Criminology & Criminal Justice

Publisher:
Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
2021-09-06
ISBN:
1707-7753

Latest documents

  • Prison reform and torture prevention under ‘compromised circumstances’

    In this article, drawing on two decades studying prisons and prison reform practices in (mostly) southern countries undergoing transition, I examine the challenges facing anti-torture professionals and prison reformers working in the global south and critically interrogate the assumptions of dominant models of reform. Rights and health-based entry points to the prevention of torture and inhumane treatment and prison reform are argued to be necessary but insufficient. I propose the concept ‘compromised circumstances’ to counter the structural biases that diminish and erase ordinary everyday experience. The ‘compromised circumstances’ of countries torn by conflict, inequality, poverty and mundane violence call for innovative interventions based on reflexive social scientific description and analysis. The inevitable sense of dizziness and uncertainty such circumstances induce must be embraced not denied. A dynamic, organic and relational entry point to reform is required.

  • Coping, aggression, perceived social support and demographic variables as predictors of prison adjustment among male incarcerated offenders

    The unique contextual attributes of the correctional environment and the frustrations, deprivations and challenges associated with it impact adjustment to incarceration. Offenders who cannot adjust to the correctional environment may experience behavioural and psychological challenges, including institutional misconduct, violence, aggression, withdrawal, anger, hostility, anxiety and depression. It is imperative to identify which variables are possible predictors of correctional adjustment among male incarcerated offenders in a private, maximum-security correctional centre in South Africa. In this quantitative study, 418 male maximum-security offenders were sampled. Questionnaire data were collected, and the results indicated that the combination of some variables (Friends, Avoidance and Problem-solving) predicted Internal Adjustment and (Anger, Friends and Verbal Aggression) predicted External Adjustment of the offenders. The results from this study could aid in the development of future programmes that assist offenders with adjusting to the correctional environment.

  • Book review: Crime, Justice and Social Order: Essays in Honour of A. E. Bottoms, Clarendon Studies in Criminology Liebling A, Shapland J, Sparks R, et al. (eds)
  • Prison ethnography by correspondence?

    Prison ethnography offers researchers a unique vantage point from which to explore the relationships, power dynamics, degradations, solidarities and sensory assaults which occur within the prison walls. Yet, despite the valuable insights to be gained from this methodological approach, prison ethnographies can be extremely challenging to conduct. Institutional pressures arising from both the prison and the contemporary University pose considerable obstacles for researchers, and the outbreak of Covid-19 has heightened these barriers further still. This article will argue that the methodology of cultural probes can preserve at least some of the ethos of ethnographic research when conducting research by correspondence. It will reflect on the methodological and ethical challenges of this approach, and critically discuss its potential to offer a more participatory and less extractive means for researching the nuances of prison life while collecting data from a distance.

  • From desistance narratives to narratives of rehabilitation: Risk-talk in groupwork for addressing sexual offending

    Risk has become a dominant focus in criminal justice practice. While this can improve the effectiveness of practices for reducing offending, it can also stigmatise and create barriers for those attempting to desist from crime. To explore this apparent dilemma, we applied conversation analysis and discursive psychology to examine risk-talk in 12 video-recorded sessions of a groupwork programme for addressing sexual offending. We found both practitioners and clients oriented to notions of risk in their talk. They drew on risk-talk as a resource to construct narratives that support desistance, emphasising awareness of risks, having control, and gaining hope and agency over the future. However, risk-talk was resisted when it challenged the client’s self-presentation. Building on previous empirical and theoretical work on desistance and criminal justice practice, we found it is possible for people to incorporate aspects of risk into their personal narratives in order to weave a narrative of rehabilitation.

  • Lifting the lid on Pandora’s box: Putting professional curiosity into practice

    Professional curiosity has recently become a ‘buzzword’ in the field of probation and social work. However, little research has sought to understand what professional curiosity means definitionally, conceptually or operationally. In this article, we analyse interview data from 49 probation practitioners in England and Wales to explore what professional curiosity means in the context of probation and what the main barriers are to enacting professional curiosity. We argue that professional curiosity is primarily used to assess risk and that practitioners face multiple barriers to its enactment which are rarely acknowledged or dealt with in policy and practice guides. These barriers fall into three groups: structural, relational and emotional. We conclude the article by examining the findings through the lens of neo-liberalism and probation values. The article therefore extends knowledge of professional curiosity operationally while also seeking to explain its position in a neo-liberal policy context. This research has important implications for policy and practice. Rather than simply asking practitioners to ask questions and be on the lookout for disguised compliance, probation providers should recognise and acknowledge these barriers to practice.

  • Expressing uncertainty in criminology: Applying insights from scientific communication to evidence-based policing

    Scholars and practitioners who develop evidence-based crime policy debate on how best to translate criminological knowledge into better criminal justice practices. These debates highlight the counterpoised problems of over-selling the contribution of scientific evidence; or, alternately, overemphasizing the limitations of science. This challenge attends any attempt to translate research findings into practice; however, and problematically, in criminology this challenge is rarely approached in a theoretically coherent fashion. This article therefore seeks to theorize uncertainty in criminology by examining insights on communicating scientific uncertainty in other fields, and applying these insights specifically to the field of Evidence-Based Policing (EBP). Taking the position that all science is inherently uncertain, we examine the following four aspects of the field: the particular uncertainties of criminology, variance in receptivity to research, the lack of evidence regarding effective communication, and the boundaries of evidence. Building on this analysis, we set out the normative challenge of how researchers should characterize and balance the implications and limits of scientific findings in the decision-making process. Looking ahead, we argue for the need to invest in an empirical project for determining meaningful strategies to express research evidence to decision-makers.

  • Deconstructing imprisonment: Exploring sentencing discourses in the District Court of New South Wales

    In Australia, imprisonment remains a popular form of crime control amidst rising costs in prison expenditure and high rates of prison return. While changes to crime rates and to policing policy have impacted the growing prisoner population in recent years, less is known about the language underpinning the courts’ decision to imprison. This article presents the results of a critical discourse analysis on 124 sentencing remarks on imprisonment from the District Court of New South Wales in 2017. Three discourses were identified in the texts as facilitating the justification of a prison sentence: the discourse of control, the discourse of safety and the discourse of duty. These findings highlight the ways in which the prison is constructed and legitimated in the courts, which has implications not only for sentencing policy and practice but also for conceptions and applications of justice more broadly.

  • From desistance narratives to narratives of rehabilitation: Risk-talk in groupwork for addressing sexual offending

    Risk has become a dominant focus in criminal justice practice. While this can improve the effectiveness of practices for reducing offending, it can also stigmatise and create barriers for those attempting to desist from crime. To explore this apparent dilemma, we applied conversation analysis and discursive psychology to examine risk-talk in 12 video-recorded sessions of a groupwork programme for addressing sexual offending. We found both practitioners and clients oriented to notions of risk in their talk. They drew on risk-talk as a resource to construct narratives that support desistance, emphasising awareness of risks, having control, and gaining hope and agency over the future. However, risk-talk was resisted when it challenged the client’s self-presentation. Building on previous empirical and theoretical work on desistance and criminal justice practice, we found it is possible for people to incorporate aspects of risk into their personal narratives in order to weave a narrative of rehabilitation.

  • Prison ethnography by correspondence?

    Prison ethnography offers researchers a unique vantage point from which to explore the relationships, power dynamics, degradations, solidarities and sensory assaults which occur within the prison walls. Yet, despite the valuable insights to be gained from this methodological approach, prison ethnographies can be extremely challenging to conduct. Institutional pressures arising from both the prison and the contemporary University pose considerable obstacles for researchers, and the outbreak of Covid-19 has heightened these barriers further still. This article will argue that the methodology of cultural probes can preserve at least some of the ethos of ethnographic research when conducting research by correspondence. It will reflect on the methodological and ethical challenges of this approach, and critically discuss its potential to offer a more participatory and less extractive means for researching the nuances of prison life while collecting data from a distance.

Featured documents

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