Articles

TIME TO RESET THE CLOCK ON THE DESIGN OF IMPACT EVALUATIONS IN CRIMINOLOGY: THE CASE FOR MULTI-METHODOLOGY DESIGNS

Published: 23/07/2020

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.

Editorial (Volume 16, Issue 1)

Published: 04/06/2020

Reflecting on the findings and recommendations of the MacPherson report, this is the first of a two-part special issue which examines the processes of hate crime (the term now used to include all crime motivated or aggravated by prejudice, not just racism) from the perspectives of victims, victim services, the criminal justice system and perpetrators.

MORE THAN A TICK-BOX? THE ROLE OF TRAINING IN IMPROVING POLICE RESPONSES TO HATE CRIME

Published: 04/06/2020

In the years since the publication of the Macpherson report, many countries across the world have implemented policy and legislative frameworks in order to respond more effectively to hate crime. Within the UK, and despite laudable progress in some contexts, a set of significant challenges remains in relation to the under-reporting of hate crime, widespread victim dissatisfaction with police responses and inconsistent recording practices. This broader landscape of flawed responses illustrates the need for and importance of effective training for police professionals. However, little is known in connection to what training is delivered and to whom, despite a series of government action plans committing to the rollout of a national training package.

Drawing from a body of empirical evidence gathered from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, in-depth semi-structured interviews and observations of police training, this article highlights that although hate crime training is being delivered within forces, a series of structural, organisational, operational and individual barriers are undermining its delivery and effectiveness. At a time when levels of hate crime are rising, it is imperative that police officers and staff are equipped with the necessary understanding and skills to deliver a service which meets the needs of diverse communities. This article identifies how existing training provision can be improved in order to facilitate such an outcome.

IMPLEMENTING POLICE-LED RESPONSES TO HATE CRIME: A CASE STUDY OF ONE ENGLISH NORTHERN TOWN

Published: 04/06/2020

Since the seminal 1999 Macpherson report, hate crime has become a barometer for contemporary police relations with vulnerable and marginalised communities. The need to understand hate has resulted in a demand for impartial law enforcement and skilled police officers who appreciate the nuances of hatred and its impact on vulnerable populations. However, whilst the police are increasingly expected to be active agents in the response to hate crime, they continue to be criticised for over-policing and under-protecting certain communities.

This paper examines the insights of key stakeholders involved in policing anti-Muslim hate crime in a northern town in England, gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews with the region’s police force and a third-sector agency. The paper unpacks what the policing of anti-Muslim hate crime entails, drawing upon the role of different agencies and providing lessons for the services involved in the current police-led model. Our results point to variability in understanding what constitutes anti-Muslim hate crime; challenges in understanding and responding to victims’ needs with limited resources; and the need for a system which extends beyond a criminal justice response.

“I HOPE THE RIVER FLOODS”: ONLINE HATE SPEECH TOWARDS GYPSY, ROMA AND TRAVELLER COMMUNITIES

Published: 04/06/2020

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities experience hate and discrimination in a range of public and private arenas. Online spaces are a relatively new outlet for hate against GRT groups and fuel offline responses. This article outlines UK cases of online hate speech reported to Report Racism GRT, a third-party reporting website for incidents perpetrated against GRT communities, from its inception in October 2016 to February 2018. Our analysis found that online hate is primarily manifested through abuse on social media and is often incited by the mainstream media. A key trigger for online hate is the arrival of new camps, and a shortage of legitimate sites fuels the tensions. We consider the need to ease tensions over site provision; the need for a more serious response to online hate speech; and the need to ensure that policy-makers and practitioners are aware of how they may be affected by problematic and racist assumptions about GRT communities.

‘PEOPLE GET KILLED CAUSE OF THERE [THEIR] SKIN. IT CANNOT BE STOPPED’: A MIDLANDS CASE STUDY CONSIDERING EXPERIENCES OF RACISM AMONGST PUPILS IN UK SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND THE COMMUNITY

Published: 04/06/2020

This paper investigates UK pupil experience of racism and race-hate-related extremism.
World Café research was conducted with 57 school and college pupils aged 14–17 years
from a city in the Midlands. The college students mainly reflected upon their secondary
school experience. Follow-up questionnaires captured demographics. Just under half of the
participants were black and minority ethnic (BAME) pupils, and the rest were white British.
Race-hate victimisation ranged from verbal abuse to physical assault, including
Islamophobic abuse (including headscarves being removed) and attacks with weapons.
Some experiences indicated underlying far-right extremist ideology. Teachers were
perceived as favouring white pupils when incidents occurred, with some teachers described
as ‘racist’. As well as racial hate between white and BAME pupils and between BAME pupils
of different origins, inter-school racial conflict was apparent. Schools with higher BAME
pupil populations were negatively labelled by pupils from white majority schools. Both
BAME and white pupils reported being victims of racial abuse, but BAME victimisation was
more apparent in school. Race-hate in schools was reflected in the community and
exacerbated through social media communication and media reporting. The British
government needs to better address racism and race-related far-right extremism in schools
in conjunction with community efforts.

REINTERPRETING THE UK RESPONSE TO HATE CRIME

Published: 04/06/2020

This paper considers the motivation and function of the UK’s hate-crime framework, offering a historically located interpretation. It discusses the development of legislation to combat discrimination- and prejudice-motivated harassment and offending before examining recent assessments of the UK’s approach. It then provides a cursory examination of the historical context in which the UK’s legislative and policy developments emerged. After exposing the limitations of the current UK response and framing this in a wider domestic and international context, the paper concludes by arguing that the UK’s evolving hate-crime policy framework currently remains partial and serves to obfuscate its social control objectives, along with the political anxieties related to the ideological and political threats and disorder that underpinned its development. The article concludes by arguing that the current framework has recently downgraded – and increasingly sidesteps – the need to address internal manifestations of illiberalism, including institutional discrimination, workforce representativeness, racial and religious disparity, and equal opportunities.

COVID-19 IN CUSTODY: RESPONDING TO PANDEMICS IN PRISONS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Published: 21/05/2020

COVID-19 was first detected in the prison estate in England and Wales in March 2020 and spread rapidly amongst prisoners and staff. Several policy initiatives were introduced in an attempt to improve the ability to carry out social distancing within the prison estate, reduce the transmission of the disease within prisons and manage cases as they arose. Policies which involved the temporary release of prisoners, increasing accommodation levels within the estate and the cohorting of prisoners presenting with symptoms were all introduced in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the disease. These policies were neither effective nor implemented in a timely manner, and the delay risked increasing the spread of the disease throughout the prison estate. Drawing upon evidence from both public health and social policy research, the following commentary discusses the impact of COVID-19 within the prison estate, and the effects of a policy approach that lacked timeliness and action, on the effective management of pandemics in prison.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Making a restorative criminal justice system a reality

Published: 29/11/2019

Since our very first issue, the British Journal of Community Justice has sought to examine the potential for restorative practice to be applied to the criminal justice system. Guy Master’s paper, published in Issue 1:1, was written while he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Restorative Justice, Australian National University. At the time he was on leave from his post as Referral Order Manager at the Essex Family Group Conferencing Service. Guy’s paper reflected on the involvement…

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