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An increasing number of institutions of higher education in Britain advertise themselves as ‘Equal Opportunities Employers’. A variety of evidence is presented from reports from the Commission for Racial Equality and the Hansard Society, case studies from a polytechnic and a university and published evidence from Oxford. Queen’s University, Belfast and University College, London. It shows that progress in the implementation of equal opportunities policies in British higher education is unimpressive, foundering at the stage of monitoring recruitment practices. Managements believe the criterion of academic merit is a guarantee against discrimination and are resistant to the introduction of effective equal opportunities policies. The CVCP Guidance on Good Practice for Equal Opportunities in Employment in Universities, emphasising positive action, is a significant step forward at a timely moment. It highlights fundamental and much neglected issues in the management of higher education.

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This chapter provides a summary of the findings of the Prostitution Law Review Committee and its recommendations to the Minister of Justice. It was written by Paul Fitzharris, who chaired the committee. In the committee’s review of the Prostitution Reform Act, two assessments were presented. One was a review conducted in April 2005 that assessed the nature and extent of the sex industry in New Zealand prior to the decriminalisation in 2003. The second review, which was conducted in June 2008, evaluated the operation of the Act. It also assessed the numbers of people working as sex workers, the nature and adequacy of the means to cease working as sex workers, and whether any amendments to the legislation were required. The review was highlighted by the ‘purpose’ of the legislation, which focused on the human rights, health, and welfare and safety of the sex workers, as well as the prohibition of young persons in the sex industry. Apart from providing a summary of the findings of the committee, the chapter also outlines the approach that the committee adopted to complete its work. This included consultation with the government agencies, local authorities, interested organisations, public, and research bodies.

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This paper relates the findings of an exploratory study of opinions on the role of the state in welfare to issues of social integration. The focus is on public opinion about the interrelation of welfare provision and the means used by governments to finance it. The analysis shows that ideas in this area are complex and that value judgements about the nature of the welfare state appear to playas important a role as conceptions of self-interest. The suggestion of some recent writing that divisions on the lines of perceived group interest threaten social legitimacy is not confirmed. However, there is also little evidence for the view that state welfare provision may playa strong positive role in generating a moral commitment to social integration. The considerations that influence people’s judgements reflect a complex interpenetration of the interests on the one hand and evaluations on the other that underlie each of these positions.

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Within the domains of criminal justice and mental health care, critical debate concerning ‘care’ versus ‘control’ and ‘therapy’ versus ‘security’ is now commonplace. Indeed, the ‘hybridisation’ of these areas is now a familiar theme.

This unique and topical text provides an array of expert analyses from key contributors in the field that explore the interface between criminal justice and mental health. Using concise yet robust definitions of key terms and concepts, it consolidates scholarly analysis of theory, policy and practice. Readers are provided with practical debates, in addition to the theoretical and ideological concerns surrounding the risk assessment, treatment, control and risk management in a cross-disciplinary context.

Included in this book is recommended further reading and an index of legislation, making it an ideal resource for students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, together with researchers and practitioners in the field.

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Labelling perspectives are closely related to social construction and symbolic interaction analyses, prominent during the emerging sociology of the 1960s in the US. ‘Labelling’ stemmed from the early symbolic interactionism of the Chicagoan sociology of the 1930s, with its heyday in the turbulent period of the 1960s and 1970s. While becoming less popular in ensuing decades, labelling perspectives were highly influential on the embryonic sociological criminology in the UK in the late 1960s, especially at the first National Deviancy Symposium, where it proved influential on those sociological criminologists whose dissatisfaction with the Orthodox Criminology of ‘positivists’ (and criticism of their medico-psychological assumptions) caused a significant rift in the discipline (Sumner, 1994).

Theoretically, labelling perspectives are concerned with the social construction of crime and specifically how the self-identity and self-schema of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe, classify or categorise them. In common, labelling perspectives (for there is no single labelling position) hold that descriptors or categorisations – including terms related to deviance, criminality, sexuality, disability or diagnosis of a mental disorder – can, of themselves, be problematic. While, on the surface, these labels are merely descriptors, such terms (specifically when linked to formal state mechanisms) can powerfully sculpt or alter a person’s social identity and shape the individual’s and social practices, and social reactions to them.

In the late 1930s, Tannenbaum’s (1938) Crime and community introduced the concept of ‘tagging’ delinquent behaviour, where a negative tag or label often contributed to further involvement in delinquent activities. This work contrasted with the then dominant biological determinism and internal explanations of crime (including the eugenics movement).

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Sociology is concerned with understanding how social change impacts on individuals, groups, institutions and communities. The sociology of knowledge focuses on the ways in which changes in individual experiences, as well as community and institutional practices, reflect society’s developing understanding of the world and how it works. Knowledge, meanwhile, is difficult to define and conceptualise but is generally taken to refer to what is known, as opposed to what is not known or merely thought of as known, reflecting Plato’s distinction between knowledge, belief and opinion. The main foci for the sociology of knowledge, then, are the ways in which social change – broadly defined – impacts on how knowledge is defined and utilised. Traditionally, post-Enlightenment, and reflecting dominant modernist principles, the assumption was that the application of the scientific method would, cumulatively and progressively, allow individuals to ascertain knowledge – or truth – regarding the world and their place in it with ever-increasing degrees of certainty. Here, knowledge represents the solution to problems stemming from uncertainties associated with ignorance, or lack of knowledge.

However, over the last 50 years or so, the rise to prominence of postmodern perspectives has challenged the dominance of these assumptions, such that faith and confidence in the modernist ideal has waned. Key theorists have revealed the inherently subjective nature of supposedly objective knowledge claims and so challenged the authority and legitimacy of foundational truths. Strong claims about the world, and about categories and classifications routinely applied to groups and individuals, are now recognised as social constructions (Berger and Luckman, 1967), intimately entwined with the operation of power in society (Foucault, 1972), while science itself is recognised as a messy business, often entailing subjective, interpretive judgements, rather than the straightforward specification of objective facts (Lakatos, 1978).

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‘Just deserts’ is a moral and practical explanation for why states punish criminals. Rooted in the retributive theory of punishment, just deserts emphasises that people, as responsible agents, deserve to be punished when they break the law. It can be compared with a number of consequentialist theories, which broadly focus on the potential to reduce crime through punishment. The rationale for punishment based on just deserts is generally twofold.

First, punishment is ‘a conventional device for the expression of attitudes of resentment and indignation, and of judgment of disapproval and reprobation’ (Feinberg, 1965, p 397). Thus, punishment takes on the form of communication between the state and criminals: adequate and consistent punishment in the event of wrongdoing helps to maintain cohesion among law-abiding citizens by reinforcing legal and social boundaries. This indicates that excessive punishment may have the opposite effect of undermining the expressive function of the law.

Second, the criminal gains an unfair advantage over law-abiding citizens when he commits a crime, and this must be eliminated by imposing the burden of punishment upon him. The wider explanation is that citizens are bound by social contract to the reciprocal disadvantage of pursuing their interests without interfering with the freedoms of others. Punishing wrongdoers restores a notional equilibrium between advantages and disadvantages among ‘violators’ and ‘non-violating fellows’ (Von Hirsch, 1976, p 46). Punishment, therefore, serves a utilitarian function: the burden of punishment to those who experience it is outweighed by its societal benefit.

A problem with the burden versus benefit analysis is that not all crimes confer a benefit, and not all self-restraint confers a disbenefit.

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The Offender Assessment System (OASys) is the prison and probation services’ principal tool for risk assessment and sentence planning (NOMS, 2006). Alongside these primary functions, its inception was also designed to complement the effective practice agenda by relating the work planned with offenders to areas which research suggested that targeting would result in a reduction in the likelihood of reoffending (Home Office, 2002). Further, it provided a system that could be used to plot progress of offenders over time; hence, measuring the effectiveness of interventions.

OASys comprises actuarial and clinical components, providing practitioners with a percentage risk of reoffending in comparison to other offenders of a similar statistical history (eg age, gender, offending history) based on the combination of static and dynamic factors. The risk of harm element of the assessment is based on the discretion of the user but should be informed by their thorough and considered completion of all the sections that comprise the clinical assessment. These sections require the assessor to consider the offender’s history and contemporary situation in relation to: the offence and offending history; accommodation; employment training and education; finances; relationships; lifestyle and associates; substance use; emotional well-being; thinking and behaviour; and attitudes. Health issues are addressed but not scored. Specifically, the assessor is to consider the relation of each of these areas to both risk of reoffending and risk of harm, and if linked, to then produce a sentence plan that addresses these areas. This leads to an approach to offender management that is strongly focused on the management of risk in its structure, an element that, in itself, can prove problematic when working in partnership with other agencies with their own assessment tools, such as mental health agencies, where the focus may be more therapeutic.

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The York Retreat is historically significant as it is one of the first examples of a humanistic approach to the treatment of mental disorders, referred to as ‘moral treatment’ (Digby,1985). Its history expands over four centuries and was established as a private asylum by the Quaker William Tuke and the Society of Friends. It was founded because of the death of Hannah Mills in 1790, a fellow Quaker, when confined in the York (Public) Asylum (Digby, 1985; Wannell, 2007). The York Retreat opened its gates in 1796, with an aim to offer a mixture of medical and religious treatments for people from the Quaker community, although non-Quakers were admitted shortly after this date due to financial constraints (Charland, 2007).

The York Retreat was essentially influenced by the period of Enlightenment, which conceptualised ‘madness’ as a disorder of ‘reason’. Traditionally, individuals labelled as ‘mad’ were considered animalistic and void of humanity (Digby, 1985). From Tuke’s perspective, people with mental illness were not void of rational thought, but their thoughts had become disordered through the stresses of social life. This was ideologically influenced by the Society of Friends’ belief that humans are born with ethical components that are referred to as the ‘inner light’ (Charland, 2007). From this perspective, not even ‘madness’ destroys the inner light; therefore, patients deserve respect and dignity (Charland, 2007).

From the outset, Tuke distanced the York Retreat from other asylums by developing a regime of treatment based on respect, kindness and comfort. The purpose was that, over time, patients would achieve a healthy and meaningful life.

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Zemiology originated as a critique of criminology and the notion of crime. In contrast to individual harms or offences, zemiology is concerned with wider forms of social harm or injury. Zemiologists seek to move beyond the narrow concept of crime and acknowledge that some legal behaviour is socially injurious. Therefore, social harm provides more ‘ontological reality’ than crime and, thus, a useful conceptual platform to engender broader public debates about ‘justice’.

During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of critical criminologists raised questions about the concept of crime, suggested alternative ways to consider the broad issue of criminalisation and highlighted the serious consequences of wider violations of rules that are neglected by criminal law. During this turbulent political period, there was a growth of interest in social justice and human rights as part of criminology, perhaps best encountered in the work of Herman and Julia Schwendinger, who proposed that criminology should be the study of the violation of human rights. This, they argued, would provide a more objective unit of study than that offered by the narrow legalistic approach to crime (Schwendinger and Schwendinger, 1970).

However, ‘zemiology’, as it is now termed, really emerged during the last decade as part of contemporary global criminology (see Hillyard et al, 2004). Taking its name from the Greek word zemia, meaning harm, zemiologists suggest that the undue attention given to those acts defined as crimes distracts attention from much more pressing and serious social harms, such as air pollution or poverty.

Zemiological approaches attempt to broaden the public and sociological focus to the vicissitudes of daily life in capitalist society, where much less obvious harms are frequently more serious and damaging than those caused by crime.

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