Crime and Justice

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0192-3234 / 2153-0416
Published by: University of Chicago Press (10.1086)
Total articles ≅ 568
Current Coverage
Archived in

Latest articles in this journal

Trevor Jones, Tim Newburn
Published: 1 October 2021
Crime and Justice;

Cross-national policy movement in crime control has only recently become the focus of scholarly attention. Research findings suggest, despite appearances to the contrary, that fully fledged policy transfers are rare. In practice, soft transfer (in terms of symbolic dimensions of policy) appears more prevalent than harder manifestations (e.g., the travel of institutions, instruments, and practices). Soft transfers are usually associated with penal policies that have emotive political appeal. Hard transfers are more likely to occur when policies have a strong technical flavor. A number of mechanisms influence policy transfer, ranging from purposive and self-conscious lesson drawing to more imposed forms of policy adoption. A number of factors facilitate or constrain the degree to which policies travel and how they take shape during and after the process, from matters of cultural and political attraction to the activities of policy and moral entrepreneurs. This field of research was once dominated by a focus on the Global North as the site of policy transfer or the source of policy influence, but increasing attention is now paid to circulation and spread of policy models within the Global South and from South to North.
Damon M. Petrich, Travis C. Pratt, Cheryl Lero Jonson, Francis T. Cullen
Published: 22 September 2021
Crime and Justice;

Beginning in the 1970s, the United States began an experiment in mass imprisonment. Supporters argued that harsh punishments such as imprisonment reduce crime by deterring inmates from reoffending. Skeptics argued that imprisonment may have a criminogenic effect. The skeptics were right. Previous narrative reviews and meta-analyses concluded that the overall effect of imprisonment is null. Based on a much larger meta-analysis of 116 studies, the current analysis shows that custodial sanctions have no effect on reoffending or slightly increase it when compared with the effects of noncustodial sanctions such as probation. This finding is robust regardless of variations in methodological rigor, types of sanctions examined, and sociodemographic characteristics of samples. All sophisticated assessments of the research have independently reached the same conclusion. The null effect of custodial compared with noncustodial sanctions is considered a “criminological fact.” Incarceration cannot be justified on the grounds it affords public safety by decreasing recidivism. Prisons are unlikely to reduce reoffending unless they can be transformed into people-changing institutions on the basis of available evidence on what works organizationally to reform offenders.
Robert J. Sampson, L. Ash Smith
Published: 17 September 2021
Crime and Justice;

The social transformations of crime and punishment in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries challenge traditional conceptions of criminal propensity and character. A life-course framework on cohort differences in growing up during these times of social change highlights large-scale inequalities in life experiences. Entire cohorts of children have come of age in such different historical contexts that typical markers of a crime-prone character, such as being a chronic offender or having an arrest record, are as much a function of societal change as of an individual’s early life propensities or background characteristics, including classic risk factors emphasized in criminology. When we are thus matters as much as, and perhaps more than, who we are—despite law, practice, and theory privileging the latter. Because crime over the life course is shaped by changing sociohistorical conditions, it must be studied as such. Multicohort studies provide a key strategy for doing so, inspiring a reconsideration of criminal propensity and policies premised on unchanging predictors of future criminality. Developmental and life-course criminology should elevate the study of cohort differences in social change and, ultimately, societal character.
Nicola Lacey
Published: 10 September 2021
Crime and Justice;

Conceptual debates about proportionality and its moral and political force need to be placed in historical and institutional context. Conceptual, moral, political, and practical questions about proportionality are inextricably linked. This insight should lead us away from the dominant conception of proportionality as a moral precept and toward a political conception of proportionality that is inevitably shaped by prevailing conceptions of what proportionality is for and, in modern democracies, is grounded in democratic practices and the institutional structures of democratic states. This insight has important implications for the prevailing disciplinary division of labor, calling into question the tendency to separate conceptual and philosophical from social theories of punishment. It is important to try to understand the conditions under which stable constraints on the state’s power to punish, and accountability mechanisms adequate to guaranteeing the fittingness of punishment by reference to democratically endorsed standards—which seem to be the key animating concerns of contemporary appeals to proportionality—are most likely to be realized, and conversely where they are likely to be most under threat. This is both an important issue in itself, and a case study in the interaction between concept and context.
James B. Jacobs
Crime and Justice, Volume 49, pp 17-67;

The Italian American Cosa Nostra crime families are the longest-lived and most successful organized crime organizations in US history, achieving their pinnacle of power in the 1970s and 1980s. The families seized opportunities during the early twentieth-century labor wars and under national alcohol prohibition from 1919 to 1933. Control of labor unions gave them power to determine the companies that could operate in various sectors and enabled them to establish employer cartels that rigged bids and fixed prices, and provided opportunity to exploit pension and welfare funds. The racketeers were urban power brokers. The families also profited from gambling, illicit drugs, loan-sharking, prostitution, and pornography, and they extorted protection payments from other black marketeers. For decades they faced little risk from law enforcement. FBI Director Hoover denied the existence of a national organized crime threat. Local police were corrupted. After Hoover’s death, the FBI made eradicating organized crime a top priority. Relentless law enforcement coincided with socioeconomic and political changes that greatly weakened the Cosa Nostra families.
Maurizio Catino
Crime and Justice, Volume 49, pp 69-140;

Italian mafias—Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and ‘Ndrangheta—are long-lived, resilient organizations that have evolved to adapt to environmental changes. They have different organizational models. While Cosa Nostra (in the past) and ‘Ndrangheta are characterized by a unitary, vertical structure and higher-level coordination bodies, Camorra has a plurality of organizational models; the majority of clans maintain a structure that is fluid, polycentric, and conflictual. In general, mafias with a vertical organizational order have greater control over conflict, and greater capacity to resist state power. The ‘Ndrangheta has become the richest and most powerful of the three, replacing Cosa Nostra in international drug trafficking. It is able to reproduce its organizational structures and business model in new territories in Italy and elsewhere. In contrast, owing to unprecedented law enforcement efforts in recent decades, Cosa Nostra is weaker, down but not out. Camorra continues to be the most violent mafia, committing more homicides than the other two combined. Consistent with their adaptive capacity, mafias in new areas of expansion are treated as novel agents that can provide extralegal services and business opportunities. They are sought out by entrepreneurs, white-collar professionals, and local politicians to solve problems such as debt collection, labor unrest, and disputes with suppliers.
Crime and Justice, Volume 49, pp 385-423;

Widely accepted findings in developmental and life-course criminology cannot be extended to criminal careers of organized crime offenders. While most offenders begin offending at a young age, criminal careers in organized crime are generally characterized by a late onset typically characterized by relatively serious offending. Different patterns exist for different groups, including early starters, adult-onset offenders, and offenders with no previous judicial contacts, but all studies find a significant share of adult-onset offenders. Social relationships, including family, friendship, and work ties, are importantly related to becoming involved in organized crime. Involvement mechanisms are diverse; both conventional and criminal capital are important. Children of organized crime offenders have a high risk of intergenerational continuity of crime. Factors that promote desistance for most offenders, such as employment, sometimes have different meanings for organized crime participants, as some occupations provide criminal opportunities and some work settings foster offender convergence. Widely used concepts such as specialization and desistance are less applicable because of the distinctive nature of organized crime offenses and careers. The most urgent issue for future research is to incorporate the roles of co-offenders into analyses of individual criminal careers.
Mike Levi, Melvin Soudijn
Crime and Justice, Volume 49, pp 579-631;

Four conditions influence the complexity of organized crime money laundering. First are diverse types of crime and forms in which proceeds are generated, including the type of payment, the visibility of crimes to victims or authorities, and the lapse before financial investigation occurs (if it does). Second, the amount of individual net profits causes differences between criminals who have no use for laundering, who self-launder, and who need assistance from third parties. Third are the offender’s goals and preferences in spending and investing crime proceeds. Investments are often close to home or country; some opt to wield power, but much is freely spent on a hedonistic lifestyle. Fourth, expected and actual levels of scrutiny and intervention of the anti–money laundering regime influence saving and reinvestment decisions and some arrests and confiscations, but there is no clear cause-and-effect relationship. The four conditions can intertwine in numerous ways. When conditions necessitate or stimulate more complex laundering schemes, this is reflected not only in techniques but also in social networks that emerge or are preconditions. Complex cases often depend on the assistance of professionals, outsiders to the criminal’s usual circle, who are hired to solve particular financial and jurisdictional bottlenecks.
Peter Reuter, Letizia Paoli
Crime and Justice, Volume 49, pp 223-287;

Five organizations exemplify organized crime organizations, or “mafias”: the American and Sicilian Cosa Nostras, the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, Chinese triads, and Japanese yakuza. Newer syndicates have emerged that are often called organized crime organizations but most importantly differ from the exemplars. Drug trafficking syndicates in Colombia and Mexico are large, wealthy, and extraordinarily violent but have proven fragile in the face of aggressive law enforcement, do not have fully formalized internal structures or elaborate cultures, and only occasionally attempt to exercise political power or provide dispute settlement services in the criminal world. The Primeiro Comando da Capital in Sao Paulo, originally a prisoner self-protection group, comes closer. It has a formalized internal structure and an elaborate culture that permit it partly to control drug markets and provide an alternative justice system in parts of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s Commando Vermelho, also originally prison-based and now extensively involved in drug trafficking, has some mafia-like characteristics. Other criminal syndicates are better thought of as “candidate criminal organizations” because they are not fully consolidated (e.g., the Neapolitan camorra), are not fully criminalized (e.g., Hells Angels), or aim mainly at political subversion and have only subsidiary involvement in profit-making crimes (e.g., the Colombian FARC).
Back to Top Top