Dr. Samantha McAleese

Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University

social policy, cannabis pardons / record suspensions, homelessness, criminal justice policy, record suspensions, pardons, criminal justice, collateral consequences of punishment


NL Newsday, August 2, 2019Radio/Podcast

URL: https://soundcloud.com/user-512608364/samantha-mcaleese-aug-2-2019

Samantha McAleese is a Carleton University PHD candidate in Sociology. Her research focuses on the collateral damage of criminal punishment in Canada. She tells NL Newsday why the federal government's "cannabis amnesty bill" (C-93) isn't really what it is being reported or represented to be.

Will a minority government bring a renewed approach to cannabis amnesty?

Stigmatized former convicts reluctant to go public for forum on pardon changes

Requests for pardons drop in wake of changes

Canada’s cannabis advocates turn to pardons as the new front in the struggle for equitable drug policy

Experts and advocates skeptical pot conviction pardons will benefit northerners

Here's why Canada needs more automatic pardons for crimes

Liberals, we're still waiting for "Real Change" on pardons

Canada's new lacklustre law for cannabis amnesty

Canada's record suspension system is punitive and must be fixed

'Incredibly low': Only 118 pardons granted for pot possession in first 4 months

Citizen group focused on stopping ByWard Market surveillance cameras

Harper was tough on crime, Trudeau promised a new approach — did he deliver?

Suspension, not expungement: Rationalizing misguided policy decisions around cannabis amnesty in Canada

by Samantha McAleese

Published by Canadian Public Administration

November 18, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians continue to carry the burden of convictions for minor possession of cannabis obtained prior to legalization. Despite support for an automatic expungement process to eliminate the collateral consequences of punishment, the Trudeau government opted for a less favourable policy instrument – record suspensions. Drawing from parliamentary debate and committee hearings, the author summarizes the discussion and debate on Bill C‐93 and analyzes this misguided decision using Miljan’s work on policy instrument choice and rationality. The emphasis on bureaucratic rationality specifically resulted in a maintenance of the status quo when it comes to criminal justice policy and a uninspiring approach to cannabis amnesty in Canada.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/capa.12345

Job search, suspended: Changes to Canada’s pardon program and the impact on finding employment

by Samantha McAleese

Published by Wilfred Laurier University Press

This is a chapter in an edited collection on reintegration and employment.

"This book offers suggestions for criminal record policy amendments and new reintegration practices that would assist individuals in the search for employment. Using the evidence and research findings of practitioners and scholars in social work, criminology and law, psychology, and other related fields, the contributors concentrate on strategies that will reduce the stigma of having been in prison; foster supportive relationships between social and legal agencies and prisons and parole systems; and encourage individually tailored resources and training following release of individuals."

URL: https://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Books/A/After-Prison

Doing public criminology with the criminal justice voluntary sector: Methodological reflections and considerations

by Samantha McAleese

Published by The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice

Criminological literature outlines various roles for public criminologists and reflects on both the form and purpose of public criminology. This article reviews this literature and considers institutional and political activist ethnography as methods through which criminologists can address critique, and better combine social justice research and advocacy work. Such methodological considerations demonstrate that, for some, ‘doing’ public criminology means actively engaging in advocacy work alongside research participants and other activists. Examples and reflections from the author's own work with the criminal justice voluntary sector (CJVS) in Canada demonstrate that a public criminology informed by institutional and political activist ethnography is especially important if we want to: (i) better understand the role of the sector in supporting people with criminal records; and (ii) strengthen the relationship between academics, policymakers, advocates, practitioners, and people with lived experience of criminalisation and punishment.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/hojo.12331


Samantha McAleese recently completed a PhD in Sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa. Her dissertation was awarded a Senate Medal and she received an Outstanding Graduate Student award from the Canadian Sociological Association. Samantha's research focuses on the challenges faced by people with criminal records in the community. She works with non-profit organizations and advocacy groups on issues of criminal justice policy and practice in Canada. Her most recent work speaks to concerns around cannabis legalization and Canada’s strategy for handling convictions for minor possession of marijuana.

McAleese has a decade of front-line experience working to support people with criminal records in the community, informing her research and advocacy work. She is an expert on Canada’s record suspension (pardon) system and the collateral consequences of punishment faced by people with criminal records across the country.


  • collateral consequences of punishment
  • criminal justice
  • pardons
  • record suspensions
  • criminal justice policy
  • homelessness
  • cannabis pardons / record suspensions
  • social policy


  • University of Ottawa
    MA, 2012


  • Carleton University
    PhD, 2020