Archive for the ‘Criminology & Criminal Justice’ Category

The psychological consequences of terrorism among child victims

May 1, 2013

Systematic review of the psychological consequences of terrorism among child victims

From International Review of Victimology

Terrorist acts such as 9/11 and the recent Boston Marathon incident have understandably shocked and devastated the American public and the wider world. Terrorist acts have an enormous potential to produce trauma, especially in vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents. Few studies have analysed the potentially adverse effects of terrorism on child victims. This paper systematically reviews the literature on the psychological consequences which exposure to acts of terrorism can have for children. The aim of the review is to present the main results of published studies in this frequently neglected area, hence becoming a useful contribution to the field of children and terrorist violence.


Are the customers of prostitutes ordinary or peculiar men?

April 5, 2013

Ordinary or peculiar men? Comparing the customers of prostitutes with a nationally representative sample of men”

From International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

While the media is replete with examples of “normal” men who seek out prostitutes regularly, how common are prostitute-seeking men and how much do they differ from men in the normal population? According to this study only about 14% of men across the U.S. have ever paid for sex in their lives and only 1% of those men had done so in the previous year. In addition, the majority of these men do not possess any “peculiar” qualities that distinguish them from the normal population. The study dissects whether customers are ordinary or peculiar by comparing a new sample of active customers who solicit sex on the Internet with an older sample of arrested customers, a sample of customers from the GSS, and a nationally representative sample of noncustomers.


Killer Anders Behring Breivik’s Manifesto provides a valuable resource for those studying the narrative and discursive dimension of crime

March 28, 2013

Are self-narratives strategic or determined, unified or fragmented? Reading Breivik’ Manifesto in light of narrative criminology

From Acta Sociologica

In 2011 Anders Behring Breivik carried out two terrorist attacks in Norway killing 77 people. Breivik was an anti-Islamic, critical of the government’s policy of multiculturalism. His apparent targets were the government and the future political leadership of the Social Democratic party. Only hours before the attacks, Breivik had emailed a 1500-page Manifesto, in English, to several thousand people explaining his acts and describing their planning in detail. It is a collection of texts from different sources. Some parts are written by other people, others are plagiarized but with some minor changes and finally there are parts written by himself.

This article analyses the manifesto and further develops a theoretical framework of narrative criminology. The Manifesto is a valuable resource for sociologists and criminologists studying the narrative and discursive dimension of crime. This paper demonstrates the fruitfulness of a theoretical framework of narrative criminology. Together with political, socioeconomic and psychological studies, narrative analysis can thus add to our understanding of crime.


The paradoxical relationship between religious belief and criminality

March 21, 2013

With God on my side: The paradoxical relationship between religious belief and criminality among hardcore street offenders

From Theoretical Criminology

Research has found that many street offenders anticipate an early death, making them less prone to delay gratification, more likely to discount the future costs of crime, and thus more likely to offend. Ironically, many such offenders also hold strong religious convictions, including those related to the punitive afterlife consequences of offending. In this study 48 active street offenders were interviewed to determine their expectation of an early demise, belief in the afterlife, and notions of redemption and punishment. Findings suggest that religious belief and criminality co-exist. Offenders in this study overwhelmingly professed a belief in God and identified themselves with a particular religion, but also regularly engaged in serious criminality. Even more interesting however, the data further suggest a possible criminogenic role for religious belief among the sample of hardcore street offenders; these offenders actively referenced religious doctrine to justify past offenses and to excuse the continuation of serious criminal conduct. The authors have argued, religious belief deters crime for most people, but facilitates criminal conduct for certain subgroups. They find that offenders have a propensity to co-opt religious doctrine to permit and even encourage their criminal activity, thereby preserving their identity as criminals and maintaining their ability to pursue illicit action.


Perspectives on alcohol consumption and false allegations of rape

March 7, 2013

Regretting it after? Focus group perspectives on alcohol consumption, nonconsensual sex and false allegations of rape

From Social & Legal Studies

Recent social network responses to the conviction of the Welsh footballer Ched Evans for the rape of an extremely intoxicated woman, including the public ‘tweeting’ of the victim’s name, highlight the profound impact that alcohol consumption can have on third parties assessments of the legitimacy of alcohol-involved rapes. This article critically examines the findings of four focus groups which were based around an incident  in which sex takes place between intoxicated individuals and consent is disputed. The study provides a timely examination of young peoples’ attitudes and understandings around alcohol consumption, nonconsensual sex and the role of alcohol in the false allegation process. Findings indicate a considerable consensus across participants’ perspectives regarding alcohol-involved rape. When members of a drinking dyad are presented as equally intoxicated, there was a reduced willingness to label the depiction of nonconsensual sex as rape. It is acknowledged that further research is needed to help categorically clarify rates of false rape reporting and the factors associated with these allegations.


The prominence of Mafia in Southern Italy hinders the implementation of victim–offender mediation

February 28, 2013

Victim−offender mediation in areas characterized by high levels of organized crime

From European Journal of Criminology

This paper provides some reflections on the feasibility and implementation of victim– offender mediation (VOM) in countries or geographical areas characterized by particularly serious types of criminality, such as Mafia-like organized crime. It uses Italy as a case study and considers why Southern Italy struggles to implement VOM yet it is successful in the Northern territory.  The study outlines that Southern Italy is a regional context deeply affected by organized crime and the Mafia subculture. This article proposes some working hypotheses concerning the improvement of VOM in areas where criminality is strongly linked to Mafia-type organizations. Difficulties for mediation may be related to the pre-existing mediatory role played historically by Mafia leaders. For mediation to have any chance of success in South European countries, a truly secular and modern culture of restoration must be promoted, based on an informed awareness of the past. It is argued that the presence of hostile conditions should not preclude the success of restorative justice and mediation and concludes that even tough obstacles can be overcome. The study offers anthropological and juridical perspectives not yet investigated.


Reviewing patterns of drug epidemics to consider cost effective intervention programs

February 27, 2013

Drug generations in the 2000s: An analysis of arrestee data

From Journal of Drug Issues 

Much empirical evidence indicates that the popularity of various drugs tends to increase and wane over time producing episodic epidemics of particular drugs. Drug epidemics lead to the rise of drug generations. For the past two decades, drug epidemics have been studied extensively. This article examines the drug generations present in the 2000s among arrestees in the 10 locations served by the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring–II program (ADAM). This article first reviews the drug epidemics framework and then presents how the drug generations framework follows from it. At all 10 locations, the findings show that crack use is still common among older arrestees but not among arrestees born more recently. Marijuana is the drug most common among younger arrestees. Patterns of drug use can have important implications for the development of timely, targeted drug abuse interventions. Drug scholars, analysts and policy makers need to be aware of trends in drug use to develop appropriate and cost effective programs.


Life sentence for murder, or time for judicial discretion?

January 9, 2013

The mandatory life sentence for murder: An argument for judicial discretion in England

From Criminology and Criminal Justice

In 1965, alongside the abolition of capital punishment, a mandatory life sentence for murder was implemented in England and Wales. This was a symbolic contract with the public that murders would continue to be taken seriously by the justice system. 50 years later, this article examines whether the imposition of the mandatory sentence is still in the best interests of justice or whether English homicide law would be better served by a discretionary sentencing system. The study relies upon interviews conducted with 29 members of the English judiciary, current practising legal counsel, and policy representatives. Findings indicate a dominant perception that the mandatory sentence should not apply to all cases of murder. Specifically, the analysis reveals that, despite political support for the continued imposition of a mandatory life sentence, those charged with the daily operation of the law of homicide predominantly advocate for a discretionary model of sentencing.  It is suggested such a change would be better able to respond to the range of circumstances within which the crime of murder is committed.


Are suicide terrorists really so different from rampage, workplace and school shooters?

October 30, 2012

A comparative analysis of suicide terrorists and rampage, workplace, and school shooters in the United States from 1990 to 2010

From Homicide Studies

There is a long history of terrorists, rampage shooters, workplace shooters, and school shooters carrying out acts of murder-suicide against unarmed civilians.This study offers the first combined quantitative assessment of suicide terrorists and rampage, workplace, and school shooters who attempt suicide, to investigate where there are statistically significant differences and where they appear almost identical. Suicide terrorists have usually been assumed to be fundamentally different from rampage, workplace, and school shooters Many scholars have claimed that suicide terrorists are motivated purely by ideology, not personal problems, and that they are not even suicidal. This study’s focus was on attacks and attackers in the United States from 1990 to 2010 and concluded that the differences between these offenders were largely superficial. Prior to their attacks, they struggled with many of the same personal problems, including social marginalization, family problems, work or school problems, and precipitating crisis events. Ultimately, patterns among all four types of offenders can assist those developing security policy, conducting threat assessments, and attempting to intervene in the lives of at-risk individuals. Given the stakes, this should quickly become a top priority, so that the many social costs of these horrific attacks can finally be reduced.


No link found between cannabis use and the proximity of coffee shops

October 24, 2012

Cannabis use and proximity to coffee shops in the Netherlands

From European Journal of Criminology

Across Europe, the illicit retail market in cannabis is similar, with various levels of distribution ranging from social suppliers to profit-making sellers. The Netherlands is an exception, however, because retail sales of cannabis for personal consumption by adults are condoned in ‘coffee shops’. Almost 80 percent of Dutch municipalities have no coffee shops and, of all coffee shops one-third are located in Amsterdam.

The aim of this paper is to assess the influence of coffee shop availability on the prevalence and intensity of cannabis use, as well as the effectiveness of the ‘separation of markets’ policy. This study found current cannabis use and the proximity of coffee shops were not correlated, but early use of cannabis might still be influenced by the proximity or availability of coffee shops. From the results it remains unresolved whether the presence of coffee shops stimulates more intense cannabis use (routine activity), or whether more frequent users more often buy at coffee shops (rational choice). Coffee shops may not cause but rather facilitate frequent use. It is suggested longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether coffee shops might stimulate both frequency of use and amounts used per occasion.



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