Statement of the American Society of Criminology Executive Board Concerning the Trump Administration’s Policies Relevant to Crime and Justice

8 May

Thanks for Prof Ciaran McCullagh for sending this on. It is very unusual for the ASC to issue a statement of this nature. Here they use evidence to take Trump and his administration to task on their ‘alternative facts’ concerning  crime and justice.

Statement of the American Society of Criminology Executive Board Concerning the Trump Administration’s Policies Relevant to Crime and Justice

The Trump administration has signaled its crime policy intentions through a series of Executive Orders signed in the President’s first several months in office.i These executive orders demonstrate an incongruity between administrative policy efforts and well-established science about the causes and consequences of crime. Four general areas are especially emblematic of this problem.

Immigrants do not commit the majority of crime in the United States. First, a century’s worth of findings on immigration and crime in the U.S. show that immigrant concentration decreases crime at the neighborhood and city levels – also known as the revitalization thesis.ii That immigration is a protective factor against crime also holds true for individuals; immigrants as a whole are far less likely to commit crimes than non-immigrants.iii Recent examples of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants are not representative of national, state, neighborhood, or even individual-level violent crime trends,iv yet the President and his administration present them as the norm. This erroneous view underlies executive orders that see immigrants as criminogenic, and that threaten cities receptive to immigrants (i.e., sanctuary cities) to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement or face the withdrawal of federal funding, and also is reflected in development of the new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office.

The proposed travel ban is not empirically justified and targets the wrong countries.

Second, there is no empirical evidence to support President Trump’s decision to ban citizens of six majority-Muslim countries from travel to the U.S. in the name of preventing terrorist infiltration. No terrorist perpetrator from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen – whose nationals would be halted from U.S. travel under Trump’s Executive Order of March 2017 – has been involved in a fatal terrorist attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.v Every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack in the United States since 9/11 was a United States citizen or legal resident, while the three countries from which the deadliest terrorists have come to the U.S. are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt – none of which are included in the travel ban.

The U.S. is not in the midst of a national crime wave. Third, rates of violent and property crime have been declining in the U.S. for at least a quarter Many criminologists have referred to this post-1990s period as “the great crime decline.” It is true that some cities experienced large increases in homicide in 2015, but this is not indicative of a national pattern as homicide rates overall remain significantly below 1990s peaks.vii As for violent crime generally, recent projections anticipate that violent crime rates in America’s 30 largest cities will increase slightly next year, but will still remain near 30-year lows.viii That our nation and cities are safer now than at least the 1990s has been disregarded by an executive order that would empower the federal government to make fighting a non-existent crime wave a top priority.

The U.S. government plays an important role in police reform. Finally, the federal government has played a critical role in recent decades in the reform of U.S. police departments. Most recently, former President Obama convened a task force on policing in the wake of police

violence against African Americans. The report generated by this task force advances a number of empirically-based solutions aimed at improving policing, rebuilding community trust in the police, and ensuring officer safety and wellness.ix In addition, the federal government has intervened in the form of consent decrees in U.S. cities that have well-established patterns of police discrimination and abuse. These consent decrees are designed to create long-term and system-wide pathways for police reform, including funds to do so. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ call for sweeping review of these consent decrees can signal both to law enforcement and to citizens that such problems are not systemic but instead simply the result of “a few bad apples.”x Research indicates that this is not necessarily the case.xi Pulling back on the use of consent decrees could undermine police reform efforts and dial back hard-won progress that many police leaders support.

Recent Presidential executive orders and other administrative decisions are at odds with established evidence in criminology and criminal justice.xii Crime-control policies should be built on science, and elected officials at all levels of government have a responsibility to endorse public policies that are evidence-based and that promote fairness, equality, and justice. The Executive Board of the American Society of Criminology is concerned by the actions of the Trump administration in its dissemination of misinformation and development of uninformed policy initiatives. Not only are these initiatives unscientific, they are likely to engender further cynicism about and discontent with the criminal justice system that is harmful to citizens, to members of law enforcement, and to other sources of social control.xiii Rather than keeping Americans safer, these initiatives stand to exacerbate existing crime problems by increasing risk of victimization while decreasing likelihood of reporting, and by worsening marginalization and discrimination in the U.S.

We urge the Trump administration to draw upon scientific evidencexiv and the research expertisexv of scholars who study crime and justice issues to help shape its crime policy agenda, and we stand ready to assist. Specifically, we caution the Trump administration against the resuscitation of Drug War era “get tough” policies and other “law and order” crackdowns that stand to worsen already strained relations between police and communities, especially communities of color, and policies that disparately arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate members of these communities. Evidence has shown such policies to create many unintended problems for families, children, law enforcement personnel, and other institutions across our nation. Furthermore, we advocate for a justice system that recognizes the adverse impact of draconian punishments and that seeks to prioritize beneficial reentry and social integration programsxvi that hold offenders accountable while still allowing them to maintain bonds with their families and communities. Our discipline has learned muchxvii about reducing crime, policing smarter, and punishing more effectively over the years, and we urge the Trump administration to draw from these lessons learned in order to advance policies that preserve and protect due process rights for all, and that promote justice at home and abroad.

James Lynch, University of Maryland; President, American Society of Criminology (ASC) Karen Heimer, University of Iowa; ASC President-Elect
Ruth D. Peterson, The Ohio State University; ASC Past-President
Jody Miller, Rutgers University; ASC Vice President

Christina DeJong, Michigan State University; ASC Vice President-Elect
Gaylene Armstrong, University of Nebraska; ASC Executive Counselor
Delores Jones-Brown, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; ASC Executive Counselor Natasha Frost, Northeastern University; ASC Executive Counselor
Charis Kubrin, University of California-Irvine; ASC Executive Counselor
Cynthia Lum, George Mason University; ASC Executive Counselor
Ineke Marshall, Northeastern University; ASC Executive Counselor
Hillary Potter, University of Colorado; ASC Executive Counselor
Claire Renzetti, University of Kentucky; ASC Executive Counselor
María B. Vélez, University of New Mexico; ASC Executive Counselor

Chris Eskridge, University of Nebraska; ASC Executive Director
Bonnie Fisher, University of Cincinnati; ASC Treasurer
Amanda Burgess-Proctor, Oakland University; Member, Ad-hoc Committee on the ASC’s

Statement on the Presidential Administration’s Policies Relevant to Crime and Justice
Gary LaFree, University of Maryland; Member, Ad-hoc Committee on the ASC’s Statement on

the Presidential Administration’s Policies Relevant to Crime and Justice
Sheldon X. Zhang, University of Massachusetts-Lowell; Member, Ad-hoc Committee on the

ASC’s Statement on the Presidential Administration’s Policies Relevant to Crime and Justice


ii Gonzalez-O’Brien, B., L. Collingwood, and S. Omar El-Khatib. Forthcoming. “The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration.” Urban Affairs Review.

Lyons, C.J., M.B. Vélez, and W.A. Santoro. 2013. “Neighborhood Immigration, Violence, and City-Level Immigrant Political Opportunities.” American Sociological Review. 78: 604-632.

Martinez, R., J.I. Stowell, and M.T. Lee. 2010. “Immigration and Crime in an Era of Transformation: A Longitudinal Analysis of Homicides in San Diego Neighborhoods, 1980–2000.” Criminology. 48: 797– 829.

Oussey, G.C. and C.E. Kubrin. 2009. “Exploring the Connection between Immigration and Violent Crime Rates in U.S. Cities, 1980-2000. Social Problems. 56: 447-473.

Stowell, J.I., S.F. Messner, K.F. McGeever, and L.E. Raffalovich. 2009. “Immigration and the Recent Violent Crime Drop in the United States: A Pooled, Cross-Sectional Time-Series Analysis of Metropolitan Areas.” Criminology. 47: 889–928.

Wadsworth, T. 2010. “Is Immigration Responsible for the Crime Drop? An Assessment of the Influence of Immigration on Changes in Violent Crime between 1990 and 2000.” Social Science Quarterly. 91: 531-553.

Zatz, M.S., and H. Smith. 2014. “Immigration, Crime, and Victimization: Rhetoric and Reality.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science. 8: 141-159.

iii Vaughn, M.G., C.P. Salas-Wright, M. DeLisi, and B.R. Maynard. 2014. “The Immigrant Paradox: Immigrants are Less Antisocial than Native-Born Americans.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 49: 1129-1137.


Baumer E.P. and K.T. Wolff. 2014. “Evaluating Contemporary Crime Drops in America, New York City,

and Many Other Places.” Justice Quarterly. 31:5-38
Blumstein A. and J. Wallman. 2006. The Crime Drop in America. Cambridge University Press.

vii Rosenfeld, R. 2016. Documenting and Explaining the 2015 Homicide Rise: Research Directions. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice (

viii ix

x xi

xiii New_Administration.pdf

xvi xvii

v attacks-post-911-countri/

National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. 2004. Fairness and Effectiveness in

Policing: The Evidence. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

xii Stowell, J.I., S.F. Messner, M.S. Barton, and L.E. Raffalovich. 2013. “Addition by Subtraction? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Deportation Efforts on Violent Crime.” Law & Society Review. 47: 909–942.


Lecturer in Criminology – Maynooth

21 Apr

Maynooth University’s Department of Law is recruiting a Lecturer in Criminology – closing date Sunday 30th April. More details are available on the website, some information below.

The Department of Law is seeking to recruit to a key academic post designed to contribute to its NEW BCL (Law and Criminology) programme, as well as its ongoing MA in Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The Role


Candidates should have an excellent broad knowledge of criminological theory and criminal justice, and a specialist knowledge in either policing or youth justice/offending.

The person appointed will have a proven record of teaching, research and publication, appropriate to career stage. He/she will be expected to make a strong contribution to the teaching mission of the Department and undertake teaching duties on the Department’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as the supervision of Master’s and PhD students.

The appointee will be expected to build a strong research profile that supports the University’s research strategy, including affiliating to the Research Institutes, where appropriate, and working with colleagues on national and international research. The appointee will be expected to sustain and conduct research, engage in scholarship of quality and substance, and generate publications of international standard.

Criminology at Maynooth: New Programmes!

21 Apr

Maynooth University Department of Law announces new suite of undergraduate Criminology Programmes

Following the launch of the MA in Comparative Criminology & Criminal Justice (continuing in 2017/18), Maynooth University Department of Law is now introducing exciting new opportunities to study criminology at undergraduate level.

As Ireland’s youngest and fastest growing law school, we bring a fresh approach to the study of crime, incorporating perspectives from a wide range of other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, and economics. At Maynooth, we offer a unique opportunity to study Criminology as part of a broad based Arts degree, or in combination with Law as a BCL degree.

Arts: study Criminology with up to 3 other subjects in first year (including law, psychology, economics, sociology) . In second and third year, continue with a BA in Criminology in combination with another of your subjects.

BCL (Law and Criminology): study criminology and law in equal measure for each of the 3 years of your degree.

In either case, be taught by leading international experts in the field with research interests in prisons, terrorism, comparative criminal justice, human trafficking, the death penalty, and mental health, and avail of the opportunity to:

  • think about crime using real life examples;
  • develop strong research, writing and analytical skills which are useful for most career paths;
  • broaden your career prospects into the criminal justice world, opening up potential careers in the Gardaí, security services, data analytics, probation, prison service, civil service, research institutes, and NGOs;
  • apply for work placements and study abroad.

You will take modules from a wide range of disciplines during your degree, opening you up to a variety of challenging perspectives on the nature of crime, criminal behaviour, and the criminal justice system. You will gain perspectives from psychology, law, economics, sociology, anthropology, and more.

Topics studied include:

  • The meaning of crime and criminal justice
  • The causes of crime and responses to it
  • The workings of the criminal justice system
  • Crime and the media
  • Youth Justice
  • Policing
  • Sentencing and punishment
  • White collar crime
  • Personality and crime
  • The Economics of crime
  • Psychology and criminal behaviour
  • Drugs and crime 

    These unique programmes will be available from September 2017. For more details contact:

Griffins Society Research Fellowship – Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System

23 Mar

The Griffins Society is currently offering a research FELLOWSHIP for persons who wish to research an aspect of women and girls in the criminal justice system.

Griffins Research Fellows carry out their year-long research projects alongside their employment; they receive support from the Society and from our partners, the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge; the Society provides a modest research grant and travel bursary and we help with promoting Fellows’ findings at the end of the Fellowship.

Six Fellowships are available for 2017-­‐18, five of which can be on any aspect of the treatment of women or girls in the criminal justice system. The other is being offered in conjunction with the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

To apply, please email the Director Chris Leeson (

The closing date for applications is Noon, Monday 12th June

Carceral Bodies: Intersectionality and Prison Health

10 Mar

Call for Abstracts

The Graduate School in association with the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work are pleased to host the next Prison Health Research Network Event in Queens’ University Belfast. The symposium will take place on 20th June 2017 in the Graduate School, Queen’ University Belfast. This event will provide a platform for PhD and early career researchers to present their work and get critical feedback from both academic peers and practitioners working in the area of prison health.

A prize will be awarded on the day for the best paper presented, as judged by the guest speakers.

Guest speakers include:

Dr Michelle Templeton, Queen’s University Belfast, who will present a recent evaluation on ‘If I were Jack’ – a Relationships and Sexuality Education Programme which took place in Northern Ireland Prisons.

Dr Nicola Carr, University of Nottingham, who will present findings of a recent study which explored the sexual health needs of LGBT prisoners in Irish prisons.

We welcome papers from both PhD Researchers and early career researchers focusing broadly in the area of health and wellbeing in prison. Suggested themes include; intersections in the health and wellbeing needs of prison populations, lifestyles and interventions, healthcare provision and improved practice.

There is no cost associated with attendance at the symposium and lunch will be provided. Places are limited and early registration is advised to avoid disappointment. Registration for the event will open via Eventbrite on 31th March 2017, a reminder email will be sent out on this date.

Abstract Specification:

Deadline: Monday 27th March 2017

  • Length 250 – 300 word document including:
  1. Full name (s);
  2. Title; and
  3. Institutional affiliation.

Please forward abstract submissions to



Prison and Justice Conference

10 Jan

The Prison and Justice Conference will take place at Queen’s University Belfast on 13th March 2017.

The conference will provide a forum for academics, practitioners, post-graduate researchers in the fields of criminology and cognate disciplines to enhance knowledge through disseminating research and discussing the challenges facing the prison and justice system today.

The call-for-abstracts is now open. The proposed themes for this conference include but are not limited to:

  • Restorative Justice
  • Prisoner Well-Being
  • Prison Education
  • Women in Prison
  • Trauma

If you would like to be considered for an oral or poster presentation, please submit a short abstract (max. 300 words), which should include a title, name and institutional/organisational affiliation by February 3rd. Notification of acceptance will be provided soon after. Please submit to

Please note that there is no registration fee for this conference, however, delegates must register in advance.

If you require further information or have any queries regarding this event, please contact us on:

Forthcoming Event: ‘Crime, Disorder and Symbolic Violence’

3 Jan

Dr Matt Bowden, Senior Lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology, will be discussing his recent book Crime, Disorder and Symbolic Violence: Governing the Urban Periphery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) at the next meeting of The Differential Association.

Dr Bowden has previously blogged about this work for the Irish Criminology Research Network.

Crime, Disorder and Symbolic Violence employs theories and concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu and examines the problems of the urban periphery, specifically in the context of Dublin’s new urban ‘edges’, the vast surplus of labour which ringed the city following huge shifts in Ireland’s industrial landscape. Dr Bowden argues in his book that the state devolved dealing with the crisis to the Department of Justice, as the state sought to govern through symbolic violence.

Dr Bowden will discuss this work at the author event, which will be followed by a Q&A session, and a small reception.

Event Details
The author event will be held on Monday 13th February at 6.30.
The event will be held at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin.
The 39A Dublin Bus from Dublin City Centre (from stops at D’Olier Street, Nassau Street etc) drops you off a few minutes walk from the School of Law).

Please RSVP to