Neil Boyd
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Neil Boyd is a Professor and Associate Director of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, educated in psychology at the University of Western Ontario and in law at Osgoode Hall Law School.

He is a previous Director of the School of Criminology and the author of seven books and many academic articles. He is a frequent media commentator on subjects related to law and criminology.

His most recent book, A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and the Fight for its Future, was co-authored with Senator Larry Campbell and journalist Lori Culbert. The book was short-listed for the Donner Prize, and was the winner of the George Ryga Award for social awareness in literature.

Entries by Neil Boyd

Fort McMurray Is Safer Than You Think

(2) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 11:11 AM

As the plane descends towards Fort McMurray's airport, I am struck by the forest cover that seems to extend in all directions. It's part of the global taiga, the boreal forests of the north, a midpoint between the arctic tundra and the temperate forests of southern and coastal Canada. There...

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6 Reasons B.C.'s Pot Laws Need to Change

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 1:04 PM

On the morning of May 15th, British Columbians will wake up to the prospect of four years of either an NDP or a Liberal government in our province.

What will this government have to say about cannabis and its control? If we can judge from the commentary to date from...

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Reflections on the Rule of Law

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2013 | 6:59 PM

"I don't believe in much," my friend Bob said not long ago, "but I do believe in the rule of law." And so it is with me as well. Forget the remote possibility of various rulers in the sky and elsewhere. I'm more interested in working out the fairness and...

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Is Everyone in the Marijuana Debate High?

(30) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 3:34 PM

Cannabis has been taking centre stage in recent weeks. Former attorneys-general and Vancouver mayors in British Columbia have called for regulation and taxation of the industry, in an attempt to stop the violence of the illegal trade. At the same time the Harper government continues to move to passage of...

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The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence

(4) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 4:54 PM

The response to Steven Pinker's new book, The Better Angels of our Nature has been remarkable. While there are a few mixed reviews (James Q. Wilson in the Wall Street Journal comes to mind), virtually everyone else either raves about the book or expresses something close to ad...

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Debating the Crime Bill? Fix the Prisons First

(15) Comments | Posted December 5, 2011 | 12:24 AM

It's a common occurrence for staff to receive threats from inmates. This year I've received seven threats, all documented appropriately... My facility is like 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. Inmates are sleeping on filthy mattresses on filthy floors because of the lack of space, and the health...

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The B.C. Liberals Embrace the Crime Bill: The Principle Is Political Expediency

(6) Comments | Posted November 10, 2011 | 8:27 AM

"I support keeping our streets safe", Premier Christy Clark told the legislature last week, in support of the Harper Conservatives' crime bill. "Where do they stand on a bill that intends to make Canadian streets safer?" she asked of the NDP opposition. Her comments, as one

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The Conservatives' Crime Bill: Mean, But Not Lean

(34) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 9:45 AM

With a majority government, the Harper Conservatives have indicated that they now have electoral support for their agenda of dramatically increasing Canada's prison population. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson recently told the media that his government has " a strong mandate to move forward."

Close attention to relevant data...

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Young Men in Groups: Reflections on the Vancouver Riot

(1) Comments | Posted June 21, 2011 | 9:10 AM

Some years ago one of our local police officers made the telling observation that if it wasn't for alcohol, he'd probably only have a part-time job. One could add to his insight the observation that if it wasn't for young men between the ages of 15 and 25, we would...

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Mandatory Minimum Terms for Cannabis Cultivation: How Crazy Are the Harper Conservatives?

(23) Comments | Posted June 14, 2011 | 8:45 AM

One of the most foolish and costly planks of the Conservatives' so-called 'get tough on crime' agenda is their plan to impose mandatory minimum terms of six months imprisonment on those who grow at least six marijuana plants.

It is instructive to consider the likely impacts of such...

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