The Practice of Execution in Canada by Ken Leyton-BrownThe Practice of Execution in Canada by Ken Leyton-Brown

The Practice of Execution in Canada

byKen Leyton-Brown

Paperback | January 1, 2011

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It is easy to forget that the death penalty was not abolished in Canada until 1976. But from the time of Confederation execution was an accepted aspect of Canadian culture and criminal justice, one whose meaning was shaped by ritual, symbol, and theatricality.

The Practice of Execution in Canada is not about what led some to the gallows and others to escape it. Rather, it examines how the routine rituals and practices of education can be seen as a crucial social institution. Drawing on hundreds of capital case files, Ken Leyton-Brown shows that each phase of the process – from the trial to confession, from the procession to interment – was constrained by law and tradition. But the institution was not rigid. Powerful forces were arrayed against it, and a series of reforms tried to preserve execution as a positive institution in Canadian society. As execution receded from the public eye, however, it was stripped of meaningful ritual and became more vulnerable to criticism.

The Practice of Execution in Canada is the first comprehensive look at the history of execution in Canada. It will appeal to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of contemporary debates on capital punishment.

Ken Leyton-Brown is an associate professor in the History Department at the University of Regina.
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Title:The Practice of Execution in CanadaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.51 inPublished:January 1, 2011Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774817542

ISBN - 13:9780774817547

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1 Introduction

2 Trial and Sentencing

3 Redemption

4 Confession

5 Procession

6 Hanging

7 Display

8 Inquest

9 Disposal

10 Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

It is easy to forget that the death penalty was an accepted aspect of Canadian culture and criminal justice until 1976. The Practice of Execution in Canada is not about what led some to the gallows and others to escape it. Rather, it examines how the routine rituals and practices of execution can be seen as a crucial social institution. Drawing on hundreds of case files, Ken Leyton-Brown shows that from trial to interment, the practice of execution was constrained by law and tradition. Despite this, however, the institution was not rigid. Criticism and reform pushed executions out of the public eye, and in so doing, stripped them of meaningful ritual and made them more vulnerable to criticism.This fascinating work takes us from a dramatic account of the public execution of Claude Ruel on July 1, 1868 in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, to the double hanging of Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin in Toronto’s Don Jail on December 11, 1962. Just as that jail had gradually evolved from an example of mid-Victorian penal innovation into a symbol of public indifference and cruel confinement, so this story had evolved along a similar path within the public's perception. What’s most original is the focus upon treating this process as an institutional history – a rich approach and one certain to provoke debate. - Bruce Bowden, Registrar at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and historian in Canadian public history