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Theses - Institute of Criminology


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  • ItemOpen Access
    A matter of trust: A mixed methods study on the reunification of children “who are looked-after” with their birth parents.
    Longhorn, Jake
    This thesis explores the process by which children “who are looked-after” are reunited with birth parents that have previously abused; neglected or been to some extent culpable or complicit in the harming of their child. Reunification as a practice has previously associated with high rates or re-abuse and neglect; and as a result, a high proportion of children returning to care. This study aimed to further explore the process of reunification in light of policy changes introduced in the last ten years, and from the perspectives of parents and children and young people going through the experience. Drawing on empirical data from the review of 100 cases in which reunification was attempted, this study found that the key predictors of reunification success was where birth parents were perceived as being engaged by professionals; children returned home as part of their care plan, and often to a family dynamic which was different to the one they had been removed from. Where reunification breakdown, and referrals to services post-reunification where breakdown did not occur, happened the children involved were more likely to be teenagers with complex needs and behaviours, where services had not adequately addressed these factors pre-return home. Seven case studies were developed through participant observation: semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. These case studies are discussed at length and highlight that major barriers to engagement with social workers from the perspectives of both parents and CYP is their previous ‘poor’ experience with services that they experience as unhelpful. Where social workers act in ways which re-affirm poor perceptions of social care more generally, the relationship with the individual worker and social care more generally, remains damaged. In some instances, social work professionals were able to overcome these barriers and develop more trusting relationships with mothers and CYP. In these cases, their perceptions of the individual worker were more positive, and they were also more likely to reach out in the future if issues arose; and to be honest and open about concerns as part of their assessment. Trust was key to ensuring positive outcomes associated with reunification, and in adding an element of futureproofing. It was also more apparent where social work professionals were perceived as legitimate by mothers and CYP. Thus, the research makes a significant and unique contribution to knowledge by further extending our understanding of reunification as a practice. It highlights the importance of engagement, and more specifically the development of trusting relationships through legitimate practice, as key factors associated with success.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Moral messages, ethical responses: Punishment and self-governance among men serving life sentences for murder
    Jarman, Ben; Jarman, Ben [0000-0003-3527-5437]
    This PhD uses theoretical and conceptual resources from the anthropology of morality and ethics to explore moral communication in the contemporary life sentence, as seen through the ethical lives of men serving life sentences for murder. Empirically, it describes three things. First, moral communication *about murder*: what a conviction for this crime and the experience of imprisonment for life ‘said’ to prisoners about who they were and whom they ought to become. Second, moral communication *within a life course*: how people with different pre-prison experiences reacted to the rupture in identity imposed by the sanction. Third, moral communication *through the language of risk*: an unclear (though dominant) medium which imposed demands some lifers found a comfortable ‘fit’, but others did not. These descriptions draw on interview and documentary data relating to forty-eight individuals: thirty in a long-term category-B prison, and eighteen in a category-D or ‘open’ prison focused on resettlement. All serving mandatory life sentences for murder, they were otherwise a heterogeneous group: convicted in diverse circumstances, aged from their teens to their seventies, and sentenced between 1983 and 2017. Their minimum terms ranged in length from less than ten to thirty years, and they had served between 7% and 250% of these minimums. Both in their backgrounds and in their custodial experiences, then, they formed a broad and diverse sample, affording a wide range of perspectives on the theoretical and substantive questions addressed by the research. The PhD adds theoretical depth and empirical detail to a growing literature on experiences of long-term and life imprisonment. It also comments on some implications of this empirical material for how retributive penal theorists have understood the *aims* of punishment—in particular, whether long-term imprisonment succeeds in communicating to prisoners what is *wrong* (as opposed to merely *harmful*) about taking life. It argues, overall, that the mandatory life sentence as currently delivered is a morally incoherent sanction. On the one hand, it is too individualised to convey clear moral norms or to show meaningful solidarity with those harmed and wronged by murders. On the other, it is not individualised enough to communicate effectively with murderers about the ethical responses that their actions might warrant.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘Purposeful Activity’: Masculinity and the Meaning of Prison Work Amongst Young Men in Three English Prisons
    Morey, Martha
    This thesis explores the relationship between masculinity and work amongst young men in three Category C prisons in England: HMPYOI Swinfen Hall, HMPYOI Isis and HMP Wealstun. Prison masculinities research has tended to focus on spectacular and hypermasculine behaviours. This is in sharp contrast to the nuance and diversity suggested by contemporary sociological studies of masculinities. One explanation for the narrow lens through which prison masculinities have traditionally been studied is that prisoners’ work experiences, both in prison and in the community, are often overlooked. By exploring prisoner masculinities, work experiences, and the relationships between them, this thesis endeavours to illustrate the complexity and multiplicity of prisoner masculinities, and the significance of prison work to studies of imprisonment. This thesis is based on research conducted in three prisons over nine months and involved prolonged periods of observations in prison workplaces alongside 88 semi-structured interviews with young male prisoners. First, the thesis describes prison work provisions across the sites and outlines four ‘purposes’ of ‘purposeful activity’ identified by participants. It demonstrates that prisoners believe prison work should be rehabilitative but in practice find it is primarily a means of coping with the pains of imprisonment, and that the largely unfulfilled rehabilitative ideal has consequences for trust, legitimacy, and staff-prisoner relationships that are often overlooked in prison sociology. Second, the thesis presents a typology of prisoner masculinities and explores how different men use prison work as a ‘masculinity resource’. It highlights the significance of work experiences – both in prison and in the community – to prisoner masculinities and demonstrates how distinct strategies for engaging with prison work shape prisoner society. These findings also suggest that it may be helpful to distinguish between prison work that is purposeful versus that which is meaningful, the latter being work that impacts prisoners’ lives long-term because of its relevance to prisoner masculinities and aspirations for future work. Overall, by promoting more nuanced discussions around prisoner masculinities and highlighting the value of further research into prison work, this thesis hopes to demonstrate how greater consideration of these subjects can facilitate a deeper understanding of prisoner society and the experience of imprisonment.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Policing domestic abuse in an English police force: navigating definitional boundaries and exploring tensions between policy and practice
    Shovel, Miriam
    This thesis presents a case study of domestic abuse (DA) policing in an English police force area. The majority of incidents attended by frontline police officers are flagged as DA. However, the definition of DA used in research does not always reflect the cross-government definition, which is also used as the police operational definition. In particular, numerous studies focus on abuse between current or former intimate partners (CFIP) only, often restricting analysis to heterosexual couples with a male perpetrator and a female victim. Given the expansion of the cross-government definition of DA over the past few decades, the findings and conclusions of such studies are insufficient, as they exclude analysis of DA between family members and non-heterosexual CFIP. It is unclear whether the emphasis on heterosexual CFIP DA found in much of the academic literature, as well as in policy documents and cultural representations, influences how police officers engage with the concept of DA. This thesis thus takes the cross-government definition of DA as the starting point for a mixed method empirical case study of DA policing, combining documentary analysis, analysis of police administrative data, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews. Doing so opens up opportunities to explore how the political prioritisation of DA, and the concurrent expansion of the cross-government definition and the policies surrounding it, has influenced police practice, whilst simultaneously considering the impact of other factors such as managerialist police reforms. Despite the vast academic literature focused on DA, little recent work on DA policing in England and Wales analyses DA within the broader policing role. The case study approach of this thesis thus provides crucial insights, analysing the policing of DA in its broader cultural and situational context, and recognising both the competing demands and resource constraints on officers, and the complexities and ‘messiness’ of many incidents that are flagged as DA. Drawing on feminist poststructuralism, attention is given to how police officers navigate and resist definitional categories when identifying and responding to DA, with particular focus on the operational definition of DA, as well as the categories of ‘victim’, ‘offender’, ‘positive action’ and ‘positive outcomes’. Descriptive analysis of police administrative data is pursued to understand what ‘counts’ as DA in the eyes of the police institution, to examine ‘positive action’ policy adherence through analysis of arrest records, and to consider factors associated with ‘positive outcomes’. I also develop an original research method, ‘relational analysis’, to explore how police and research understanding of DA can be enhanced by ‘reading between the lines’ of police administrative data to construct network diagrams of DA, creating linkages between ‘discrete’ incidents that would otherwise be missed. Participant observation and interviews are used to consider how both broader public stories of DA, and the CJS’s increasing focus on risk assessment, influence how officers understand and respond to DA. Furthermore, in-depth case studies of particular DA-flagged incidents are presented to examine the complexities of navigating the cross-government definition of DA in context, particularly when victim-offender overlap is present. In sum, this thesis situates police understandings of – and responses to – DA in their organisational, political and cultural contexts, generating theoretical, methodological and empirical insights that can aid future research and policy developments.
  • 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.
  • ItemOpen Access
    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.
  • ItemOpen Access
    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.