1-10 of 333 Results

Article

Tina Maschi, Keith Morgen, Annette Hintenach, and Adriana Kaye

There has been a growing awareness among academic and professional communities, as well as the general public, of the global rise in the number of aging prisoners across the world. Both the scholarly literature and social media have documented the high human, social, and economic costs of housing older adults with complex physical, mental health, legal, and social needs. It is imperative to explore the crisis and select correctional policies and practices that have contributed to the rise in the aging and the seriously and terminally ill populations in global prisons. A comparative framing and analysis across the globe show how some countries, such as the United States, have a higher per capita rate of incarcerating older adults in prisons compared to other countries, such as Northern Ireland. Variations in profiles and manifestations of personal and social conditions affect pathways to prison for some older adults. Explanatory perspectives describe why some individuals are at an increased risk of growing old in prison compared to other individuals. Indigeneity, globalization, race and ethnicity, power and inequality, and processes of development and underdevelopment have affected the growth of the aging prison population. Promising practices have the potential to disengage social mechanisms that have contributed to the mass incarceration of the elderly and engage a more compassionate approach to crime and punishment for people of all ages, their families, and communities.

Article

Citizenship rights are often unevenly allocated—sometimes by design and sometimes not. Even when citizenship rights are evenly allocated on paper, these rights are often unevenly distributed in practice, with some people experiencing full citizenship and others lesser forms of citizenship. Citizenship is both inclusionary and exclusionary. Through its inclusionary aspects, citizenship is the foundation of a democratic society. Through its exclusionary aspects, citizenship produces denizens, undocumented populations, and other precarious individuals who are excluded from the polity and denied the right to shape their environment via voting and running for office. When people cross borders without following the host country’s legal process, they often become labeled “illegal.” Illegality, however, is a racialized category that sticks to some people more than others. Immigrants labeled as illegal experience not only the denial of rights but also enhanced vulnerability. Citizenship, illegality, and legality are constructed in different ways across time and space. These socially and legally constructed categories have significant consequences for people’s lives.

Article

Keller G. Sheppard, Nathaniel L. Lawshe, and Jack McDevitt

Hate crimes are criminal offenses that involve elements of bias based on some individual characteristics of the victim, including race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religion. The passage of laws criminalizing or enhancing the punishment for crimes featuring bias motivations has been met with intense controversy. In addressing criticism of such legislation, proponents of these laws highlight the considerable harms caused by hate crime. These incidents are considered especially heinous as they not only violate the civil and human rights of the immediate victim but also send a message of fear to the entirety of that victim’s community or social group. Prior scholarship on these offenses have employed numerous theoretical frameworks—psychological, historical, sociological, and economic theories—to describe why perpetrators target victims based on perceived group identity. Other work has provided insight into the causes of hate crime by considering factors distinguishing bias-motivated offenders from other criminal offenders. Conflicting legal definitions of hate crime add to the complexity of its conceptualization. At the international level, hate crime statutes are strongly influenced by the different social, cultural, and historical contexts across nations. Hate crime laws differ markedly across countries with respect to the specification of protected groups’ identities, treatment of hate speech, legal standards for establishing bias motivation, and utilization of hate crime statutes for criminal prosecutions. These differences, coupled with nationally distinct methodologies for recording bias-motivated incidents, have stymied attempts to engage in cross-national comparisons of the quality and extent of hate crime.

Article

Rick A. Matthews

States have been committing crimes and victimizing people since the advent of the state itself. Yet it has only been since the 1990s that criminologists have turned their attention to describing, theorizing, and analyzing state crimes. While the study of state crime has made significant progress since then, the same is not true for the victimology of state crime. Currently, the victimology of state crime does not represent a cohesive subfield within criminology or victimology. Nevertheless, drawing upon essential works from criminology, victimology, other disciplines like human rights law, as well as established subfields like critical criminology, critical victimology, and the state crime literature, the victimology of state crime offers essential insights into the nature of mass victimization by states. Although much work remains, the victimology of state crime literature has created a solid foundation for lines of future scholarship and inquiry.

Article

Imtashal Tariq and Laura Sjoberg

“Women” who engage in “violent extremism” are often portrayed in ways that disassociate femininity from agency in violence, sensationalize the violence that women do commit, and manipulate traits associated with femininity to portray women’s violence as femininity gone wrong. The study of “women” and “violent extremism” suffers on a variety of levels. First, both the category of “women” and the label of “violent extremism” are definitionally fraught, political, and politicized. Second, there are gendered obstructions to recovering and representing histories of women’s engagement in violent extremism that make learning about the extent of the relevant behavior difficult at best. Third, both existing theories themselves and the existing contours of the enterprise of theorizing “women” and “violent extremisms” make the project of figuring out why “women” commit “violent extremist” acts both difficult and problematic. But why “women” engage in “violent extremism” is only an interesting question if you believe that women necessarily have something in common. Otherwise, why “women” engage in any given behavior is not any different than why people engage in that same behavior. We argue that, rather than focusing on a causal relationship between an essentialist understanding of gender and a politicized understanding of “violent extremism,” it is more productive to think about the role that gender plays in shaping “violent extremism,” conceptually and as it is practiced across a wide variety of groups and locations around the world. “Violent extremism” is indeed gendered, just not in the simple way where some generic motivation can be assigned to the participation of “women” therein.

Article

Children are often the most vulnerable victims of war. In some cases, they are also among the perpetrators of violence. Child soldiers and child terrorists are simultaneously victims and victimizers, in some ways symbolizing the depravity and desperation of modern warfare as it is practiced in many parts of the world. Children’s roles as combatants are even more concerning when the children are very young. How do children come to fill these positions? Why do children join armed groups, and why do armed groups seek to employ children? In fact, children become militants for various reasons, most of which have little to do with “choice.” While some youths choose violence, many children’s options are limited by the contexts in which they live, their socialization or the conditioning they receive, and the cruel and coercive tactics used by armed groups, which include kidnapping and force. Armed groups employ children for their own benefit, and although children may appear weak and unskilled, they also offer unique strategic advantages to the groups employing them. Children are, by some estimates, easier to control, cheaper to employ, and easier to replace than their adult counterparts. The implications of childhood soldiering and children’s involvement in terrorism include ongoing warfare and conflict in places with weak or failed states, where societies are already struggling. The violence is particularly harsh on civilian populations, the primary targets of the violence of weak armed groups. Populations suffer displacement and poverty, and their children remain at risk of recruitment, lost lives, and lost futures.

Article

Paul Brantingham and Patricia Brantingham

A broad understanding of crime requires explanations for both the origins of individual and group criminal propensity and when and where criminal events occur. Crime pattern theory provides explanations for the variation in the distribution of criminal events in space and time given a range of different propensities. In the organization of their everyday lives, both occasional and persistent criminals spend most of their time engaged in the same legitimate everyday activities as everyone else. The location of criminal events in space–time are shaped by these everyday activities and the specific criminal’s activity. Occasional and persistent offenders develop activity spaces and awareness spaces. The shape and dynamics of these spaces is influenced by the structures of human settlements that channel and limit movement patterns in time and space. These structures include the built environments and the socioeconomic and cultural environments in which people live, work, or go to school, and in which they spend their social, entertainment, and shopping time. Crime pattern theory utilizes the major components of the built and social environment—activity nodes, paths between nodes, neighborhoods and neighborhood edges, and the socioeconomic backcloth—in conjunction with the routine movements of the population in general to understand crime generator and crime attractor locations and the formation of repeat areas of offending for individuals and groups of offenders as well as more aggregate crime hot spots and cold spots. This information is translated into a geometry of crime that describes the journeys to crime by individual criminal offenders and groups of offenders and their victims or targets. Crime pattern theory explains the process of criminal target search, suggests strategies for crime reduction, and describes potential displacements of criminal events in space and time following changes in the suitability of targets or target locations at particular places and specific times.

Article

Jennifer M. Chacón

The regulation of immigration in the United States is a civil law matter, and the deportation and exclusion of immigrants from the United States are matters adjudicated in civil, administrative courts operated by the federal government. But migration in the United States is increasingly managed not through the civil law system, but through the criminal legal system, and not just at the federal level, but at all levels of government. The most obvious example of the management of migration through the criminal law in the United States occurs through the federal prosecution of immigration crimes. In the 2010s, federal prosecutions of immigration crimes reached all-time record highs, as immigration offenses became the most commonly prosecuted federal criminal offenses. But it is not just the federal government, using federal criminal prosecutions, that has moved criminal law and criminal law enforcement agents to the center of immigration enforcement in the United States. The federal government relies on state and local police to serve as front-line agents in the identification of noncitizens potentially subject to removal. Everyone arrested by state and local law enforcement for any reason has their fingerprints run through federal law databases, and this has become the leading screening mechanism through which the federal government identifies individuals to target for removal. Federal law also relies on state law convictions as one of the primary means through which federal immigration enforcement officials determine which noncitizens to remove. This means that state legislatures and state and local governments have the power to shape both their criminal laws and their discretionary enforcement choices to either enhance or mitigate the scope of federal immigration enforcement in their jurisdictions. The problems of racial inequity in the U.S. criminal legal system are both exacerbated by and fuel the centrality of immigration enforcement to the nation’s law enforcement agenda. Racial profiling is broadly tolerated by law in the context of immigration enforcement, making it easy for officials at the state and federal level to justify the targeting of the Latinx population for heightened surveillance on the theory (often incorrect) that they are unlawfully present. At the same time, the overpolicing of Black communities ensures that Black immigrants as well as Latinx immigrants are disproportionately identified as priorities for removal. Immigration enforcement is frequently written out of the story of racial inequality in U.S. policing, but the criminalization of migration is a central architectural feature of this inequitable system.

Article

Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal

Global anomie theory (GAT), as articulated by Nikos Passas, provides an explanation of the impact of globalization and neoliberalism on nations and the conditions within them to create anomie resulting in deviance. Drawing on Merton’s anomie theory, GAT includes an analysis of the global structural and cultural forces acting on the relations between society and individuals. The theory is integrative, incorporating anomie with other criminological approaches and with knowledge from related social sciences. GAT is designed to provide a comprehensive macro-level theory on the social context for deviance. The global anomie approach suggests that neoliberal globalization is a root cause of anomie and dysnomie, creating an environment conducive to crime and social harm. The theory posits that the growth and intensity of neoliberalization has multiplied criminogenic asymmetries creating discrepancies between cultural goals and the legitimate means of achieving those goals. The interconnections generated by globalization are manifest through increased social mobility, enhanced international communication, and intensified international trade. This process has been magnified globally, stressing the importance of an unfettered free market, espousing material goals, economic growth, and consumerism. In this environment of growing interconnectedness, reference groups are broadened, which influence aspirations, steering them increasingly toward economic goals. Simultaneously, the process of globalization exposes inequities, stratifications, exclusions, and marginalization, which impede access to the sought-after material goals, creating both absolute and relative deprivation. Echoing Merton’s work, Passas argues that when aspirations are not realized, such blockages lead to systematic frustrations. Individuals adapt to the strain in different ways, some through deviance. Deviant behavior is rationalized under these structural conditions, which when successful and allowed to continue with impunity, becomes established and normative for others in society, including for those that do not experience the original strain. At the same time, the theory identifies the impact of neoliberal globalization on governance. Normative standards and control mechanisms are reduced in an effort to shrink government intervention and oversight; this includes reducing social support mechanisms to make way for a privatized market. The ability of governments to act effectively is further impeded as deviant adaptations become normalized, creating an environment of dysnomie.

Article

After nearly a hundred years of debate and analysis, the gang concept remains hotly contested within the social sciences. Once thought to be an exclusively American phenomenon, the study of gangs has become increasingly global over the last decade. Countries from every world region have observed the emergence of gangs and gang-like groups. In some places, gangs resemble their American counterparts, while in others they engage not only in petty crime and drug trafficking but in targeted assassinations, corruption of public officials, and racketeering as well. These activities make them less like the delinquent youth groups they were once conceived as and more akin to organized crime. In less stable and violent contexts, gangs have even been incorporated into ethnic militias, rebel groups, and paramilitaries or have taken on a more vigilante ethos by combating violence and providing some semblance of order. The remarkable proliferation of the gang form and the incredible variation in the phenomenon across the globe requires a reassessment of the gang concept. In the limited literature that focuses on the study of gangs cross-nationally, several conceptualizations have been proposed. Some scholars have attempted to separate smaller street gangs from a variety of other related phenomena: prison gangs, drug gangs, and organized crime. They have done so by crafting a more restrictive concept. However, while separating street gangs from other criminal groups may make sense in the American or European context, it applies less well to other parts of the globe where such organizational forms have become thoroughly integrated, thus blurring these traditional conceptual boundaries. At the same time, some scholars have advocated for a conceptual framework that captures the transformative nature of gangs and encompasses any and all types of gangs and gang-like groups. Such an evolutionary framework fails, however, to distinguish between gangs and a huge variety of criminal and political nonstate armed groups that share little in terms of their origins, motivations, or activities. It can be argued that the best conceptualization is a minimal one that incorporates gangs and many gang-like groups but avoids conceptual stretching to include virtually all nonstate armed groups. Ultimately, contemporary scholars of gangs within any national context must be increasingly attentive to the global dimensions of the gang organizational form and the various overlapping and multifaceted relationships they maintain with a variety of other nonstate armed groups.