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The UK's premier new media criminologist - on Twitter @criminology4u, facebook and blogging on Criminology in Public and Sports Criminology.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

British Society of Criminology Brian Williams Prize Shortlist 2013

The Brian Williams Prize was established to honour the memory of Dr. Brian Williams, who was Professor of Community Justice and Victimology at De Montfort University, and who died tragically in 2007.  The prize reflects the desire of the British Society of Criminology to encourage and recognise the achievements of new members of the criminology profession, and is awarded to the author of a criminological article, who is a “new” scholar, published in a refereed academic journal.
Here is the short list.

This article analyses the recent expansion of immigration offences in Britain. Drawing on criminal law scholarship, it considers the reasons for relying on the criminal law in immigration enforcement. On the one hand, criminal law is used symbolically. In this view, the creation of criminal offences may be read as an attempt to appease a sector of the electorate, the media and the Opposition about the ‘immigration problem.’ By introducing these offences, the government sent a message that the situation is under control. On the other hand, the criminal law serves regulatory functions, offering the UK Border Agency a range of options for dealing with unwanted immigrants. In practice, most immigration offences are rarely enforced. Instead, the criminal law often seems to primarily work as a threat, relied on to enforce compliance with immigration rules. A criminal prosecution is reserved for those foreigners for whom the primary sanction
–expulsion- cannot be carried out. In these cases, a criminal prosecution and conviction facilitate administrative proceedings leading to removal. Given that the criminalization of immigration breaches is in stark contrast with a number of criminal law principles, this paper argues that the normative justification of criminal law in immigration matters is
weak and it should have no role to play in the enforcement of immigration rules.


Though criminological literature has paid attention to the use of informers in ordinary law enforcement, there is a research gap regarding their usage in contexts of conflict and political violence. This article explores the social, political and security functions of IRA informers in the transition from conflict in Northern Ireland. Based on that experience, it develops four heuristic models regarding informers that the paper argues may be of direct relevance to other conflicted and transitional societies. These are the informer as folk devil, the informer as rumour, the informer as political manipulator, and the informer as celebrity. All these themes demonstrate the long-term effects of the use of informers during the Northern Ireland conflict—an important finding given the increasing prevalence of the use of informers in a political context.

This article examines the role of female police officers within the context of developing ‘soft’ policing initiatives designed to divert young people away from crime. Within the police culture literature, a masculine model of policing associated with coercive crime fighting tasks is often contrasted with a more cooperative, problem-solving and compassionate mode of police work. The latter model is viewed as serving to create a more legitimate structure for female police officers to work within, involving increasing trust and cooperation in communities and engaging with community crime prevention strategies. The aim of this article is to assess the role of female police officers within recent changes under the auspices of community policing reform in England and Wales, highlighting the role of female officers in enacting ‘soft’ policing initiatives in collaboration with social work and other community agencies. This raises some limitations of the conventional police culture literature by illustrating the ways these operations have carved a niche for female officers, in addition to altering the style of policing across certain sections of the organisation more generally.

Drawing upon semi-ethnographic research, this article explores desistance in process among serious offenders residing in democratic therapeutic communities. It is argued that offender rehabilitation in therapeutic communities involves a process of purposive and agentic reconstruction of identity and narrative reframing, so that a ‘new’ and ‘better’ person emerges whose attitudes and behaviours cohere with long-term desistance from crime. This is possible because the prison-based therapeutic community, with its commitment to a radically ‘different’ culture and mode of rehabilitation, socially enables, produces and reinforces the emergence of someone ‘different’. The article therefore develops existing understandings of change in forensic therapeutic communities, and reaffirms theories of desistance which emphasize the importance of pro-social changes to the offender’s personal identity and self-narrative.

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