Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Manuel Riemer, Ph.D.

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Maritt Kirst, Ph.D.

Advisor Role

Committee Member 1

Third Advisor

Felix Munger, Ph.D.

Advisor Role

Committee Member 2


There is an increasing interest among municipalities to address crime through prevention as social development (CPSD) that acknowledges the underlying social conditions that influence the occurrence of crime. This requires a critical consciousness among community members and decision-makers of the root causes of crime and critical action that reflect that understanding. This, in turn, implies both a significant mental and cultural shift requiring personal transformation. Only then can the appropriate actions towards a preventative approach to crime be effectively fostered. For this purpose, the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council developed a community course titled Reframing Crime, Justice, and Prevention that sought to facilitate a space to critically reflect on the notions of crime, justice, and prevention; aiming to influence the participants’ critical action towards CPSD. Critical reflection is an assessment of power (privilege and oppression) on oneself and in society, and the actions derived from this reflection are considered critical action. The combination of these two processes in a facilitated group setting is known as conscientization (Brookfield, 2016; Freire, 1974). This master’s thesis sought to assess if, as a result of participating in the course, there was a shift in participants’ (a) understanding of crime, justice, and prevention; and (b) intent for critical action. It also reports on the course (c) strengths and opportunities and (d) adherence to conscientization principles. A thematic analysis of interviews with course participants (N=7) and facilitators (N=3) along with a review of relevant documents (N=7) supports the contribution of the course for a deeper understanding of CPSD among participants. Group conversations and experiential activities were referred to as major contributing factors to that critical awareness. Opportunities lay on the scope of the topics and clarity of the conscientization process.


With my greatest appreciation and gratitude to everyone who supported this journey.

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