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Cases on Technologies for Teaching Criminology and Victimology: Methodologies and Practices

Cases on Technologies for Teaching Criminology and Victimology: Methodologies and Practices
Author(s)/Editor(s): Raffaella Sette (Università di Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: ©2010
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-872-7
ISBN13: 9781605668727
ISBN10: 1605668729
EISBN13: 9781605668734

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Description

As the explanation of crime and the social reaction to it depends on historical and cultural contexts, didactic methodologies are subject to continuous change in relation to theories and needs strictly linked to the profession.

Cases on Technologies for Teaching Criminology and Victimology: Methodologies and Practices presents state-of-the-art research and teaching into the study of corruption and those affected by it, containing chapters authored by researchers, academic professors, and experts from all over the world. With examinations into real-life situations, this unique publication analyzes the benefits and disadvantages of various teaching methodologies in universities, police academies, and crime victim services.



Preface

TENTATIVE

Criminology is a relatively young, dynamic, multidisciplinary and of synthesis scientific discipline (Fattah, 2008), whose aim is the study of the human being that comes into conflict with the society. In other words, it deals with, on the one hand, the examination of the criminal actions and those who perpetrated them, on the other hand, with particularly regard to the victimology, in order to analyze the crime victim figure and the methods employed for favoring his social readaptation in his own life environment.

Starting from this definition, in order to begin the preface of this volume concerning the criminology and victimology teaching in different fields and world areas, I would like to refer briefly to a speech presented in the 12th International Congress on Criminology that took place in Seoul (Republic of Korea) from the 24th to 29th August 1998. The goal of this report (Sherman, 1998) was to relate a dream that projected a professor of criminology in the month of August 2098 to visit a big city which appeared, ten years ago as well as today, like a milk and honey land for the Criminology and the Victimology as well.

This professor, during the dream, was going to different institutional subjects, starting from the ‘District Criminologist’ of the police station, followed by the ‘Prosecutor’s Chief Criminologist’, followed by ‘Mr. XX, Ph. D., Licensed School Criminologist’, with the ‘Medical Criminologist’ of the Department of Health’, and last the ‘Economic Criminologist’ of the ‘Department of Economic Development’ of that city. Among those professionals, by explaining their daily activities to the professor, whom, I say it again, was dreaming this job journey, pointed out how the criminology and the victimology also be the theoretical base to intervene operatively, starting from different perspectives, against the deviance or criminal actions (for instance, truancy from school, bullying incident, auto theft, burglary, armed robbery, arson, assault, murder) which were implemented in such oneiric city.

For instance, the professor of criminology was filled of wonder when the “Chief Criminologist” of the Prosecutors staff showed him the graphic that recorded the data concerning the results of a trial, lasted two years, about the sentences issued by each prosecutor of that city: “For each of the ten offense types, there were two bars. One showed the recidivism rates for cases assigned to short terms in jail. The other showed recidivism rates for similar cases given long terms in jail. The results were striking. For property offenses, the recidivism rates were lower with longer average jail terms. But for violent offenses, including assault and robbery, the recidivism rates were lower with shorter average jail terms” (Sherman, 1998, p. 47).

The professor asks to the “Chief Criminologist” to tell him the reasons of such excellent results. The latter points out that the active involvement of the crime victims is the basis of the prosecution and the apparent attention of the judges at the end of the 21st century, toward the results of the criminological researches that have been carried out by his staff. Actually, the outcomes, for instance, of some surveys concerning the recidivism rate, are applied afterwards by planning and using ad hoc intervention techniques. Other pleasant surprises were reserved to the criminology professor during his oneiric journey in this futuristic city of the year 2098, at the end he woke up and he noticed that actually any of the imagined activities had been carried out yet, even so he would continue to hope that a tenth of the activities he dreamt at least would born in the recent past where he was plunged.

It was a recent past (I remember it was the year 1998) concerning a criminology that, developing among social sciences and judicial sciences, would had to cover a tortuous and difficult path, but behind the scientific disputes, would had to prove the social usefulness of its own knowledge, studies and empiric researches. (Picca, 1998, pp. 54-55).

It was a recent past where the results of a research where I collaborated personally, whose field of the criminology teaching programs in various degree or specialization courses offered in different countries of the world were collected and analyzed (Balloni, Bisi, Sette, 1998; Sette, 1998).

The conclusion of this research pointed out, on the one hand the need to train some experts in the criminological field, which in their workplace would deal with activities of prevention, repression and control of the deviance and crime, whose training was obtained within specific university course of study, but on the other hand, warned us against the fact that “although there are in some countries many university courses and institutionalized programs for security, these latter are not given their proper due. The students attending them quickly learn that, when it is time to apply for a job at a company, candidates with backgrounds in law enforcement or investigation enjoy a privileged position” (Bisi, 1998, p. 18).

It was at last a recent past where the information, obtained through researching various curricula in criminology, has led to the creation of a three-year undergraduate course for "Security and Social Control Operators" which started during academic year 1997-1998 at the Faculty of Political Science "Roberto Ruffilli" at the University of Bologna (Italy). Its purpose was "to offer training at university diploma level for the management of modern investigation, security and control strategies” (Bisi, 1998, p. 29).

BACK TO THE PRESENT

During the last ten years from the first journey to the unreal city of the year 2098, the professor of criminology continues more frequently to plug in fabulous oneiric adventures because the condition of the branch of learning he loves studies and teaches does not provide him any comforting signs of evolution in the imagined direction. In fact, he is plunged in a present time where:

  • The difficulty that the criminology continues to face in order to win fully autonomy is tangible, even scholars of criminology do not agree about the direction to follow in order to attain that goal. Nowadays some people are pointing out that, in many countries in the world, the criminology is in expansion both from the scientific point of view and as far as its institutional autonomy in the academic field is concerned (Garland, 2008), while others, in different contexts (like Italy, for instance), maintain that it still needs to acquire prestige and to free both its undeserved reputation, of European extraction, as an auxiliary branch of the criminal law and that, of American extraction, as subset of the sociology (Fattah, 2008, p. 168).
  • The labor market is not still ripe enough in order to open thoroughly to the placement of the criminological professions, so, as pointed out in the previous paragraph, when the “security” and the “investigation” are concerned, the firms prefer, for instance, to employ persons who have previous experiences in the police. Otherwise, a situation where the graduates in criminology suffer the (fair or unfair?) competition of the social workers (who had obtained a further qualification in criminology) when it comes to occupy a post in fields connected to the criminology (jobs working with marginal groups: homeless, street corner work…, social work, social aid, education and teaching) (Goethals, 2007, p. 26).
  • Few subjects attract more attention and give rise to numerous debates than those connected to the crime and the victimization. Unfortunately, those debates are very frequently based upon the emotions rather than the information and, in this domain, the criminology has to assume the role of professionals’ educator able to study scientifically the criminal behavior, the criminalization and victimization processes, the role that is assumed by the security control in order to find different methods of intervention to solve different situations and problems (http://www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca). We cannot underestimate, however, that in relation to the growing attention due to the questions connected to the “citizen’s security”, the teaching of the criminology has a great success, but the danger is that this discipline act as “lark-mirror” to attract a large number of students interested in this discipline, who contribute to fill the coffers of the universities, without anticipating neither a formative offer that is up to expectations nor suitable professional insertion course.
  • With reference to Italy, among the academic world and the professional world, there is a lack of significant interaction through the different competent Ministries, which it would be important in order to promote a scientific and professional education acknowledged institutionally for the crime professions. In fact, the dialogue between University and other Ministries stopped in 2006 later on the change of the Government. It was a course that anticipated the project of a interdepartmental decree by acting in concert with the Secretary of State for Education, the Home Secretary, the Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of Agriculture, concerning the establishment of the classes of the three year degree course and the specialist degree course in crime and security sciences, in order to set the general criteria about the definition of the different university didactic training courses of experts in criminology, that is to say those who have professional and relational competence to operate in the security sector and to be able to analyze the criminal phenomena that are implemented locally, without neglecting the international perspectives (Balloni, A., & Bisi, R. & Sette, R., 2008, p. 40).

These considerations allow us to reflect on the present and to connect to Tony Peter’s assertions, President of the International Society of Criminology, during his address delivered in the opening of the 15th World Congress on Criminology (Barcelona Spain – 20-25 July 2008), about the state of the criminology and victimology teaching skills in universities. In particular, he quoted that: ”Challenging socio-economic and political developments urge criminologists to step forward as creative independent and critical scientists who contribute to a fast growing body of theoretical knowledge and socio-empirical academic research” (Peters, 2008, p. 12).

In fact, the future of the criminology as an autonomous discipline undoubtedly depends, among other things, on promoting its teaching in universities through well-defined courses to train future professionals in the prevention and reduction of crime in various settings (Balloni, Bisi & Sette, 2008).

Universities, police academies and the victim support services in many parts all around the world teach those disciplines in order to train professionals who are able to make decisions and to plan strategies in the wide fields of the law enforcement, of the crime prevention, of the criminal justice administration, of the crime victim services and of the security management.

This is to say that the criminology and the victimology become applied sciences whose activities are set between the art and the science, where the intuition in the choice of the methods affects the result. Since the aim is to refer not only to an epistemological outline, but also to a real outline of the everyday reality in which the professionals have to work in order to represent and to solve the problems.

It stands to reason that in front of the challenge that the globalization sends to our society, for instance, the growth of the need “for advanced knowledge about new forms of crime (fraud, corporate crime, organized crime, cyber crime…) and for a ‘more appropriate approach’ to crime” (Goethals, 2007, pg 21). Old and new challenges require, naturally, the scientific research development in the criminological and victimological domain, which are more and more studied in detail and methodologically correct, and consequently they produce new jobs.

Concerning this, in Belgium, “the Leuven Institute of criminology has been monitoring the professional position of criminologist-alumni of the Katholieke Univestiteit Leuven since 1980” by the transmission of a survey that focused on the different topics among them the “actual job situation” (Goethals, 2007, pg. 22-28). In particular, one of the object of this research was to understand if the ex students of criminology of this University really did a “criminological job”. The collected data showed that “more than half of the respondents (57%) are employed in the criminological core-sector, and another 14% in area narrowly related to the criminological area. One out of three (30%) is employed outside the criminological and related professions” (Ibidem, pp. 24-25). In particular with regard to variation occurred during those years, this study pointed out that, from 1990, “the percentage of alumni employed in the core areas has strongly increased”, even if inconsistently , passing from 29,4% of the period 1978-81 to 57% of the last years 2001-2004. The areas “police, youth protection, and corrections, including community sanctions” absorb the higher percentage of ex students of criminology that are employed in the “core criminological areas”, while the criminology related areas give opportunities to operators who are involved in “marginal groups (homeless; street corner work…), social work, social aid, education and teaching” (Ibidem, p. 26).

The issue of this research, undoubtedly positive, has to be connected to the deed that, in Belgium, for instance, as regards the police, the figure of the criminologist is brought out because this institution also provides the employment of employees with degrees concerning the disciplinary area of the criminology, as inferred in the recruitment page of the Belgian Police’s website (http://www.jobpol.be). In this way, it is possible to achieve a close connection between the University world, which trains the future criminologists, and the work, which needs specific competences.

This does not happen very frequently, as in Italy with regard to the criminology and the victimology, even if it has been pointed out recently that the “work culture should become more and more the integral part of the university culture”: University has to be able to develop the abilities of the future graduates which are needed by the nation offering “a large range of basic knowledge useful to operate in a world that changes continuously, which requires comprehension skills in order to understand the reference contexts, the ability to make “problem diagnosis” and their solution, to be able to stand comparison with different cultures and techniques” (Moratti, 2003).

However, what usually happens in different countries, with regard to the “criminological jobs”, as underlined at the beginning of this paragraph, is that the “employers are not familiar with the criminology degree” and “the competition with other types of social scientists for the jobs in the criminological job market is strong” (Goethals, 2007, p. 32).

So we agree with who ascertain that the criminology development, as independent academic discipline, and the contribution that it can provide to the professional training of the future criminologists, “is a function of the close collaboration between academics and policy makers through consulting and research, and vice versa through the hiring of policy makers for academic teaching. This close relationship is of utmost importance to narrow the gap between academia and the job market, and is one of the main conditions to create criminological functions” (Ibidem, p. 33. In this sense see also: Balloni, A., & Bisi, R. & Sette, R., 1998; Balloni, A., & Bisi, R. & Sette, R., 2008; Balloni, A. & Sette, R. (Eds.), 2000; Bisi, R. (Ed.), 1998; Bisi, R., 1999).

OBJECTIVES OF THE BOOK

It is a well-known fact that the explanation and the social reaction against the crime are influenced by the historical and cultural context. So, didactic methodologies for criminology and victimology are subjected to continuous change in relation to theories and needs strictly linked to the criminological and victimological profession. So the aim of this work is an ambitious one, in order to contribute to a decisive and sweet awakening of the criminology professor who, after the oneiric state wherein he fell in 1998, can find himself, even if it is not a condition of complete consciousness, he could be in a drowsiness state which prelude to a situation of a renewed fervor of activities where he will find out, with the Cartesian astonishment of “am I dreaming or awake?”, the existence of the concrete possibility of:

  • To set up dynamic didactic course for the criminology and victimology teaching in the university field through different multimedia technologies and the interaction of means that are also employed both by the different branched of the sociology, as the urban sociology, and by professionals of the social control agencies.
  • To insert the criminology and the victimology in the domain of the educational courses of different professionals (Magistrates, Lawyers, Medical Doctors, penitentiary workers) that plan and carry out a course of help on behalf of sentenced subjects, detained in prison or in enforcement of a judgment in a measure alternative to the imprisonment, in order to provide them means direct to the activation of profitable collaborations, both with the different institutes and services that are present on the territory and with the victims of the crime, in order to formulate treatment programs which point out and respect to the individuality of each one (Bisi, 1990, p. 64).
  • In short, to propose, without preconceived ideologies, the development of the criminological and victimological discipline, with regard to his difficulties and his concrete possibilities to overcome those situations.

Therefore the aim of the book, by the contribution coming from different parts of the world of the researchers, academics and experts, to know the state of the art of the research in the criminology and the victimology and their teaching in order to analyze the significant role of those disciplines in the professionals’ training.

The mutual exchanges among the points of view of the Universities with the Police Academies and the victim supports services are able to promote a reciprocal enrichment and to provide important information for a better training and to identify more precisely the needs imposed from the reality to the professionals that have to face the crime and the victimization answering to the actual challenges of the globalization and the rapid social change.

The book wants to study how the interaction among the culture and the academic research and the specific professional training needs of criminology and victimology experts start a positive interaction that is able to show new solutions. The book develops through case studies that can observe, in a holistic and dynamic way, real teaching, training and research situations.

In particular, the goals of the book are:

  • to provide a judicious mix of practical experiences and research in the form of case studies;
  • to observe, in an holistic and dynamic way, real teaching and research situations of the criminology and victimology;
  • to analyze the for and against of different teaching methodologies of the criminology and the victimology in the academic field, in the Police Academies and in victim support services;
  • To be the point of reference for those whom, for various reasons, are involved in the planning, in the development and in the implementation of didactic programs.

ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK

The book is organized into fifteen chapters. A brief description of each of the chapters follows:

The chapters from 1 to 4 propose theoretical and empirical approaches, by using an integrated methodology from the criminological, sociological, psychological and psychiatric point of view for the analysis of the personality of a perpetrator of a crime or for the examination of a witness in order to assess his credibility. The chapter 5 describes the use of a dynamic didactic approach, defined P.e.N.T.A.C.R.I.M.E. (Project on Electronic ‘Ntensive Advanced Teaching for Criminological Research & Intelligence Era in Media) for the study of cases related to some terrorist organizations.

The chapter 6 shows the use of the GIS (Geographic Information System) in the domain of an academic research, for the implementation, with regard to the Italian city of Bologna, on the one hand, of a kind of crime mapping concerning the crimes defined petty offences pertaining to the penal justice of the peace, and on the other hand, for the creation of a city map whereon the victim support services which have been identified work.

The purpose of the chapter 7 is to describe the postgraduate training course “Assessment and treatment approach when handling child abuse cases and pedophilia”, developed by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), as an example of a university based and multidisciplinary training of graduated communities’ professionals - such as child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, educators, law enforcement officers, judges and lawyers – in order to develop evidence based strategies to respond to child abuse.

The focus of the chapter 8 is to describe a case concerning the key role of security technologies to observe, describe and in some way record teenagers' behaviors and social action at school, at home and in the daily life as a whole.

The chapter 9 presents the production of a video documentary, carried out in order to study in detail the intervention implemented in favor of the victims of a specific crime of international importance, in this case the traffic in women for sexual exploitation. The chapter 10 analyzes the murder of a young man, an Italian citizen, born and grown up in Milan, son of a Burkina Faso immigrant with Italian citizenship.

Nowadays, digital identity theft (also known as phishing) has become one of the most lucrative illegitimate business. Pharming and keylogging are some of the latest and utmost sophisticated data processing techniques used by computer crime fraudsters. Latest entries are the “botnets”, herds of infected machines. Organized crime is becoming more and more involved in this new high-tech crime world that can easily assure huge profits. The chapter 12 shows as the Italian State Police tries to respond more effectively to this new rising challenge.

The case study of the chapter 11 looks at the postgraduate program in Criminology and Police Science at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. This practice oriented course of study is designed as a distance learning course (blended-learning) and therefore focuses on techniques of e-learning.

The chapter 13 highlights the importance of professional training for serving sentences judges whose educational programming would provide for inputs of criminology and victimology studies. In particular this training course wants to provide to the surveillance magistrate appropriate cognitive means that, in Italy, has the duty of defining suitable treatment programs for the sentenced and to encourage some process of mediation between the perpetrator of the crime and his victim.

The chapter 14 dwells upon the need of professional training, in the criminological and victimological field, of the local police workers in Italy and it analyzes some courses which are given by the Local Police Academies.

The chapter 15 analyzes a peculiar situation wherein the University came in prison: the aim is to examine how academic studies may be considered as a specific opportunity to put the rehabilitation ideal into practice, as the article 27 of the Italian constitution asserts (“Punishment must aim to re-education”).

CONCLUSION

The book will contain many contributions by authors from different part of the world. The authors are leading researchers, academicians and practitioners in the field of criminology and victimology. The contributions span the entire spectrum of the field: from the research through the didactic methodologies (traditional learning, computer applications, and e-learning) for applied criminology and victimology.

To sum up I wish that this work can represent a valid convergence point of the state of the art of the research and the teaching of the criminology and the victimology.

ACKNOLEDGEMENTS

The editor would like to acknowledge the help of all involved in the collation and review process of the book, without whose support the project could not have been satisfactorily completed.

Particular thanks to the members of the Editorial Advisory Board: Augusto Balloni, Bruno Bertelli, Roberta Bisi, Ernesto Caffo and Andrea Pitasi.

Most of the authors of cases included in this also served as referees for articles written by other authors. Thanks go to all those who provided comprehensive reviews. Their critical comments, but constructive, about the chapters have been very useful and much appreciated.

Special thanks also go to the publishing team at IGI Global. In particular to Julia Mosemann, who continuously prodded via e-mail for keeping the project on schedule and to Jan Travers, whose enthusiasm motivated me to initially accept her invitation for taking on this project.

In closing, I wish to thank all of the authors for their insights and excellent contributions to this book. I also want to thank all of the people who assisted me in the reviewing process.

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Author's/Editor's Biography

Raffaella Sette (Ed.)
Raffaella Sette, PhD in criminology, is senior researcher within the Department of Sociology of the University of Bologna (Italy) and she teaches “Criminal sociology” within the Faculty of Political Sciences and “Criminology” within the Faculty of Psychology. She is author of a large number of articles and essays concerning the sociology of the deviance, the criminology and the victimology. She is coordinator of the Editorial Board of the Criminology, Victimology and Security Journal, and since 2002, she is expert member of the Court of Surveillance of Bologna (Italy).

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