Current Law Journal Content
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  British Journal of Criminology   (United Kingdom)
  Volume 46, Number 5, September 2006
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  • Three Strikes and You're Out: Exploring Symbol and Substance in American and British Crime Control Politics
        Jones, T., Newburn, T.
        p.781-802                                                                              +cite        
        Criminologists have become increasingly interested in the extent to which, and ways in which, criminal justice and penal policy ideas and innovations travel across national boundaries. A particular focus has been the apparent convergence of some aspects of crime control policy in the United States and the United Kingdom associated with policies such as "zero tolerance" policing, youth curfews, the "war on drugs", increased use of incarceration and the privatization of criminal justice agencies. This paper focuses upon the area of sentencing policy and, in particular, the emergence of so-called "two" and "three strikes" sentencing policies in the United States and the United Kingdom. The paper outlines the contrasting forms and variable impacts of these sentencing policies in different jurisdictions. In particular, it examines the relationship between symbolic and substantial dimensions of policy in contrasting jurisdictions, the degree to which differences are related to the strategic intentions of politicians and policy makers, and the mediating factors of varying legal and political institutions and cultures. The central argument of the paper is that in the context of the political institutions and cultures of some US states, the relationship between symbol and substance is much closer than is the case in other jurisdictions, not least that of the United Kingdom.
  • Denying Responsibility: Sentencers' Accounts of their Decisions to Imprison
        Tombs, J., Jagger, E.
        p.803-821                                                                              +cite        
        The reasons for dramatic rises in prison populations are the focus of much debate. This paper examines just one of these: the sentencing practices of the judiciary who play a pivotal role both in determining the use of imprisonment itself and in the severity of prison sentences. Drawing on research with Scottish sentencers, it explores how they made decisions to imprison, how they viewed prison, how they justified sending people there and how "borderline" offenders were dealt with. We found that although sentencers viewed imprisonment as a severe punishment, they normalized their routine incarceration of individuals by, in effect, denying final responsibility for their actions. Sentencers" accounts of borderline decisions, in which individuals committing the same offence could be accorded either a custodial or a community disposal, illustrated these denials most starkly and revealed an overarching retributivism in their custodial decisions. This retributivism was without proportionality in so far as it was directed at the offender rather than proportionate to the offence. In conclusion, we argue for future sentencing policies and legislation to take heed of sentencers" logic in use.
  • Rehabilitation and Repression: Reassessing their Ideological Embeddedness
        Mascini, P., Houtman, D.
        p.822-836                                                                              +cite        
        For over a century, scholars and practitioners have assumed rehabilitation stands as the progressive opposite of repression. Elaborating on previous warnings and anomalous findings, a representative survey of the Dutch population (N = 1,892) points out that this received view is flawed. When measured separately, no significant correlation exists between support for rehabilitation and support for repression, rehabilitation is equally popular among the constituencies of conservative and progressive political parties, and no negative relationship exists between rehabilitation and authoritarianism. Decriminalization rather than rehabilitation proves to constitute the progressive converse of repression. By way of conclusion, we discuss the remarkable persistence of the received view reassessed in this paper, even in the face of convincing earlier contradictory evidence.
  • Respecting Boundaries: The Symbolic and Material Concerns of Drug-Involved Women Employing Violence against Violent Male Partners
        Rajah, V.
        p.837-858                                                                              +cite        
        This ethnographic interview study of poor, minority, drug-involved women seeks to fill a gap in the existing research on partner violence by examining the meaning women attach to their own use of violence in their intimate relationships. This paper uses theory and research on symbolic boundaries and resistance to examine what symbolic boundaries study participants draw around violence, and how their desire for respect and respectability influence the boundaries that they draw. This paper highlights the interpretive flexibility of violence as a social phenomenon—a flexibility that allows the women in this study to maintain respectability. Yet, these various interpretations, it is argued, are constrained by the matrix of domination (Collins 2000a) within which women live out their lives.
  • Female Criminal Victimization and Criminal Justice Response in China
        Lu, H., Liu, J., Crowther, A.
        p.859-874                                                                              +cite        
        Growing attention has been paid to female victimization around the world in recent decades. This study examines sexual assault against women, its legal definition and criminal punishment in transitional China. Four forms of sexual assault, including rape, abduction of women, sexual assault and forcing women into prostitution in China, are discussed. Employing criminal court cases spanning ten years from 1992 to 2002, this study further constructs offender and offence profiles and their respective legal punishment in China. Theoretical and practical implications of this comparative research are discussed.
  • The Regulation of Corporate Violations: Punishment, Compliance, and the Blurring of Responsibility
        Gray, G. C.
        p.875-892                                                                              +cite        
        In this article, I term the dichotomy that exists over how to regulate corporate violations the "punishment model versus compliance school debate". I then demonstrate that in the area of workplace health and safety, this classic debate on corporate offending has evolved with the shift to "regulation through individual responsibility". This regulatory shift has resulted in a diffusion of responsibility for safety risks as workers have increasingly become individually responsible for enforcing regulation as well as a target of regulation. In essence, workers are being transformed from a victim to a health and safety offender. In this study, I re-conceptualize the role of worker agency in regulatory enforcement by introducing several grounded ethnographic themes, such as the policing of minor violations and the creation of Potemkin Villages, which represent the "hidden side" of the local culture of reactions to health and safety enforcement.
  • An Inspector's-Eye View: The Prospective Enforcement of Work-Related Fatality Cases
        Almond, P.
        p.893-916                                                                              +cite        
        This paper concerns the prospective implementation of the proposed "corporate killing" offence. These proposals suggested that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)--the body currently responsible for regulating work-related health and safety issues--should handle cases in which a "corporate killing" charge is a possibility. Relatively little attention has been paid to this issue of implementation. An empirical investigation was undertaken to assess the compatibility of the HSE"s methodology and enforcement philosophy with the new offence. It was found that inspectors categorize themselves as enforcers of criminal law, see enforcement action as valuable and support the new offence, but disagree over its use. They also broadly supported the HSE taking responsibility for the new offence. This suggests that "corporate killing" may not necessarily be incompatible with the HSE"s modus operandi, and there may be positive reasons for giving the HSE this responsibility.
  • The Key to Auto Theft: Emerging Methods of Auto Theft from the Offenders' Perspective
        Copes, H., Cherbonneau, M.
        p.917-934                                                                              +cite        
        Recent improvements in vehicle security have reduced the opportunities for auto theft for many would-be thieves. Auto thieves have adapted to these changes by illegally obtaining keys to accomplish their misdeeds. To combat this trend in auto theft, it is necessary to determine commonly preferred methods of key theft. We rely on the accounts of auto thieves who used keys to steal vehicles to shed light on the techniques and strategies that they employed to obtain keys. Offenders" accounts show that while some of them simply found keys left in cars, many took more active steps in locating and stealing keys. They relied on such strategies as burglary, robbery or fraud to acquire keys. Our results suggest that key thieves are not solely opportunistic but instead exhibit some degree of reasoning when offending.
  • Expert Decision Making in Burglars
        Nee, C., Meenaghan, A.
        p.935-949                                                                              +cite        
        This paper begins by reviewing research on the cognitive processing used by residential burglars when choosing targets. We then attempt to make links between this processing and the notion of expertise in the broader cognitive literature, to the extent that, in comparison with novices, processing appears removed from explicit deliberation, tasks are carried out speedily and methodically, and recognition of relevant stimuli or cues is extremely fast, if not instantaneous. We then present new data from interviews with 50 experienced burglars. We cover the initial decision to burgle and selection of the target followed by, for the first time in the UK, a detailed discussion of search strategies within the property. Forty-five out of 50 burglars had a predictable search pattern and 37 spontaneously described their searches using terms signifying automaticity—an underlying feature of expertise. We discuss the implications of these findings in terms of primary and secondary crime prevention.
  • Policing Northern Ireland: Conflict, Legitimacy and Reform. By Aogan Mulcahy (Cullompton: Willan, 2006, i-xii + 1-228pp. {pound}17.99 pb, {pound}40.00 hb)
        Hillyard, P.
        p.950-951                                                                              +cite        
  • Out of Order: The Political Imprisonment of Women in Northern Ireland 1972-1998. By Mary Corcoran (Cullompton: Willan, 2006, 261pp.)
        Carlen, P.
        p.951-953                                                                              +cite        
  • Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison. By Lorna A. Rhodes (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2004, xiv + 315pp. {pound}32.50 hb)
        King, R.
        p.953-955                                                                              +cite        
  • Proportionate Sentencing: Exploring the Principles. By Andrew Von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, 250pp. {pound}50.00)
        Quirk, H.
        p.955-959                                                                              +cite        
  • Power, Discourse and Resistance: A genealogy of the strangeways prison riot. by E. carrabine (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004, 217pp. {pound}50.00 hb,ISBN 0-7546-2172-3)
        Drake, D. H.
        p.959-961                                                                              +cite        
  • State Crime: Governments, Violence and Corruption. By Penny Green and Tony Ward (London: Pluto Press, 2004, 255pp. 14.99 pb)
        Waddington, P. A. J.
        p.961-963                                                                              +cite        
  • Victims of Crime and Community Justice. By Brian Williams (London: Jessica Kingsley, 2005, 160pp. {pound}16.95)
        Heflin, I.
        p.963-965                                                                              +cite        
  • Jury Trials and Plea Bargaining: A True History. By Mike McConville and Chester L. Mirsky (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2005, 364pp. {pound}35.00 hb) * The Trial on Trial: Volume One--Truth and Due Process. By Antony Duff, Lindsay Farmer, Sandra Marshall and Victor Tadros, eds (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2004, 207pp. {pound}35.00 hb)
        Requa, M.
        p.965-969                                                                              +cite