Lecturer Post in Criminology at UCD advertised

An exciting job opportunity has just been posted by University College Dublin. The advertisement is reproduced below:

Applicants are invited for the post of Lecturer in Criminology, located within the UCD School of Law. Applicants are welcome from persons working in any field of criminology.

This post will be filled on either a temporary 5-year or a Permanent basis.

The appointed Lecturer in Criminology will be required to engage in research, teaching and academic administration within the UCD School of Law. This will include the delivery and development of modules in criminology and criminal justice at undergraduate and graduate level, the supervision of graduate students and the generation of top-quality publications in line with the academic mission of the School. The successful candidate will also be required to contribute to the work programme of the UCD Institute of Criminology which is housed within the School of Law. The appointee will report to the Dean of the School of Law.

Salary scale: €35,355 – €81,452 p.a.
Appointment on scale will be made commensurate with qualification and experience.

Closing date: 23.30hrs on Monday 17th May 2010

NOTE: Applications must be submitted by the closing date and time specified. UCD are unable to accept late applications

All current recruitment which is taking place within UCD is dependent on non-Exchequer, external and self-funding sources of finance.

http://www.ucd.ie/hr/jobvacancies/

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April 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

Issues relating to sexual offending

The topicality and quality of this session was reflected in the very high levels of attendance, despite, even, being the final event of the two days.

Anne-Marie McAlinden (http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/Staff/DrAnne-MarieMcAlinden/) and Marie Keenan (http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/appliedsocialscience/msmariekeenan/)spoke on the difficult topic of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. They pointed out that it is only since the 1990s that the view of such abuse as ‘criminal’ has been firmly embedded and noted the strong influence of the media in this regard. Interestingly, the proportion of abuse committed by Catholic clergy is much smaller than that portrayed in The Irish Times and on the Nine O’Clock  news. Kieran McCartan’s paper on the media constructions and reactions to paedophilia struck a similar note,with Kieran arguing that the media does not behave in a socially responsible way when reporting such issues.

Anne-Marie and Marie put forward some interesting hypotheses about the changing nature of Catholicism in Ireland and its cultural and social make-up, suggesting that these transitions may have impacted upon the way in which abusers who are Catholic priests are viewed and dealt with.

Susan Leahy addressed the perennially controversial topic of consent in rape cases, noting the continuing belief that intoxicated females are somehow ‘responsible’ for their own rape. Susan made a number of suggestions beyond those relating to legal definitions and regulation, highlighting the importance of public education on the dangers of alcohol and the need to promote responsibility in its consumption. She also put forward the view that challenging stereotypes and assumptions about women who are raped after consuming alcohol is critical to improving both social and legal responses to such incidents.

July 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

The Effects of Imprisonment

Helen Codd presented, as always, a lively and thought-provoking paper on the impact of imprisonment upon prisoners’ children.

Helen used the vivid description of herself as “walking the line between law and criminology”, with which many Irish criminology students and scholars would identify.

Drawing on the critical South African case of M v. The State, Helen outlined the way in which legal duties to place the interests 0f the child at the centre of all matters which affect him/her have been used creatively in the context of the sentencing of adults. Interestingly, from a NGO perspective, the Children’s Rights Centre at the University of Pretoria was amicus curiae in this case.

In M Sachs J held that, when deciding on the sentence for a person who is a care-giver to a child, the child’s interests must be paramount and the sentencing decision should be ‘child-sensitive’. It is hard to dispute Helen’s assessment of this approach as an “inspirational model”.

(http://www.uclan.ac.uk/ahss/research/criminology_criminal_justice/hcodd.php)

Karen Souza (http://131.111.9.179/about/people/biog.html?recordID=86) presented some fascinating findings regarding the experiences of first time and recurrent inmates in a UK prison and how each group adapts differently. Using a self-administered survey, Karen’s research examined a variety of demographics and experiences of prison. One of the most interesting topics explored in the paper, and which will undoubtedly be subject to further examination, relates to the point at which prisoners become less receptive to change and lose the motivation to alter their behaviour. Karen’s findings will undoubtedly have implications for the design of penal regimes and the need to respond to the needs of different prisoner ‘groups’

July 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Historical Perspectives on Crime

Historical perspectives in criminology can often be dismissed as mere ‘crime history’  but any student of criminology will know that some of the best work in the field has taken a historical approach. Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, Garland’s Punishment and Welfareand our own Kilcommins et al’s Crime, Punishment and the Search for Order in Ireland are some obvious examples. As Loader and Sparks have commented, the need for a ‘historical sociology’ within criminology is strong.

This session contained papers from Garry Coventry, Paul Knepper and John Moore.

Garry Coventry looked at the exciting story of what could be considered early ‘gang’ families and their inter-relations. As one colleague remarked later, this intriguing paper could be the subject of many a film!

Paul Knepper’s paper looked at the origins of the notion of crime as a global problem. His research, examining the influence of the British Empire on the concept of transnational crime, appraised the way in which criminal justice policies and crime ‘concerns’ made their way around the Empire. Some interesting connections and comparisons can be made between the case of Malta and that of Ireland. This would be possibly very fruitful to explore.

John Moore looked at the influence of the ideas of Alexander Maconochie on the esteemed penal reformer Sir Walter Crofton, famous for his ‘Irish’ system of penal ‘treatment’, the mark system. This in-depth analysis provided an  under-explored context for what is often considered a marvel of penal history.

July 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Public Criminology

The session on ‘Public Criminology’ attracted a large and diverse audience. Three papers were delivered. The particular topics were diverse and varied, but the link between them related to the ways in which policy can be influenced and shaped, whether by criminological research, criminologists or the activities and beliefs of policy-makers themselves.

Eoin Healey and Jessica Breen presented on behalf of a wider group including Nicola Carr and Caroline O’Nolan, all PhD students at Trinity College Dublin. As well as the make-up of the group, the topic of the paper reflected the growth of the discipline of criminology in Ireland. Eoin and Jessica presented research into the prevalence of the term ‘criminology’ or ‘criminologist’ in the Irish Times – with a view to expanding the research in the future.

This was an interesting and unusual piece of self-reflection by Irish criminologists on their public portrayal and one which has the potential to become a classic study in the trajectory of the discipline in Ireland.

Reflections of a more sobering kind were the result of Professor Ian O’Donnell’s intriguingly entitled paper ‘Is Criminology bad for you’. Professor O’Donnell noted the chaotic nature of criminal justice policy-making in Ireland and the tendency to short  bursts of frenetic activity, followed by long  periods of inertia and neglect.

Professor O’Donnell ascribed this, in part, to the nature of politics in Ireland, which is very much focused on the short-term and the local. As such, ideologies of any description are difficult to come by across the Irish political spectrum. Professor O’Donnell referred to a lack of bureaucratic or administrative structures to drive forward any long-term agenda and suggested, provocatively, that a lack of a criminological base here may have contributed to insulating the country from some of the worst penal excesses occuring elsewhere.

This was a somewhat unsettling paper from the point of view of the academic who believes that rational, evidence-based policies should inevitably flow from the creation of new and improved understanding. It put me in mind, however, of Professor Ian Loader’s view that criminologists do not yet understand the ways in which policy are made. Until we develop a sociology of ‘politics’ or the way in which criminal justice policy is made, we will fail to understand the priorities of politicians, which may not be those of the researcher or lecturer. There was much food for thought in Professor O’Donnell’s paper and much more, no doubt, will be provided in future publications.

Mary Rogan (maryrogan.wordpress.com) delivered a paper on the relationship between Secretary and Minister in the Department of Justice and its impact on the creation of penal policy. This paper looked specifically at Charles Haughey and Peter Berry and their role in the creation of an arguably more progressive, and certainly more energetic, form of penal policy in the 1960s. The argument ran that Ministers and civil servants may have a disproportionate influence on the nature of penal policy in Ireland for many of the reasons noted by Professor O’Donnell. The paper concluded, however, with a more general call for analyses of the policy-making process in order to understand its operation more fully.

July 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

Professor Ian O’Donnell writes:

Irish Criminology Conference

The fifth Irish Criminology Conference took place at University College
Dublin on 15 and 16 June, under the auspices of the UCD Institute of
Criminology. More than 100 delegates assembled on campus to take part in the proceedings. The interest generated by the event was such that even the concluding sessions were packed.

There is no Irish Society of Criminology as such, merely a group of
like-minded individuals who believe that it is important to come
together on a regular basis to exchange ideas and keep abreast of research. The conference has grown in popularity each year, assisted no doubt by the absence of any registration fee. Even in these straitened times it proved possible for the host institution to raise sufficient funds to cover the costs of the event (including a wine reception!) and to provide a limited number of bursaries for students who wished to present papers but lacked the funds to travel.

The variety of content on offer this year showed that criminology and
criminal justice were well on the way to becoming established areas of
scholarly inquiry in Ireland. The programme included papers on
prisoners’ children, Irish convicts in Australian penal colonies, piracy on the high seas, media portrayals of paedophilia, the reintegration of
ex-offenders and the representation of crime and punishment in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Most of the universities on the island were represented on the conference programme.In addition delegates travelled from England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and the USA.

Those who attend the Irish Criminology Conference are a disparate
bunch; more varied in background perhaps than found at similar meetings elsewhere.

They are drawn from academia, the voluntary sector, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the legal profession and An Garda
Síochána. Some are experts of long-standing, others have an interest
that is more peripheral, but all are curious about the potential of criminology to address important social questions. One of the key aims of the gathering is to create a meaningful dialogue between researchers and policy makers as well as enhancing mutual understanding.

The conference was of particular importance this year in the context of
the government’s decision to publish a White Paper on crime. This could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to produce a set of guiding principles for a fair, humane and minimalist justice system.

Against this background a prominent conference theme was the extent to which criminology might contribute to this process in any or all of the following ways:

1.. Providing the raw materials for sound policy, legislation and
public debate.
2.. Stimulating a culture of innovation and reducing the traditional
reliance on models imported from other jurisdictions.
3.. Making available the baseline information that allows difficult
decisions to be taken with confidence during a crisis.
4.. Enhancing democratic accountability by opening up areas that have
previously been closed to independent inquiry.

Debates about crime and punishment in Ireland tend to have a staccato
quality. There are moments of intense concern, often after a
particularly heinous killing, and then long periods of stasis. Sometimes
fundamentally new ways of doing justice are promised. But they are not always introduced,their impact is seldom assessed, and the focus can waver.

The background is of a criminal justice system where reform is slow and piecemeal. It took sixty years for revised prison rules to appear; the Probation Service is still guided by a piece of legislation more than a century old; and it remains impossible to link the information systems of the various criminal justice agencies.

One of the advantages of such a state of affairs is that the country
has been insulated from the punitive chill that has so affected England and the USA. Another is that research opportunities are many and varied and the scope for international collaboration is vast.

The conference programme is available at http://www.ucd.ie/criminol

June 17, 2009 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment


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