Abolitionism is not only a strategy or a set of demands, aimed at the reduction (or suppression) of custody, it is also a perspective, a philosophy, an approach which challenges conventional definitions of crime. This book examines the origin, philosophy and achievements of abolitionism and reviews the literature on penal abolitionism from the 1960s to the 1980s. By collecting and discussing the key abolitionist arguments, the author critically analyzes the views expressed by its leading proponents; Nils Christie, Louk Hulsman, Thomas Mathiesen and Herman Bianchi, examining in particular how their views took shape, their philosophical foundations, and the social and political context of abolitionist ideas and perspectives. Policies, such as the virtual abolition of custody for young offenders in Italy, are presented and the area of informal justice is also addressed, with an overview of mediation and compensation practices, and an assessment of the degree of their effectiveness and desirability. Through assessment of these achievements and experiments of specific abolitionist ideas, the author attempts to identify the legacy of abolitionism from a European perspective, while bringing into focus more recent contributions concerning the study of terrorism and war.
Young Criminal Lives is the first cradle-to-grave study of the experiences of some of the thousands of delinquent, difficult and destitute children passing through the early English juvenile reformatory system. The book breaks new ground in crime research, speaking to pressing present-day concerns around child poverty and youth justice, and resonating with a powerful public fascination for family history. Using innovative digital methods to unlock the Victorian life course, the authors have reconstructed the lives, families and neighbourhoods of 500 children living within, or at the margins of, the early English juvenile reformatory system. Four hundred of them were sent to reformatory and industrial schools in the north west of England from courts around the UK over a fifty-year period from the 1860s onwards. Young Criminal Lives is based on one of the most comprehensive sets of official and personal data ever assembled for a historical study of this kind. For the first time, these children can be followed on their journey in and out of reform and then though their adulthood and old age. The book centres on institutions celebrated in this period for their pioneering new approaches to child welfare and others that were investigated for cruelty and scandal. Both were typical of the new kind of state-certified provision offered, from the 1850s on, to children who had committed criminal acts, or who were considered 'vulnerable' to predation, poverty and the 'inheritance' of criminal dispositions. The notion that interventions can and must be evaluated in order to determine 'what works' now dominates public policy. But how did Victorian and Edwardian policy-makers and practitioners deal with this question? By what criteria, and on the basis of what kinds of evidence, did they judge their own successes and failures? Young Criminal Lives ends with a critical review of the historical rise of evidence-based policy-making within criminal justice. It will appeal to scholars and students of crime and penal policy, criminologists, sociologists, and social policy researchers and practitioners in youth justice and child protection.
A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via www.oup.com/uk as well as the OAPEN Library platform, www.oapen.org. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license and is part of the OAPEN-UK research project. Explaining Criminal Careers presents a simple but influential theory of crime, conviction and reconviction. The assumptions of the theory are derived directly from a detailed analysis of cohort samples extracted from the Home Office Offenders Index - a unique database which contains records of all criminal (standard list) convictions in England and Wales since 1963. In particular, the theory explains the well-known Age/Crime curve. Based on the idea that there are only three types of offenders, who commit crimes at either high or low (constant) rates and have either a high or low (constant) risk of reoffending, this simple theory makes exact quantitative predictions about criminal careers and age-crime curves. Purely from the birth-rate over the second part of the 20th century, the theory accurately predicts (to within 2%) the prison population contingent on a given sentencing policy. The theory also suggests that increasing the probability of conviction after each offence is the most effective way of reducing crime, although there is a role for treatment programmes for some offenders. The authors indicate that crime is influenced by the operation of the Criminal Justice System and that offenders do not 'grow out' of crime as commonly supposed; they are persuaded to stop or decide to stop after (repeated) convictions, with a certain fraction of offenders desisting after each conviction. Simply imprisoning offenders will not reduce crime either by individual deterrence or by incapacitation. With comprehensive explanations of the formulae used and complete mathematical appendices allowing for individual interpretations and further development of the theory, Explaining Criminal Careers represents an innovative and meticulous investigation into criminal activity and the influences behind it. With clear policy implications and a wealth of original and significant discussions, this book marks a ground-breaking chapter in the criminological debate surrounding criminal careers.
Serious Offenders examines the criminal careers of persistent offenders in northwest England between the 1840s and 1940s. It explores the triggers that propelled minor offenders towards serious persistent offending and draws on the lessons to be learnt about the regulation and surveillance of serious offenders.
'Lea has produced a serious and scholarly contribution of great interest to criminologists (whether "critical "or not), to post graduates, as well as the more advanced undergraduate. This is a book that is well written, absorbing, thoughtful and thought provoking' - The British Journal of Criminology Crime control is in crisis. Not only have levels of crime risen but, more important, crime is increasingly regarded as a normal aspect of the social and economic system rather than disruption or deviance. The blurring boundaries between the criminal and the normal are evident in a number of areas from the activities of multinational corporations to the life of the inner city. In this book, John Lea develops a broad historical and sociological overview relating the rise and fall of effective crime control to different types of social structures. It traces the process of modernisation and industrialisation from the eighteenth to the mid twentieth centuries which established the social preconditions for effective control and management of criminality. In the early years of the present century it is clear that these preconditions are now being progressively undermined as industrial society undergoes profound changes in its direction of development. The result is traced through a variety of types of criminality and the progressive debilitation of existing institutions and processes of crime control. A major feature of this book is its wide scope and imaginative application of historical and theoretical perspectives on modernisation and capitalist social development to the contemporary problems of controlling a wide variety of crime. It represents a significant contribution to the ability of criminology and the sociology of crime to confront the dilemmas and controversies of the twenty first century.
Justice, Mercy, and Caprice is a work of criminal justice history that speaks to the gradual emergence of a more humane Irish state. It is a close examination of the decision to grant clemency to men and women sentenced to death between the end of the civil war in 1923 and the abolition of capital punishment in 1990. Frequently, the decision to deflect the law from its course was an attempt to introduce a measure of justice to a system where the mandatory death sentence for murder caused predictable unfairness and undue harshness. In some instances the decision to spare a life sprang from merciful motivations. In others it was capricious, depending on factors that should have had no place in the government's decision-making calculus. The custodial careers of those whose lives were spared repay scrutiny. Women tended to serve relatively short periods in prison but were often transferred to a religious institution where their confinement continued, occasionally for life. Men, by contrast, served longer in prison but were discharged directly to the community. Political offenders were either executed hastily or, when the threat of capital punishment had passed, incarcerated for extravagant periods. This book addresses issues that are of continuing relevance for countries that employ capital punishment. It will appeal to scholars with an interest in criminal justice history, executive discretion, and death penalty studies, as well as being a useful resource for students of penology.
Youth has been a focus of the sociologies of deviance, popular culture, and criminology. This text reassesses the growing body of research about crime and young people to provide a critical introduction to the study of youth, crime and punishment.
The Politics of Race and Class in Neoliberalizing Regimes
Author: Dr Gail Super
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
This book deals with the historic transition to democracy in South Africa and its impact upon crime and punishment. It examines how the problem of crime has emerged as a major issue to be governed in post-apartheid South Africa. Having undergone a dramatic transition from authoritarianism to democracy, from a white minority to black majority government, South Africa provides rich material on the role that political authority, and challenges to it, play in the construction of crime and criminality. As such, the study is about the socio-cultural and political significance of crime and punishment in the context of a change of regime. The work uses the South African case study to examine a question of wider interest, namely the politics of punishment and race in neoliberalizing regimes. It provides interesting and illuminating empirical material to the broader debate on crime control in post-welfare/neoliberalizing/post transition polities.