Criminology Book Prize
(sponsored by Routledge Publishing)
Winner of the 2017 British Society of Criminology Book Prize
The Penal Voluntary Sector By Philippa Tomczak
The penal voluntary sector and the relationships between punishment and charity are more topical than ever before. In recent years in England and Wales, the sector has featured significantly in both policy rhetoric and academic commentary. Penal voluntary organisations are increasingly delivering prison and probation services under contract, and this role is set to expand. However, the diverse voluntary organisations which comprise the sector, their varied relationships with statutory agencies and the effects of such work remain very poorly understood.
The 2016 Criminology Book Prize
It is a reflection of the fierce competition this year that the book prize was shared by two exceptional, engaging, passionate and brilliantly written books, both hailing from Scotland. The winners are Dr Beth Weaver (University of Sterling) and Dr Alistair Fraser (University of Glasgow) for their books ‘Offending and Desistance: The Importance of Social Relations’ (which is part of the Routledge International Series on Desistance and Rehabilitation) and ‘Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City’ (Oxford University Press).
Beth Weavers book ‘Offending and Desistance’, examines the role of a co-offending peer group in shaping and influencing offending and desistance, focusing on three phases of their criminal careers: onset, persistence and desistance. It is a clear work of deep commitment to empirical research and the life stories of six Scottish men (in their forties), who Weaver employs as the central bedrock of the empirical aspect of the book, are revealing and fascinating. Weaver considers the central role of friendship groups, intimate relationships and families of formation, employment and religious communities and using her empirical data in an innovative manner considers how, for different individuals, these relations triggered reflexive evaluation of their priorities, behaviours and lifestyles, but with differing results. Weaver’s re-examination of the relationships between structure, agency, identity and reflexivity in the desistance process ultimately illuminates new directions for research, policy and practice, but also makes for a beautifully crafted and presented book that has rightly earned high praise from academics in the field and the BSC book prize judges.
Dr Alistair Fraser shares in common with Beth a PhD in Sociology from the University of Glasgow and (noted at the prize award) this year’s award can be seen as a triumph for the institution that created two such strong academic works. His book ‘Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City’, like Beth Weavers work, commenced as a PhD study, and is something of a re-invigoration of the traditions of UK gang studies long associated with Glasgow. Yet while much of Frasier’s work tips a nod of acknowledgement to that history and context, it also adds much that is new, drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork that he carried out in Glasgow, and offering new theoretical insights that locates both historical and contemporary gang identities within the context of broader social, economic, and cultural change. In doing this, Fraser offers up what the BSC book prize judges noted was an exciting, original and engaging work on the gang phenomenon that draws as heavily on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and academic literature on globalisation as it does on the rich lineage of criminological and sociological interrogation of gangs in the UK and Scotland that will no doubt, like Weavers work, be widely read by British criminologists and internationally.
Both Weaver and Fraser’s books are a fantastic testimony to the rich state of British Criminology, and particularly the engaging, original theoretical and empirical research being undertaken in the discipline more broadly, and both deserve to be widely read by those interested in contemporary criminological debates.
The 2015 Criminology Book Prize was awarded jointly to Jennifer Fleetwood Drug Mules: women in the international cocaine trade published by Palgrave and Nicholas Lord Regulating Corporate Bribery in International Business: Anti-corruption in the UK and Germany published by Ashgate.
2014 Don Crewe’s Becoming Criminal: the socio-cultural origins of law, transgression, and deviance and Ana Aliverti’s Crimes of Mobility: Criminal Law and the Regulation of Immigration (Routledge)
2013: Deb Drake Prisons, Punishment and the Pursuit of Security Palgrave and Coretta Philips The Multicultural Prison: Ethnicity, Masculinity, and Social Relations among Prisoners OUP
2012: Elizabeth Carter for Analysing Police Interviews Laughter, Confessions and the Tape Continuum Bloomsbury
2011: Catherine Appleton Life after Life Imprisonment Oxford University Press
2010: Sharon Shalev Supermax
2009: Joint winners. David A. Green When Children Kill Children: Penal Populism and Political Culture, Louise Mallinder Amnesty, Human Rights and Political Transitions: Bridging the Peace and Justice Divide
2008: Anne-Marie McAlinden The Shaming of Sexual Offenders: Risk, Retribution and Reintegration
2007: Mercedes Hinton The State on the Streets: Police and Politics in Argentina and Brazil
2006: Simon Mackenzie Going, Going, Gone: Regulating the market in illicit antiquities
2005: Laura Piacentini Surviving Russian Prisons
2004: Declan Roche Accountability in Restorative Justice
2003: Mike McCahill The Surveillance Web
2002: Kieran McAvoy Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland: Resistance, Management, and Release