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Wednesday 21 March 2018
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Academics warn against `minority report' crime fighting approaches in the latest issue of Criminal Justice Matters published today (06/09/2010) by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. A special themed section edited by Professor David Wall of Durham University, considers how `pre crime' methods are increasingly and disturbingly becoming part of the crime prevention landscape.


Professor David Wall highlights the tendency towards `social sorting' and the reversal of the burden of proof. On the evidence presented in the magazine, Wall said,


`The pre-crime idea distorts the scientific belief that we can use social science methods to analyse crime situations in order to develop rules that will enable us to predict risk factors that will then inform crime prevention strategies'.


Rebecca Roberts of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and Managing Editor of cjm said,


`Governmental focus on what is often described as early intervention may amount to little more than the those most vulnerable to the economic downturn finding themselves more tightly monitored and controlled.'


Professor Lucia Zedner of Oxford University, in her article said,


`Prevention makes good sense but measures that act coercively against individuals need to be subject to rigorous and principled restraint.'


Other articles on `pre-crime' include:


  • DNA: Carole McCartney argues that the DNA revolution is unlikely to `rid societies of crime';


  • Tackling terrorism: In two articles, Jude McCulloch and Sharon Pickering, and Gabe Mythen and Sandra Walklate consider pre-crime approaches to terrorism, deeming them unlikely to succeed.


Elsewhere in the magazine, the `Debating' section tackles `Methadone in prison: pathway to recovery or chemical cosh?' with contributions from leading commentators in the field. Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, in an article on prison numbers, questions whether they are likely to fall in the context of budget cuts and says that Government will miss opportunities to scale back the criminal justice system.




Contact: Richard Garside, director: 020 7840 6110



  1. Criminal Justice Matters is the quarterly magazine of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies published in partnership with Routledge, Taylor and Francis. The views expressed in the magazine do not necessarily represent those of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. This issue of Criminal Justice Matters will be available to view online through the Informaworld website soon.

  2. The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is an independent public interest charity that engages with the worlds of research and policy, practice and campaigning. Its mission is to inspire enduring change by promoting understanding of social harm, the centrality of social justice and the limits of criminal justice. Its vision is of a society in which everyone benefits from equality, safety, social and economic security.

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Centre for Crime and Justice Studies