Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

Assuming no prior knowledge, this text provides a clear and user-friendly introduction to the key definitions and issues of crime. With an unrivalled combination of scope plus introductory pitch, this is a one-stop shop for undergraduates taking their first modules in criminology and criminal justice.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Introduction

Abstract
These days crime would appear to be almost everywhere. Crime is simply the breaking of a legal code, or lawbreaking, and it is an issue that is often in our minds, or if not, it is quite likely to be in front of our eyes. It is highly likely that most people have been exposed to crime as a result of watching or simply being in close proximity to a television. Popular television dramas such as The Bill and Bad Girls are all about the police and prison life respectively. Other popular programmes such as Footballers Wives and Coronation Street, which are not crime dramas, have had plots involving crime, ranging from antisocial behaviour and drug use to fraud and murder. Movies and films, screened either at the cinema or watched at home on the television, all too often include a reference to crime or the agencies belonging to the criminal justice system, which include the police, the courts and prisons. The same observation applies to novels, the theatre and radio, where crime stories or stories involving an aspect of crime are commonplace. These examples are all fictional, of course, and are primarily there to entertain us, but the television (and radio) also feature factual programmes. For example, documentaries and news programmes regularly feature crimes. In other words, society is awash with both fictional and factual images and words about crime.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

Definitions and Conceptions of Crime

Frontmatter

1. Defining Crime and Studying Criminology and Criminal Justice

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • an explanation of legal definitions of crime, drawing attention to the fact that the law is not static and changes over time
  • an outline of some methods of classifying criminal offences, drawing attention to the differences between summary, indictable and triable either way offences
  • a discussion of the influences of common-sense thinking, paying attention to personal experience, the mass media and political power, as well as theory
  • two historically informed case studies of the police power to stop and search suspects and different approaches to the policing of drugs.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

2. Key Issues in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to:
  • provide a description of offending behaviour and the main features of the offender
  • outline what it means to be a victim of crime
  • provide an understanding of the relationship between the offender and victim
  • provide an introduction to the key social divisions, in particular social class, age, race and ethnicity, and sex and gender
  • give evidence of the significance of these social divisions for interpreting offending behaviour and victimization
  • highlight the potential importance of these social divisions for understanding the workings of the criminal justice system, discussed in Part Three of this book.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

Understanding Crime Data

Frontmatter

3. Understanding Crime Data I: Sources of Information

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to:
  • explain the importance of having sound information about crime
  • discuss different types of crime data, paying attention to the differences between quantitative and qualitative sources of information
  • provide an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative data
  • give a basic introductory overview of official sources of crime data, including recorded crime statistics and the British Crime Survey
  • consider the relevance of social divisions for understanding crime data
  • provide a case study focusing on the quantifiable costs of anti-social behaviour and the relative merits and demerits of this type of information.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

4. Understanding Crime Data II: Methods of Data Collection

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • an outline of the different methods used by criminologists to collect crime data
  • an introduction to the basic principles used to set research questions and formulate hypotheses
  • a description of the main qualitative research methods, including interviews and the ethnographic approach
  • a discussion of the uses of quantitative research methods, including the use of questionnaires and surveys and a brief acknowledgement of SPSS
  • an explanation of the significance of sampling for criminological research.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

The Criminal Justice System in Context

Frontmatter

5. The Criminal Justice System and its Processes

Abstract
This chapter aims to provide:
  • an initial introduction to the criminal justice system, highlighting the role of the state and central government
  • a description of the welfare state and social policy, drawing attention to the relationship between different areas of public policy and criminal justice
  • a brief introduction to debates about welfare and crime
  • a discussion of the centrality of the idea of justice to crime policy, with reference to the control of offenders
  • an understanding of the major influence of managerialism on crime and public policy.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

6. The Police: Gatekeepers to the Criminal Justice Process

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • a discussion about the ideas of policing and police
  • a brief historical sketch of the emergence of the police service in the nineteenth century and its evolution until the early stages of the twenty-first century
  • a description of the police organizational structure and the relationship between each of the key players
  • an examination of what the police do
  • an appreciation of the significance of police culture, for explaining the gap between what the police are supposed to do in principle and what they actually do in practice
  • an indication of the relevance of social divisions for understanding the complexity of police work.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

7. The Prosecution Process: The Courts and Sentencing

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • a description of the prosecution process, including the work of the court system
  • an explanation of the different functions of the courts, focusing mainly on magistrates’ courts and the Crown court
  • an account of court procedures and some of the roles performed by key agencies and personnel involved in the prosecution process
  • an explanation of the sentencing goals and philosophies
  • a brief descriptive account of sentencing policy and some of the sentences available to sentencers in the courts
  • an illustration of how social divisions have a bearing on sentencing policy and sentencing outcomes.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

8. The Prison

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • a concise history of changing conceptions of punishment and the origins of the modern prison
  • an explanation of the rationale for using prison as a form of punishment
  • a description of the formal structure of HM Prison Service and the prison estate
  • an evaluation of the imprisonment of women and the gender-specific issues it raises
  • a discussion of the over-representation of certain Black and minority ethnic groups in comparison with the White population.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

9. Probation: Community-Based Punishment and Community Justice

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • a contrast between custodial punishment (see Chapter 8) and community-based punishment
  • an illustration of the jobs done by probation officers
  • a historical account of the origins of the probation service and the importance of organizational change in the evolution of the service
  • an evaluation of the different value frameworks that have impacted on the activities of the probation service
  • a description of community-based punishment, focusing on drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) and electronic monitoring.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

10. Multi-Agency and ‘Joined-Up’ Approaches to Criminal Justice Policy

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • an explanation of the relevance of joined-up approaches to tackling crime and disorder
  • an account of the emergence of joined-up approaches in government thinking and policy
  • a description of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) and the cross-departmental policy framework designed for joining up government and multi-agency working.
  • a discussion of the linkages between crime policy and social policy, focusing on health, education and housing as examples.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

Theories of Crime

Frontmatter

11. Theories of Crime I: The Individual and Crime

Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to provide:
  • an explanation of the main features of theories of crime that focus on the individual
  • an understanding of individualistic approaches belonging to the classical school, where the emphasis is on free will and the rational human actor
  • an appreciation of individualistic approaches where the focus is on the influence of biological and psychological factors
  • an overview of the various models available for explaining the relationship between criminality, the individual and society
  • an overview of individualistic approaches.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

12. Theories of Crime II: Society and Crime

Abstract
This chapter aims to provide:
  • a brief introduction to theories of crime which emphasize the influence of society, or social factors, on criminal behaviour
  • a discussion of a selection of sociological explanations of criminality
  • an overview of the concept of anomie and debates about social disorganization and crime
  • a description of subcultural theory
  • a description of radical and critical criminology
  • an assessment of the contribution of left realism to criminological theory, and criminal justice policy and practice.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

13. Theories of Crime III: Critical and Deconstructive Perspectives

Abstract
This chapter aims to provide:
  • a short account of the contribution made by scholars who are critical of the criminological theories outlined in Chapters 11 and 12
  • illustrations of a range of critical accounts
  • an appreciation of theorizations of gender, focusing on the impact of feminist and masculinist perspectives on criminality
  • an appreciation of theoretical works focusing on race and racism
  • a discussion of postmodernity and its significance for understanding crime control, with a particular emphasis on the concepts of risk and surveillance.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling

Conclusions and Summary

Conclusions and Summary

Abstract
This book has covered a lot of ground in a relatively short space, but I hope it has provided a useful introduction to a complex field of study. The final part of this conclusion summarizes the general contents of each of the four parts in the main body of the text, indicating how best readers can build on this introductory knowledge. Those reading for a degree in criminology will find that in the later years the areas covered in this text are frequently revisited, but it is necessary to focus on each issue in far more depth and detail. The information provided in this book will be fleshed out by specialist modules, but it should remain useful as a reference source.
Chris Crowther, Jo Campling
Additional information