Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)

Latest documents

  • Exploring the lived experiences of people on Community Correction Orders in Victoria, Australia: Is the opportunity for rehabilitation being realised?

    The Community Correction Order, introduced in Victoria, Australia in 2012, provides a sentencing option that enables eligible offenders to serve their sanction in the community, with access to treatment or other rehabilitative activities. This paper contributes to a scant body of research investigating the specific needs of this group, their barriers to inclusion and the extent to which they experience the rehabilitative aspects of Community Correction Orders. It draws on survey data collected from 200 adults (137 men and 63 women) on Community Correction Orders in outer west metropolitan Melbourne and qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews conducted with a sub-set of 20 participants. Long-term unemployment, severe economic hardship, physical and mental health issues, social isolation and troubled personal relationships were common. While participants experienced the punitive aspects of Community Correction Orders, there was limited evidence that they were supported to address key issues that may be predictive of future offending. Support to re/engage in education, training and employment was a key area of unmet need and engagement in other therapeutic programs was low. Opportunities to enhance the rehabilitative potential of Community Correction Orders are discussed, with the paper highlighting that there is a need for rigorous evaluation of community work program activities.

  • Youth crime as a ‘way of life’? Prevalence and criminal career correlates among a sample of juvenile detainees in Australia

    For more than 60 years, scholars have often likened chronic and persistent offending to ‘living a criminal way of life’, yet these evocative motifs have not received much empirical scrutiny. In particular, the so-called criminal life-style is often conceptualized as something the chronic young offender opts into as an alternative to other pro-social pathways. Whereas for older offenders, it is something into which they find themselves trapped and unable to escape. The idea that crime is a chosen ‘way of life’ among chronic young offenders has not yet received sufficient empirical scrutiny. In this study, we use archival data of nationally representative cohort (n = 373) of young offenders in Australian custodial centers who were each asked whether crime was their ‘way of life’. From this, we estimate its prevalence and criminal-career correlates, finding that one in three strongly identify with crime as their way of life. Self-identification is also found to be strongly correlated with Indigenous status even after controlling for different features of the juvenile criminal career. In all, our data paint a vivid portrait of a criminal identity that, for the young offender, likely signals a perceived inevitability that evolves in the context of structurally and culturally conditioned opportunities. Understanding this phenomenon among youthful offenders is important if we are to be successful in our attempts to curtail criminal continuity through desistance informed interventions.

  • A gender-comparative exploration of women’s and men’s pathways to prison in Thailand

    In feminist criminology, there is a growing body of research exploring gendered pathways into prison. However, this research has focussed predominantly on women. There are few gender comparative studies. Further, most feminist pathways research is western centric having, for the most part, been undertaken in the United States. Utilising categorical principal components analysis alongside descriptive statistics and illustrative case study examples, this paper adds to the feminist pathways research by describing and comparing women’s and men’s pathways to prison in Thailand. Three common pathways to prison emerged for both women and men: (1) peer group association/deviant lifestyle, (2) harmed and harming, (3) economically motivated. However, gendered variance was found within these common pathways. Further, two pathways emerged exclusively for women: (1) adulthood victimisation and dysfunctional intimate relationships, (2) naivety and deception. These results substantiate the notion that trajectories into prison are gendered, add empirical support to the feminist pathways perspective beyond the west, contribute to knowledge on how both women and men come to be in prison in Thailand, and in doing so, have utility for the development of gender-informed prison policies, and practices as per the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).

  • Is tougher sentencing and bail policy the cause of rising imprisonment rates? A NSW case study

    Between 2000 and 2019, the number of inmates in Australian prisons grew from 21,714 in 2000 to 43,028 in 2019, an increase of 98%, or in per capita terms, 48%. Much of this increase occurred between 2012 and 2019. In New South Wales (NSW), for example, the prison population rose by 17% in the 11 years between 2000 and 2011, but then grew a further 39% in the eight years between 2012 and 2019. A similar acceleration in inmate numbers occurred in other States and Territories after 2011. In this article, we examine the contribution of sentencing, bail, policing policy and crime to the rapid rise in NSW imprisonment rates. We cite evidence showing that the likelihood of bail refusal has changed very little over the period when imprisonment rates rose, we find no evidence of a significant change in the length of sentences and no evidence of an increase in the likelihood of a prison sentence once changes in sentence-relevant factors are taken into account. Most of the increase in imprisonment rates appears to be due to changes in policing policy and (to a lesser extent) certain types of crime.

  • Understanding pet scams: A case study of advance fee and non-delivery fraud using victims’ accounts

    Advance fee and non-delivery frauds have become very common with the growing preference for online shopping and the new opportunities this brings for online offenders. This article uses unique access to a volunteer group’s database focused on preventing pet scams to explore this type of crime. Distances, among other factors, make the purchase of pets online common in countries such as the USA, Australia and South Africa. This modality of purchase has been exploited by organized criminals largely based in Cameroon to conduct advance fee and non-delivery frauds. The article uses data from the volunteer group Petscams.com to provide unique insights on the techniques of the offenders with particular reference to the strategies used to maximize victimization by using real accounts of victims of such frauds. It also briefly notes how the COVID-19 crisis has been used to adapt this type of scam. The article’s discussion identifies the need for a more nuanced assessment into the role of victim oriented voluntary organizations.

  • Editorial
  • Fear of crime examined through diversity of crime, social inequalities, and social capital: An empirical evaluation in Peru

    Latin America is a violent region where fear of crime is well spread but still not fully understood. Using multilevel methods for a large and subnational representative household survey (N = 271,022), we assess the determinants of fear of crime in Peru, the country with the highest fear of crime and crime victimization in the region. Our results show that body-aimed victimization (physical or sexual abuse from a member of their household, and sexual offenses) is the strongest driver of fear of crime, even higher than armed victimization. Moreover, safety measures based on social capital are negatively related to fear of crime, suggesting that they are palliatives rather than real protections. Finally, our study shows that people in a higher socioeconomic status are more likely to fear more because they have more (resources) to lose. Policy implications address Latin America as a whole and punitive policies against crime are common in the region, while evidence-based decisions are scarce.

  • Why people comply with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions: Self-interest or duty?

    On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) a global pandemic. At the time of writing, over 16 million cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed worldwide, and more than 650,000 people had died from the virus. A priority amongst governments globally is limiting the spread of the virus. In Australia, this response included mandatory ‘lockdown’ restrictions which limited citizens’ freedom of movement. This article uses survey data from 1595 Australians to examine compliance with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the early stages of the pandemic. Results revealed that a substantial number of Australians did not comply fully with the measures. Further, while self-interest and health concerns motivated compliance, normative concerns regarding duty to support the authorities dominated compliance decisions. The findings’ implications for both compliance research and for authorities wanting to nurture voluntary compliance with public health orders are discussed.

  • Community engagement in youth justice program design

    Aboriginal young people from rural areas in Australia are significantly over-represented in the youth justice system, and yet there is little evidence to indicate that current programs are having measurable success on rates of re-offending, suggesting alternative approaches are required. Drawing on new directions in human service policy that emphasise the importance of involving community in program design, this study reports the findings of a consultation with Aboriginal community members from one rural community to identify how the ecological validity of youth justice programs may be increased to be more responsive to local need. Eighteen Aboriginal community members from a town in Western New South Wales participated in semi-structured interviews, guided by a culturally informed research methodology. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify key themes that the community saw as important in program design, highlighting the need for consistent levels of support for local and community-driven solutions. Proposed conditions to enhance the ecological validity of programs are discussed.

  • General and specific perceptions of procedural justice: Factors associated with perceptions of police and court responses to domestic and family violence

    Improving criminal justice responses to domestic and family violence is a key focus within many policy and practice reforms. The efficacy of police and court responses to domestic and family violence is central because of the role of police as first responders and courts in issuing protection orders, imposing sanctions and ensuring perpetrator cooperation and accountability. To promote compliance and satisfaction with criminal justice outcomes, a large body of research points to the role of procedural justice. This study draws on survey and administrative data from an Australian jurisdiction to examine perceptions of procedural justice in specific domestic and family violence-related encounters. Findings and implications for policy and practice are discussed.

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