Dr Cassandra Cross wins two awards at #ANZSOC 2017

Dr Cassandra Cross, Senior Lecturer, School of Justice, Faculty of Law, QUT was won two awards at the 2017 ANZSOC Conference.

The first is for the best publication by a new scholar in 2016 – ‘They’re Very Lonely’: Understanding the Fraud Victimisation of Seniors’ International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Vol 6 (4).

The second is the Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award for the best publication or report on Crime Prevention.

Congratulations Cassandra from your colleagues at CJRC.

VC Excellence Awards for Law and Justice Staff

Today the VC Awards for Excellence were presented by the Dean, Professor John Humphrey for staff in the Faculty Award. The winners, photographed above, included an award for Alison McIntosh, in recognition of her outstanding management as Journal Editor of the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

Dr Matthew Ball, Senior Lecturer in the School of Justice, was presented with two awards, one for Excellence in Research and the other for Excellence in Teaching.

Professor John Scott, Dr Bridget Harris and Robyn Johnston were presented with a VC Excellence Award for their organistion of the International Conference, on Crime and Justice in Asia and the Global South, which was a tremendous success.



Vol 6 (4) International Journal for Crime, Justice & Social Democracy just published

Vol 6(4), the special edition of International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy on ‘Corruption Downunder’ edited by Scott Poynting and David Whyte, has been published online (as of today, 1 December 2017). The article are free to download and to share.  Please send/tweet/share to your lists.

You will see on the journal’s home page, ahead of the Table of Contents for the issue, that this journal was recently ranked in Q2 by Scopus and has been scored as the top Law journal in Australia. We hope this distinction for the journal will contribute towards interest in your articles and the issue as a whole.

#CJRC staff and adjuncts win awards at the American Society of Criminology

Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz, from the CJRC, and her two co-authors Professors Walter Dekeseredy and Marty Schwartz were awarded the best book prize by the Victimology Division of the American Society of Criminology , 2017.

In another prize ceremony Professor Rob White from University of Tasmania, and adjunct professor with the CJRC, QUT won the Lifetime Achievement Award, Division of Critical Criminology, ASC, 2017. Rob was also recognised for his global contribution to criminology, by the International Division of the ASC.

Professor Marty Schwartz with Professor Rob White

International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy ranked top for Law for Australia

The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy  has been ranked by Scopus as the top Law journal in Australia. The journal has been steadily growing in international stature and recognition with over a quarter of a million downloads from all over the world. It only just became eligible for ranking.

It is extremely gratifying to be ranked in Q2 (second quartile) by Scopus for Journal Quality, a not insignificant feat for a new journal from the global south, given the way this data base is skewed towards journals from the English speaking countries of the global north.

Moreover, within Australia the Journal is ranked as number 1 for all Law journals included the Scopus data base. The editors wish to acknowledge the hard work on the International Editorial Board  and dedicated authors in achieving this international level of success. For details on how to submit click here

For ranking details click here.

The Editors

Professors Kerry Carrington and John Scott

Assistant Editor

Dr Kelly Richards

Open Letter to PM Calling for National Royal Commission into Youth Detention

youth in chair restraint

Open Letter to the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull

Re: Extend the Terms of Reference Royal Commission Into Youth Detention to All Australian Jurisdictions

The disturbing issues raised by ABC’s 4Corners Program on the detention of young people are not confined to the Northern Territory. The terms of reference for an effective Royal Commission needs to include all young people in detention across all Australian jurisdictions – for the following reasons.

Over-Representation of Indigenous Youth in Detention is a National Issue

While the NT has the highest number of Indigenous youth in detention, their over-representation   is a chronic feature that adversely affects every Australian jurisdiction. Additionally, over the last five years the rate of over-representation of Indigenous youth in detention has continued to rise. While accounting for around 6% of those aged 10-17, Indigenous youth comprise more than half (54%) of all those detained across Australian jurisdictions (AIHW, 2016:17). This means Indigenous youth are 20-24 times over-represented in juvenile detention compared to non-Indigenous youth. Social and historical inequality underlie the causes of Indigenous inter-generational incarceration. Australia cannot continue to incarcerate its way out of these deeply social, cultural and economic problems. We might “contain” the problem for the briefest moment, but the effects of custody will endure and eventually wreak further havoc – into the next generation.

Use of Detention as a Last Resort is inconsistently upheld by all Australian jurisdictions

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights to the Child (to which Australia is a signatory),[i] custodial detention of young people is a last resort. Yet youth detention is increasing in Northern Territory and Queensland, and only declining slightly in most states over the last five years  (AIHW, 2016: 13). The provision is routinely flouted in all jurisdictions. If secure care has to be used, it should be used only for violent offences or those which pose extreme and immediate risk to public safety. About 80% of proven offending by juveniles is for non-violent activity (see latest ABS numbers for youth offenders). Around 40% of juveniles sentenced to detention are there for a principal offence which is non-violent (theft or unlawful entry with intent). Hence most of the young people in custody pose no direct threat to the community and would be more suitable candidates for community based corrections.

Youth detention is generally ineffective in rehabilitating young offenders and reducing their rates of recidivism (Carrington & Pereira, 2009; Cunneen, White and Richards, 2015). It is also extremely costly. In 2014-15 $438 million was spent on Australia’s 17 youth detention centres – to detain an average of 885 children per night (Children’s Commissioners, 2016). This costs $1,336 per evening per detainee. The alternatives to custodial sentencing, are not only considerably cheaper, but are less harmful and more effective in rehabilitating young offenders and deterring re-offending (Richards and Renshaw, 2013).

Most young people in Detention are on Remand – for no good reason at great expense

Over half of young people in detention at any one time are on remand (AIHW 2016). This exposes far too many children to short bursts of incarceration by stealth. Richards and Renshaw’s (2013) national study of remand for young people found that a diverse range of factors have influenced rates of remand, including the increasingly complex needs of young offenders, police performance measures, lack of alternatives, and the influence of victims’ rights. Custodial remand is very costly, has harmful effects on children and probably does little to enhance community safety (Richards & Renshaw 2013; Carrington and Pereira 2009, White 2014). The adverse impacts of placing so many  young people on custodial remand, include: separation from family and community; disruption to educational and employment opportunities; lack of access to rehabilitative programs; association with sentenced offenders; and much more (see Richards & Renshaw 2013 for an overview).

Detention without Brutality

If juvenile detention facilities have to exist, they should be run on therapeutic principles. What happened in the NT was not necessarily the product of a few “sadistic” correctional officers doing a few horrific things to vulnerable children. It reflects a toxic culture that put the twisted philosophy of “tough love” above the welfare of incarcerated children.  The abuse is a systemic institutional issue and not a problem created by a few correctional officers.   The use of restraints, isolation and humiliating punishments in detention is strongly discouraged by international research – not least because it so often leads to the re-traumatising of an already vulnerable group (Australian Custodial Australia’s Children Commissioners and Guardians, 2016).  While custodial environments are about control and containment, that does not mean they have to be about brutality. Control can be achieved dynamically through negotiation and through the long hard yards of consistently reinforcing children’s dignity and their right to be heard and taken seriously – even and especially in custody.  Victoria is on the cusp of pushing through widespread changes to the juvenile custodial system with a therapeutic approach to be the desired norm.  Research demonstrates that the “best” custodial spaces (those least likely to perpetrate abuse) are those which pay close attention to  the nature of, and relationship between, organisational climates (the larger forces of partisan politics, budgetary constraints, public demands, etc), organisational structures (the laws, regulations, and administrative arrangements set up to ensure security and safe dealings within correctional settings) and organisational cultures (the informal norms and customs developed by groups within organisations that are oriented towards coping with external and internally driven challenges) (Goldsmith, Halsey, Groves, 2016: 19-27). While many youth workers in the juvenile justice system  strive to support young offenders,  few, if any custodial facilities in Australia can claim to adequately balance these issues. While there is some reasonable scepticism that a Royal Commission will resolve these problems, it will certainly provide the driver needed across Australian jurisdictions to forge an urgently needed new culture in custodial settings. More importantly it could be the driver needed to put in practice the provision of custodial sentencing as a last resort.

Professor Kerry Carrington and Dr Kelly Richards QUT, QLD,  Professor Mark Halsey Flinders University,  SA, Professor Chris Cunneen, UNSW,  NSW, Professor Rob White and Associate Professor Angie Dwyer, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, and Professor Judith Bessant, RMIT, Victoria.

27 July 2016

[i] Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by the Commonwealth stipulates that States Parties shall ensure that ‘(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time’. These principles are echoed in other international instruments including the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Helping Ourselves to Deal With the Pain of Others: Secondary Traumatization Syndrome and Vicarious Traumatization


Originally posted on 18/02/2015 by Border Criminologies

Guest post by Shlomit Weiss-Dagan (MSW), a clinical social worker in a social welfare department, Jerusalem, and PhD candidate (social work) at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Shlomit is currently in Oxford.This post is the third instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies, organised by Prof Mary Bosworth

Trauma can be emotionally contagious. I have experienced it personally. While I was a social worker, I was exposed to many kinds of human trauma, including cases of child abuse. Gradually, the distress I was witnessing at work intruded on my inner, personal sense of security. I only noticed what was happening during a holiday with my family. My father took my nephews to his bed to read stories to them, just as he used to do in my own childhood. As a social worker exposed to many kinds of child abuse, I found myself, walking into my father’s room and checking that ‘everything was fine.’ Needless to say, I had a happy and healthy childhood. My dad looked at me and realized what I was doing. He had huge disappointment in his eyes. Later on, he told me that it was one of the most difficult moments of his life. That was the first time I realized what exposure to trauma can do. READ MORE ….

Suspicious Minds and Unwelcome Researchers: Obstacles Encountered When Researching Forced Return in Sweden

 logo_en Malmöhögskola

This post is the second instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies, organised by Prof Mary BosworthGuest post by Daniela DeBonoSofia Rönnqvist, and Karin Magnusson, research fellows at Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare, Sweden. In this post, Daniela, Karin, and Sofia address the challenges they faced while conducting field research for the project Migrants’ Experiences of Involuntary Return, funded by the European Return Fund

Forced return in Sweden is characterized by heavy politicization, systemic fragmentation and is shrouded in a veil of securitization. Forced return is both an organized activity, with different state and non-state authorities involved, and an activity that seeks to end a relationship of responsibility between the state and the non-citizen. The forced return migration process is generally not conceptualised as a comprehensive process by policy-makers or practitioners but rather as a loosely linked series of activities that eventually lead to the return of the migrant. This is possibly due to the disparate institutional actors involved. For migrants however, the actual “end threat” of removal to their country of origin is very real and hangs like a dark shadow on their existence for as long as they hold temporary permits of residence. This dark shadow of deportation takes on new and tangible proportions through the institutional forms and practices that migrants, who have either failed their application for asylum or who have no other lawful permit to remain in the country, encounter. Our project attempts to start filling a knowledge gap by exploring migrants’ own experiences of this particular forced return process conceptualised as a social, cultural and political phenomenon. Access and contact with migrants is therefore of utmost importance to our project. READ MORE

Thinking and talking about research methodologies: Why should we bother?


Post by Mary Bosworth, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. This post is the first instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies,

It is no accident that we decided to start our themed blog post series with one on research methodologies. All too often relegated to appendices of books or to the ‘boring bit’ of graduate and undergraduate training, how we do our research, who we do it with and the kinds of decisions we make along the way are, in fact, central to academic inquiry. Most obviously, decisions we make about research methods shape our findings. They also raise a series of compelling, and sometimes, unsettling, ethical and moral questions. For those of us working with vulnerable populations (and who in criminology is not?), such matters can be messy, painful and unnerving. Remaining silent about them can generate personal anxieties and intellectual confusion. What we doing here? What is the point of our work? Are we getting things right? READ MORE