1st May 2009

On 24th and 25th April, SCCJR hosted this year’s annual meeting of the European Society of Criminology’s Working Group on Community Sanctions. The meeting, which was financially supported by the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Research Foundation, the Scottish Government’s Community Justice Division and the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre for Scotland, brought together about 25 leading scholars from Belgium, England France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Wales… and Hawaii! Gill McIvor of SCCJR (Stirling) opened the meeting with a paper on interventions with drug using offenders in Scotland. Fergus McNeill (SCCJR Glasgow) and Cyrus Tata (of the Centre for Sentencing Research at the University of Strathclyde) both presented papers from the recent ESRC funded study of Social Enquiry and Sentencing in the Sheriff Courts. The group also heard papers from Peter Raynor (Swansea) and Sam Lewis (Leeds) on risk assessment and discrimination in sentencing and from Gwen Robinson (Sheffield) on constructing compliance with community penalties.

The Working Group now plans to organise a conference stream at this year’s ESC conference in Ljubljana, including panels on methodological issues and involving doctoral researchers, and has agreed to meet again next April in Barcelona. A range of shared interests and potential comparative projects are beginning to emerge from the discussions and exchanges that the group has facilitated, and strong links with the CEP (the European Probation Organisation) are being maintained to ensure that dialogue between the academic, policy and practice communities is developed.