Morris, Robert. M
"Lies, damned lies and criminal statistics": Reinterpreting the Criminal statistics of England and Wales.
Crime, History and Societies, 5(1),
This paper responds to a series of recent articles by Dr Howard Taylor in which he has, single-handedly, revitalised the approach to unravelling the historical significance of data published in the Criminal Statistics for England and Wales. Broadly, he has maintained that the outputs of the criminal justice system from the 1850's to the 1960's were consciously manipulated by the executive and its agencies to misrepresent the true incidence of crime.
The paper adopts two strategies - the first general and contextual, and the second to engage directly with Howard Taylor's arguments. The first is a necessary preliminary to establish the essential operating background to criminal justice policy development in the last 150 years. Unless that is done, discussion cannot comprehensibly identify what is, and what is not, significant in interpreting the data under review.
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