Convict criminology without guarantees: proposing hard labour for an unfinished criminology

Earle, Rod; Darley, Danica; Davies, Bill; Honeywell, David and Schreeche-Powell, Ed (2023). Convict criminology without guarantees: proposing hard labour for an unfinished criminology. In: Liebling, Alison; Maruna, Shadd and McAra, Lesley eds. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 7th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Abstract

Convict criminology is produced largely by people who combine their first-hand experience of imprisonment with criminological training and insight. Its aims are to promote prisoners’ voices and experience so as to redress their general absence within the discipline. It offers an alternative lens on criminological issues grounded in ‘lived experience’. In this chapter the authors, who have all been imprisoned in the past, sketch its origins in the USA and seek to demonstrate how they have been extended in the UK. We start with a brief excursion into the pre-history of convict criminology to demonstrate that while it is a relative ‘youngster’ in formal academic terms, it has roots that reach deeply into the history of the discipline. The chapter concludes with a sustained and critical engagement with the question of lived experience as a source of knowledge for criminology and as the defining feature of convict criminology.

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