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Chapter

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.

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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

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

This chapter deals with youth crime and youth justice: offending behaviour committed by children and young people and their subsequent treatment in the justice system. It considers the argument for a bespoke understanding and response to youth and crime as distinct from offending behaviour committed by adults. The discussion begins by looking at how the concepts of ‘childhood’ and ‘youth’ have been theorised and socially constructed over time. The chapter then examines how youth crime and ‘delinquency’ have been explained in individualised, developmental, and agentic terms; how young people may grow into crime, with particular emphasis on the role of culture in deviance; and the link between radicalisation and youth crime. It also describes the dominant formal responses to youth crime before concluding with an overview of progressive, contemporary approaches to delivering youth justice/responding to youth crime, namely, diversion and positive youth justice.

Chapter

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.

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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

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.

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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

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

This chapter examines why the government wants to know about crime and how it goes about collecting the information it wants, whether that is the information it needs, and what is done with this knowledge once it is produced. It considers what recorded crime statistics actually measure by looking at various offence categories as well as patterns of offending in England and Wales. It also explores the main problems with police recorded crime statistics and what is meant by the ‘justice gap’; how the collation of crime statistics relates to broader issues of politics and power; and the main strengths and weaknesses of attempting to measure criminal behaviour through the use of social surveys. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) as a way of measuring crime and its trends in those countries.

Chapter

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.