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Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

30. Alternatives to punishment  

This chapter evaluates the alternative means of responding to offenders and their crimes which have emerged in criminal justice and have been gaining wider recognition. Those who favour innovations of this kind tend to reject conventional assumptions and approaches, proposing new principles for the operation of the justice system. The chapter considers two distinct but similar challenges to conventional models of justice which have developed from this viewpoint: restorative justice and diversion. Restorative justice is based on the presumption that dealing with crime is a process rather than a single act or decision, that it involves collaboration between those with a stake in the offence, and that it emphasises healing as well as ‘putting things right’. Diversionary interventions, which can include community service, restitution, and education, as well as elements of restorative practice, provide an opportunity for the offender to avoid criminal charges or formal judicial processes, albeit sometimes by meeting certain conditional requirements.

Chapter

Cover Understanding Deviance

5. Anomie and Strain Theory  

This chapter examines the role of anomie theory in the sociology of crime and deviance. It begins by discussing Émile Durkheim’s theory of anomie before turning to Robert Merton’s Americanization of anomie, and how sociologists adapted the basic Mertonian schema and modes of adaptation, such as innovation, to explain rising rates of crime under conditions of growing prosperity but persistent inequality. It then considers the contribution of anomie to the development of post-war theories of strain, as well as the questions raised by anomie theory, particularly as the underlying concern in theories of crime, modernization, and development. It also looks at the decline in social capital that has raised concerns about the pace and direction of social and economic change, citing two major works: Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone (2000) and Richard Sennett’s The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998).

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

12. Appeals, reviews, and retrials  

This chapter examines the appeals system, the most important purpose of which from the legal system’s point of view is the development and clarification of the law. Reviewing the law in this way allows the higher courts to exert some control over the lower courts and adds much to an understanding of the forces shaping the appeals system. From the point of view of litigants, appeals offer a chance to challenge a result they are unhappy with. The chapter discusses restrictions on appeal rights; challenging jury verdicts; due process appeals; post-appeal review of convictions by the Criminal Cases Review Commission; miscarriages of justice, prosecution appeals; and double jeopardy and retrials.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Police

7. Below, beyond, and above the police: pluralization of policing  

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki

The chapter surveys theories concerning the hybrid nature of the plural policing web. It evaluates the claim that a fundamental shift in policing occurred at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Holding police métier as a definitional constant, the chapter examines how policing is enacted from different institutional positions in plural policing. It outlines the history of claims about the rise of plural policing before discussing its relation to law, the military, technology, territory, locality, the rising importance of private ‘high policing’, and the centrality of surveillance. The chapter demonstrates the complex opportunity structure of the plural policing web, the variety of legal and technological tools involved in its operations, and suggests that it poses fundamental problems for the democratic governance of police that have not been resolved. It concludes that there is both continuity and change in the politics of the police and that claims of a fundamental break have been overstated.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

16. Biological and psychological positivism  

This chapter discusses how theories from biology and psychology can help in understanding crime. It studies individual positivism: that is, those aspects of positivist criminological explanations that look for differences between criminal and non-criminal populations. Biological and psychological positivists believe that by measuring biological and psychological differences between offenders and non-offenders they will discover a clear explanation of criminal behaviour, a truth that explains criminal actions. When researchers discovered physical or biological differences between offenders and non-offenders they tended to assume that those characteristics were causative and explained the behaviour. However, there is a big jump between finding differences and assuming that the difference explains the behaviour. The chapter traces the journey of biological and psychological positivist thinking from its roots in the 19th century through to the approaches in the 21st century where these biological and psychological traits are merely seen as one factor which may increase the likelihood of criminality rather than causing it.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

13. Biological factors and crime  

This chapter presents the idea that criminals can be distinguished from the rest of the population by some unusual physical or biological characteristic that renders them inferior. Havelock Ellis cites a law in medieval England that stated that ‘If two persons fell under suspicion of crime, the uglier or more deformed was to be regarded as more probably guilty.’ When Socrates was on trial, a study of his face conducted by a physiognomist was ordered; this showed that he was cruel and inclined to drunkenness. Physiognomy, which is the assessment of character from facial features, in due course, gave way to phrenology. Phrenology held that the workings of the mind are related to the shape of the brain and skull and that measurement of bumps on the skull can provide an indication of personal characteristics.

Chapter

Cover Criminology Skills

2. Books, journals, and articles  

This chapter first explains the nature of different books, journals, and articles encountered in the study of criminology. It introduces textbooks, edited collections, books of key readings, monographs, and dictionaries, together with journals as a key source of latest developments, research findings, criticism, and commentary. It moves on to consider how to find books and articles specified on a reading list. It then considers more generally how to find materials on a particular topic by developing a search strategy and using databases to locate relevant literature.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

37. Border criminology and the changing nature of penal power  

Mary Bosworth

This chapter describes the field of ‘border criminology’, which examines the growing convergence between criminal justice and immigration control. It starts with an overview of the global immigration and asylum context before outlining key ideas and areas of scholarship within border criminology. It then turns to look more closely at penal power, drawing on fieldwork and policy analysis to explore the methodological and epistemological implications for criminology of examining citizenship and migration. It ends by arguing for greater engagement with the challenges and effects of mass mobility. As the impact of a decision to arrest in any street in Britain may be felt in countries far away, it is time for criminologists to take into account more explicitly the global nature of criminal justice and reflect on its implications for how and what we study.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

16. Border criminology and the changing nature of penal power  

Mary Bosworth

This chapter describes the new field of ‘border criminology’, which examines the growing convergence between criminal justice and immigration control. It starts with an overview of the global immigration context before outlining key ideas and areas of scholarship within border criminology. It then turns to look more closely at penal power, drawing on fieldwork and policy analysis to explore the methodological and epistemological implications for criminology of examining citizenship and migration. It ends by arguing for greater engagement with the challenges and effects of mass mobility. As the impact of a decision to arrest in any street in Britain may be felt in countries far away, it is time for criminologists to take into account more explicitly the global nature of criminal justice and reflect on its implications for how and what we study.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

4. The changing role of data in crime, criminal justice, and criminology  

Ben Matthews and Susan McVie

Data has always been at the heart of criminological endeavours and underpins some of its most important theoretical and conceptual developments. Recent advances in technology, computer science, and data expansion have fundamentally re-shaped society and impacted significantly on various aspects of crime and justice. Such developments have posed challenges for traditional methods of defining and measuring crime, but also opened up novel sources of information such as citizen generated ‘counterdata’. The increasing availability of data has shaped the working practices and policies of criminal justice organizations, which use increasingly sophisticated approaches towards prevention and prediction on the one hand, and surveillance and social control on the other. And while new opportunities for criminology have increased in terms of methodological expansion and theoretical development, potential risks have emerged in terms of replicability, reputation and disciplinary integrity. In this chapter, we take a critical approach to examining the contemporary role of data in shaping crime, criminal justice and criminology, with specific reference to methodological innovations, conceptual debates, ethical controversies, and disciplinary dilemmas.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

22. Character, circumstances, and the causes of crime: towards an analytical criminology  

Per-Olof H. Wikström

This chapter analyses and explains acts of crimes as moral actions (i.e., actions guided by what is the right or wrong thing to do) within an analytical criminology framework. It outlines some common problems of current mainstream criminological theorizing and research, such as the lack of a shared definition of crime, the poor integration of knowledge about the role of people and places in crime causation, the frequent confusion of causes and correlates, and the lack of an adequate action theory, and proposes a more analytical criminology as the remedy. The chapter introduces Situational Action Theory (SAT), a general, dynamic, and mechanism-based theory about crime and its causes, designed to address these problems and provide a foundation for an analytical criminology. It concludes by briefly discussing main implications for the future direction of policy and prevention.

Chapter

Cover Understanding Deviance

3. The Chicago School  

This chapter focuses on the University of Chicago’s sociology department and the work done by its sociologists on crime and deviance during the 1920s and 1930s. The chapter first provides a background on the University of Chicago, its sociology department, and the city. It then considers the Chicago sociologists’ use of ecology in their research, the apparent contradictions in their explanation of criminality and deviance, and their emphasis on moral diversity rather than discord, pathology, or disorganization. It examines the approach used by Chicago sociologists to launch an intellectual assault on the study of the city, focusing on social problems and offering explanations of crime and delinquency based on the peculiar conditions of the so-called zone in transition. What the University of Chicago sociology department accomplished was a decisive break with the haphazard, solitary, and ill-maintained studies associated with proto-criminology. The result was a model of an urban criminology.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

13. Circumventing the trial through preventive orders  

This chapter examines a notable feature of the English legal system that has waxed and waned over the last decades—civil preventive orders. These are orders that may be made by a court sitting as a civil court; orders that contain prohibitions created by the court as a response to conduct by the defendant; and orders the breach of which amounts to a criminal offence. Thus, civil preventive order involves a kind of hybrid or two-step process (first, the making of the order according to civil procedure and, secondly, criminal proceedings in the event of breach), which has several implications for the criminal process and for the rights of defendants. More recently their form has been altered and their use moderated.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

4. The classical and positivist traditions  

This chapter discusses in detail the two major themes in the formation of criminological thinking. The tension between these two traditions has existed since the development of positivism in the nineteenth century and is still of considerable importance in present-day debates about crime and ‘law and order’. It is common to single out France as typifying all that was bad with the administration of the criminal law in pre-eighteenth-century Europe. France provided an extreme example of what passed as criminal ‘justice’ throughout most of Europe. It was generally believed that crime was the consequence of evil. In some cases, it was assumed that the Devil or demons had taken over individuals and directed them to perform wicked acts. Alternatively, people whose faith in God was weak might have yielded to temptation and made a pact with the Devil.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

24. Community sentences and offender management for adults  

Anne Worrall and Rob Canton

This chapter explains the history, philosophies, current practices, and policy debates surrounding those sanctions that are often referred to as ‘alternatives to prison’. The discussions cover the types of community sentences and sentencing trends; the National Probation Service and National Offender Management Service; ways of understanding the politics of punishment in the community; diversity and punishment in the community; community sentences and populist punitiveness; community sentences and the ‘What Works?’ agenda; and community sentences and probation in other countries.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Police

12. Conclusion: histories of the future  

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki

The concluding chapter pulls together the implications of the earlier chapters of this book for an assessment of where policing is heading, and what is to be done to achieve greater effectiveness, fairness, and justice. It seeks to answer eight specific questions: What is policing? Who does it? What do police do? What are police powers? What social functions do they achieve? How does policing impact on different groups? By whom are the police themselves policed? How can policing practices be understood? It considers technological, cultural, social, political, economic changes and their implications for crime, order, and policing. It also examines the multifaceted reorientation of police thinking, especially shifts in the theory and practice of policing in the 1990s that included the rhetoric of consumerism. The chapter considers the limits of police reform and the implications of neo-liberalism for the police before concluding with a call for policing based on the principles of social democracy.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

32. Conducting criminological research  

This chapter focuses on the process of conducting criminological research. Regardless of the size of the research, the same key principles and elements apply. The chapter begins by looking at how to choose a research or dissertation topic and how to conduct the necessary academic reading in this area and decide on an appropriate research methodology for that topic. It then considers how the project can be effectively planned and organised, and provides some advice on writing up the research and demonstrating critical thinking. Finally, the chapter identifies the fundamental ethical principles for conducting research: encouraging engagement with ethical thinking that goes further than a tick on a box of a dissertation proposal. These steps will develop the research experience and skills necessary for the ‘next step’ of continuing higher education or progressing into employment.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

9. Conflict, Marxist and radical theories of crime  

This chapter discusses the two contrasting views of society that have been repeatedly put forward through history. First is the consensus view, whereby it is claimed that society is based on a general consensus of values and that the state is operated in such a way as to protect this. Labelling theorists, such as Howard Becker, raised as a central issue the question, ‘Who makes the rules and why?’ This reflected a contrasting, conflict view of society, which recognises that society includes groups with competing values and interests. Unlike the consensus view, a conflict approach claims that the state does not uphold the interests of society as a whole, but only those of the groups that are powerful enough to control it. The best-known conflict theorist was Karl Marx, who argued that, in capitalist societies, the state is controlled by those who own the means of production.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

41. Confronting state power: dissenting voices and the demand for penal abolition  

Joe Sim

This chapter discusses dissenting voices and demands for penal abolition in line with confronting state power. It starts with the call for defunding prisons being central to the abolitionist praxis in England and Wales, which correlates to George Floyd's brutal murder by a police officer. Additionally, prosecutions add another layer to the abolitionist critique of the dangerous prisoner. Since 1970, abolitionists in England and Wales have demonstrated that another penal and social world is possible through contestation and resistance. The chapter notes the historical movement's idealistic commitment to building a better world, based on a collective, compassionate sense of social justice.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

13. Contagion and connections: Applying network thinking to violence and organized crime  

Paolo Campana

This chapter looks into the application of network thinking to violence and organized crime. The COVID-19 global pandemic showcased how connections matter and far-reaching consequences for the life and well-being of individuals and communities. Infectious pathogens exploit the web of social relations to increase their spread across individuals and places, which then results in the emergence of epidemics. Criminology has been slow to adopt social network analysis, but it does elucidate the mechanisms concerning violence and co-offending that involve gangs and organized crime. The chapter explains that relations and individual characteristics do not need to be treated in opposition to each other, but can be modelled and explored jointly.