Outstanding Achievement Award
This award is intended to celebrate outstanding contributions made to the discipline.
British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award 2021
The British Society of Criminology is proud to announce that the Outstanding Achievement Award 2021 was awarded to Professor Mike Hough, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Policy, Birkbeck, University of London, in recognition of his long contribution to bringing academic and policy research together.
Professor Hough founded one of the major UK centres for academic policy research on criminal justice – the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research – and directed it for more than 20 years. Before moving to academia in 1994, he was a senior researcher in the Home Office for twenty years, co-designing the British Crime Survey in 1981. He was President of the British Society of Criminology from 2008 until 2011. Professor Hough’s research interests have been many and varied, from policing and public perceptions of crime and punishment, crime measurement and crime trends, and drug-related crime; to sentencing, the rehabilitation of offenders, desistance theory, restorative justice and procedural justice theory. He has around 300 publications.
Professor Hough worked with the Prison Reform Trust on the growth of imprisonment, on sentencing and sentencing guidelines, on children in custody and on the unfairness of the indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection.
Among his many achievements is fostering collaboration between British and other European criminologists. He has worked on a series of large-scale international projects: two EU partnerships on trust in justice and legitimacy (Euro-Justis and Fiducia); testing a new variant of procedural justice theory using the European Social Survey; and codesigning the third sweep of the International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD3).
President of the BSC Professor Sandra Walklate said:
“It is with the greatest of pleasure for me personally to endorse the society’s recognition of Mike’s stellar contribution to the discipline and the work of the society in this way. His achievements and international stature speak strongly to the ongoing importance and presence of British criminology on the global stage’.
The British Society of Criminology’s Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Professor Hough during the Society’s first online annual conference hosted in conjunction with the Open University between 7-9th July 2021.
Presentation by Loraine Gelsthorpe (opens as a pdf)
Acceptance from Professor Mike Hough (opens as a pdf)
British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award 2020
This year there was no conference and the award presentation was conducted online.
2020 winner – Professor Mike Maguire, University of South Wales.
NEW – PODCAST – Professor Maguire was subsequently interviewed by Professor Fiona Brookman on his background in criminology and his academic journey. It is a fascinating account of how theory and methodology have informed the development of criminology and Mike’s belief that the questions inform the methods employed. He covers changes in criminology over the past decades and it really is a valuable insight into the shifting landscape of research and academic freedoms. Find out about the realities of summarising a conference (!), the relationship between academics and other criminal justice professionals and agencies, the luxury of reading for pleasure and working in partnership with one’s own colleagues . As Fiona says: “You are exactly what a proper professor should be”.
There is also a podcast of the award meeting and below the acceptance speech and photos of the award being presented by BSC President Professor Sandra Walklate, to the winner Professor Mike Maguire, University of South Wales.
Also in attendance were the nominators, Professor Fiona Brookman and Associate Professor Harriet Pierpoint.
Well, thank you very much indeed. When I say it was a shock to be told I’d been awarded this, that is a huge understatement. My first thought (apart from ‘this is a wind up’) was that it was rather like the ‘lifetime award’ to an old fading actor at the Oscars with the not-very-well- hidden message – ‘Thanks, but it’s time to go’! But I really am very grateful – it’s a massive honour, as is obvious from looking back through the list of others who have received it in the past and seeing myself in that company. And that includes my long-time colleague in Cardiff, Mike Levi, who was awarded it last year. Welsh criminology is on the up!
Given the sad and unusual circumstances this year, I’m not going to say much now or make a lengthy acceptance speech, as you would expect at the national conference. Instead, I’m going to try and record an interview shortly with my colleague at the University of South Wales, Fiona Brookman – sort of Desert Island Discs or The Life Scientific, she said – and if the technology works, the BSC will post either the recording or a transcript of it on their website.
However, what I do want to do is thank the people who nominated me – I understand it was Fiona and Harriet Pierpoint, neither of whom breathed a word about it to me – and the committee who made the decision. I also want to say what a great institution the BSC has become. When I started my career in the 1970s it was a small, very London-centred organisation, and fairly narrow in its conception of what criminology was. Since then it has expanded to incorporate flourishing regional branches (including an excellent one in Wales), organises large annual conferences covering a very wide range of topics and methodologies – in my view the best criminology conferences in the world (and much more enjoyable than the few American ones I have been to!) – and runs a high quality journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice. It welcomes practitioners and policy-makers as well as academics, and its ‘broad church’ approach has often helped to bridge gaps between groups that at times have become quite hostile to each other – be it between different schools of criminology or government and academics.
So thank you all again. This very attractive piece of glass will have pride of place in my (not very full) trophy cabinet, dwarfing my dominoes and chess awards.
Professor Maguire now joins the ranks of our Honorary Members also added a reflection on the role of the BSC, past, present and future.
As I said when I accepted this prestigious award, I along with many other criminologists have good reason to be grateful to the British Society of Criminology for helping to make the subject what it is today. When I started my career in the 1970s, not only were the relatively small number of academics who called themselves criminologists isolated in ones and twos in different kinds of university departments scattered across the country, but there were quite deep ideological splits and hostilities between criminologists themselves. In the 1980s and 1990s, as the discipline grew, the BSC played a big part in bringing it together and raising its visibility and status. The BSC itself has grown from a small, London-centred body, narrow in its conception of what criminology was, into a ‘broad church’ national organisation with flourishing regional branches (including an excellent one in Wales), promoting the discipline nationally and internationally, influencing policy-makers, running major conferences and editing a high quality journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice. I have particularly fond memories of helping to organise the annual conference in Cardiff in 1993, which brought back together for the first time in years the ‘stars’ of the radical 1973 book The New Criminology, Ian Taylor, Paul Walton and Jock Young, soon followed by an after dinner speech from one of the founding fathers of post-war criminology in Britain, Sir Leon Radzinowicz – a striking case of ‘chalk and cheese’ in the same event, which exemplifies the spirit of the BSC.
For more on the history of the BSC please see our History section