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«Criminology of Europe: Inspiration by Diversity BOOK OF ABSTRACTS Prague, Czech Republic, 10−13 September 2014 The abstracts are published as ...»

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Keywords: Gun Violence, Violent Victimization, Social Housing, Physical Mobility, Environmental Design 10–13 September 2014, Prague, Czech Republic WG11-20


Group on Prison Life & Effects of Imprisonment) Panel Chair: Ineke Casier (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) Other authors: Caroline Mennereau (Universit de Rennes 2, Fran e), Diete Humblet (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Caroline Devynck (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Veerle Berx (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) The title of this panel captures two main themes that connect the presentations of the five speakers: the first theme is “the confrontation with other academic disciplines” and the second theme is “total institutions”.

This panel will concentrate on the necessity of “bridging research fields”. This bridging must be preserved as a way to study a topic from a diversity of perspectives. The recurring theme within all the presentations of our panel will be Goffmans’ concept of “total institution” (1961). Prisons, retirement homes, rehabilitation hospitals and asylum centers are the fields of the five presenters.

If we look at the phenomenon euthanasia in Belgium, many legal studies (Delbeke, 2012) and medical studies focus on this topic. But euthanasia within the prison context makes it more complex. The combination of medical sciences, law and penology has an influence on how the researcher must approach the research topic (Caroline Devynck, 'End of Life: Euthanasia Requests by Prisoners’).

Subsequently, studies on elderly, frailty and meaning of life are topics within gerontological sciences. If the penologist studies elderly prisoners, he or she needs to incorporate this research field into her study. Since it is not just an elderly person, but it is an elderly person “in prison” (Diete Humblet, ‘Making Sense of Later Life in Prison: Meaning in Life Among Third Age Prisoners’).

Total institutions can be seen as semi-autonomous social fields (Moore, 1973) covering (amongst other ideas) the idea that such an institution is separated from society but also connected to and produced by society. Looking deeper into the daily life within total institutions and how one type of a total institution differs from another type would yield interesting information on the impact that an institution has on different aspects of life. Are agency and human dignity perceived differently in a prison context than in a rehabilitation hospital? And what do these differences and similarities tell us about the institution? (Ineke

Casier, ‘Agency in a rehabilitation hospital: comparison with prison literature’). What about the comparison of mourning in a prison and a retirement home? (Caroline Mennereau,‘Living in a total institution:

comparison between retirement home and detention center’). Regarding the concept of punitivity: do inhabitants of asylum centers experience punitivity in the same way as prisoners do? (Veerle Berx, ‘Punitivity within the regimes of open reception centers for asylum seekers’) Keywords: total institutions, interdisciplinarity, prison, euthanasia, elderly WG11-20-1 Living in a total institution: Comparison between retirement homes and detention centers Caroline Mennereau (University Rennes 2, France), Astrid Hirschelmann (University Rennes 2, France), Suzanne Leveillee (University Q be Trois Rivières, Canada), Jean-Marc Talpin (University Lyon 2, France) Retirement homes and detention centers : two institutions that seem to be very different at first sight.

Nevertheless, in clinical psychologist practice, a lot of similarities are noticeable.

Society responds to two different social phenomena with setting up total institutions (GOFFMAN) that work in similar ways. These structures can be called heterotopias (FOUCAULT), namely "sorts of places that are outside all places, although they are actually localizable". Social problems are partially removed from society and have to be handled by professionals.

14th Annual Conference of European Society of Criminology Professionals and residents (older people or people sentenced to a long detention) have a common aim, but they pursue their target with different overviews. While professionals may sometimes feel that they run out of time, residents mention a temporality that seems to be infinite.

This mechanism is an example for confinement’s effects on individuals. Living or working in a total institution results in a transformation of the daily environment which can have consequences on identity. Residents and professionals are confronted with this phenomenon.

Our hypothesis is that although retirement homes and detention centres house different populations, psychological mechanisms are similar. Semi-structured interviews are conducted in France and Canada. First results will be presented during the conference.

Keywords: Total institution, heterotopias WG11-20-2 End of Life: Euthanasia Requests by Prisoners Caroline Devynck (Free University Brussels, Belgium) Since the Act of 28 May 2002, Belgium is one of only three countries in the world (with the Netherlands and Luxemburg) where euthanasia can legally be performed by medical doctors under certain circumstances. Recently, requests from several prisoners and detained mentally ill offenders, often based on unbearable psychological suffering, have been received. In this PhD-research we analyse the mechanisms behind the requests for euthanasia by prisoners and mentally ill offenders and try to understand the possible interactions with the prison context. In order to do this we use a qualitative research approach based on interviews with prisoners and a file analysis of prison records. We know from the literature that the prison context, the prison legislation and practice give a new and complex dimension to the euthanasia requests. Prisons are known to cause mental suffering cf. the pains of imprisonment, lack of adequate medical and therapeutic care, etc. Many of the respondents know their rights (e.g. right to medical and mental health care, the procedures and terms regarding release or other sentence modalities) but are frustrated due to the difference between ‘law in books’ and ‘law in action’. The euthanasia requests can therefore be seen as ‘law with action’ (Kaminski, 2014), where the prisoner tries to change their situation.

Keywords: prison, end of life, euthanasia, law with action WG11-20-3 Making Sense of Later Life in Prison: Meaning in Life Among Third Age Prisoners Diete Humblet (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Sonja Snacken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) The search for meaning in one’s life is described as inherent to human nature (see Frankl, 1984; Wong & Fry, 1998). By its very nature, finding or making meaning in life is considered to be a process that takes place during the entire lifespan, albeit that it may become of even greater importance while entering the later stages of life as one is getting closer to the finite nature of life. Nevertheless, it is suggested that it might be increasingly difficult to attribute meaning to life in old age as a result of losses, deprivations, and transitions that are common in old adulthood (Westerhof et al., 2004). Moreover, the questioning of life’s meaning is known to manifest itself in particular when losses are experienced (Kuin & Westerhof, 2007).

As a result, older persons may face increasing difficulties or challenges in keeping their lives meaningful, as ageing is often associated with decline. Conversely, others advance towards possible enrichments in purposefulness in advanced age (see Pinquart, 2002). However, throughout the years, penological literature has described the penitentiary institution as a place wherein deprivations and losses become apparent and even inevitable. It can be argued that imprisonment hence takes place in an environment and timeframe which threatens the possibilities to give personal meaning to and take charge of one’s life, as in the case of 10–13 September 2014, Prague, Czech Republic long-term care facilities (Kuin & Westerhof, 2007). In addition, it is not until fairly recently that prison research is becoming more aware of and concerned with an aged population, as they are increasingly housed in prisons. Within the framework of an increasing number of older prisoners in many European jurisdictions, the main aim of this theoretical contribution is to explore the (in)significance of meaninggiving among older prisoners, drawing, inter alia, on normative theories on ageing and psychological development.

Keywords: Ageing, Meaning in Life, Total Institution, Prison, Elderly WG11-20-4 Agency in a rehabilitation hospital: comparison with prison literature’ Ineke Casier (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Sonja Snacken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) Many scholars within the field of prison studies have emphasized the particular characteristics of prisons as social institutions, leading to specific ‘pains of imprisonment’ – old (Sykes 1958) and new (Crewe 2009;

Liebling 2011). On the other hand, Erving Goffman (1961) described prisons as only one out of five types of ‘total institutions’, showing similar features but also important differences (e.g. aim, population). The implications of this conceptual aggregation are not clear though.

We believe that a change in the research design can create new insights into the field of sociology of prison life. We therefore want to compare prisons with (long-term) rehabilitation hospitals, more particularly with regard to the aspect of agency within both contexts.

Agency can be approached and defined in many ways. ‘To be an ‘agent’, or to have ‘agency’ denotes the ability to negotiate power. It requires a certain self-image as active and participatory, entailing the subject’s ‘capacity to make meanings in her interaction with others’. (Bosworth 1999; Mahoney & Yngvesson 1986). Elements of agency include freedom of choice, autonomy and responsibility. These constitutive elements are crucial to survive in prison (Sykes, 1958; Mathiesen, 1965). But agency is also closely related to other concepts such as power and identity (Bosworth 1999).

We have conducted ethnographic research in one Belgian rehabilitation hospital for 6 months, including participant observations and in depth interviews with 19 inpatients and 16 members of the medical staff.

The results of the analysis are discussed in light of the prison literature.

Keywords: Total institutions, Prison, Rehabilitation hospital, Ethnographic research, Agency WG11-20-5 Punitivity within the regimes of open reception centers for asylum seekers Veerle Berx (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) In Belgium asylum seekers and certain categories of illegal aliens can benefit from material, non-financial support and live permanently in collective open institutions. Open reception centers do show total characteristics due to the control of presence of the residents, the hierarchic differences between staff and residents, the enforcement of house rules and sanctions, the dependency of the residents on the institutional organization and the fact that all spheres of life fall under the same authority. Reception centers can also be considered as special moral places: due to the continuous contact between staff and residents and the dependency of the latter from the former, formal and informal interactions and relations do play a prominent role between both groups, together with the way residents are treated and approached. A whole set of rules and regulations are put into practice in an open reception center so one can conclude that those rules are in principal constantly broken and that not every infraction on the house rules is reacted on.

14th Annual Conference of European Society of Criminology

Through observations in three reception centers and studying the daily reports written by staff members and the decisions taken by the so called "incident committees" together with the transfer-reports of residents who are disciplinary transferred between centers, the process of reacting on infractions is displayed.

The Belgian Act of 12 January 2007 on the reception of asylum seekers and its consecutive adjustments does stipulate seven types of formal sanctions that can be enforced by the director of the reception center in case of infringing the rules and regulations of the center. Although the Act stipulates that the sanction has to be decided in an objective and impartial manner, the practical implementation of these sanctions remains the discretionary competence of the director of the reception structure. Consequently and following the historical evolution of the reception center, each institution has their specific decision process and sanctioning culture.

Keywords: reception centers, asylum seekers, sanctioning culture, punitivity 10–13 September 2014, Prague, Czech Republic WG11-21


Panel Chair: Jose Luis Diez-Ripolles (University of Malaga, Spain) Other author: Jose Becerra-Muñoz (University of Malaga, Spain) In the Budapest Conference of 2013 a meeting took place to debate about the need of a working group that would study criminal law-making policy. The result of the discussion was clear: European countries face constant legal reforms that deeply affect the criminological legal framework. Such activity is most of the times unaware or even clearly in contradiction with scientific knowledge on different subjects. This concern leads our initiative, along with the certainty that a comparative perspective will be highly beneficial for this line of research.

Consequently, 28 ESC members expressed their interest on the topic and supported the idea of launching a working group in the ESC and another 14 ESC members showed their interest on the matter and asked to be informed on the Group´s upcoming activities. The Working Group was formally approved by the ESC Board on December 14th. 2013.

Since then, the Group´s aims have been to build a scientific debate forum to study how criminal legislative decisions are taken and how they could be improved.

It is our conviction that higher quality in criminal legislation is possible and desirable, and the tools needed to achieve this goal should be made available by experts from social sciences.

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