This double issue of the British Journal of Community Justice combines: our new open issue on the theme of 'Connectedness: Life in the time of COVID-19'; with the second part of our hate crime issue reflecting on the legacy of the 1999 MacPherson report also known as the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report.
The paper refreshes our understanding of the established definitions of race hate crime, before reflecting on the impact on victims and reviewing criminal justice responses. It explores the nature and context of offences, in order to look at the characteristics of perpetrators and their rehabilitation. It considers briefly whether the criminal justice response would be complemented by more emphasis on deterrence, before drawing to a summary and conclusion.
According to Beck (1992), key aspects of a risk society are the surveillance and management of risk, and the use of actuarial tools to achieve these aims. These have also been central tasks for the probation service and police when working with individuals convicted of sexual offending behaviour. Through an initial examination of the risk society thesis, this paper examines how risk came to be a dominant concept in the management of sexual offending behaviour in England and Wales. It will discuss the impact on criminal justice legislation and the work of probation officers who were tasked with working with these offenders. The dominance of risk in working with sexual offending behaviour has been strengthened by Acts of Parliament such as the Sex Offender Act 1997, which introduced sex offender registration, and the Sex Offender Act 2003. The actuarial tools OASys and Risk Matrix 2000 were designed to be explicitly focused on risk. Yet there is a growing body of literature which argues that a holistic approach is effective in enabling desistance; and with the development of more recent risk assessment tools such as the Active Risk Management System (ARMS), there are indications that approaches to assessing and managing risk reflect this ethos.
Adopting ‘community’ in policy making reflects a desire to generate a sense of belonging through increased citizen engagement with the state, despite the continuing contestability of the term and diverse experiences of ‘community’ (Mair, 1995; Hughes and Rowe, 2007). Definitions of ‘community’ include positive associations with attachment to place, activities and people (Wilmott, 1987), and ‘belonging’ stemming from shared experiences of adversity (Shapland, 2008). Communitarian theorists examine the relationship between citizens and the state, alongside broader structural conditions which impact policy implementation (Etzioni, 1995; Jordan, 1998; Hopkins-Burke, 2014). Policies focusing on ‘community’ embrace social cohesion and social capital theory as theoretical frameworks, as found with community justice initiatives, which claim to have a transformative effect through reducing crime, and therefore improving the quality of life for residents (Donoghue, 2014; Ward 2014). This paper uses secondary analysis and qualitative research to examine experiences of community and crime in Middlesbrough, through the lens of Layder’s (2006) social domain theory. The findings reveal that differing accounts of community are affected by crime, anti-social behaviour and broader structural changes. It reiterates the need for policy makers to better understand how community is experienced, and to re-examine what is required for the effective implementation of policy.
This paper highlights how qualitative research can enhance causal explanation in impact evaluations and provide additional causal leverage to findings from randomised experiments. We assess the extent to which randomised studies in criminology adopt mixed or multi-methodological approaches as seen in other fields such as health care, education and international development. We reviewed current practice in the design of experimental evaluations within criminology. Structured searched terms previously used to identify qualitative research components within randomised studies in health research, were used to search for evidence of mixed method design in 46 primary studies involving randomisation, published in four leading journals in criminology since 2013. Although such mixed-method randomised studies are increasingly seen in other fields such as health, education and international development, among the studies we identified in criminology and criminal justice our review reveals almost an entire absence of designs in which qualitative research is formally and explicitly integrated into study designs. We argue that randomised studies are significantly enhanced through incorporating explicit and planned mixed-method elements, and particularly qualitative research. We suggest reasons for this absence and what might be done to address it.
Restorative justice has increased in popularity as a response to crime that may prevent some of the counterproductive outcomes of conventional criminal justice and juvenile justice practices. Restorative justice may more effectively involve and respond to the needs of victims than conventional criminal justice and juvenile justice, and may confer benefits to offenders and communities. Despite increased interest from government actors and members of the public, there are no established evidence-based restorative justice practices. Significant gaps in knowledge remain in terms of program development, facilitator training, and program implementation, which undoubtedly contribute to the varied participant outcomes observed in the literature. These gaps in knowledge are attributable to the reliance on theoretical models of restorative justice and outcomes evaluations, without sufficient research examining the mechanisms that produce positive or negative outcomes for participants. This uncracked black box of restorative justice inhibits the identification of restorative practices that are beneficial to victims, offenders, and other affected parties across offense types.
The incorporation of restorative justice (RJ) into penal policy is not a neutral process; it actually re-shapes both the rationales and the functioning of RJ, possibly erasing its potential to be something ‘other’ and ‘better’ than criminal justice. Through a comparative analysis of policy on RJ in England and Wales, Norway and France, this paper claims that RJ’s promise to provide a cooperative-transformative approach to social conflicts and harms, predicated on de-professionalisation, direct stakeholders’ centrality and critique of punishment, is neutralised by the process of translating RJ into penal policy. The second part of the paper sketches out RJ as a critique of violence, outside any legal framework. Along these lines, it is possible to generate original insights into the current situation and future developments of RJ and, more broadly, into the corrosive dynamics of legal violence.
This paper explores the wider experience of racial and religious hate crimes, specifically anti-Muslim hate, through the use of semi-structured interviews. Importantly, the aim of the paper is to look at the experience and impact of anti-Muslim hate, and Islamophobia by Muslims and by those who are ‘misidentified’ by perpetrators as being Muslim. The experience of non-Muslim victims is key, as it has been comparatively neglected in existing research into Islamophobia. The article then moves on to the consequences that this experience can have upon the victim and their wider community as captured by reporting centres. These centres are a legacy of the Macpherson Inquiry and subsequent Hate Crime Action Plans to address the issue of the underreporting of hate crimes and community engagement. Finally, this article looks at the effectiveness of initiatives, victim support and community engagement as per the recommendations of the Macpherson Inquiry. Overall, the findings suggest that more coordinated efforts need to be made in regards to how the police engage with minority communities. Further recommendations would be to engage local communities and organisations to establish long-term initiatives and projects, with sufficient funding to support victims of not only hate crime but also anti-Muslim hate.
THE CRIMINOLOGY OF BOXING, VIOLENCE AND DESISTANCE Jump. D, (2020). Bristol University Press. pp221 (hdbk) £57.81. ISBN-10 : 1529203244 Jump’s publication The Criminology of Boxing, Violence and Desistance, presents a fascinating exploration into the exciting and, at times, contradictory world of pugilism. Employing an immersive ethnographic method, Jump utilises 3 in-depth narrative accounts of professional boxing coaches ‘Frank’, ‘Eric’, and…
Competing for Control: Gangs and the Social Order of Prisons Pyrooz, D. , Decker, H. (2019); 310pp, (pbk), (£26.58) Cambridge University Press; ISBN-10:1108735746 In Competing for Control: Gangs and the Social Order of Prisons, David Pyrooz and Scott Decker present a comprehensive academic analysis of prison gangs in the United States. The text is based on their ‘Lonestar Project’ – a longitudinal study looking at several aspects of prison gang membership, prison…