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Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

12. Gender and criminal justice  

Margaret Malloch and Gill McIvor

This chapter, which examines the relevance of gender to an understanding of criminal justice responses to offending and victimisation, covers: gender differences in criminal involvement; gender and sentencing; gender and punishment; gender and ‘victimisation’; and gender and the criminal justice professions.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

11. Youth justice  

Anna Souhami

This chapter examines how youth justice systems are shaped by different ways of thinking about youth, crime, and justice. It first discusses the emergence of the youth justice system in the nineteenth century, and shows how contemporary ideas about the problems of youth and youth offending are both relatively recent constructions and intrinsically connected to broader anxieties about social disorder. It then sets out some of the principles that have dominated the youth justice system at particular moments (welfare, justice, actuarialism, and restoration) and the implications of each for how problems of youth offending and appropriate responses to it are understood. The final sections describe contemporary youth justice in the UK. They focus on the various systems that have emerged in England and Wales, and Scotland; the different contexts which have allowed these approaches to develop; and the pressures now faced by both.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

16. ‘Race’, ethnicity, and crime  

Marian FitzGerald

This chapter begins by exploring notions of ‘race’ and ethnicity. It then provides some background on how particular groups have come to be defined as ‘ethnic minorities’ in Britain and what the official statistics on these groups say about the differences between them—with particular reference to known risk factors for offending. After outlining the history of these groups' relations with the police and public perceptions of their involvement in crime and disorder, it considers trends in the official statistics on ethnicity and offending. The chapter argues that criminologists must interpret crime statistics in the light of relevant criminological theories rather than giving primacy to explanations which treat the experiences of different ‘ethnic’ groups as if they were unique.

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.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

16. Where is ‘victimology’ in an era of #MeToo?  

Maria M. Ttofi, Adrian Grounds, and Lidia Puigvert

This chapter covers the field of victimology reflecting the increasing recognition of how victims experience crime and other forms of ill-treatment. Sexual abuse gained much attention recently, especially with individuals self-disclosing their personal experiences on social media platforms through the #MeToo movement. Additionally, social media platforms facilitated the new collective potential. The chapter clarifies that victimology is centrally concerned with the understanding of the experience of suffering that recognizes antecedents and risk factors for offending identified in longitudinal studies. The possibility of suffering provides an integrative concept for criminology that correlates to the notions of victimization, offending, and the operation of criminal justice.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

11. Gender and feminist criminology  

Pamela Ugwudike

This chapter focuses on criminological studies of gender, particularly women’s experiences as offenders and victims, and the extent to which women’s offending and victimisation are interlinked. It begins with an overview of how gender features in criminological studies then considers the origins and principles of feminist criminology, which is a strand of criminology that has heavily influenced criminological studies of gender and crime. The chapter also explores the main theoretical traditions within feminist criminology and the philosophical orientations that influence feminist research. This exploration includes the criticisms levelled against feminist criminology. Finally, the chapter examines how more recent strands of feminist thought have tried to respond to these criticisms.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

26. Crime prevention  

This chapter highlights crime prevention. Preventive strategies represent an approach that is less concerned with dispensing justice than with minimising the risk of crime being committed in the first place. Crime prevention strategies are thus based on a combination of assumptions about human motivations and research evidence about observed patterns of offending behaviour. The chapter then looks at the political and strategic factors that may influence decisions about which crimes to try to prevent. It considers perspectives on crime prevention focusing on potential offenders (in terms of deterrence and diversionary approaches), potential victims, and the idea of community safety and well-being. Finally, the chapter addresses some of the continuing and unresolved questions about the purported achievements and effectiveness of crime prevention strategies.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

10. Sex crime  

Terry Thomas

This chapter examines the nature of sexual offending and the forms it takes, as well as the enhanced social response being made. The discussions cover forms of sexual offending; criminal processes; civil measures for public protection; public access to the sex offender register; and mental health and sexual offending.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

9. Youth offending and youth justice  

This chapter describes youth offending and youth justice: that is, offending behaviour committed by children and young people and how they are treated in the Youth Justice System. Society’s assumptions about what it means to be a child and what should be expected of children and young people in terms of their development and behaviour shape its views on and responses to youth offending. The chapter then looks at how the concepts of ‘childhood’ and ‘youth’ have been seen, theorised, and socially constructed over time, before moving on to consider explanations for youth offending and ‘delinquency’. Youth offending has tended to be explained in individualised terms, through developmental and psychological explanations. The chapter also evaluates the main formal responses to youth offending and assesses more progressive, contemporary approaches to youth offending and delivering youth justice.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

33. Desistance from crime and implications for offender rehabilitation  

Joanna Shapland and Anthony Bottoms

Most of those who offend, even those who offend persistently, stop committing offences as they grow older. The process of stopping to commit crime—desistance—is affected by people’s own decisions, attitudes, and self-identity but also by their social context and by relationships with people close to them. In this chapter, we explore theories of how desistance occurs, in terms of the individuals themselves, their own agency, and social structures and relationships. The research evidence from around the world on what affects desistance is then examined. Finally, we consider how the criminal justice system may affect desistance through the effect of criminal records and opportunities for rehabilitation. Because social context is important, pathways to desistance can also vary according to gender and cultural background (e.g., the importance of family differs in different cultures).

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

10. Race, ethnicities, and the criminal justice system  

Neena Samota

This chapter explores the broader context and history of race-related issues in the UK, considering why racial disparities persist in diverse societies like the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, before narrowing the focus to race and ethnicity in the sphere of crime and criminal justice. The concepts of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ have long played major roles in both classroom and broader societal discussions about crime, punishment, and justice, but they have arguably never been more present and visible than today. The chapter looks at the problems with the statistics available on race, ethnicity, and crime, noting the ways in which they may not tell the whole story, before considering the statistics themselves as the chapter discusses the relationships between ethnicity and victimisation and offending. It then moves on to how ethnic minorities experience the various elements of the criminal justice system and the disadvantages they often face, before outlining the attempts that have been made to address these disparities at a state level. Finally, the chapter discusses critical race theory, a key theory in modern criminological examinations of race and its relationship to crime and justice, which grew out of the US but has much broader value and relevance as a framework of analysis.