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Criminology — Overview

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For more detailed information about our work in this area, see also the dedicated Centre for Criminology website

This theme contains two subjects, namely: Criminology and Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology

News

Reconciliation and Forgiveness symposium

photo of Rachel Condry

Rachel Condry, Associate Professor in Criminology, was in Finland at the beginning of June to give an invited paper to a symposium organised by Professor Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago) and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki […]

Part Time Criminology DPhil Applications - Closing Date 24th July 2015

Applications for the part-time DPhil Criminology are currently being considered […]

Attention Oxford Criminology Alumni!

Oxford Criminology will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016 […]

The Criminal Case Review Commission's response to wrongfully convicted asylum seekers

Dr Mai Sato, a Research Officer from the Centre for Criminology, has been awarded a grant from the Fell Fund in order to continue her work as an early career researcher into the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) reviews possible miscarriages of justice […]

Mounted police units 'boost public trust'

Researchers have measured the value of mounted police units in the UK […]

Inside Immigration Detention

In September 2014 Mary Bosworth published the first national study of life in Britain’s immigration removal centres (IRCs) […]

Dr Mai Sato - Young Criminologist Award

Dr Mai Sato was awarded the Young Criminologist Award 2014 for her book "The Death Penalty in Japan: Will the Public Tolerate Abolition?" The Award ceremony took place on 18 October 2014 at the 41st Japanese Association of Sociological Criminology Conference in Kyoto […]

The Death Penalty in China - the road to reform

photo of Carolyn Hoyle

The Death Penalty in China - the road to reform

Research by Oxford academics, Professor Roger Hood and Professor Carolyn Hoyle, has influenced worldwide reform of the death penalty […]

Making and Breaking Barriers - assessing the value of mounted police units in the UK

photo of Ben Bradford

Making and Breaking Barriers - assessing the value of mounted police units in the UK

Research work by Ben Bradford is the subject of a new impact case study, one of a series of impact stories on the Oxford University impact pages and on the new Oxford Law Faculty Public Engagement and Research Impacts webpage, where you can read about just a few examples of the wide-reaching impact of research conducted in the Law Faculty and its Research Centres […]

Shaping the Policy of Elected Police and Crime Commissioners

photo of Ian Loader

Shaping the Policy of Elected Police and Crime Commissioners

Research by Ian Loader, Professor of Criminology, has played an important part in shaping debate about the role and future of elected Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales […]

Discussion Groups

These self-sustaining groups are an essential part of the life of our graduate school. They are organised in some cases by graduate students and in others by Faculty members and meet regularly during term, typically over a sandwich lunch, when one of the group presents work in progress or introduces a discussion of a particular issue or new case. They may also encompass guest speakers from the faculty and beyond.

Criminology Discussion Group

Publications

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Showing 5 of the most recent publications
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2015

E Antrobus, B Bradford, K Murphy and E Sergeant, 'Community norms, procedural justice and the public’s perceptions of police legitimacy' (2015) 31 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 151 [...]

DOI: 10.1177/1043986214568840

A significant body of research has demonstrated the importance of procedurally fair policing in fostering citizens’ feelings of obligation to obey the police. A handful of recent studies have begun to explore the role of community processes within this relationship. They show perceptions of police use of procedural justice, and their consequences can vary according to community context. The present study utilizes data collected within a randomized controlled trial of procedural justice in policing, the Queensland Community Engagement Trial (QCET). We find perceived community norms about obeying the police are strongly associated with individuals’ own feelings of obligation to obey police. Moreover, this relationship holds net of individual assessments of police. Second, procedurally just policing appears to have a greater effect on the obligation to obey police for those who believe others in their community feel less obligated to obey the police. Results demonstrate that one’s ties to the community can therefore moderate the associations between procedural justice and the obligation to obey police. The findings are interpreted within a social-psychological framework.


I Loader, B Goold and A Thumala, 'Grudge Spending: The Interplay between Markets and Culture in the Purchase of Security' (2015) 65 The Sociological Review [...]

In the paper, we use data from an English study of security consumption, and recent work in the cultural sociology of markets, to illustrate the way in which moral and social commitments shape and often constrain decisions about how, or indeed whether, individuals and organizations enter markets for protection. Three main claims are proffered. We suggest, firstly, that the purchase of security commodities is a mundane, non-conspicuous mode of consumption that typically exists outside of the paraphernalia of consumer culture – a form of grudge spending. Secondly, we demonstrate that security consumption is weighed against other commitments that individuals and organizations have and is often kept in check by these competing considerations. We find, thirdly, that the prospect of consuming security prompts people to consider the relations that obtain between security objects and other things that they morally or aesthetically value, and to reflect on what the buying and selling of security signals about the condition and likely futures of their society. These points are illustrated using the examples of organisational consumption and gated communities. In respect of each case, we tease out the evaluative judgments that condition and constrain the purchase of security amongst organisations and individuals and argue that they open up some important but neglected questions to do with the moral economy of security.


B Bradford, K Hohl, J Jackson and S MacQueen, 'Obeying the rules of the road' (2015) 31 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 171 [...]

DOI: 10.1177/1043986214568833

Why do people comply with traffic laws and regulations? Road traffic policing tends to be premised on the idea that people comply when they are presented with a credible risk of sanction in the event of non-compliance. Such an instrumental model of compliance contrasts with the normative account offered by procedural justice theory, in which compliance is encouraged by legitimate legal authorities. Comparing these two accounts, we find evidence that both instrumental and normative factors explain variance in motorists’ self-reported propensity to offend. Extending the standard procedural justice account, we also find that it is social identity—not legitimacy—that forms the “bridge” linking procedural fairness and compliance, at least according to a definition of legitimacy that combines felt obligation and moral endorsement. Fair treatment at the hands of police officers seems to enhance identification with the social group the police represent, and in turn, identification seems to motivate adherence to rules (laws) governing social behavior. These findings have implications not only for understandings of legal compliance but also for our understanding of why procedural justice motivates compliance and the role of procedural justice in promoting social cohesion.


I Loader and R Sparks, 'Reasonable Hopes: Social Theory, Critique and Reconstruction in Contemporary Criminology' in A Liebling, J Shapland and J Tankebe (eds), Crime, Justice and Social Order: Essays in Honour of A. E. Bottoms (Oxford University Press 2015)

H Annison, B Bradford and E Grant, 'Theorizing the role of ‘the brand’ in criminal justice: The case of Integrated Offender Management' (2015) Criminology and Criminal Justice (forthcoming) [...]

DOI: 10.1177/1748895815572164

The rise of branded programmes and interventions is an important, but largely under-explored, development in criminal justice. This article draws on findings from a study of a British Integrated Offender Management (IOM) scheme to ground a broader theoretical discussion of the meaning and implications of the increasing centrality of such ‘brands’. This article focuses primarily upon the ways in which criminal justice practitioners might draw upon brands in order to (re-)construct their professional identities. Ongoing fundamental reforms of criminal justice organizations, which have tended to blur the traditionally clear distinctions between professional roles, have made this need to reinforce (and indeed reconstruct) practitioner identities ever more pressing. The article closes by considering the prospects and limitations of criminal justice brands. It is argued that while brands may play an important role in ‘ethically orienting’ relevant practitioners, there is a danger that the absence of appropriate structural underpinnings may prove to be highly counter-productive.


Courses

The courses we offer in this field are:

Postgraduate

MSc

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Please visit the course pages on the Centre for Criminology's dedicated website.

Criminology and Criminal Justice (Research Methods)

Please visit the course pages on the Centre for Criminology's dedicated website.

Law, Economics and Crime

Not currently running

News Media, Crime and Policy

Core Course

The compulsory core course runs through the first two terms (Michaelmas and Hilary) for the first six weeks of term. The first term of the course focuses on ‘Explanation and Understanding in Criminology’, while the second is concerned with ‘Understanding Criminal Justice’. Topics covered include:

Explanation and Understanding in Criminology

1. Crime, Modernity and the Urban Experience
2. Crime, Conformity and Sources of Control
3. Crime & Everyday Life: Rational Choice, Routine Activities & Emotional Life
4. Crime, Inequality and Opportunity: Crime in Market Societies
5. Constructing and Reacting to Crime: Labelling, Moral Panics and the State
6. Criminology, Crime and Control in Late Modernity

Understanding Criminal Justice

1. Public Opinion and Criminal Justice
2. Models of Criminal Justice
3. Responding to Anti-social Behaviour
4. Racism and Criminal Justice
5. Sentencing Reform
6. Parole

Comparative Criminal Justice

Crime and the Family

Crime, Political Ideologies and Political Culture

This option examines the causes, meanings and effects of this important development in contemporary societies. Its aim will be to examine the relationship between key concepts and traditions in political thought, the dynamics of electoral politics and political mobilization, and current developments in crime control. In so doing, it will introduce students to two important ways in which ‘politics’ intersects with questions of crime and its control. We will examine, first, the ways in which political debates over crime control are inescapably entangled with wider ideological contests between different political traditions and their competing conceptions of the good society (e.g. conservatism, liberalism, socialism, feminism, communitarianism), and with struggles over the meaning and significance of some key ideas in political thought (e.g. order, authority, legitimacy, justice, freedom, rights). We will be concerned, secondly, to examine the ways in which crime and punishment are taken up and used by actors within the political process - with the place, that is, that crime occupies within contemporary political cultures.

The course begins by introducing students to the ways in which debates about crime and its control are entangled with these two dimensions of politics. We then seek to explore these connections in more detail by considering three recent controversies in the politics of crime and crime control – namely, the role of markets in the delivery of policing and punishment, the return of ‘dangerousness’ as a political problem, and the comparative use of imprisonment. We conclude by examining the relationship between crime and democracy and address recent debates about the respective roles that knowledge and politics (should) play in determining crime and penal policy.

Human Rights and Criminal Justice

This course looks at the development of human rights principles within the criminal justice system under the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. Students are encouraged to think critically about the various stages of the criminal justice system in the UK, looking specifically at trial procedure, sentencing and imprisonment. This option is largely based on human rights case law and therefore it is most suitable for students with legal training. Non-lawyers considering this option should be aware that they will be expected to read case reports in preparation for seminars. The seminar topics are:

  1. Pre-trial Justice;
  2. Autonomous Meanings’: Criminal Charge, Penalty and Deprivation of Liberty;
  3. Silence & Self-incrimination;
  4. Theoretical Foundations of Prisoners’ Rights;
  5. Protection of Personal Liberty;
  6. Protection of Rights inside Prison.

Risk, Security and Criminal Justice

Key features of contemporary crime control are the rise of risk management and the pursuit of security. In the ‘risk society’ suspects are viewed less as bearers of rights than as carriers of risks that need to be managed and balanced against the public interest in security. This course analyzes the ways in which risk and security are transforming criminal justice thinking and practices. It explores the costs and benefits of these developments and examines the implications of security policies for justice and individual liberties.

The seminar topics are:
Week 1: Risk, Actuarial Justice, and the pursuit of Security
Week 2: Policing and Risk
Week 3: Crime Prevention and Community Safety
Week 4: Security and the War on Terror
Week 5: The Practices and Burdens of seeking Security
Week 6: Risk, Security, and Justice


People

Criminology teaching is organized by a Subject Group convened by:

Rachel Condry: Associate Professor of Criminology

in conjunction with:

Andrew Ashworth, QC: Emeritus Emeritus Vinerian Professor of English Law
Mary Bosworth: Professor of Criminology
Carolyn Hoyle: Professor of Criminology
Ian Loader: Professor of Criminology
Julian Roberts: Professor of Criminology
Lucia Zedner: Professor of Criminal Justice

Also working in this field, but not involved in its teaching programme:

Roger Hood: Retired. Formerly
Leila Ullrich: Research Officer
Federico Varese:

Graduate students working in this field:

Clara Feliciati: DPhil Law student
Arushi Garg: MPhil Law student
Alice Gerlach: DPhil Criminology student
George Mawhinney: DPhil Law student
Marion Vannier: DPhil Criminology student
Kate West: DPhil Criminology student

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Criminology and Criminal Justice

News

The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective. Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle

The 5th edition of Hood & Hoyle's The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective was published on 8 January 2015, and launched in the House of Lords on 13 January at an event hosted by Baroness Vivien Stern and the All Party Parliamentary Group Against the Death Penalty […]

Annual Roger Hood Public Lecture - Friday 5th June 2015

Annual Roger Hood Public Lecture - Friday 5th June 2015

Prisons and the problem of trust: contrasting approaches to risk, radicalisation and personal growth in two high security prisons

Professor Alison Liebling, University of Cambridge

Friday 5 June, 2015, 5pm, Lecture Theatre, Manor Road building

This lecture describes a newly emerging form of imprisonment in high security prisons […]

Discussion Groups

These self-sustaining groups are an essential part of the life of our graduate school. They are organised in some cases by graduate students and in others by Faculty members and meet regularly during term, typically over a sandwich lunch, when one of the group presents work in progress or introduces a discussion of a particular issue or new case. They may also encompass guest speakers from the faculty and beyond.

Police and Policing Research Discussion Group

Publications

Showing five recent publications sorted by year, then title  [change this]

Showing 5 of the most recent publications
Change to sort them by title | name | type OR
Show All 89 | Selected publications

2015

J Roberts (ed), Exploring Sentencing. Empirical and Normative Aspects of Legal Punishment in England and Wales. (Palgrave 2015) (forthcoming)

I Loader, 'Foreword: Towards what kind of Global Policing Studies?' in J Beek, M Gopfert, O Owen and J Steinberg (eds), Rethinking Policing in Africa (London: Hurst 2015)

M Bosworth and Turnbull, Sarah, 'Immigration Detention and the Expansion of Penal Power in the UK' in K. Reiter and A. Koenig. (eds), Extreme Punishment (Palgrave 2015)

M Bosworth, 'Immigration Detention, Ambivalence and the Colonial Other ' in Eriksson, Anna (eds), Punishing the Other (Routledge 2015)

M Bosworth, I Hasselberg and S Turnbull, 'Imprisonment in a Global Age: Rethinking Penal Power' in Y Jewkes, B Crewe and J Bennett (eds), Handbook of Prisons (Sage Publications 2015)

Courses

The courses we offer in this field are:

Undergraduate

FHS - Final Year (Phase III)

The degree is awarded on the basis of nine final examinations at the end of the three-year course (or four years in the case of Law with Law Studies in Europe) and (for students who began the course in October 2011 or later) an essay in Jurisprudence written over the summer vacation at the end of the second year. Note: the Jurisprudence exam at the end of the third year is correspondingly shorter. This phase of the Final Honour School includes the first and second term of the final year; the Final Examinations are taken in the third term of the final year.

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Why are criminal laws made? Why are they broken? How do we, and how should we, react to the breaking of criminal laws? These three questions are the stuff of criminology. They also occupy a central and controversial place in public and political debates about the condition and future of contemporary liberal democratic societies. This course provides students with the chance to study them in depth.
Criminology and Criminal Justice offers students an opportunity to study crime and the ways in which it is dealt with by the criminal justice system. It enables students to explore the nature of crime and its control by examining the issues at stake using the resources of legal, penal and social theory. It also offers students the chance to think about crime as a social phenomenon and to explore using criminological research and analysis how criminal justice and penal systems operate in practice.

The course is structured as follows: 18 lectures as well four classes and tutorials

Lectures, classes and tutorials are provided by several academics from the Law Faculty who are also members of the Centre for Criminology.

More information about the Centre for Criminology, including the All Souls Criminology Seminar Series, can be found on the Centre's website.

Diploma in Legal Studies

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Why are criminal laws made? Why are they broken? How do we, and how should we, react to the breaking of criminal laws? These three questions are the stuff of criminology. They also occupy a central and controversial place in public and political debates about the condition and future of contemporary liberal democratic societies. This course provides students with the chance to study them in depth.
Criminology and Criminal Justice offers students an opportunity to study crime and the ways in which it is dealt with by the criminal justice system. It enables students to explore the nature of crime and its control by examining the issues at stake using the resources of legal, penal and social theory. It also offers students the chance to think about crime as a social phenomenon and to explore using criminological research and analysis how criminal justice and penal systems operate in practice.

The course is structured as follows: 18 lectures as well four classes and tutorials

Lectures, classes and tutorials are provided by several academics from the Law Faculty who are also members of the Centre for Criminology.

More information about the Centre for Criminology, including the All Souls Criminology Seminar Series, can be found on the Centre's website.

Postgraduate

BCL

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from common-law backgrounds

Punishment, Security and the State

The proposed course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the theoretical underpinnings, justifications, and contemporary practices of punishment and security. The subject is approached from criminological, socio-legal, philosophical, and historical perspectives. The course explores the role of the state in the exercise of its most coercive functions against individual citizens – whether punishing those found guilty of criminal wrongdoing or taking security measures against those deemed to pose a risk to the safety of the public and the nation.

In Michaelmas Term it will focus on ‘why we punish’ by examining major debates in penal theory concerning the justification and rationale for punishment (not least desert theory and its critics, communicative and consequentialist theories). The second half of the term will consider ‘how we punish’ by exploring diverse social, economic and political aspects of punishment and examining whether it is possible to do justice to difference.

In Hilary Term the focus will shift from punishment to the pursuit of security and critically examine what is meant by security (whether, for example, as pursuit, commodity, or public good). Successive seminars will consider whether the growth of markets in private security and the development of communal and personal security provision evidence the fragmentation or dispersal of state power. They will go on to examine exercises in state sovereignty in the name of risk management, counterterrorism, and migration and border control. These reassertions of state power permit significant intrusions into individual freedom and the deployment of exceptional measures and the course will address important questions about the limits of legality and the balancing of liberty and security.

In Trinity Term two final seminars will provide an opportunity for critical reflection and engagement with issues raised throughout the course. The first will examine the case for ‘civilizing security’ and consider how security should be pursued, distributed, and governed and by whom; the second returns to the question of punishment to explore the notion of penal excess and the case for penal moderation.

The course will be taught by 12 seminars and 4 tutorials spread across Michaelmas and Hilary Terms (six seminars and two tutorials in each) with 2 further summative seminars in Trinity providing an opportunity for critical reflection on the whole course. The standard exam for the BCL (ie, 3 hour closed book) will be set.

The focus of teaching will be the weekly seminar which all those taking the course are required to attend. Students will be expected to read and think about the assigned materials in advance of the seminar. The seminar will be introduced by a Faculty member, followed by discussion, usually based around a set of questions distributed in advance. In addition the Centre for Criminology organizes seminars during the academic year at which distinguished invited speakers discuss current research or major issues of policy. This programme is advertised on the Centre's website and all students are encouraged to attend.

MJur

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from civil law backgrounds.

Punishment, Security and the State

The proposed course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the theoretical underpinnings, justifications, and contemporary practices of punishment and security. The subject is approached from criminological, socio-legal, philosophical, and historical perspectives. The course explores the role of the state in the exercise of its most coercive functions against individual citizens – whether punishing those found guilty of criminal wrongdoing or taking security measures against those deemed to pose a risk to the safety of the public and the nation.

In Michaelmas Term it will focus on ‘why we punish’ by examining major debates in penal theory concerning the justification and rationale for punishment (not least desert theory and its critics, communicative and consequentialist theories). The second half of the term will consider ‘how we punish’ by exploring diverse social, economic and political aspects of punishment and examining whether it is possible to do justice to difference.

In Hilary Term the focus will shift from punishment to the pursuit of security and critically examine what is meant by security (whether, for example, as pursuit, commodity, or public good). Successive seminars will consider whether the growth of markets in private security and the development of communal and personal security provision evidence the fragmentation or dispersal of state power. They will go on to examine exercises in state sovereignty in the name of risk management, counterterrorism, and migration and border control. These reassertions of state power permit significant intrusions into individual freedom and the deployment of exceptional measures and the course will address important questions about the limits of legality and the balancing of liberty and security.

In Trinity Term two final seminars will provide an opportunity for critical reflection and engagement with issues raised throughout the course. The first will examine the case for ‘civilizing security’ and consider how security should be pursued, distributed, and governed and by whom; the second returns to the question of punishment to explore the notion of penal excess and the case for penal moderation.

The course will be taught by 12 seminars and 4 tutorials spread across Michaelmas and Hilary Terms (six seminars and two tutorials in each) with 2 further summative seminars in Trinity providing an opportunity for critical reflection on the whole course. The standard exam for the BCL (ie, 3 hour closed book) will be set.

The focus of teaching will be the weekly seminar which all those taking the course are required to attend. Students will be expected to read and think about the assigned materials in advance of the seminar. The seminar will be introduced by a Faculty member, followed by discussion, usually based around a set of questions distributed in advance. In addition the Centre for Criminology organizes seminars during the academic year at which distinguished invited speakers discuss current research or major issues of policy. This programme is advertised on the Centre's website and all students are encouraged to attend.


People

Criminology and Criminal Justice teaching is organized by a Subject Group convened by:

Julian Roberts: Professor of Criminology

in conjunction with:

Andrew Ashworth, QC: Emeritus Emeritus Vinerian Professor of English Law
Mary Bosworth: Professor of Criminology
Rachel Condry: Associate Professor of Criminology
Carolyn Hoyle: Professor of Criminology
Liora Lazarus: Associate Professor of Law
Ian Loader: Professor of Criminology
Natasha Simonsen: Lecturer in Law, New College
Lucia Zedner: Professor of Criminal Justice

assisted by:

George Mawhinney: DPhil Law student

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