions in the 2020-2021 school year.

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Since its creation 21 years ago, the institute says thousands of students have gained experience in the field through placements with the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada, the Ottawa Police Service and the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

Faculty say the decision to end these opportunities comes in response to calls for organizations to cut ties with law enforcement agencies facing mounting public scrutiny over racist practices.

They say these institutions have demonstrated their “imperviousness to reform,” pointing to the recent string of police killings of Black, Indigenous or otherwise racialized people and those suffering from mental health challenges.

The institute says it hopes to expand student placement opportunities at research initiatives and community-based organizations working on a range of issues related to policing, criminal justice and social welfare.

Carleton is one of many schools with criminology programs that are re-examining their relationships with law enforcement as the push to reform or defund police forces gains traction across Canada.

— The Canadian Press

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