Criminology and Criminal Justice
Criminology and Criminal Justice research within the School of Law has both national and international orientations. As might be expected, the period of violent socio-political conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968-1998 focused attention on criminological issues related to the peace process here- especially policing and police reform in the context of the Belfast Agreement, as well as prisons, punishment and the resettlement of political prisoners who were released from prison on license. These rich criminological insights allow us to share our experiences internationally, with those others states that transitioning to forms of democratic governance.
Current criminological and criminal justice research in the School of Law is diverse, and engages with a number of national and international debates. For example, there is a strong field of research undertaken around sexual violence and the sexual grooming of children which have become issues of national importance. Criminology staff have also undertaken a review of Northern Ireland’s sex purchase legislation for the Northern Ireland Department of Justice- the first time that the impact of such legislation had ever been subjected to empirical scrutiny. Other research has focused on a consideration of victims, including reparations for those who have been caught up in violent conflict; the phenomenon of dark tourism; and international crime. Unequal access to justice is also a strong research theme in the School with a consideration of older victims of crime, as well as anti-social behaviour and young people’s use of public space.
Criminology and criminal justice research in the School of Law enjoys collaborative and multi-disciplinary links with other Schools at Queen’s, and also participates in national and international partnerships. For example, the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice- originally established in 1994 as an inter-disciplinary research network for criminology and criminal justice, before becoming part of the Law School in 1998- draws its membership from across the University. Staff participate in national networks such as the British Society of Criminology Regional Group, with the School of Law previously hosting the North-South Criminology conference. This is a collaborative venture between all Higher Education Institutes on the island of Ireland to further develop the disciplines of criminology and criminal justice and to ensure that research is relevant and applicable to an Irish context. Many staff researching in this field are also members of the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s, with particularly strong links between those who are researching areas around transitional justice and developing democracies.