Category Archives: Terrorism

Essays on social justice and criminal justice

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at Kings College London has published a set of essays based on contributions and papers from a two day conference held by the Centre earlier this year.

This collection of essays from more than 20 researchers and academics highlights how the government has failed to tackle deep-rooted social injustice. Published as part of our Harm and Society project, the collection explores themes such as the impact of historically high levels of inequality, endemic violence against women and the increasing reliance on criminal justice measures to manage social problems.

Table of contents below the fold.


Continue reading Essays on social justice and criminal justice

Podcast round up

MP3onredSome recent podcasts on topics relevant to psychology and crime:

Reforming the New Orleans Criminal Justice System (Leonard Lopate Show, 13 Sept):

Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans… Police stations and jails were ruined, essential information and files were lost, and the people who make up the criminal justice system were traumatized and displaced. Two years after the hurricane the system is up and running, but serious problems remain. Michael Jacobson, the Director of The Vera Institute of Justice, joins Leonard to speak about what happened in the aftermath of Katrina and what can be done to improve the justice system. MP3

Tackling Indonesian terror (ABC Radio, Australia, Background Briefing, 23 Sept):

In a first for the international media, Bali bomber Ali Imron is let out of prison to explain why he’s now working to stop terrorism. In this exclusive interview, Ali Imron tells of how he’s battling with his radical brothers to prevent further violence. It’s just one part of Indonesia’s ground breaking and controversial counter terrorism strategy. MP3

Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence (TED talks, Sept 2007):

In a preview of his next book, Steven Pinker takes on violence. We live in violent times, an era of heightened warfare, genocide and senseless crime. Or so we’ve come to believe. Pinker charts a history of violence from Biblical times through the present, and says modern society has a little less to feel guilty about. (Various options for downloading video and audio via the above link.)

Hate Crime and Racism in Russia, Part I and Part II (Leonard Lopate Show, 4 Oct):

Three years ago, the brutal murder of a 9-year old Tajik girl in Saint Petersburg turned international attention to the rise of neo-fascist groups and hate crime in Russia. Since then, the situation has not only gotten worse, it’s also fallen off the mainstream media radar. Attacks are up 28% since 2006, and many observers think the actual number of crimes is even greater. (Part I MP3, Part II MP3.)

Photo credit: Focus_on_me, Creative Commons License

New issue: Criminal Justice Studies 20(3)


The September 2007 issue of Criminal Justice Studies 20(3) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Who Let the Dogs Out? Drug Dogs in Court – Jennifer Ashley; Simon Billinge; Craig Hemmens
  • Female Suicide Bombers: Israeli Newspaper Reporting and the Public Construction of Social Reality – Revital Sela-Shayovitz
  • Examining Criminology Majors’ and Non-Majors’ Attitudes Toward Inmate Programs, Services, and Amenities – Christopher Hensley; Mary Koscheski; Richard Tewksbury
  • Desistance from Serious and Not So Serious Crime: A Comparison of Psychosocial Risk Factors – Elaine Gunnison; Paul Mazerolle
  • Is Vigilantism on Your Mind? An Exploratory Study of Nuance and Contradiction in Student Death Penalty Opinion – Angela M. Schadt; Matt DeLisi
  • Delinquency, Deviance, and Tolerance in a Slum in India: A Quantitative Model – M. Z. Khan; N. Prabha Unnithan; Archana Dassi
  • Minority Women in Policing in Texas: An Attitudinal Analysis – Alejandro del Carmen; Helen Taylor Greene; Denise D. Nation; Gbolahan Solomon Osho
  • Community Partners: ‘Doing Doors’ as a Community Crime Prevention Strategy – Mary Ann Farkas; Richard S. Jones

START research internships

Students who are interested in researching terrorism might be interested to hear that the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START) is offering internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students:

Student interns will have the opportunity to work on a large-scale research project related to START’s mission of enhancing understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism as they earn academic credit for their experience. Internships are available with each of the following projects.

  • Minorities at Risk Project
  • Risk Communication Research
  • Global Terrorism Database
  • Terrorism, Idelology, and Violence
  • Terrorism and Preparedness Data Resource Center
  • Terrorism and Homeland Security Education
  • Social Exclusion and Terrorism

Quick links


Quick links from around the web and blogosphere:

Mind Hacks (12 July) discusses recent commentary by Bruce Schneier on why terrorism fails, who in turn is commenting on a paper [pdf] by Max Abrahms (abstract over at the Terrorism Blog)

Also thanks to Mind Hacks, a pointer to an article in the Journal of Forensic Sciences outlining the case histories of two serial killers, which, the authors say “illustrate the wide spectrum of variations in the backgrounds, demographics, motivations, and actions witnessed among serial murderers, and highlight the limitations and dangers of profiling based on generalities”.

Wray Herbert on the Association of Psychological Science blog We’re Only Human (10 July) explores the links between alcohol and aggression, the subject of an article in the latest issue of Psychological Science. Herbert concludes:

It appears that alcohol has the potential to both increase and decrease aggression, depending on where’s one’s attention is focused.

The Situationist (10 July) discuss what happens When Thieves See Situation: apparently con artists are exploiting information collected via the market research of major corporations, using it to target elderly victims:

Publicly held companies… compile and sell lists of consumers. Con artists purchase the lists from the companies’ websites, then pose as telemarketers in order to obtain senior citizens’ bank account numbers. Finally, the thieves use unsigned checks to steal money from the accounts.

What caused the drop in crime in the late 1990s? Stephen Levitt on the Freakonomics Blog, Johan Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex, and Steve Sailer on iSteve evaluate a theory put forward by Rick Nevin, an economist, as described in a recent Washington Post article (8 July):

The theory offered … is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children’s exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.

Providentia (15 July) ponders the phenomenon of copycat suicides in When Dying Becomes Fashionable.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 27 (15 July) is up over at Abyss2Hope

Update on a previous story: Anne Reed at the Deliberations jury blog carefully takes apart Bruce Spencer’s “juries get it wrong” study (pdf) to examine whether the conclusions are warranted, and lawyer Mark Bennett adds some further explanation.

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

New issue: British Journal of Criminology 47(3)


The May 2007 issue of British Journal of Criminology 47(3), is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles, and a link to sign up for personalised tables of contents alerting.

Contents include:

  • Reinventing Prevention: Why Did ‘Crime Prevention’ Develop So Late? – Pat O’Malley and Steven Hutchinson
  • The Internal Narrative of Desistance – Barry Vaughan
  • Normalization and its Discontents: Constructing the ‘Irreconcilable’: Female Political Prisoner in Northern Ireland – Mary S. Corcoran
  • Citizenship and Social Exclusion: The Re-Integration of Political Ex-Prisoners in Northern Ireland – Grainne McKeever
  • Police and the Prevention of Crime: Commerce, Temptation and the Corruption of the Body Politic, from Fielding to Colquhoun – Francis Dodsworth
  • Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference? – Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran
  • Twisting Arms Or a Helping Hand?: Assessing the Impact of ‘Coerced’ and Comparable ‘Voluntary’ Drug Treatment Options – Tim McSweeney, Alex Stevens, Neil Hunt, and Paul J. Turnbull
  • Aspirations of Restorative Justice Proponents and Experiences of Participants in Family Group Conferences – Margarita Zernova

New issue: Journal of Criminal Justice 35(3)


The May/June 2007 issue of Journal of Criminal Justice 35(3) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Job demands, job resources, and burnout among police officers – M. Martinussen, A.M. Richardsen and R.J. Burke
  • Rural jails: Problematic inmates, overcrowded cells, and cash-strapped counties – Rick Ruddell and G. Larry Mays
  • Correlates of formal and informal social/crime control in China: An exploratory study – Shanhe Jiang, Eric Lambert and Jin Wang
  • Reducing lockup crowding with expedited initial processing of minor offenders – Terry L. Baumer
  • The effect of maternal incarceration on adult offspring involvement in the criminal justice system – Beth M. Huebner and Regan Gustafson
  • Community structural predictors of spatially aggregated motor vehicle theft rates: Do they replicate? – Jeffrey A. Walsh and Ralph B. Taylor
  • Local law enforcement terrorism prevention efforts: A state level case study – William V. Pelfrey Jr.
  • Politics, culture, and political crime: Covariates of abortion clinic attacks in the United States – Joshua D. Freilich and William Alex Pridemore
  • Restorative justice practice: An examination of program completion and recidivism – Kimberly de Beus and Nancy Rodriguez

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice – special issues on desistance from crime, and terrorism


The February and May 2007 issues of Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice (volume 23 nos 1 and 2 ) are now online. Follow the links to the Sage website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Sign up for personalised ToC alerts for this journal here .

The February 2007 issue is a special issue on desistance from crime, edited by David Farrington and Lila Kazemian, and includes papers presented at a workshop on desistance held in Washington, DC last May, funded by the National Consortium on Violence Research .

The May 2007 issue includes articles on various aspects of responding to terrorism, guest edited by Brent Smith from the University of Arkansas .

New issues: Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3)


The March/April and May/June 2007 issues of Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3) are now online. Follow the link to the Science Direct website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Issue 12(2) includes articles on female aggression, terrorism, aggressive driving, sex offenders, sexual homicide and suicide.

Issue 12(3) has papers on terrorism, aggressive behaviour, sex crimes, marital rape and other intimate partner violence and interventions for juvenile offenders with reading disabilities.

Contents below the fold.

Continue reading New issues: Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3)

Quick links: Google searches in a murder investigation and more…


Quick links from around the web:

The BPS Research Digest (29 Mar) highlights a study that indicates that courtroom confidence backfires when a witness makes an error:

Confidence is extremely convincing – many studies have shown that both real jurors and mock jurors are more likely to believe a courtroom witness who appears confident. But what if a confident witness is seen to make an error? New research by Elizabeth Tenney and colleagues shows that in this case, confidence backfires: confident witnesses who make mistakes are perceived to be the least reliable of all.

The press release announcing this study is here.

The Situationist (29 Mar) comments on recent research that links violence and religious indoctrination, and points to other research on religious messages and violence:

In this month’s Nature, Sociologist Mark Juergensmeyer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, summarizes some of his research [PDF] as follows: “If violence is presented as the authoritative voice of God, it can increase the possibility of more violence. But everything depends on how it is presented.”

Providentia (28 March) draws our attention to a study of the effect of social reactions on development of PTSD among rape victims:

Statistical analyses of the results indicated that negative social reactions and avoidance coping (such as nondisclosure) have a profound effect on development of later PTSD symptoms. The expected relationship between victim self-blame and PTSD was found to be at least partially due to negative social interactions with others.

Providentia also comments (19 Mar) on a study in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, which examines homicides committed by psychotic offenders.

The Guardian (28 Mar) reports that under new proposals from British PM Tony Blair, every child will be assessed for risk of turning to crime:

The children of prisoners, problem drug users and others at high risk of offending will also face being “actively managed” by social services and youth justice workers. New technologies are to be used to boost police detection rates while DNA samples are to be taken from any crime suspect who comes into contact with the police.

Finally, if you are going to commit murder, perhaps best to make sure you don’t leave a Google trail:Cop: Wife googled ‘How to commit murder’ – New Jersey Daily Record, via Slashdot (13 & 15 March):

At exactly 5:45:34 on April 18, 2004 a computer taken from the office of the attorney of Melanie McGuire, did a search on the words “How To Commit Murder. That same day searches on Google and MSN search engines, were conducted on such topics as ‘instant poisons’, ‘undetectable poisons,’ ‘fatal digoxin doses’, and gun laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Ten days later, according to allegations by the state of New Jersey, McGuire murdered her husband […]

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License