Dr Alessandro Corda
Alessandro Corda is a Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice in the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast
Corda’s research interests include criminal law, criminal justice, sentencing, and the sociology of punishment. His scholarship brings together historical, comparative and socio-legal research methods to bear on key legal questions and policy issues. His research currently focuses on three main areas: formal and informal collateral consequences of criminal records, American exceptionalism in punishment policies and practices, and the role of the criminal law in shaping social norms and values.
In a 2020 article published in the British Journal of Criminology, “Disordered Punishment: Workaround Technologies of Criminal Records Disclosure and the Rise of a New Penal Entrepreneurialism”, Dr. Corda offers a reconceptualization of theories of penal entrepreneurialism that more directly addresses the role of technology and corporate interests in the field of criminal record management. The article develops a new paradigm (‘penal entrepreneurialism version 2.0’) to describe and critically assess the new, multifaceted, and often problematic interactions between corporate private actors autonomously collecting and commodifying criminal records data, technological developments, and the criminal justice system. Another recent article by Dr. Corda, “Leaving the Shining City on a Hill: A Plea for Rediscovering Comparative Criminal Justice Policy in the United States” (2021) published in the International Criminal Justice Review, aims to advance the understanding of what contributed to the development of American penal exceptionalism by looking at both the scholarly and policy-making level. The article discusses the main causes of the gradual demise of the comparative criminal justice enterprise in America and identifies areas of U.S. criminal justice reform where mechanisms of comparative criminal justice policy are timidly coming back or should be especially nurtured. Finally, in a 2020 article published in the New Criminal Law Review, “The Transformational Function of the Criminal Law: In Search of Operational Boundaries”, Dr. Corda combines criminal law theory and sociology of law scholarship to develop an innovative non-wholly expressive normative account contributing to the debate on what is permissible for the criminal law to try to achieve. The article defines and theoretically substantiates the use of criminalization and punishment to change, rather than merely reflect, social norms, attitudes, and beliefs alongside, and combined with, non-penal policy-making tools in contested domains. Four operational conditions of legitimacy are identified and discussed. Within such operational boundaries, the article contends that the criminal law can play an important role in fostering social change.