Theses - Institute of Criminology


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  • ItemEmbargo
    Penal Communication in Crown Court Sentencing
    This dissertation explores the nature of communication in sentencing remarks by judges in three Crown Court sites in South East England in order to form a sound basis for the evaluation of penal practices. It seeks specifically to uncover how, if at all, the notion of penal censure operates in this context. Sentencing is a key aspect of the criminal justice response to offending, and while there is a small but growing strand of research focusing on decision-making in sentencing, very little theoretical or empirical attention has been paid to judges’ approaches to communication at this significant moment. The topic is important for three main reasons: judicial pronouncements at sentencing have the potential to impact defendants’ desistance pathways, to affect victims’ abilities to move on with their lives, and to influence wider public perceptions of the legitimacy of justice, and confidence that criminal justice powers are used rightly. I seek to contribute to our knowledge by presenting a new account of Crown Court sentencing in 21st Century England, and by demonstrating that judicial communication at sentencing carries wider implications for the morality of our penal practices. The thesis is grounded in an empirical study comprising two parts: observation of sentencing in 50 cases involving 58 defendants and covering a range of offences, and a series of semi-structured interviews with 20 Crown Court judges. Most of the observed cases were presided over by the judges I interviewed, providing a rare opportunity to obtain insights into judicial behaviour in real cases from two perspectives. In presenting my findings I demonstrate the chaotic nature of the court context in which sentencing takes place and develop a fourfold typology of communication that emerged from the data: i) judges’ expressive use of ritual denunciation for public audiences, ii) the sharp treatment of defendants in the hope of deterring them from future offending, iii) some efforts to engage with defendants in a counselling manner to promote desistance, and iv) a communicatively arid, professional-focussed approach to sentencing that distances lay participants. By interrogating the nature of these different communicative approaches and judges’ perceptions of them, I illustrate a radical misalignment with censure-based theories of punishment that so readily cite expression as justification, and I highlight four interrelated critical problems for the legitimacy of sentencing. I argue that our current penal practices and their flaws are sustained not only by what defendants are sentenced to, but also by the way in which their sentences are passed.
  • ItemControlled Access
    The Albanian Cycle of Victimisation: Exploring the Pathways Between Maternal Exposure to Violence and Early Child Development
    Ramaj, Klea; Ramaj, Klea [0000-0003-3998-5532]
    Background: The implementation of evidence-based policies has been proven to contribute to the reduction of domestic violence and its social consequences. However, such data-informed preventive efforts tend to be limited to affluent countries. Although 80% of the world’s population lives in low-and-middle-income countries, most research on families, parenting, and child development has been conducted in Western societies. Objectives: This study presents novel data on maternal exposure to violence, wellbeing, maternal parenting practices, and child development in Tirana, Albania. The dissertation specifically aims to: (1) explore the relationship between exposure to violence, social support, and mental well-being among mothers of toddlers; (2) determine the predictors of positive and negative parenting practices among mothers of toddlers; (3) explore the links between maternal parenting practices and child behavioural outcomes; (4) investigate maternal warmth as a potential moderator of the relationship between mother-reported child maltreatment and child problematic behavioural outcomes. This PhD contributes to the scarce literature on domestic violence, parenting, and child development in Albania and in Western Balkans more broadly. Methods: Cross-sectional data were obtained between September 2020 and May 2021 from a representative sample of 328 mothers and 59 nursery teachers of toddlers recruited through eight randomly selected public nurseries in Tirana, Albania. The overall participation rate was 84%. The data were analysed using a range of methods, such as bivariate correlations, paired t-tests, one-way ANOVAs, regression models, mediation, and moderation analyses. Findings: Overall, levels of maternal stress and depressive symptoms increased significantly with the amount of violence the mothers had been exposed to. IPV significantly mediated the relationship between exposure to childhood violence and maternal mental well-being, and support from the partner significantly mediated the relationship between IPV and maternal mental well-being. Maternal attitudes towards child maltreatment were a dominant significant predictor of negative parenting practices and maternal sense of parental competence was a dominant significant predictor of positive parenting practices. Mother-reported total child behavioural difficulties were positively significantly predicted by child maltreatment and negatively significantly predicted by maternal warmth. Mother-reported child prosociality was further positively associated with positive parenting. Dissimilar results were present for the nursery teacher-reported behavioural outcomes. High levels of maternal warmth enhanced the effect that child maltreatment had on child behavioural problems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Prevention Not Cure: Targeting Influenced, Influencers and Convergence Spots to Stop Organised Crime from Happening.
    Denley, John
    Serious, organised crime is an endemic social problem. Despite the extensive literature on organised criminality, the evidence is primarily qualitative, based on selective samples, or both. Population-level data and new sources of information on this phenomenon are needed to overcome these issues. Moreover, the interventions currently available to prevent organised crime from materialising in the first place have shown little success in curbing this multibillion dollar industry. Social control apparatuses such as law enforcement are often understudied and, when such research evidence exists, it is often based on weak causal estimates of treatment effects due to methodological shortcomings. This dissertation attempts to fill these gaps by answering three interrelated primary research questions. First, whom should the police target to prevent them entering organised crime groups, rather than pursuing them once they’re in? Analysis of population-level intelligence and records on organised crime show that prolific offenders who have yet to join an organised crime group provide a suitable yet under-investigated group of offenders. Second, where are serious and organised crime offenders’ haunts or hangouts? By identifying the “convergence points” of gangs and organised crime group members, new locations can be identified and targeted with Protect and Prevent police tactics. Third, do prevention programmes effectively reduce crime originating from organised crime offenders? Using a cluster randomised control trial methodology, I test the deterrent effect of a ‘carrot and stick’ approach on recruits and measure the vicarious effect on their recruiters. The test shows significant impacts that are potentially replicable in other serious and organised crime areas and in other policing fields. This project's practical and theoretical implications are discussed, with a call for future replications of this approach.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Moral Order: A mixed-methods study of Student Officer self-legitimacy in the United Kingdom
    Bryden, Michael; Bryden, Michael [0000-0001-9597-7065]
    The study of police legitimacy is an established subject in criminology. However, until recently, research had largely ignored police perceptions of their own legitimacy. This was highlighted by Bottoms and Tankebe (2012) who argue that legitimacy is a ‘perpetual dialogue’ between power-holders, such as the police, and their audiences, such as the public. Drawing on the theorising of Max Weber, they developed what they call *self-legitimacy* or *power-holder legitimacy* to refer to the ways in which those in power seek to justify their authority to themselves and their audiences. Since then, researchers have begun to explore the predictors of police self-legitimacy and its impact on attitudes and reported behaviours. To date, research on self-legitimacy is largely cross-sectional and survey-based. This thesis uses a mixed-methodology to study self-legitimacy among a cohort of 97 student officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP). The students were surveyed and interviewed at the start of their police training (Wave 1) and again after they completed their tutor patrol phase (Wave 2). In addition, semi-ethnographic work was carried out at the Sedgley Park Training Centre and a police station. The fieldwork began May 2018 and was completed in January 2019. The survey results are analysed using Microsoft Excel and R. The qualitative data was analysed using Nvivo. From the analysis, a few things are clear. First, the students’ primary expectation is that they will be supported by their colleagues and supervisors. This included receiving backup during physical danger and guidance to help them improve in their role. They also believe they will have a generally positive relationship with the public. Second, the student officers construct their roles as protectors who safeguard people and uphold the law. They believe their authority is justified because it is necessary to carry out their crucial role. Third, the participants wish to become power-holders that are ethical and effective. In turn, they wish to avoid becoming corrupt police officers. Overall, the data suggests that the officers have well-formed beliefs about the police role and feel that their authority is legitimate. It argues that students are concerned with what is being termed ‘moral order’; that is, upholding social order in an ethical manner. This thesis concludes with practical implications and recommendations for future research.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Intergenerational Transmission of Convictions: Family Factors as Mediators
    Lee, Bomin
    Aims: To investigate the extent to which criminal conviction in one family generation predicts conviction in the next generation, and to identify possible factors and processes underlying both intergenerational continuity and discontinuity in convictions, with a focus, primarily, on family-related factors. Methods: Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used based on data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (CSDD). Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were used to establish the strength of intergenerational transmission of convictions across three generations and to identify childhood risk factors as possible mediators of this transmission. Based on qualitative prospective in-depth interviews, the case histories of eight CSDD men and their family members across three generations were presented to provide a picture of the complexity of factors and associated mechanisms underlying both intergenerational continuity and discontinuity of criminal behaviour. Results: I found evidence for the intergenerational transmission of convictions from G1 to G2 and from G2 to G3. Maternal transmission of convictions to children seems to be the strongest in most instances, irrespective of children’s gender. Evidence for some increased risk of convictions from G1 grandfathers to G3 grandsons and from G1 grandmothers and to G3 granddaughters was also found. The degree of intergenerational transmission of convictions decreased after controlling for family, socio-economic, and individual risk factors, but some risk factors that were important mediators for both G2 and G3 generations were related to the family home environments during childhood (such as poor parental supervision, parental separation, large family size, and low family income). Based on the life stories of the eight CSDD men, adequate parental supervision and monitoring, good relationships with parents, parental involvement in education, and high education attainments might act as protective factors, preventing some children from following in the footsteps of their criminal parents. Conclusions: In keeping with Farrington’s first two mechanisms involving risk factors, the intergenerational transmission of convictions could be at least partially mediated by negative family environmental factors and/or due to a constellation of adverse childhood family features which facilitated a number of antisocial and deviant behaviours, including criminal behaviour. There is some evidence that family environmental influences play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of convictions, although I cannot rule out the possibility of genetic influences.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Experience of Imprisonment Amongst Ex-Military Personnel in England and Wales
    Packham, Daniel
    There has been a recent surge in academic research into military veterans in the criminal justice system but little of this has focused on UK military veterans in prison. This study contributes towards filling this gap in the research literature. The study used semi-structured qualitative interviews with 35 serving ex-military prisoners in six prisons across England to explore the experience of imprisonment amongst UK veterans in prison. Using thematic analysis, it maps out participants’ life pathways, from childhood through military service and into prison. In doing so, it reveals the strong, persistent military identity that veteran prisoners held and the military mind-set that they employed in managing their lives in prison. It identifies clear similarities between the military and the prison, including the physical environment and their organisational structures and cultures, supporting Goffman’s (1961) conception of the total institution, while also highlighting differences between the fragmented, individualistic social world of the prison and the collective and cohesive social world of the military. The study found that veterans employed their military mind-set and drew on their experiences of encountering physical and mental hardships in their previous military service to cope with the pains of imprisonment. It discovered a preference for highly-structured and disciplined prison regimes, with some veterans exhibiting degrees of institutionalisation. It examines how veterans navigated the social world of the prison, struggling to relate to most other prisoners while often bonding with other fellow veterans. It also explores veterans’ attitudes towards authority, reflected in acceptance of their prison sentences, compliance with the institution’s regime and a belief in the legitimacy of the nation state. Finally, it reveals veteran prisoners’ concerns around their safety in prison and their positive perceptions of and relationships with prison staff, especially those who themselves were military veterans. Implications for policy-makers and practitioners managing military veterans in the criminal justice system are discussed, as well as proposed future areas of research.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Building pockets of peace. A case study using the "Veil of Ignorance" methodology
    Costa, João
    The relevance of local capacities for peace is increasingly recognised. However, the effectiveness of peacebuilding initiatives and their ability to meaningfully pursue the localisation agenda continue to be questioned by scholars and practitioners. The purpose of this research is to explore means that could address these issues and thus contribute to the minimisation of the impact of violence in small geographical areas. I seek to understand whether it is possible to develop a systematic procedure that consistently helps to lead communities to become pockets of peace. In the thesis, I explain how I conceptualised the “peace behind a veil of ignorance” (VOI) methodology. The starting point of the theoretical concept is political philosophy (Rawls’ theory of justice) which is complemented by research on emotions, social identity, and intergroup conflict. I detail the process of bridging the theory-practice divide: that is, how I moved from having a theoretical procedure to implementing two pilot studies in Guinea-Bissau with the United Nations Development Programme. The pilots targeted neighbouring rural villages that were involved in violent disputes related to incompatible land tenure claims and aimed at increasing peaceful coexistence between communities. I describe both the pilot projects and an attempt to evaluate them. The thesis explores how the substantive and the methodological become intertwined, the scholar and the activist are confronted, and the positions of power and vulnerability are questioned. The findings have implications for the VOI as a peacebuilding methodology, for peace studies as a scholarly discipline, and for researchers and practitioners who implement projects in conflict-affected scenarios. Overall, the work makes the case that it is possible to achieve a better balance between peace and violence and that the international community can enable local agency in ways that could be effective in sustaining peace – even without a large budget.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Can Police Officers be Taught to be Fair? Lessons from a Randomised Controlled Field Trial on Training in Legitimacy for UK Counterterrorism Police Officers
    Langley, Brandon
    This thesis attempts to produce several contributions to police legitimacy. It consists of various moving yet intertwining parts. First, to capitalise on the growing body of evidence on the effects of 'procedural justice training' to police officers we conduct a systematic review to trace, evaluate, and synthesise all the results of published procedural justice training tests. Nine rigorous experiments have met our eligibility criteria. Overall, the results suggest that police officers exposed to training programmes on procedural justice perform better than unexposed officers, on multiple outcomes. However, when subgrouping the effects based on different parameters, we show varying and at times non-significant effects , particularly with classroom- based training approaches and mixed components- based style of training on frontline police officers and recruits. We highlight areas that are presently short on evidence, as a guide for future studies in this area. Second, we explore the theoretical relationship between training on procedural justice on both self-legitimacy as well as audience legitimacy as outcomes. The degree to which police officers maintain higher levels of self-legitimacy is hypothesised to effect how they conduct themselves which, in turn, translates into improved audience legitimacy. We therefore test the effect of a bespoke training package aimed at stimulating an officer's inner conversations and promoting their sense of self or self-legitimacy as well as audience legitimacy scores. Frontline police officers working within counterterrorism settings were randomly assigned to training or control conditions within a large-scale cluster randomised controlled trial. The results suggest differing results in terms of both measures. We show that the training has no statistically significant effects on the degree to which officers retain the belief in their moral right to be bestowed with the powers vested in them to effectively discharge the performance of their duties. However, the training leads to interactions that are perceived by suspects as more legitimate. We conclude that through training, interactions between police officers and members of the public are perceived as fairer. Scholars and practitioners interested in audience legitimacy should therefore concentrate on legitimacy training in an attempt to improve policing.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence, Support, and Justice
    Munshey, Menaal
    Palestinian refugees represent one of the world’s largest protracted refugee situations, a sizeable number of whom live in 12 refugee camps in Lebanon. Camps have been described as overcrowded spaces with complex and hybrid forms of law and governance. Previous research has found that camp residents face multiple protection challenges and a high prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV). While IPV is a universal phenomenon, it is shaped by local conditions, cultures, contexts, and intersecting identities of victim-survivors. This study aims to understand how female Palestinian refugee victim-survivors experience IPV, seek support, and access justice within camps in Lebanon. It builds on previous literature, largely in Western contexts, on IPV, help-seeking behaviour, and access to justice. In the context of Lebanon’s plural legal system, this study is also situated in theoretical perspectives on legal pluralism, as well as hybrid security and justice. This exploratory study incorporates perspectives of a sample of four Palestinian victim-survivors of IPV and 25 experts. The experts included a civil judge, a judge from the Sunni Court, police officers, a policymaker, lawyers, social workers, NGO employees, and UN personnel, many of whom were Palestinians resident in camps. Findings suggest that Palestinian refugee victim-survivors primarily seek informal support through family members and may reach out to UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and local Palestinian NGOs for formal support. Specialised services remain restricted and limited within camps. The legal outcome that victim-survivors seek is commonly through religious courts to obtain a divorce and/or child custody. Within camps, the value of domestic violence legislation is diminished by the absence of state law enforcement agencies. The context of encampment, a complex governance system in camps, and the plural state legal system impact victim-survivors experiences of accessing justice. This is the first study of its kind; it provides thematic insights, theoretical contributions and poses future directions for research. Finally, potential implications on policy and practice relating to support and justice for IPV in Palestinian camps in Lebanon are discussed.
  • ItemEmbargo
    A Qualitative Analysis of the Narratives of Women Imprisoned for Killing in a Prison in Lahore, Pakistan
    Shafi, Faryal
    This dissertation addresses three key questions in the criminological understandings of gender and violence: Why do women convicted of murder kill? What are the particularities of the circumstances of the women charged or convicted of murder? Which particular structural constraints influence women’s decision to kill and in what ways? To answer these questions, I conducted face-to-face interviews with 33 women in a maximum-security male prison that also housed female prisoners in a segregated compound within in Lahore, Pakistan. These women had been remanded in judicial custody or convicted for murder. The results show complex interactions between agency and structural forces that shape women’s pathways to prison and violence. In particular, this study demonstrates the ‘situatedness’ of individual choices in an individual’s structural context. The results have important implications for criminological understandings of the relationship between agency and structure. This study also raises issues relevant to cross-cultural comparative studies of gender and violence and feminist scholarship.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Disentangling School Climate: Analysing the causes of problem and criminal behaviour in schools through the theoretical lens of Situational Action Theory
    McSharry, Liam
    While the exact role of schools is somewhat contested, most would agree that they should be safe environments where teachers can help to facilitate the healthy development of young people. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that problem and criminal behaviour is an issue in a significant number of schools in the UK and around the world. Criminology may have a role to play in helping schools prevent crime on campus and allowing schools to contribute to broader crime prevention. To do this, criminologists will need to help identify the causes of criminal and problem behaviour in schools, how schools develop crime and rule-breaking relevant traits, and the role schools play in shaping the development of their pupil’s crime relevant traits. This thesis aims to contribute to this project by applying the theoretical lens of SAT to the school setting and specifying the mechanisms through which criminal and problem behaviour are caused in their correct positions in the causal chain. Two sets of hypotheses have been developed and tested with analytical methods demonstrating that pupils with high crime propensity who perceive a weak moral context engage in criminal and problem behaviour at the highest rates; and that pupils who experience effective behaviour management and who perceive their parents will support the school in dealing with behaviour perceive stronger school moral contexts. Findings from tests of these hypotheses make an important contribution to the criminological knowledge base, particularly those concerning the role of individuals perceptions of their environment and offending and those concerning the factors that may influence individual perceptions of their school environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Decision-making in the Crown Prosecution Service: How do prosecutors make case decisions?
    Widdicombe, Benjamin
    Abstract Decision-making in the Crown Prosecution Service: How do prosecutors make case decisions? This thesis aims to develop our understanding of how Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors in England and Wales make case decisions. My main argument is that the official account of how prosecutors make decisions as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors provides only a partial and somewhat misleading picture of decision-making, and that other, broader, factors are at play. The research adopts Hawkins’s analytic framework of the ‘Surround’, ‘Field; and ‘Frame’ and develops it by using empirical data to explore, identify and map these wider factors. Drawing upon analysis of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, official documents, Crown Prosecution Service management data and interviews with Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors, my argument is developed by exploring four key areas: the history of trends in criminal justice and how they are reflected in successive editions of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, an exploration of the principles prosecutors consider when making decisions, the psychology of prosecution decision-making, and a comparison between those factors that show a statistical correlation to outcome and those that prosecutors identify as being important. The findings from the fieldwork suggest that the Code for Crown Prosecutors contains gaps and ambiguities and is interpreted and applied in a range of ways by prosecutors. Therefore, our understanding of prosecutor decision-making should be broadened and deepened by reconceptualising decision-making as resting upon a far wider set of factors. The analysis suggests that prosecutors reflect in their decisions some broader political trends across the criminal justice system; certain case factors, such as the offence type, defendant age and prior convictions are of particular importance, as are prosecutor views on key prosecution principles. The findings also suggest that prosecutors make use of mental shortcuts to come to quick case decisions when they are under pressure. The analysis suggests that Hawkins’s original model of decision-making can be improved by allowing for a greater integration and fluidity between the three analytical levels he proposed.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Explaining School-Based Aggression: A Situational Analysis of Peer Influence
    Kennedy, Laura
    Objective: This thesis examines the situational role of aggressive peers in the explanation of school-based aggression. Peer influence research has traditionally been limited by the neglect of person-environment interactions, the failure to specify and test plausible causal mechanisms, and the need for methodological developments. Responding to these challenges, this thesis applies and develops a robust theoretical framework – Situational Action Theory (SAT) – to theorise the mechanisms and conditions of situational peer influence in relation to aggressive behaviour. This thesis also pioneers an innovative application of the Space-Time Budget (STB) method to test this theoretical model and improve the study of aggression and peer influence in schools. Methods: The multimethod Peer Relations and Social Behaviour (PEERS) Study collected data from a random sample of 396 adolescents aged 13 to 14 at six diverse secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, UK. This study employed a cross-sectional questionnaire followed by STB interviews with a randomly selected subsample of participants (n = 90). The major methodological contribution of the PEERS study was the adaptation of the STB method to collect real-world situational data on the types of peers present in the setting for the first time. This thesis presents situational analyses of this unique STB data alongside traditional additive analyses of survey data to test the situational model of peer influence. Results: Both situational and individual-level analyses largely supported the situational model of peer influence. Findings showed that (i) aggression was more likely when aggressive peers were present than when adolescents were with non-aggressive peers, (ii) the effect of aggressive peers was greatest amongst adolescents with high aggression-relevant propensity (weak morality and a poor ability to exercise self-control), (iii) weak deterrence was most relevant when adolescents were with aggressive peers, and (iv) the effect of weak deterrence when aggressive peers were present was greatest for high propensity adolescents. Whilst adolescents with high propensity were situationally vulnerable to the influence of aggressive peers and weak deterrence, low propensity adolescents were situationally resistant to these aggression-conducive features of settings. Conclusion: These findings suggest that adopting a multisystemic approach to the prevention of school-based aggression is essential for maximising the effectiveness of intervention programmes. In addition, targeting aggression-relevant propensity may be more fundamental than reducing exposure to aggression-conducive settings for preventing aggressive behaviour in schools. Finally, the innovative STB method developed in this thesis and the unique real-world situational data collected in the PEERS study can inform future research on peer influence and the situational dynamics of aggressive behaviour in schools.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collective efficacy in micro-places: Exploring the perception and enforcement of moral rules in neighbourhood settings
    Cole, Sam; Cole, Sam [0000-0002-8815-1502]
    This thesis aims to contribute theoretically, methodologically, and empirically to the study of collective efficacy theory when used as a measure of moral rules and their level of enforcement in neighbourhood settings. The first part of the thesis explores how the concept of collective efficacy has been developed in socio-spatial criminological research, bridging the theoretical gap between Sampson et al.’s (1997) original measure of ‘contextual causality’ to one which has been reappraised as a micro-level explanation for crime within Situational Action Theory. Observing the concept of collective efficacy to be a highly localised social process, chapter 3 then explores theoretically how both physical and social features of settings may shape collective efficacy’s explanatory effect on crime in microplaces. Chapter 4 then focusses on the role and relevance of neighbourhood guardians in perceiving and enforcing neighbourhood collective efficacy across different settings – both within and outside of the home neighbourhood. In order to answer assumptions as to how setting moral rules can be both perceived and enforced by guardians across settings, the second part of the thesis sets out the rationale and results of the Peterborough Neighbourhood Guardians Study (PNGS), conducted in 2019. The PNGS interviewed 92 participants from a cluster of high collective efficacy neighbourhoods in Peterborough, UK. An adapted Space-Time Budget methodology was developed and deployed in order to explore whether participants could perceive changes in neighbourhood collective efficacy across settings encountered as part of their routine activity patterns. Exploratory analysis of STB interview data found that (i) variation in setting moral rules were perceptible to participants; and (ii) that these perceptions were influential in shaping individual willingness to intervene in settings. Given that the PNGS 2019 represents the first application of the STB methodology to guardianship research, the thesis concludes by offering methodological reflections on the use of the method in this context.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Retribution, Reciprocity, and Crime
    Svingen, Evelyn; Svingen, Evelyn [0000-0003-1002-7648]
    Criminology is a multidisciplinary science, and as criminologists, we take pride in that despite the complexities it might cause in the field. I make use of that multidisciplinarity in this dissertation by bringing together the knowledge from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and behavioural economics to shed light on one of the most unlikely explanatory mechanisms of crime: cooperation. Humans are unique cooperators: we exchange resources and help one another in a time of need. The tendencies central to understanding the mechanics of cooperation and most useful in explaining crime are retribution and reciprocity (Bowles & Gintis, 2011). In order to test these tendencies, I organise them into a Retribution and Reciprocity Model (RRM). RRM is based on the understanding that people possess different levels of negatively reciprocal, positively reciprocal, and retributive tendencies. These tendencies interact with the individual's perceptions of the environment and elicit a response that may or may not result in a crime. This dissertation is devoted to presenting, explaining, and testing this theory. First, I synthesize everything we know about retribution and reciprocity to bring both concepts into one testable model with a mechanism of action: RRM. Second, I develop the methods to study RRM using hypothetical scenarios, a decision-making game adapted from the field of behavioural economics, as well as a psychometric inventory. Third, I use these methods to examine and test RRM as a model and learn that people are retributive and reciprocal; and that these tendencies can explain criminal behaviours. Through three separate papers we gain a full understanding of what RRM is, how it can be studied, and how it can contribute to the field of criminology. Therefore, future research can easily pick it up and integrate it with other theories of crime in order to enhance our understanding of the “black box” of human decision-making.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Child Criminal Exploitation, County Lines & Victim Identification: An Exploratory Study
    Marshall, Hannah Jane; Marshall, Hannah [0000-0002-8236-0143]
    This thesis explores the processes by which young people involved in county lines drug dealing identify, and are identified, as victims of child criminal exploitation (CCE) in the context of the English youth justice system. Despite calls to recognise experiences of CCE among young people involved in county lines, the label ‘victim’ is still selectively applied, and many young people affected by CCE are still criminalised and labelled as offenders. This oversight has serious consequences for the lives of those affected. Yet at present we know very little about the processes by which victim status emerges in relation to CCE. This thesis addresses this oversight, drawing on in-depth interviews with 50 youth justice practitioners and 17 young people affected by CCE, and on over 100 hours of observations of activities relating to CCE victim identification within an English Youth Offending Service, conducted over the course of 18 months. Using a grounded theory approach, this thesis explores three key influences on processes of victim identification. Firstly, it examines the roles of youth justice practitioners, focusing on the impact of their conceptualisations of ‘exploitation’ and ‘victimhood’, as shaped by the organisational contexts in which they work. Secondly, it explores victim identification as an interactional process, examining how relationships between practitioners and young people, and between young people and their families and peers, influence processes of victim identification. Finally, it analyses young people’s reasons for rejecting, claiming, and accepting, status as CCE victims. The conclusion draws out the implications of this research for theory, policy, and practice. Through its exploration of the attribution of victim status as an ongoing process of negotiation and renegotiation, this thesis sheds light on new facets of victim identification, excavating its relational nature, developing the concept of the ‘scarcity of victimhood’, and demonstrating the ongoing challenges associated with victim identification in the context of the youth justice system. This thesis also takes the first step towards establishing a ‘critical youth victimology’, which engages with young people’s experiences of processes of victim identification. With regard to policy and practice, this thesis demonstrates that, because they so often fail, processes of victim identification do not adequately serve the needs of young people affected by CCE. I conclude by advocating for a social harm-focused approach which looks beyond the assessment of deservingness of support through the allocation of victim status, towards our collective responsibility to respond to the needs of all young people involved in county lines and the harms that they have experienced.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Crime Propensity in Collective and individualistic Societies: A cross-culture comparison between China and the UK
    Xun, Xiaoya
    Are the causes of youth crime the same in Western and Eastern countries? Western research based on Situational Action Theory (SAT) has demonstrated that young people’s crime involvement varies by their law-relevant personal morals and ability to exercise self-control (seen as the main sources of people’s crime propensity). The overall aim of this study is to test the cross-cultural generalisability of this core finding from Western research by exploring whether crime propensity, as conceptualised by SAT, can help explain (i) differences in crime involvement among Chinese youths, and (ii) the low level of youth crime in China (compared to what is typically found in Western countries). The thesis is based on a replication of the Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Developmental Study (PADS+) in the Chinese city of Anyi, and compares the findings from the two studies concerning the relationship between morality, self-control and offending at the ages 14-16. With three years' longitudinal research data following 588 young people, this is the first longitudinal study in China on youth and crime. The five main aims and findings of the research are 1. Testing, through an analysis of measurement models, whether the key employed measures of morality and self-control works cross-nationally, i.e., both in the UK and China (the findings show they do); 2. Testing whether morality and self-control predict variation in crime involvement in both countries (the findings show they do); 3. Assessing whether the lower level of crime involvement in China coincides with stronger morality and self-control, supporting the idea that the levels of morality and self-control in the population are an important factor in explaining aggregate levels of young people’s crime involvement (the findings support this assumption).
  • ItemOpen Access
    First time offenders as once and future victims: Using police records to explore the victim-offender overlap in the Turning Point Project
    Neyroud, Eleanor
    Introduction The victim-offender overlap is an important phenomenon in criminology (Jennings et al, 2012). The research supporting the existence of the overlap is undisputable and it is arguably one of the most significant facts in criminology (Bottoms and Costello, 2010). Current research has neglected critical areas and answers are needed about how victimisation and offending co-occur and how to identify those victim-offenders who are most harmed (Bottoms and Costello, 2010). Furthermore, there is limited knowledge about what effect interventions such as out of court disposals (OOCD) have on the overlap, or if there is potential to build a triage tool or algorithm to identify the most harmed in future. Research questions These will focus on four areas victimisation – including types, frequency and harm, the victim-offender overlap, the impact on police reported victimisation by an OOCD, and finally if from criminal and victimisation history prior to the intervention date can outcomes post be predicted. 1). What does victimisation look like in low-level offenders when explored through police records in terms of prevalence, frequency, types, and harm? 2). What are the patterns and relationships between victimisation and offending in this sample? 3). What is the impact of an out of court disposal that aimed to be as effective at reducing offending as sending individuals to court on victimisation? 4). Can victimisation be predicted, and can who is most at-risk of becoming victim-offenders be predicted? Methods This PhD thesis used the police records of offending and victimisation from the sample of low-level offenders taking part in the Turning Point Project. Which was a randomised control trial (RCT) comparing sending low level offenders through court processing against an OOCD. Victimisation and offending data were collected from police data systems (CRIMES, Police National Computer, and ICIS), matched manually using name and date of birth. Before being analysed in R, basic descriptive statistics, correlations, and odds ratios were used for the first two parts of the analysis. Results from the RCT were analysed using chi square, effect sizes and survival analysis. The final section of the thesis used cox’s regression and binomial logistic regression to examine the impact of pre randomisation variables. Results The victim-offender overlap was found to be extensive with 63% of the sample reporting a form of victimisation. Victimisation experiences and involvement in offending varied throughout the sample. Violence was most the most prevalent form of both victimisation and offending, caused the most victimisation harm, and had the largest overlap between victimisation and offending. The analysis of harm indicated these low-level offenders reported victimisations that equalled a total 82,180.5 harm points on the Cambridge Crime Harm Index. Using a harm score allowed five different groupings for victimisation to be created, based on the total harm and total number of victimisations suffered. Combining victimisation and offending in this sample showed some complex patterns, and while the two were clearly related this was not a simple positive correlation. The results of the RCT showed no effect of the intervention on male low-level offenders for either prevalence, frequency, survival, or harm for victimisation. However, a significant backfire effect on all measures was seen for female low-level offenders. Further research concludes this effect is most likely attributable to the significantly higher victimisation occurring prior to randomisation. Finally, the results of the regression analysis indicated key variables associated with increased risk, although the models used here produced high rates of false negatives. Victimisation is more likely to occur if the individual is still involved in offending and key predictive variables differ between victim only, offender only, non-involved and victim-offenders. With victim-offenders tending to be younger, be involved in offending or victimisation prior. Discussion Consistent with prior research low-level offenders show a substantial overlap, indicating that low-level can be experiencing problematic and concerning levels of victimisation. While the precise mechanism cannot be discerned from this study, it is proposed that understanding both the individual propensity and the environmental exposure is important. This provides some suggestions for beneficial interventions and how to target victim-offenders effectively. While the results here did not produce a clear case for the benefits of OOCD, the results indicated for male low-level offenders the OOCD was “as good as” preventing victimisation as court processing. This mirrored the findings for offending for the OOCD, suggesting that inventions that have null effects on offending are likely to have the same on victimisation. The picture for female low-level offenders is more complex, and while it is likely related to the initially higher levels further investigation would be advisable. Finally, while the models used here produced high rates of false negatives and were limited in their explanatory power, they did highlight key variables and groups to focus on. Indicating this may be an approach to explore further in future. Policy implications This research suggests six key considerations for policy: 1). Given the amount of victimisation present in low level offenders any policy aimed at low level offenders needs to be written with the explicit understanding that there will be high levels of victimisation present. 2). Prevention of violence is a key policy that should be taken from this thesis. Violence was the most prevalent form of both victimisation and offending and caused the most harm from victimisation. 3). Issues are not distributed equally throughout, and resources should be targeted to those suffering or causing the most harm. Using number alongside harm may provide a context that allows better targeting of resources. 4). Any intervention research into preventing offending needs to include a measure of victimisation alongside that of offending, and vice versa. Without these important effects may be being missed, and policy decisions are not being made based on the best evidence. 5). Due to the link between victimisation and offending in those where cooccurring issues are identified, interventions should aim to approach both simultaneously. 6). Victimisation, offending and becoming a victim-offending appear to be outcomes that could to some degree be predicted through algorithms or machine learning. Therefore, policy should consider utilising this approach to improve the accuracy of decisions. Conclusion The study reiterates the importance of the victim-offender overlap and indicates even among low-level offenders the overlap can be extensive and problematic. The results here present important findings on several aspects including the first known analysis of victimisation from a RCT aimed at prevention of offending. The potential to prevent future harm from the policy implications outlined in this study are potentially vast, and the approaching victimisation and offending simultaneously could produce wide ranging benefits. The victim-offender overlap should be the centre of future policy and research.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Intimate Partner Violence Victims’ Perceptions and Experiences of Criminal Justice Interventions: A comparative study of England and Portugal
    Gomes Ferreira, Joana Miguel
    This thesis is about criminal justice intervention and responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) against women in England and Wales, and Portugal. It emerges in the context of the avid debate in both countries concerning (in)adequate responses to IPV, which has recently occupied a centre stage position in the political, policymaking, and academic discourse. Research into intimate partner violence is increasing, reflecting new attention towards its high prevalence. There have been numerous studies on the intervention of the criminal justice system, for example, from evaluations of the efforts of prosecutors, to the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs. This field has also witnessed an increased focus on victims’ contacts with the criminal justice system, particularly on the interface between these and the police or the courts. Studies revealed both positive and negative experiences of victims with different criminal justice agencies, this being dependent upon the system’s responsiveness to victims’ needs for instance. However, as Hart (1993) claimed, victims’ needs are not always in alignment with those of the criminal justice system and its purposes, such as the punishment of the offender. It is therefore important to explore victims’ personal views and experiences concerning the criminal justice system and signal their needs and expectations regarding intervention. The present research seeks to address these issues, guided by the central question: what do victims see as an appropriate and legitimate response to IPV? Importantly, this is not explored through a sentencing lens; rather, this research might be better characterised as a victims' services study. Therefore, drawing from the examples of Portugal and England and Wales, it explores victims’ perceptions and experiences of criminal justice interventions in intimate partner violence, and how the impact of these interventions shapes their understandings of legitimate and appropriate responses. It also focuses on the perceived potential of restorative justice as a response to IPV. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifty-six female victims of IPV by male partners and thirty-one non-governmental and third sector practitioners across England and Portugal. The findings shed light on victims’ conceptions of fair and appropriate criminal justice intervention in IPV situations and suggest women present multiple and often competing conceptions of justice which are not always in alignment with the criminal justice system. They generate thinking on theory, policy, and practice and provide lessons for Portugal and England and Wales.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Dealings on the Dark Web: An Examination of the Trust, Consumer Satisfaction, and the Efficacy of Interventions Against a Dark Web Cryptomarket
    Harinam, Vincent
    Abstract Objective. The overarching goal of this thesis is to better understand not only the network dynamics which undergird the function and operation of cryptomarkets but the nature of consumer satisfaction and trust on these platforms. More specifically, I endeavour to push the cryptomarket literature beyond its current theoretical and methodological limits by documenting the network structure of a cryptomarket, the factors which predicts for vendor trust, the efficacy of targeted strategies on the transactional network of a cryptomarket, and the dynamics which facilitate consumer satisfaction despite information asymmetry. Moreover, we also aim to test the generalizability of findings made in prior cryptomarket studies (Duxbury and Haynie, 2017; 2020; Norbutas, 2018). Methods. I realize the aims of this research by using a buyer-seller dataset from the Abraxas cryptomarket (Branwen et al., 2015). Given the differences between the topics and the research questions featured, this thesis employs a variety of methodological techniques. Chapter two uses a combination of descriptive network analysis, community detection analysis, statistical modelling, and trajectory modelling. Chapter three utilizes three text analytic strategies: descriptive text analysis, sentiment analysis, and textual feature extraction. Finally, chapter four employs sequential node deletion pursuant to six law enforcement strategies: lead k (degree centrality), eccentricity, unique items bought/sold, cumulative reputation score, total purchase price, and random targeting. Results. Social network analysis of the Abraxas cryptomarket revealed a large and diffuse network where the majority of buyers purchased from a small cohort of vendors. This theme of preferential selection of vendors on the part of buyers is repeated in other findings within this study. More generally, the Abraxas transactional network can then be viewed as set of transactional islands as opposed to a large, densely connected conglomeration of vendors and buyers. With regard buyer feedback, buyers are generally pleased with their transactions on Abraxas as long as the product arrives on time and is as advertised. In general, vendors have a relatively low bar to achieve when it comes to satisfying their customers. Based on the results of the sequential node deletion, random targeting was found to be ineffective across the five outcome measures, producing minimal and a slow disruptive effect. Finally, these strategies are based on a power law where a small percentage of deleted nodes is responsible for an outsized proportion of the disruptive impact. Conclusion. As with all applied research examining emergent phenomena, this thesis lends itself to a more refined understanding of dark web cryptomarkets. While the results and conclusions drawn from these results are not perfectly generalizable to all cryptomarkets, they should serve to inform law enforcement on the dynamics which undergird these markets. To this extent, a sombre consideration of trust, consumer satisfaction, and tactical effectiveness of interventions is a necessary step towards the development of more effective countermeasures against these illicit online marketplaces. For law enforcement to be more effective against cryptomarkets, it is advised that an evidence-based approach be taken.