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Article

To make some advances in international criminology, one needs to face that, historically, criminological knowledge has often been used to support colonial and authoritarian rule and acknowledge that international criminologists operate by and large in a culturally ill-informed vacuum in which a “universal” validity of Western theories is taken for granted. Starting from Edward Said’s famous critique of the “orientalism” of Western academics, an investigation is needed on how current cultural anthropological debates on cultural landscapes and cosmopolitan identities could help overcome this problem. The main scholarly debates in non-Western and counter-colonial criminology set a dialogue between perspectives elaborated by Global North scholars and viewpoints proposed by authors working in a variety of Global South regions. It constitutes, in this regard, a contribution to decolonize and globalize international criminology debates because it considers voices and visions all too frequently overlooked by the extant English-speaking literature. In addition, a nexus is set between current developments in this academic field and viewpoints put forth by critical criminology authors decades ago. It is argued that a culturally informed international criminology is not based on humanitarian do-gooderism or shame over a colonial past, rather, it is fundamental if criminologists are to understand the world around us and the “glocal” questions that confront the field.

Article

Ekaterina Gladkova, Alison Hutchinson, and Tanya Wyatt

Green criminology is now an established subfield of criminology. Having emerged in the 1990s, green criminology has rapidly grown, particularly in the last 10 years. Scholarship remains rooted in the critical and radical traditions that inspired its creation and challenge the orthodoxy of most criminological scholarship. This means that research in green criminology does not stick within the confines of only what is deemed criminal by the state but also uncovers harmful and injurious behaviors, particularly of the powerful, such as states and corporations. These once-hidden harms are approached from an environmental justice perspective that exposes the injury and suffering of marginalized people and also to the environment itself (ecological justice) and to nonhumans (species justice). More recent iterations of green criminology feature culture in addition to political economic explanations of crimes and harms against the environment and other species. Both theories of green crimes criticize capitalist societies and the ongoing problems of commodification and excessive consumption. In addition, new contributions, particularly from the Global South, are challenging the hegemony of Western criminological and environmental discourses, offering new (to the West) insights into relationships with nature and with other people. These studies have the potential to shape new prevention strategies and intervention mechanisms to disrupt green crimes and harms. This is urgent as the magnitude of environmental degradation is increasing—ranging from the threat of climate change, the possible extinction of a million species in the near future, and the ubiquity of plastic pollution, to name just a few forms of environmental destruction that humans have been, and are, perpetrating against the Earth.

Article

Walter S. DeKeseredy

There is no single critical criminology. Rather, there are critical criminologies with different histories, methods, theories, and political perspectives. However, critical criminology is often defined as a perspective that views the major sources of crime as the unequal class, race/ethnic, and gender relations that control our society. Critical criminologists oppose prisons and other draconian means of social control. Their main goal is major radical and cultural change, but they recognize that these transitions will not occur in the current neoliberal era. Hence, most critical criminologists propose short-term anticrime policies and practices and fundamental social, economic, and political transformations, such as a change from a capitalist economy to one based on more socialist principles.

Article

Katharina Neissl and Simon S. Singer

Juvenile delinquency is a global phenomenon, and interest in comparative studies of juvenile offending and society’s reaction to it has been steadily growing, despite the inherent difficulties of comparing juvenile justice processes across different regions. Both adolescence and the concept of juvenile delinquency are social constructs that vary by time and place. To know what constitutes a juvenile, or a delinquent act, requires detailed knowledge of a jurisdiction’s social, political, cultural, and legal history. International data in the form of officially recorded contact of juveniles with formal institutions are scarce, and they are often limited in their use for direct comparisons, due to divergent definitions and recording practices, or coverage of geographical regions. The United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS) have the widest geographical reach, but lack transparency of definitions or verification. The World Prison Brief by the Institute for Policy Research at Birkbeck University of London provides prison trends around the globe, but only offers one indicator of juvenile imprisonment. The Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE) and the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics collect data on a range of custodial and non-custodial measures, and include detailed notes on national definitions, but are limited to Europe. The largest self-report study of youth is the International Self-Report Delinquency (ISRD) study, which is currently in its third wave that includes 40 countries across the globe. Since 1990 the United Nations has developed international conventions, rules, and guidelines that govern the rights of children, particularly as they relate to juvenile justice, and these guidelines have shaped, and continue to shape, juvenile justice processes across the globe. Almost all regions in the world have provisions to treat juveniles violating the law differently from adults, but they do so in a multitude of ways. Not all countries have separate systems for juveniles and adults, and in some regions of the world informal reactions to juvenile law-breaking dominate, or coexist with formal juvenile justice institutions. Juvenile justice systems are often categorized according to their founding philosophies, between the poles of a welfare and protection approach on one extreme, and a crime control and justice approach on the other. However, such classifications mask important differences between countries, and can only be seen as broad generalizations. In order to capture the intricacies of existing systems, and compare them between jurisdictions, a localized approach to juvenile justice is needed. It is not sufficient to describe which legal orientations or traditions inform a system, but rather it is necessary to examine how these traditions (as well as global trends and pressures) are interpreted by local juvenile justice administrators. Comparative juvenile justice research that can contribute to public debates and to achieving better outcomes for juveniles across the globe needs to be localized, pay special attention to the specific cultural, legal, and historical context of the jurisdiction studied, and differentiate between the law in theory and the law in practice.

Article

Juan Marcellus Tauri

Indigenous criminology has developed since the start of the 21st century as a result of the regeneration of Indigenous epistemologies and reinvigoration of Indigenous critique of the criminal justice practices of settler-colonial states. In stark contrast to Carlen’s call for criminology as a scientific art, Indigenous formulations—political, partisan, and subjective, reflective of the stated aims of activist scholars such as Agozino, Monture-Angus, Victor, Tauri, and Porter—are evangelical by necessity to hold the settler-colonial state accountable for the violence it perpetrates against Indigenous peoples, and to subject western criminologists to critical scrutiny for their historical and contemporary support for the state. This support manifests through the use of theories and research methodologies that silence Indigenous experiences of settler-colonial crime control, and approaches to crime and social harm, and through the discipline of criminology’s continued support for the state’s continued subjugation of Indigenes. The Indigenous critique challenges the Eurocentric nature of much western criminological analysis of Indigenous over-representation in criminal justice, especially in settler-colonial settings, which often lacks a theory of colonialism, reserving analysis for the recalcitrant native and their supposedly criminogenic culture. Also problematic is the tendency of many criminologists to utilise non-engaging methods for researching Indigenous peoples, a process that too often sidelines their experiences of crime control processes. In contrast, Indigenous scholars and their non-Indigenous allies propose an Indigenous variant of the discipline based on core principles that distinguish their activist scholarship from the mainstream, including rejecting the false dichotomy between objectivity and commitment, giving back by speaking truth to power, and making research real for Indigenous peoples.

Article

Victim participation in common law has evolved across history and jurisdictions. Historical developments within conceptions of crime, harms, and victims in common law as well as the different victims’ movements provide an understanding of the ways that victim participation has been shaped in more-recent common law criminal justice systems. Victim participation in the criminal legal process has also given rise to various debates, which suggests that providing active forms of engagement to victims remains controversial. The forms of victim participation are also diverse, and the literature has provided typologies of victim participation. Forms of participation also vary across jurisdictions and the different stages of the criminal justice process, including prosecutorial decisions, pretrial and trial proceedings, sentencing, parole, and clemency. Finally, research that focuses on victim participation in legal traditions beyond the common law would provide an additional and important contribution to the field.

Article

Queer criminology is an emerging field of research addressing significant oversights within the disciplines of criminology and criminal justice studies—namely the limited attention paid to the criminal justice experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. Drawing from the diverse meanings of the concept of “queer”—as an umbrella identity category and as an impetus for deconstruction and political disruption—queer criminology is developing along multiple paths including research into: LGBTQ people as victims and offenders; LGBTQ people in their interactions with the criminal justice system and its agents; LGBTQ people as criminal justice agents; and the ways in which criminal justice policies may be “queered.” It has also been a site of important theoretical development regarding issues such as: the role of deconstructionist and identity-focused approaches for addressing injustice for LGBTQ people; the best place for queer criminological research to be positioned in relation to the broader discipline of criminology; and who ought to constitute the subjects of queer criminology and thus how fluid the boundaries of the field can be. Queer criminology is also developing a stronger presence in a global context. It is increasingly moving beyond the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom where it developed, and the relevance of its insights are being tested in new political, social, and cultural contexts. As an emerging and dynamic field, queer criminology in its many forms is set to continue to disrupt criminology for some time to come, offering important insights to ensure that criminal justice knowledges and practices respond appropriately to the experiences of LGBTQ people.

Article

Positive criminology is an innovative perspective that underlies existing theories and models emphasizing the positive forces that influence and assist individuals at risk and offenders in their recovery process. The theories and models included in positive criminology (e.g., peacemaking criminology, social acceptance, crime desistance, restorative justice) are not new; its novelty lies in their inclusion in a unique and distinct conceptualization. This has led to a shift in discourse and research in criminology, which goes beyond focusing on risk and criminogenic factors while focusing on the positive factors and strengths that help individuals to rehabilitate and successfully integrate into the community. Studies and practices developed over the past decade have confirmed and reinforced the assumptions of the positive criminology perspective. Despite its specific limitations, positive criminology provides a promising platform for further developments and innovations in research in theory (e.g., positive victimology, spiritual criminology) and in practice (e.g., restorative justice, problem-solving courts, community policing).

Article

Lois Presser

Narrative criminology is a relatively new theoretical perspective that highlights the influence of stories on harmful actions and patterns of action. Narrative criminology researchers study stories themselves, rather than what stories report on, for effects. Narrative criminology takes a constitutive view of stories as opposed to the representational view that is rather more common within criminology. Hence a hallmark of the perspective is its bracketing of the accuracy of the stories under investigation. Stories legitimize conduct, compel action, and induce detachment, however fanciful they may be. Narrative criminologists analyze the role of stories in active harm-doing, passive complicity, desistance from offending, and resistance to harm. The field of narrative criminology has evolved rapidly.

Article

The development of green criminology is the background for nonspeciesist criminology, which is a field through which the harms of legal and illegal wildlife trade can be conceptualized. While humans to varying degrees are ascribed status as victims of crimes and harms, to a far less degree is this the case for animals and the natural world. A hierarchy is present in terms of who legitimately has the right to claim victimhood, who is ascribed victimhood, and for whom this is not accepted. Those who suffer most from abuse and exploitation may be the last to be regarded as victims, and this is consistent with them being powerless. This is the case for the animals who are victims of wildlife trade. In the field of green criminology, a critical victimology that includes animals is employed, which sees behind power structures, such as those reliant on anthropocentrism and speciesism. A critical victimology takes into consideration perspectives such as a being’s sentience and intrinsic value, relying on concepts like eco justice, species justice, and environmental justice. Within this framework, rather than regarding nonhuman animals as property, it is accepted that they suffer from human destruction of habitat, from being forced into industrialized meat production complexes and abattoirs, and wildlife trade. Different forms of wildlife trade are expanding, whether the animals are taken for the bushmeat trade, for experimental and medical use, for trophies, or as pets. While humans and nonhuman animals are similar in their ability to experience joy, social bonding and suffering, and have an interest in living unharmed, their species affiliation determines what legislation comes into play, if any. Responses to wildlife trade are largely anthropocentric, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and too weak.

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

Visual criminology concerns itself with how crimes and society’s reaction to crime appear visually and how such representations are perceived. In a Durkheimian view, individuals look out for signs that the social order is upheld or undermined by crime. In doing so, visual criminology observes, they react to visual cues such as the appearance of their environment, photos in news media, and the combination of moving pictures and sound on TV and social media. Attempts to reduce harm and to change structures also often express themselves visually. Sight and sound often go together, and sometimes further sensual impressions are impacting on the recipient. In a society ever more saturated by visual and audio-visual media, criminology has to engage with the visual. Therefore, visual criminology will be of use to researchers from all the different strands within criminology, even if up until now most of the contributions come from anglophone countries. As varied as the visual manifestations of crime and the response to crime are the research methods employed by visual criminology. They include making respondents react to the stimulus provided by photos, the interpretation of “found” pictures and even criminologists involving themselves in the production of audio-visual media, like TV shows or films. In this way, visual criminologists have arrived at insights that they would not have gained otherwise. Visual criminology will form an important addition to the work of criminologists, especially those who wish to engage with the new ways in which people communicate about crime, and across the globe.

Article

In a broad sense, international criminology can be described as the set of activities related to crime prevention and control, coming from the academia, public and private institutions and agencies, to join efforts to debate and publish and make policies, addressed to a global audience beyond a single country. This process of internationalization of criminology, started since its beginnings as a science, at the end of the 19th century through important congresses and meetings developed in Europe, where public officials and academics met. In the 21st century we can talk of a global or globalized criminology around the world, expressed also via websites on the Internet. Together with international crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of war and, to a lesser extent, aggression as crime against peace), transnational crimes (corruption, financial crime, terrorism, organized crime, and its different modalities of illegal trafficking, cyber-attacks, and crimes against the environment), as well as crimes of abuse of (political and economic) power (enforced disappearances, summary executions, torture) are the subject matter of international criminology. However, the concept of international criminology is elastic and welcomes any international approach to other topics, traditionally thought domestically; in any case from the international perspective the social-political dimension of criminality appears as a much more relevant issue than the criminal’s personality (and treatment) and protection of victims and the community become the focus of interest. Within the internationalization of criminology there are at least two trends that deserve further analysis. The first one is how to balance the cultural differences among all the countries and the myriad of interests involved in the construction of an international criminology. Some criticism is heard in the sense that international criminology is influenced by American or Anglo-Saxon views. From this perspective it is observed a risk of producing academic, legal, and policy criminological transplants without considering the cultural and socioeconomic context of every country and the voices of their inhabitants. The second trend refers to the role of international criminology in relation with the increasingly diffuse borders between police, intelligence agencies, and military forces; crime control and war; or internal and external security. Even though international crimes have always been a core topic, war and political and economic abuse of power across borders have been quite forgotten in the agendas of both national and international criminology. Today there are different forms of cooperation among countries in conflict situations, (e.g., terrorism, border controls, and the so-called refugee crisis) where the military, intelligence agencies, police forces, and private corporations of different countries work together, providing international criminology new topics for critical reflection and action.

Article

Despite political interference and jurisdictional partiality, the formal institutions of international criminal justice are positive development for global governance in their existence alone. The unique aims for global justice enunciated in the Preamble to the Rome Statute are a manifesto for how humanity expects to be protected from atrocity, and where responsibility should lie. As the example of rape in war demonstrates, translating these noble aspirations into trial practice and justice outcomes is often sullied by discriminatory externalities common in domestic criminal justice and exacerbated as the degree of victimization escalates. The lasting measure of the courts and tribunals is not successful prosecutions but rather the satisfaction of legitimate victim interests.

Article

Global-level data suggests that the number of women and girls in prison is growing and at a faster rate than the male prison population is. In order to meaningfully address this shift in female deviance and criminalization, more attention should be given on the specific ways that women and girls are labeled “deviants” and subsequently criminalized. Women and girls have been criminalized, imprisoned, and harshly punished for “moral” offenses such as adultery or premarital sex or for violations of dress codes or even for being a member of the LGBTQ community. Women and girls have also been reportedly been imprisoned for running away from their homes (often from abusive situations), for being raped, and even for being forced into prostitution. Furthermore, victims of domestic violence or sex trafficking and sex workers have been administratively detained or simply detained for seeking asylum, having committed no crime. The feminist criminological perspective has widened an understanding of all forms of female deviance. This perspective stresses the importance of contextual analysis and of incorporating unique experiences of women and girls at the intersection of not only gender, race, class, and ethnicity but also nationality, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and immigration or migration status, and against the backdrop of national as well as international conflict. Now the challenge is develop effective solutions both to address female victimization and to end the silencing of women and girls through criminalization on a global level. Effective implementation of a gender-mainstreaming strategy, adopted in United Nations policies such as “the Bangkok Rules,” is one of the proposed solutions.

Article

Anna Alvazzi del Frate and Gergely Hideg

Victimization studies, which became popular in the 1970s, are largely based on surveys of the population. As of the late 1980s, the potential for internationally comparable surveys emerged with the first round of the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS). Starting from early international studies and using the ICVS as a prominent example, an examination of the characteristics of victimization surveys is given, both in terms of content and methodology, their potential and limits, which make them suitable for international use. Multi-country surveys can provide indications from different countries about major crime problems, the most vulnerable population groups at risk of victimization, and perceptions and opinions about fear of crime and the performance of delegated authorities. Victimization surveys initially covered several types of conventional crime directly experienced by respondents and progressively expanded and specialized to measure bribery and corruption, both among individuals and businesses, as well as violence against women through dedicated surveys. Considering that surveys are an effective tool to measure crime and victims’ perceptions where institutional capacity is weak, the possibility to bridge knowledge gaps and engage developing countries has been identified as a major potential. Despite some methodological challenges, further use and expansion of victimization surveys is in progress (e.g., for measuring some indicators for Sustainable Development Goals [SDG]).

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

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

Nicholas Walrath and Travis Linnemann

The year 2020 saw police militarization again thrust into debates regarding the nature and extent of police violence. Critics of police militarization suggest that as departments have assumed military weaponry and tactics, the institution has drifted from its original mandate of crime control and public service, portending lethal consequences for the most vulnerable. While these critics trace its origins to the advent of SWAT, No Knock raids and other tactics born of the war on drugs, what is misread as the “blurring” of military and police is in fact symptomatic of a much older process of pacification, whereby both the war power and the police power are enlisted to discipline surplus populations and establish market conditions in the interests of capital. From this position, policing has not been poisoned by the practices of war, nor have the boundaries between foreign and domestic muddied, but rather military and police are mutually constitutive and parts of a continuum of state violence. Here the “iron fist” of open violence and repression and the velvet glove of “community policing” work in conjunction to facilitate the conditions of liberal social order.

Article

Mahesh K. Nalla, Gregory J. Howard, and Graeme R. Newman

One common claim about crime is that it is driven in particular ways by development. Whereas the classic civilization thesis asserts that development will yield declining crime rates, the conflict tradition in criminology as well as the modernization school expect rises in crime rates, although for different reasons. Notwithstanding a raft of empirical investigations into the matter, an association between development and crime has not been consistently demonstrated. The puzzling results in the literature may be owing to the challenges in conceptualizing and operationalizing development. They are also almost certainly attributable to the serious problems related to the cross-national measurement of crime. Given the current state of knowledge and the prospects for future research, evidence reportedly bearing on the development and crime relationship should be received with ample caution and skepticism. Refinements in measurement practices and research strategies may remedy the extant situation, but for now the relationship between development and crime is an open and complicated question.