25 November 2013
Policing for a Better Britain- Report of the Independent Police Commission
The Independent Police Commission launched its report today. Chaired by Lord Stevens, previously Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police with Professor Jennifer Brown
from Mannheim as the deputy chair. The Recommendations range from seeking a new legislative purpose for the police to include a social community building function alongside crime fighting, to rationalising its structures in part to better manage it presently chaotic IT.
An electronic version is available through the Commission’s own web site
or can be uploaded here
There is an academic collection of essays that accompany the Commission’s report edited by Jennifer called The Future of Policing published by Routledge.
21 November 2013
Obituary- Professor Jock Young
I am sure colleagues will be very saddened to hear of the death of Professor Jock Young. He died on Saturday, November 16, He is survived by his wife, and three sons Jesse, Joseph and Fintan, and step daughter Anny.
Paul Rock writes
“Jock Young was educated at the LSE where he obtained three degrees, including a PhD on drugtakers that was published in 1971. He was ever an outstanding, continually innovative and immensely influential criminologist who moved effortlessly from one paradigm to another, enthusiastically shaping and disseminating each in its turn, from symbolic interactionism to radical criminology and ultimately to the cultural criminology which was unleashed in 2004. Most of his career was spent teaching and writing at Middlesex University and also at Kent but latterly he worked with his wife and fellow-criminologist, Jayne Mooney, at John Jay College, New York.
In 2012, he was named winner of the 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award presented by the British Society of Criminology (BSC).
Our thoughts are with his family and many colleagues who mourn his passing.
17 September 2013
Frances Simon: 23 September 1930 to 25 August 2013
The family, friends, colleagues and former students of Frances Simon are very saddened by her recent death. Her friend and collaborator, Claire Corbett, writes:
As has been recently said, it's been a bad year for the passing of criminologists, and there is another to add to the list. It relates to my friend and former colleague, Dr Frances Simon, who died in late August.
Frances joined us at Brunel University after researching for NACRO (with Iain Crow) for a while and producing co-authored books 'Unemployment, Crime and Offenders' and 'Training Young Offenders'. Before that she worked for some years at the Home Office, having arrived from New Zealand's Justice Department. She worked with me for over a decade from 1989 on the unlawful driving research programme we had going. She is perhaps best known for her 1999 book 'Prisoners' Work and Vocational Training' which was based on her PhD research (award made at Brunel when she was 70!). Her 1971 HORU Report 'Prediction Methods in Criminology' that included a prediction study of young men on probation is evidence of her statistical expertise and ability to apply it to criminological issues that are still of interest. That report won an award from the International Society of Criminology in 1971. I remember having afternoon tea with Frances and Ann Widdecombe in the latter's office when she was Prisons Minister to discuss Frances' prison research. She was a staunch Liberal (though not fond of Clegg) and joined the Iraq war demonstration a decade ago. After her retirement, she did voluntary work for the police every weekday until 2/3 years before her death. A remarkable woman.
She leaves a son and stepson and his family.
Dr Claire Corbett
Reader Deputy Director,
Criminal Justice Research Centre, Brunel Law School
01 August 2013
Terence Morris: A Tribute
Terence Morris was a friend and colleague over my entire working life at the LSE and after. He was a pivotal figure in the development of criminology in Britain, and an important influence on those whom he supervised both as undergraduates and for doctoral research. Almost an entire generation of sociologically minded criminologists – including Stan Cohen, David Downes, Frances Heidensohn, Paul Rock, Jock Young and – later – Dick Hobbs and Elaine Player were enthused by him for the work of the ‘Chicago School’, whose ethnographic vitality provided an alternative to the sample survey which was virtually de rigueur for British sociology in the 1950s and 60s. But perhaps his main contribution was to champion the pursuit of comparative study in criminology, not least in his own work. His study based on Croydon, The Criminal Area (1958), both owed much of its statistical methodology to the Chicago School – whose approach was highly numerate as well as observational - but also brought a critical edge to bear on their theories of urban development. Public housing estates in Britain were at odds with their image of city growth. His major study, carried out with his first wife Pauline, Pentonville: A Sociological Study of an English Prison (1963) contrasted subcultural adaptations in a turbulent English local prison with American studies of longer term, higher security prisons. This work, both comparative and ethnographic – the Morrises engaged with the prisoners as no previous British sociologists had done – set the pattern for much of the following decades’ work of a similar kind, bringing both American and European perspectives to bear on British forms of social deviance and control. He was also an early advocate of the work of Albert Cohen, and Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin, for their ground-breaking attempts to analyse gang delinquency, the major stimulus to my own work, which he supervised, on delinquency in London’s East End. In short, he was the main pioneer of sociological criminology in Britain, and a key conduit to the new deviancy theory which took shape here from the mid-1960s on.
As Robert Reiner has stressed in his appreciation, Terry was also among the principal campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty in Britain, and for criminal justice reforms across a range of issues: the degrading state of the prisons, overly harsh juvenile justice and overly lenient penalties for road traffic offences, especially drunken driving. Throughout the 1960s, and especially in his articles for the Observer, he was a tireless exponent of what has been termed ‘public criminology’. With Louis Blom-Cooper he compiled a study, The Calendar of Murder (1964), of all murders committed in England between the inception of the Homicide Act of 1957 and 1962, the key finding of which was that no empirical basis existed for differentiating capital from non-capital murders: abolition was the only just and logical conclusion to be drawn. Much later in life, again with his closest friend, Louis Blom-Cooper, he wrote two fine, scholarly books, With Malice Aforethought (2004) and Fine Lines and Distinctions (2012) which made the case anew, not only for the abolition of capital punishment, but also for that of mandatory life imprisonment for all cases of homicide. It was an impressive compensation for what had been, in the intervening decades, a relatively slender output, given his immense scholarly gifts, which animated his succinct Crime and Criminal Justice Since 1945 (1989). One reason was that he was a victim of his own early success. He felt increasingly marginalised by the up-and-coming, much more numerous generation of criminologists, including his own former students. His energies were also taken up with such aspects of his work as a lay magistrate in inner London and as Vice-Chair of the Howard League for Penal Reform.
As the man, so the teacher: Terry Morris was unforgettable. There were few dull moments in his lectures and seminars. He could not only convey penal theory but also how prisons smell, feel and sound. He could be wildly politically incorrect and yet commonly display rare erudition. He not only drew on a hard-won knowledge of the English criminal justice and penal system. It was from him that I learnt that Max Weber regarded power, not class, as the irreducible sociological datum, and that Emile Durkheim saw the ‘non-contractual elements of contract’ as the necessary basis for industrial democracies to cohere. Among those he admired were his revered teacher, Hermann Mannheim, after whom the Centre of Criminology he helped establish at the LSE is named; Gerald Gardiner, QC, co-architect of the abolition of capital punishment in Britain; and Tony Parker, the former probation officer turned author of a stream of life histories based on exhaustive interviews with a range of offenders, from professional criminals to petty offenders. Among his villains were Arthur Scargill, for leading the miners into an industrial Passchendale, and Margaret Thatcher, for their entrapment and the erosion of the great achievements of the British welfare state. He was a passionate believer in both social justice and the rule of law, and in his life and work he did his level best to uphold both.
Professor David Downes
11 July 2013
Professor TERENCE MORRIS: An Appreciation
7th June 1931- 8th July 2013
I am sure all who are associated with the Mannheim Centre will be very sad to hear of the death of its first Director, Professor Terence Morris. He got the Centre of to a flying start, and we are deeply in his debt. Professor Morris had been at the LSE as an undergraduate and graduate student, and had been supervised by Hermann Mannheim as one of his last graduate students. Subsequently, Professor Morris taught in the Sociology Department of LSE from 1955-95.
Professor Morris was a leading pioneer of sociological criminology in Britain, and published many seminal scholarly books and papers that will continue to influence future generations as a lasting legacy. The book of his PhD, The Criminal Area: a study in social ecology
(1957), was based on ethnographic work on youth delinquency in Croydon. Influenced by the Chicago School of urban sociology, it paved the way in Britain for the now flourishing tradition of analysing deviance in spatial terms.
Professor Morris’ second book, Pentonville: the sociology of an English prison
(with Pauline Morris and Barbara Barer, published in1963) was a ground-breaking study of a British prison, and remains influential and relevant for present debates, as was shown by the contributions to a Mannheim Centre seminar held to mark the 40th anniversary of the work. The speakers comprised many of the major experts on penal policy today, including Professors David Downes, Alison Liebling, Elaine Player, Philip Bean, Rod Morgan and Barry Mitchell, and all testified to the huge achievement of the Pentonville study and its continuing influence. There were also celebrations of Professor Morris’ work on delinquent subcultures (by Professor Dick Hobbs), and on homicide (by Sir Louis Blom Cooper QC). Professor Morris also wrote an account of the genesis of the book, accompanied by a fascinating slide-show of pictures which can be found on the Mannheim website. There is a more detailed account of the event by Professor Jennifer Brown, including the contributions by Professor Morris and Sir Louis Blom Cooper in the March 2012 Mannheim Matters Newsletter
, available on this website.
Professor Morris continued to publish major scholarly works until recently, including a trilogy of books and many articles developing a celebrated and influential critical analysis of homicide and the law, written with Sir Louis Blom Cooper: A Calendar of Murder
(1964), With Malice Aforethought: a study of the crime and punishment for homicide
(2004), and Fine Lines and Distinctions: Murder, Manslaughter and the Taking of Human Life
(2011). Professor Morris’ prolific writing also included a lively and informative study of post-war criminal justice policy Crime and Criminal Justice Since 1945
(1989), and too many other works to detail here.
Professor Morris was a ‘public criminologist’ long before the concept was coined. He was for many years an active member of the Howard League for Penal Reform, serving on its executive and as one of its vice-presidents. He was actively involved in the campaign for the abolition of capital punishment. He served as a member of the Longford Committee, which advised Harold Wilson on penal and legal reform prior to his election victory in 1964. Professor Morris worked as a Justice of the Peace in London from 1967-91. He sat as a chairman at Tower Bridge and Camberwell Green magistrates' courts and in the family courts, and was on the council of the Magistrates' Association. He was a founding member of the British Society of Criminology, and the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence.
In addition to his scholarship and public works, Professor Morris was a gifted and inspiring teacher. This was warmly acknowledged by many of his former students (now Professors in their own right) at the Mannheim event in his honour. I remember him myself as a student on his Deviance course during my MSc in Sociology year here at LSE in 1968. He was the model of a social science intellectual as I had imagined one to be: witty, sophisticated, liberal, a mine of information who seemed to have read everything, with a sharp incisive analytic insight. The impact of Professor Morris’ work will live on.
Emeritus Professor of Criminology
Law dept., LSE
July 10 2013
had a piece about stop and search published on the Guardian free comment blog.
See: Police stop and search has had a toxic effect on Britain's ethnic minorities
21 June 2013
Congratulation to Coretta Philips, who with Deb Drake have won the Criminology book prize for 2013, Deb for Prisons , Punishment and the Pursuit of Security and Coretta for The Multicultural Prison: Ethnicity, Masculinity and Social Relations among Prisoners. Coretta was also interviewed by Laurie Taylor about her book on Thinking allowed.
05 April 2013
Obituary- GEOFFREY PEARSON
It is with great sadness we mark the death of Geoff Pearson with this appreciation by Professor Dick Hobbs.
Amongst the cacophony of cant and ignorance masquerading as social commentary that followed Britain’s 2011 riots, there were few credible voices of understanding, let alone attempts to place the youthful violence, nihilism, and looting within anything approaching a historical perspective. Yet as the usual clichés were rolled out about the riots being without precedent, and a sure sign of a radical and dangerous departure from the subservience of the past, the carefully modulated tones of Geoffrey Pearson, who has died aged 70, came once again to the fore.
Geoff Pearson was born in Manchester, the only son of a Co-op worker and a local Labour Party activist. He was educated at Accrington Grammar School and Peterhouse College Cambridge, where he studied Moral Sciences (philosophy and psychology). On leaving Cambridge, he carried out postgraduate studies before working with people with disabilities in Sheffield, and later trained as a psychiatric social worker at the London School of Economics before returning to Sheffield to practice.
Much of Geoff Pearson’s early academic career was in social work education and training, first as a Lecturer at Sheffield Polytechnic, then for five years at University College, Cardiff. While at Cardiff Geoff published his first major work, “The Deviant Imagination” (1974), a study of the complex multi-disciplinary debates that thrived under the banner of the National Deviancy Conference. The Deviant Imagination explored the background assumptions and ideological foundations of a wide range of theories of deviance, and was openly critical of the burgeoning subjective politics of identity that was a direct threat to the traditional socialism that had nurtured his boyhood and youth. Most importantly in terms of Pearson’s subsequent career, the book established historical precedents for many contemporary policies and social attitudes, particularly those relating to youthful hedonism.
In 1976 Pearson joined the University of Bradford where he published the study for which he was best known, Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears (1980). Hooligan is concerned with the eternal recurrence of a form of cultural pessimism that regards youth crime as a threatening departure from the stable traditions of a “golden age” of peace and tranquillity. Whether the triggers for youth deviance were regarded as music hall, gangster movies, or rock and roll, Pearson identified a connected vocabulary of respectable fears stretching back to Victorian times and beyond. Hooligan will remain highly relevant for as long as the default reaction to youth violence continues to disinter the notion of a “golden age”. Yet his work does not deny that youth and the communities that spawn them have undergone huge changes in the last five decades. For as he noted in the wake of the 2011 disturbances, “although we need a bottom–up process of re-integration, built around families, schools and communities…the problem remains: how do you re-integrate people who were not integrated in the first place ?”.
Geoff was always careful not to glamorise deviance, and in “The New Heroin Users” (1987), he gave a voice to users and addicts , and in doing so confounded many stereotypes concerning this most demonised group, who were heavily concentrated in areas already suffering unemployment, poor housing and poverty. Pearson moved to London in 1985 as Professor of Social Work at Middlesex Polytechnic during which time he was a member of the Council for Education and Training in Social Work, and worked on a number of projects including a critical study of multi-agency policing, written in the wake of the Scarman Report.
His final career move was in 1989 to Goldsmiths College as Wates Professor of Social Work, and later as Professor of Criminology. For eight years he was Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Criminology, and while at Goldsmiths Geoff was a member of the Runcimann Inquiry into Drugs and the Law, vice-chair of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependency, and vice-chair, of DrugScope, He also carried out studies of drug use amongst young people in care, of drug markets, and the policing of drugs, confirming his status as a key figure both in the UK and internationally in arguments that positioned chronic drug misuse in the context of unemployment and social exclusion.
Although he retired in 2008, his inquisitiveness and natural affinity with blighted communities led him to chair the Iindependent Commission on Social Services in Wales that produced a highly critical report in 2010. Geoff Pearson was married three times, and was dedicated to Marilyn Lawrence, to whom he was married for 22 years, and together for 32 years, to his four children, Jonathan, Kate, Joe and Saul, to his four grandchildren and one great grandchild. A talented jazz pianist, and lifelong Manchester United fan, Geoff was the most sociable of men who always had a story to tell, but who knew when to listen. When nurturing and inspiring ethnographers of crime and deviance such as Mark Gilman, Alice Sampson, Jenni Ward, Dan Silverstone, Kate O’Brien, Dan Briggs and others, he encouraged them to dig out stories of marginalised individuals and groups, and whenever possible let them speak for themselves.
There was no trick or sleight of hand with Geoff Pearson, no mystique to his craft as an academic, to his qualities as a champion of the excluded and the misunderstood, or indeed to the way that he led his all too short life. He leaves behind a body of work that personifies his wit, intellect and personal integrity.
Academic and writer. Born in Manchester on 26/03/1943. Married Marilyn (4 children, 4 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild). Died in London 05/04/2013
31 January 2013
It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Professor Stanley Cohen.
David Downes wrote an appreciation of Stan on the occasion of him being awarded the outstanding achievement in criminology by the British Society of Criminology in June 2009 which is reproduced here. David has also written an appreciation which can be located at Professor Cohen’s staff page on the Mannheim web site.
First of all, congratulations to the British Society of Criminology for having inaugurated this award for the most notable achievement in criminology. Secondly, congratulations to the executive committee for choosing Stan Cohen as the first person to whom it should be made. As we all know, Stan has been for decades a towering figure not only in British but also world criminology; and not just criminology but the sociology of crime, deviance, control and, latterly, human rights. No better choice could have been made.
I have known Stan for nearly 50 years, almost as long as I have been ‘doing criminology’. In that entire period, I have never known him write a dull word, or strike a false note. He has incredible quality control. As Martine Navratilova, several times Wimbledon champion – but no criminologist – said: “It is not how you play at your best that matters. It’s how you play at your worst.” It is, though, difficult to find a ‘worst’ in Stan’s work.
However, one thing Stan recoils from is any hint of ‘over the top’ sentiment, so I will stick now to the bare facts of his achievement. First, Folk Devils and Moral Panics in 1972, partly based on his Ph.D at the LSE on vandalism, made such formidable use of those concepts that the term ‘moral panic’ entered the language; has a universal usage far beyond the original instance of the ‘Mods and Rockers’ events, and greatly influenced the politics of naming, social work and the multicultural debate. That was followed by two co-authored works with Laurie Taylor, Psychological Survival (1972, again) and Escape Attempts (1976), the first of which showed how deep were the anxieties of long-term prisoners for the survival of any sense of identity, presaging his later work on human rights.
In 1979 the journal Contemporary Crises published his article “The Punitive City: Notes on the Dispersal of Social Control”. This article became one of a handful that continue to reverberate throughout the field over a generation later. Like Sykes and Matza’s “Techniques of Neutralization” and Merton’s “Social Structure and Anomie”, it was a fresh point of departure from earlier classic theories, in this case that of Foucault, to transform the agenda of criminological analysis. Several years later, Visions of Social Control (1985) greatly elaborated and registered those insights anew, most notably the implications of his celebrated fishing metaphor of social and cultural control: net-widening; mesh-thinning; blurring, and penetration. A few years ago, it struck me that he had practically written New Labour’s ‘tough on crime’ programme, but as a warning, not a manifesto. It sometimes seems as if Stan Cohen’s role in criminology is to be its Cassandra, much as one hopes he avoids her fate.
His latest book so far, States of Denial (2002) is his magnum opus or, at least, the latest of them. This book fuses his unique store of knowledge about crime, deviance and control with his concern for human rights. The eloquent sub-title Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering intimates how states and the powerful can utilize ‘techniques of neutralization’ to far more devastating effect than any delinquent. Stan’s criminology has, of course, always been an antidote to conventional criminology. This never meant an abandonment of criminology in its larger, critical and sceptical sense. He was always bemused by those who failed to see the irony in the title of his book of essays, Against Criminology (1988).
What, then, are the qualities that mark his work out as a unique influence in criminology for over four decades? First, his capacity for detachment means he is never captured by any approach or trend, even those he feels most sympathy with – he manages to maintain a disinterested and sceptical approach come what may. Secondly, there is his sheer intellectual honesty – he is not afraid to admit doubt, indecision and anxiety about his own work, let alone that of others. Third, there is his uncanny insight into underlying realities, not least those of self-proclaimed realists of both Left and Right. Fourth, there is his wit, dark humour and great zest for the comic, as in his characteristic line that, in seeking to unravel the meaning of punk culture in Britain in the 1970s, “the whole assembly of cultural artefacts, down to the punks’ last safety pin, have been scrutinised, taken apart, contextualised and re-contextualised…to aid this hunt for the hidden code.” This may be “an imaginative way of reading the style, but how can we be sure it is also not imaginary?”
Fifthly, as several contributors to his festschrift made clear, his work has an intensely practical aspect. In exposing the mechanisms of denial, he has contributed greatly to the preconditions for any possibility of peaceful transition to ending political violence, not only in Israel and South Africa, of which he has direct experience, but also in the many places where such an outcome seems remote. The two fields of criminology and human rights have been seminally integrated in his work.
Finally, when we were compiling the festschrift for Stan Cohen, the editors represented both the criminological and the human rights aspects of his work. We aimed to represent his academic and campaigning work in South Africa and Israel as well as in Britain and the United States. We drew the line at 30 contributions but could easily have doubled that number, and in many ways I wish we had, as the warmth and enthusiasm for Stan and his work, not least from his former students, were quite remarkable. Those responses are embodied in this award, which I am proud to present to him on behalf of the British Society of Criminology.