Journal honours for University's criminologists

26 July 2011

Two scholarly articles by academics at the Sydney Institute of Criminology have been acknowledged with awards. The articles make important contributions to debates on social regulation and crime prevention.

Professor Pat O' Malley has received the highly prestigious 2010 Radzinowicz Memorial Prize which is awarded annually by the British Journal of Criminology to the author of the article judged by the editors as making the greatest contribution to the development of criminology.

Co-Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology, Gail Mason said, "The importance of the prize and the recognition that comes with such an award is significant for Professor O'Malley. It also highlights the great work that is being undertaken in the Institute of Criminology. Debate around governance, control and policing is paramount in the context of today's high-speed technological society and the ever-increasing dependence on technological solutions to criminal justice issues.'

The winning article titled 'Simulated Justice: Risk, Money and Telemetric Policing' looks at new forms of 'simulated' justice and policing and what the implications are for social regulation.

Professor O'Malley said, "I use the example of the traffic fine where typically the offence is detected, recorded, the sentence fixed and the punishment expiated - all in the virtual environment. Only electronic codes are involved, although of course the money paid is real - thanks to the fact that most money is digital in the 21st century."

A significant feature of this form of justice is that it works largely through purchased commodities - the vehicle, the registration and the driver's licence. Professor O'Malley suggests that: "In a sense we have purchased the privilege of being governed in a certain way!

"No rights or liberties are removed - since these are simply privileges being cancelled - so this form of justice operates almost unnoticed by the guardians of our civil liberties.

"One consequence is that many of the traditional features of justice have been stripped away. The assumption of innocence is abandoned, punishments are fixed by tariff, procedures are reduced to simple online transactions and so on. This model is being extended to deal with minor offending, such as public order offences, a matter of concern to many lawyers and jurists," Professor O'Malley said.

The Radzinowicz prize will be presented in January 2012 in London.

An article by Associate Professor Thomas Crofts has also been honoured.

'The Law and (Anti-Social Behaviour) Order Campaign in Western Australia', published in Current Issues in Criminal Justice has won the ANZSOC Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award 2011. This award is judged on pragmatic and workable solutions that are applicable to Australasian crime problems within the context of an inclusive and tolerant value system.

Co-Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology, Murray Lee states, "This annual prize is given to an individual who has written the best publication or report in the area of crime prevention. Professor Crofts is the inaugural recipient of the ANZSOC Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award which is a great honour."

Professor Crofts said, "The article is a critical analysis of Prohibited Behaviour Orders which were recently introduced in Western Australia based on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders in the United Kingdom. The article argues that when such criminal law policy transfer occurs it is imperative that caution be taken with regard to how well such initiatives have fared in other jurisdictions and what specific issues may arise in the jurisdiction adopting such measures."

He will formally receive the award in September.

The articles are:

  • 'Simulated Justice: Risk, Money and Telemetric Policing', published in the British Journal of Criminology Volume 50 Number 5, page 795-807
  • 'The Law and (Anti-Social Behaviour) Order Campaign in Western Australia', published in Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Volume 22 Number 3, March 2011.