Criminology & Criminal Justice

Latest documents

  • The consequences of unenthusiastic criminal justice reform: A special measures case study

    This article explores the consequences of unenthusiastic criminal justice reform through the case study of special measures provision in England and Wales. These measures provide assistance to vulnerable people giving evidence in criminal trials. For witnesses other than the accused, the law’s development followed a standard process: public concern; governmental inquiries; legislation; and a period of inception to prepare for its implementation. The development of special measures for the accused did not follow this same pattern. Instead, it was gradual, ad hoc and somewhat reluctant. This article argues that the way and the context in which special measures developed for the accused has had a negative impact on the extent to which they are embedded within the criminal justice system. This, in turn, has negatively affected their uptake in practice. It is concluded that the way in which the law is reformed is important to its success in practice.

  • ‘You’re never really free’: Understanding the barriers to desistance for registered sexual offenders in the community

    This article explores the relationship between the current model of community sex offender management, which is underpinned by mechanism of control and enforcement, and desistance from sexual offending. Utilizing data from qualitative interviews with 20 men convicted of sexual offences, we found that while existing practices offer some reassurance to those managing the public protection arena, they do little to encourage the substantive processes of identity change which is necessary for long-term desistance. This raises important considerations for how current risk management practices may be improved to encourage desistance and community reintegration.

  • Re-tangling the concept of coercive control: A view from the margins and a response to Walby and Towers (2018)

    This article responds to Walby and Towers’ article, in which they propose a quantitative methodology that evidences gender asymmetry in ‘domestic violence crime’. Through examining core issues including harm, severity and repetition of domestic violence crime victimisation, they argue that Stark’s concept of ‘coercive control’ is obsolete and refute Johnson’s typology of intimate partner violence. However, their conclusions are based on problematic assumptions about, for example, the relative impacts of physical and non-physical violence; the usefulness of incident- rather than relationship-based understandings of domestic violence and abuse and a focus on victim/survivors’ ‘resilience’ and ‘vulnerability’ over perpetrators’ motives. Moreover, their cisnormative operationalisation of sex and gender and neglect of sexuality overlooks important evidence about lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people’s victimisation. This reinforces a limited ‘public story’ of domestic violence and abuse and arguably creates weaknesses in feminist analyses of domestic violence that could further fuel anti-feminist, gender-neutral approaches.

  • Field, capital and the policing habitus: Understanding Bourdieu through the NYPD’s post-9/11 counterterrorism practices

    This article extends existing Bourdieusian theory in criminology and security literature through examining the practices of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in the post-9/11 counterterrorism field. This article makes several original contributions. First, it explores the resilient nature of the policing habitus, extending Bourdieusian criminological findings that habitus are entrenched and difficult to change. Second, this article examines the way the resilient habitus drives subordinate factions to displace dominant factions in a field’s established social hierarchy through boundary-pushing practices, a concept previously unexamined in Bourdieusian criminology. Drawing on original documentary analysis, this article uses the illustrative example of the NYPD’s post-9/11 counterterrorism practices, exploring how it sought to displace the existing social structure by using its aggressive policing habitus and an infusion of ‘War on Terror’ capital to challenge the dominant position of the FBI in the post-9/11 counterterrorism field. The NYPD’s habitus driven counterterrorism practices were novel and unprecedented, creating strain with both the FBI and local communities.

  • An area of untapped potential? The use of restorative justice in the fight against serious and organized crime: A perception study

    This article presents the results of a perception study which examined the potential for deploying restorative justice (RJ) in the context of serious and organized crime (SOC) offending. This is a hitherto unexplored area of debate and the study sought to engage the key stakeholders in RJ processes – victims, offenders and practitioners – to gather their views as to the suitability and desirability of extending RJ in this way. Employing a mixed methods approach, the study engaged over 40 participants across the three stakeholder groups. The findings challenge existing, deeply embedded orthodoxies concerning the very nature of SOC offending and offenders’ motivations, as well confirming the multiplicity of SOC victims’ expectations. The findings also demonstrate the urgent need for further debate concerning how best to account for the complexity of SOC victims’ needs which are currently unmet by the systemic limits of the criminal justice system.

  • Book review: The Rise and Fall of the Rehabilitative Ideal, 1895 – 1970
  • The security field: Forming and expanding a Bourdieusian criminology

    Recent scholarly contributions have sought to integrate Bourdieusian sociology with criminology, centring for example, on the ‘street’ field as a symbolic and narrative space occupied by players within criminal justice. This article complements this broad objective by focusing on the changes in contemporary police and security governance that are pointing towards an emerging security field. Such a change can be read from the literature on plural policing and crime control, and involves the morphology of policing into nodes or assemblages of security producers. While there has been some attention to the formation of security networks, further empirical work is required to map the field dynamics using a Bourdieusian toolkit. This article explores the concept of the security field, presents some observations from current field research and identifies some remaining questions and challenges for further conceptualization and empirical research.

  • Judicial independence: The master narrative in sentencing practice

    This article draws on biographical narrative accounts of retired Scottish judges to provide insight about the operation of judicial independence in the routine practice of criminal justice. This oblique and often reified legal concept is given new meanings and understandings through the lived experiences of retired judicial actors, demonstrating its role as the ‘master narrative’ of the judiciary in their routine sentencing work. This research points to some of the adaptive judicial strategies necessary for the maintenance and reinforcement of the concept in the context of the everyday challenges of sentencing practice. It is argued that although judicial independence represents an aspirational conception of judicial work, this symbolic value also carries important meanings and has material effects in sentencing practice. Moreover, the boundaries of the judicial role in daily criminal practice may be less sharply defined than strong ‘Olympian’ interpretations of judicial independence would otherwise suggest.

  • Achieving cultural change through organizational justice: The case of stop and search in Scotland

    In recent years, the scale, impact and legality of stop and search in Scotland has been subject to intense critical scrutiny, leading to major legal and policy reform in 2016. Based on these events, including an early unsuccessful attempt by Police Scotland to reform the tactic (the ‘Fife Pilot’), this article presents original theoretical and empirical insights into organizational change in policing. Building on the theoretical perspectives of Chan and Bradford and Quinton on organizational culture and justice respectively, the article sets out a dynamic model of organizational justice in policing. While Scotland has seen significant legislative reform apropos stop and search, we conclude that real change in police practice and culture will require effective leadership and a strong commitment to organizational justice. We also suggest how insights from the analysis might be applied to other jurisdictions and policing fields, with a view to securing more citizen-focused, democratic policing.

  • Residential programmes for mothers and children in prison: Key themes and concepts

    Like the United Kingdom and New Zealand, all eight Australian jurisdictions have legal provisions for the full-time accommodation of young children with their mothers in prison. Whether and how these laws are enacted varies, and there are no national or international norms. This article integrates a review of policies, principles and operating models with findings from a qualitative study, to describe the current landscape in residential programmes for mothers and children in Australian prisons. It demonstrates how current ideologies limit the system’s ability to meet the needs of imprisoned mothers, their children and prison staff. Three issues emerge as problematic: the separation of the rights and interests of mothers and children; over-reliance on attachment theory as both rationale and evidence base; and the individualization of responsibility and risk. The study is of international relevance because these themes and concepts are recognizable elsewhere, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and some European countries.

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