Abstract

The authority of the state to police, prosecute and punish springs from its duty to protect. Public safety grounds and justifies the coercive powers of the police and the pains of punishment: it is the normative bedrock of criminal justice. Yet the very exercise of these coercive powers seriously threatens the security of the individual citizen from the state. The history of criminal justice is beset by the tension between state coercion in the name of public safety and protecting the individual from unwarranted state power. This lecture explores this tension as it has played out in the practices and concrete institutions of criminal justice, and in the principles and values that inform them, during a period in which the pursuit of security has gained ever greater salience. New security-driven criminal offences, proceedings, and punishments not only provide academics with novel objects of enquiry, they have also provoked new seams of scholarship that grapple with the challenges posed to core conceptions of criminal justice. In considering the history of criminal justice in the service of security it asks whether the institutions, practices, values, and indeed the discipline of criminal justice today, would have been recognisable fifty years ago.

The Annual Roger Hood Public Lecture Series

This highly prestigious annual public lecture series was launched in 2006, with the inaugural lecture given by David Garland, to honour and celebrate the long and distinguished career of Professor Roger Hood and his particular contribution to Oxford Criminology.

Register here for the lecture.

A drinks reception will be held in the Common Room after the lecture.