Secondary victims and the trauma of wrongful conviction: Families and children's perspectives on imprisonment, release and adjustment
This paper examines the experiences of secondary victims of wrongful conviction, including the children of appellants and those families suffering bereavement following homicide. Most wives, mothers and children affected by miscarriages of justice continued to suffer from symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder despite the appellant’s quashed conviction and release from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). In cases where the victim of crime (where alive) and defendant come from the same family the trauma experienced by the appellant and family can be catastrophic, leading to broken relationships and prolonged trauma. This paper will examine the consequences of families’ victimisation and consider those factors that contribute further to their pain. The article will conclude that most secondary victims continue to suffer from their traumatic experiences and that the children of appellants suffer particularly from the injustice of learning to cope with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of a parent.
Haste makes waste: Deliberative improvements for serious crime legislation
Too often the making of laws on serious crime is conducted in haste. Unnecessary, ineffective or invalid laws on serious crime have major negative impacts on both individuals and societies. The processes that permit the creation of such laws clearly need reforming. In order to slow down and bring more rationality to the legislative process for serious crime, a clear and mandatory ex ante deliberative system that enables a thorough assessment of the costs and benefits of legislating and of particular legislative approaches is needed. This article draws on work by Dryzek to identify the elements of a deliberative system – authenticity, inclusiveness and the quality of being consequential. It assesses Australia’s current legislative processes for serious crime against this deliberative standard and concludes that they rarely meet it. Several practical steps that could be taken to incorporate deliberation into serious crime lawmaking are suggested: the creation of guides to legislative approaches for use by policy makers, the introduction of an ex ante impact assessment process (termed a Serious Crime Legislation Impact Assessment or SCLIA), and the establishment of actor networks registers to facilitate consultative processes. The adoption of such a deliberative system would result in better, more evidence-based and impact-sensitive serious crime legislation.
An evaluation of the 'Think First' program
The Think First program was implemented in five NSW correctional centres between 2003 and 2007. This study is a longitudinal evaluation of Think First using the pre- and post-test scores of four questionnaire measures (the Social Problem Solving Inventory – Revised; Barratt Impulsivity Scale, version 11; Locus of Control Behaviour; and the Crime PICS, version II), in a sample of 135 male participants. Significant change in a pro-social direction was found on the Locus of Control Behaviour, all of the Barratt Impulsivity Scale and Crime PICS II subscales and two of the Social Problem Solving Inventory – Revised subscales. Completion of Think First improved impulsivity levels, criminal thinking styles and some aspects of social problem solving ability. There appeared to be particularly positive effects on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Locus of Control scores post-program.
Cops and dobbers: A nodal cartography of onshore migration policing in New South Wales
Most public and scholarly debate about immigration in Australia has focused on irregular arrivals of asylum seekers by sea and the harsh system of externalised border controls designed to deter and contain them. This paper concentrates on the operation of Australia’s internal borders. We present a critical account of onshore migration policing networks in the Australian state of New South Wales, which are conceptualised as a distinctive form of policing. Using the techniques of nodal cartography described by Johnston and Shearing (2003) we identify the institutions, mentalities and technologies driving the development of migration policing networks and discuss their structure and internal dynamics. We then examine the means by which chains of public and private actors are recruited to perform a migration policing role, drawing on Garland’s ideas about government-at-a-distance (Garland, 1997). We identify responsibilising strategies that capitalise on overlapping organisational interests, others that are underpinned by the threat of legal sanctions, and others that are directed towards changing the behaviour of unlawful non-citizens themselves. We conclude that the Australian state is not diminished by adopting a networked approach to onshore migration policing, but instead garners significant resources which it can then invest in the construction of a multi-faceted, structurally-embedded and potentially ubiquitous border.
Policing community problems: Exploring the role of formal social control in shaping collective efficacy
Research finds police-led crime control interventions focusing on places and involving partnerships tend to yield positive crime control outcomes. Some scholars argue that these positive outcomes are achieved when police use place-based, partnership-oriented interventions to facilitate and encourage collective efficacy (CE), the corollary being that these CE-enhancing efforts lead to less crime. Nevertheless, differentiating the police activities that impact CE across different types of communities is not well understood. This paper examines the role of police in shaping CE in two contrasting communities. Using in-depth interviews with residents and key informants we find that police are most likely to enhance CE when they foster a sense of effectiveness, use inclusive and partnership-oriented strategies and when they implement strategies in a manner that encourages perceptions of police legitimacy. Moreover, if police can maintain or cultivate a sense of empowerment among community residents, they are more likely to foster CE. Yet the role of police in enhancing CE is different in different community types. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy and practice.
Policing, planning and sex: Governing bodies, spatially
Literatures on the regulation of conduct have tended to focus on the role of policing and the enforcement of criminal law. This paper instead emphasizes the importance of planning in shaping conduct, using the example of how planning shapes sexual conduct to demonstrate that planning can, in different times and places, exercise police-type powers. We illustrate this by analysing the regulation of brothels in Sydney and Parramatta, NSW, Australia, providing a case study of spaces of sexuality that historically were constructed and regulated as criminal, but have since become lawful. This paper examines the ways in which these transitions in law have been differently expressed and accomplished through local planning enforcement. In making such arguments, the paper emphasizes not only the potential for planners to act like police, but also the capacity of planning to supplant policing as a key technique of governmentality.
Probation worker responses to turbulent conditions: Constructing identity in a tainted occupation
Much has been written in England and Wales about the changing nature of work with offenders in the community, focusing primarily on the consequences of the political and managerialist pressures to which the probation service has been subjected in the past few decades. There has been little research, however, on probation workers themselves, their cultures and values and the extent to which these have changed. Drawing on funded research on the occupational cultures of probation workers, we explore the motivations, values and job expectations of present and former workers. Arguing that probation work is a ‘tainted’ or ‘dirty’ occupation and that the probation service operates in turbulent political, social and economic conditions, we consider how probation workers respond to these adverse circumstances to make their work meaningful and fulfilling, or just to cope. We propose that probation workers’ responses can be understood using Hirschman’s (1970) ‘exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect’ model, together with the later developments of ‘cynicism’ and ‘expedience’. However, these models of organizational behaviour do not capture the most controversial aspect of probation work, namely, that of voluntary risk-taking or ‘edgework’ (Lyng, 1990). While probation workers may be generally regarded as being unlikely edgeworkers, we argue that it is possible to identify elements of edgework in probation work and that it is only by acknowledging this that we can obtain a complete picture of what it means to be a probation worker in an uncertain and potentially uncontrollable environment.
Testing the importance of forgiveness for reducing repeat offending
Braithwaite’s (1989) Reintegrative Shaming Theory has gained worldwide popularity in criminology. The main focus of the theory is on shaming as a tool for reducing repeat offending. However, recent criticisms levelled at the theory have questioned the effectiveness and reliability of shaming for reducing re-offending, particularly in Western jurisdictions. Some scholars have suggested that the reintegrative notion of forgiveness may prove a more effective strategy for reducing repeat offending. In response to these suggestions, this study will examine whether forgiveness might offer an effective approach for reducing recidivism among tax offenders. Using survey data collected from tax offenders who had been caught and punished by the Australian Tax Office, it will be shown that stigmatizing shaming had no direct impact on their subsequent compliance-related behaviours. Instead, stigmatizing shaming served to displace taxpayers’ sense of responsibility for their wrong-doing. Forgiveness, in contrast, was found to play an important independent role in reducing taxpayers’ repeat offending, and for increasing their cooperation with the tax authority. These results have important implications for both the theory of reintegrative shaming and for public policy, particularly in relation to identifying strategies that effectively and reliably reduce repeat offending.
One retrospective of Pacific criminology
On the occasion of receiving the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology’s Distinguished Criminologist Award, John Braithwaite reflects on his time in the field. He defends a public-critical-professional-policy criminology of a more distinctively Pacific character. He canvasses options for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology to continue long-term leadership towards not only an Asian future, but also a Pacific future that can be a path to distinctive contributions from Southwest Pacific criminology to all the social sciences.
A consideration of the merits of specialised homicide offences and defences for battered women
In response to calls for reform, some jurisdictions have introduced specialised offences and defences for battered women who kill their abuser. In 2005, Victoria introduced the offence of ‘defensive homicide’. More recently, in 2010, Queensland introduced a defence titled ‘killing for preservation in an abusive domestic relationship’. If successful these approaches result in a conviction of defensive homicide and manslaughter respectively. While defensive homicide has been explored in a number of cases in Victoria; the Queensland defence has only been considered on a few occasions to date. This article reviews the underlying debates relating to these developments and then examines recent case law to consider the application of these two approaches and their effectiveness in light of what they were designed to achieve. The article concludes that the reforms may have resulted in some unintended consequences.