Joanne Massey, Manchester Metropolitan University
This article considers the immediate responses of mainstream national and local newspapers to incidents of large-scale urban unrest in English cities, specifically news media representations of the 2001 Bradford riot and 2011 Manchester riot. With a decade between these two events, an examination of media discourses reveals little alteration in reports of riots. This is despite significant political and technological change in the UK. In 2001, the scapegoats were young Asian males and in 2011 ‘feral’ youth. One commonality is the ‘mindlessness’ of events, with the media presenting little justification for the actions of the rioters. Why is urban disorder presented as mindless and criminal by the media? Hegemonic values offer an explanation for this process. Comparative analysis reveals that whilst the two sets of offenders were treated differently by the criminal justice system, with punishment being harsher for those involved in the 2001 riot, little has changed in media narratives, indicating that who is in political power has little impact on media reports.
Mike Sutton, Nottingham Trent University
Felson and Cohen’s ‘Three Elements in the Chemistry of Crime’ is a model of crime causation proposing that most predatory crime is caused by the suitability of the target to be overcome by a motivated likely offender in the absence of anyone to stop it. Calamitously, this ‘Chemistry Model’ cannot rationally explain causes of crimes of attempt that fail to achieve the offender’s principal goal. That is because the three 'elements' can exist only after the successful completion of an intended predatory crime, not before. Being simply a post-hoc truism masquerading in the literature as a pre-crime causation the ‘Chemistry Model’ cannot be a causal explanation for crime. Believing that such minimalist descriptions of data as the ‘Chemistry Model’ can serve as casual explanations for that data is irrational and pseudoscientific, equating in this case to the nonsensically comical conclusion that every successfully completed crime caused itself to happen. As confirmatory evidence for it being a pathological criminological meme, one hundred examples are cited of the published dissemination of apparent belief in the ‘Chemistry Model’ as a causal explanation for crime. An improved, realistic, pre-crime opportunity model is suggested, but it too represents no more than a similarly tautological descriptive truism, also incapable of testing and refutation. The improved model does provide a rational and more accurate account of potential pre-crime situations, pinpointing fruitful areas for more research. However, it too is a truism and would be equally as absurd as a standalone pseudoscientific minimalist explanation for crime causation as the ‘Chemistry Model’.
Kirsten Edge & Dr. Danielle McDermott
Leeds Trinity University, School of Health and Social Sciences.
This paper is a critical review focussing on the development of sexual recidivism risk assessment measures in adult sex offenders. Both static and dynamic risk factors of sexual recidivism are discussed in relation to their role in the development of risk assessment tools. Research suggests that risk assessments based on static factors alone (e.g., history of offending, victim characteristics, age), are more predictive of general recidivism rather than more specific sexual recidivism and therefore, dynamic risk factors should be assessed as they can be targeted in treatment to reduce the risk of recidivism. Given the limitations of using actuarial risk assessments, evidence from meta-analyses consistently supports the use of structured dynamic risk assessment tools to assess the risk of sexual recidivism. However, more recent research has shown that using a combination of static and dynamic risk assessments provide the best predictions of sexual recidivism. The practical implications of these findings are demonstrated in the Risk Need Responsivity Model of offender assessment and rehabilitation.