Weaponization and Prisonization of Toronto’s Black Male Youth


Informed by Galtung (1969), Anderson (2012) and Wacquant (2001), this paper argues that a lifetime of spiralling and everyday state structural violence and overtly racist criminal profiling principally targeted at young Black men living in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation prepares them for prison. Moreover, it contends that interpersonal violence, transmitted from generation to generation and producing a vicious cycle, is a manifestation of institutionalized and systemic inequity. In the context of a hypermasculine culture, young Black men are both victims and participants in a dialectic of interpersonal-structural violence. Routinely precipitated by powerful state actors and agencies of criminal justice, public policy and assorted ‘moral entrepreneurs’, young Black men have their masculinity weaponized and prisonized by the state’s low-intensity declaration of war against them, and, among others, the poor, LGBTQ, immigrants, and First Nations and other people of colour.

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Published: 2014-12-01
Pages:113 to 131
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How to Cite
Crichlow, W. (2014) “Weaponization and Prisonization of Toronto’s Black Male Youth”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 3(3), pp. 113-131. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v3i3.120.

Author Biography

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Dr. Wesley Crichlow Is a Tenured Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Science & Humanities, within the criminology specialization, at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (www.uoit.ca). Wesley is an interdisciplinary youth scholar and community social justice activist who works with socially and economically disadvantaged youth, engaging in youth and community empowerment. I dedicate my academic work to social justice, community university collaborations, and effective community empowerment models. I am devoted to pedagogical praxis (teaching as activism) and work with others to transform education and rehabilitation models to be more inclusive, culturally-relevant, and engaging for Black and marginalized communities. His current and ongoing research interests in the following areas: 1) Caribbean Masculinity, Incest & Sexual Violence; 2) Carceral Geography & The Prisonization of Toronto Black Youth; 3) LGBTQ Black Gang Members Negotiation & Use of Violence; 4) Critical Race Theory & Education.

Wesley is the author of the first published Black Canadian gay scholarly book/text titled Buller Men & Batty Bwoys: Hidden Men in Toronto and Halifax’s Black Communities. Published by the University of Toronto Press 2003. This book examines the lives of Black men who have sex with other men living in Toronto and Halifax. Has co-authored a book titled Diversity Issues in Policing, 2007. Published by Emond Montgomery Publications Limited.

He holds a Ph.D from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education) and certificates in Alternative Dispute Resolution I & II and a certificate in Ontario Civil Justice Review from the combined program offered with the law firm STITT FELD HANDY - Toronto & the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, 2004. Family Mediation: Theory and Skills Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Ontario/Canada, 2006. His is also a certified International Instructor, for the Institute of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program.

Current & past teaching responsibilities: Introduction to Criminal Law; Introduction to Customs & Immigration Law; Introduction to the Canadian Legal System; Rights & Freedoms in The Canadian Justice System; Social Justice and Conflict; Alternative Methods to Criminal Justice; Sociological Theories of Crime; Youth Crime & Diversity, Policing Diversity, Critical Race Theory, Youth Cultures & Issues, Critical Race Theory and Policing Diversity.