Detail of group photograph, Edwards sixth from left, of the participants of the National Conference on the Disposition of Offenders in Canada, held at the Centre of Criminology, 1972. 

When the Centre for Criminology opened its doors in 1963, the study of Criminology in Canada was still in its infancy. To celebrate the establishment of the Centre, they hosted four public lectures on the topic of “Modern Advances in Criminology,” which brought American, British, and Swedish criminologists to Toronto. John Ll. J. Edwards would write in the preface of the published lectures, “[there] is value to be gained from examining in a reflective spirit the methods adopted by other jurisdictions in facing the fundamental problems facing the criminal courts and the penal authorities on every continent.” The Centre for Criminology then focused on Canada and made their own mark in the field through research, teaching and by hosting conferences, lectures, symposiums, and workshops. These events brought together scholars, professors, lawyers, judges, and members of the police to discuss development, reform, administration, and research pertinent to the Canadian Justice System and the study of Criminology. By 1975, the Centre had already hosted eleven such events including the National Conference f Judges on Sentencing (1964), the Conference of the Chief Justices of Canad (1965), the National Symposium on Medical Sciences and the Criminal Law (1973) and Private Policing and Security in Canada: A Workshop (1973).

National Conference of Judges on Sentencing 


Proceedings of the National Conferences of Judges on Sentencing. Convened at the Centre for Criminology, 27-29 May 1964.  

“At all those conferences where practically
every country in the world was represented
by most eminent people- judges, lawyers,
and leaders in the field of law- the work
of the Centre of Criminology was often
quoted and was very highly regarded” 

("Toronto Criminology Centre makes
big waves...quietly",
The Toronto Star.) 

The National Conference of Judges on Sentencing is one of the earliest conferences convened by the Centre for Criminology at the University of Toronto from May 27th to May 29th, 1964. The conference, which was arranged by the Honourable Mr. Justice J.R Cartwright, Supreme Court of Canada, and John Ll. J. Edwards, discussed a variety of topics including research material and articles on Canadian penitentiaries, sentencing theories and practice in Canadian courts, sentencing methods and techniques in United States courts, sentencing methods and techniques in British courts, and information on the judicial conference in the United States and other sentencing institutes. 

National Conference on the Prevention of Crime 


"Background reading" for the National Conference on the Prevention of Crime convened at the Centre for Criminology, 31 May - 3 June 1965. 

“Judges, practitioners, and law students alike
are well acquainted with the hallowed maxim
that it is better that ninety-nine guilty
persons should be acquitted than that one
innocent person be found guilty”

The National Conference on the Prevention of Crime held from May 31st to June 3rd was convened by the Centre for Criminology at the University of Toronto. The conference includes research material on the pattern of crime in Canada, discussions of powers given to the police, criminal trials, and a discussion held by Centre founder John L.J. Edwards. The exhibition also includes an excerpt of crime index trends in the United States in 1964 and Criminal Code offences reported by the police in Canada from 1961 to 1963. This is interesting to observe and compare to present-day crime trends! 

Canadian Judicial Conference 


"The Sentencing of Young Offenders" by John Ll. J. Edwards presented at the Canadian Judicial Conference, Centre of Criminology, Toronto, August 1969. 

“Perhaps the first question which must be asked,
then, is whether any useful purpose would be
served by the creation of a legal category of
‘young offenders’ for procedural and sentencing

This conference, held in August 1969, included judges and professors across Canada. The conference included Canadian and International material on criminal law, judicial opinions, labour law, evidence, sentencing, and judicial ethics. John L.J. Edwards presented a written article titled “The Sentencing of Young Offenders,” with research assistance by Philip Stenning, who would go on to become a prominent faculty member at the Centre.  

Workshop on Violence in Canadian Society


Report of the Proceedings, Workshop on Violence in Canadian Society. Convened by the Centre for Criminology, 8-9 September 1975. 

"The criminologist when talking about violence can no longer abstract from ideological implications, international ramifications and political contexts..." 

In September 1975, two future directors of the Centre, Richard V. Ericson (1992-1993, 2005-2007) and Anthony Doob (1979-1989) would convene the Workshop on Violence in Canadian Society. The idea originated during discussions of psychology and violence, which occurred at the earlier National Symposium on Medical Sciences and the Criminal Law (1973). This workshop would bring together academics, psychologists, police, social workers and correctional officers for a practical and critical discussion of violence and its ramifications. In the published introduction, Gordon A.B. Watson would write, "Criminologists have not learned to deal confidently with these broader contexts and the public attitudes that are bound up with them. It is hoped that this Workshop will provide an opportunity to establish some new perspectives along these lines."