Crime and Criminal Policy
Full course description
This course addresses the problem of crime and the societal reaction to it from both a criminological and a criminal law point of view. In the course attention is paid to four interrelated themes:
- the concept of crime (what is crime?),
- the genesis of crime policy,
- crime control in the modern risk society, and
- the impact of this paradigm on the development of substantive criminal law.
These four themes will be discussed on the basis of different phenomena: moral panic and sex offenders, hate speech, the use of preventive (terrorist) offences, the influence of neuroscience on criminal law, regulating prostitution, and environmental crime. This allows us to illustrate, via different forms of crime, some specific developments and recent challenges within criminal policy and criminal law, instead of just focusing on one specific category of crimes. It is important to realize that in most sessions an explicit comparative methodology will be used. This helps us to understand that there may be different societal reactions to similar (legal) problems. Also, specific attention will be given to some criminal policy issues from the perspective of recent EU legislation, e.g. within the field of environmental crime and the fight against terrorism.
This course is an elective course for ELS-ET, year 2 and for Rechtsgeleerdheid, year 3
The course Crime and Criminal Policy invites students to reflect on various aspects with regard to the definition of crime and the development of criminal policy and criminal law. The students are challenged to scrutinize the basic elements of the concept of crime, the origins of crime policy, the rationale behind the contemporary response to crime and its implications on the development of criminal law.
Upon completion of this course, the student must be able to:
- to understand the basic elements of the social construction of crime
- to reflect on the relation between the process of criminalization and the protection of human rights and civil liberties
- to comprehend the rationale behind the current fight against and prevention of crime
- to understand the consequences of the contemporary crime control paradigm for the development of substantive criminal law
- to compare on an introductory level different criminalization policies in the field of prostitution, terrorism and environmental crime
Basic knowledge of the concepts and principles of substantive criminal law is required.