Criminology > Prisons and Punishment

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Transnational marriage abandonment (TMA) of women is a growing form of violence reported across India and South Asia. The spouse, most commonly a husband, lives and works in a foreign country and exploits the advantages derived from his citizenship or visa status to exercise coercion and control over the immigrating wife. TMA takes different forms, including when a woman is left behind with the in-laws while waiting for the husband to provide visa sponsorship for her migration. Such women are vulnerable to financial precarity, isolation and domestic violence from in-laws, may be dispossessed from their marital home and served with ex parte divorces.

Drawing on life-history interviews with 35 ‘never-migrant’ women conducted between 2013 and 2016, and subsequent policy and legal developments in India and the UK, this article seeks to unpack the gendered dimensions of im/mobility within TMA. Women’s immobilisation results from state migration policies, legal obstacles, patriarchal socio-cultural norms and purposive actions by husbands and their families to perpetually defer visa sponsorship and extract labour and/or money from women. Our findings indicate that immobilisation is a key facet of violence against women and legal responses to TMA must utilise a gender-based violence framework that can incorporate immobilised ‘never-migrant’ women.

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Bystander intervention is a method of sexual violence prevention aimed at reducing the serious and pervasive issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The current study utilises the reasoned action approach (RAA) to examine potential differences in bystander intervention engagement between college students with exposure or experience related to sexual assault to students with no such history. Students (n=290) from two mid-sized universities completed a survey examining the RAA constructs (instrumental and experiential attitudes, injunctive and descriptive norms, capacity and autonomy), their sexual assault knowledge, and anticipated regret in reference to bystander intervention. Results showed that participants with exposure or experience related to sexual assault had significantly higher behavioural intentions (p=.018; d=.31), instrumental attitudes (p<.001; d=.55), injunctive norms (p=.026; d=.29), capacity (p=.002; d=.40), autonomy (p=.022; d=.28), anticipated regret (p<.001; d=.56), and sexual assault knowledge (p=.018; d=.31). The RAA constructs also explained a significant amount of the variance of intentions for both groups (with exposure/experience adjust R2 =.501; without exposure/experience adjust R2 =.660). The RAA constructs and anticipated regret appear to be important predictors to consider when planning bystander intervention programmes aimed at reducing sexual assault on college campuses.

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Surveillance capitalism (Zuboff, 2019) represents an unprecedented shift in modes and asymmetries of power. Operating within and through the digital sphere, this new era of capitalism has drastic implications for our understandings of modern surveillance, corporate power, and social control. The digital, in its diffuse simultaneously online and offline form, represents the spatialisation of control within which the user and the data they produce are commodified and their identities consolidated and dissected into knowable, marketable demographics which, once reassembled, no longer represent the human being once behind them (Hammond, 2016; Brusseau, 2020). The digital represents a new frontier of harm production, as user-generated data is exploited to serve corporate interests and the normalisation of digital surveillance has given way to user apathy and technological reliance, undermining user autonomy and opportunities for resistance, while commodifying not only our identities but the entirety of the human experience. Within this context an opportunity emerges to develop a zemiology informed by the digital context that can confront the deepening harms of technologisation and consider the future of resistance. By interrogating the intersection between developments in digital technology and harm production, this article aims to acknowledge the proliferation of normalised corporate surveillance through a development in capitalism (Zuboff, 2015; 2019), and to outline opportunities for theoretical development presented by the digital context, drawing upon works within zemiology (Pemberton, 2016), surveillance studies (Murakami Wood, 2007; Murakami Wood and Ball, 2013), postphenomenology (Ihde, 1990; Verbeek, 2011; Wood, 2021; 2022), and disconnection studies (Kuntsman and Miyake, 2022), to present an invitation to both a unique theoretical orientation and an emerging field of study: digital zemiology.

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This article fills important gaps in criminology by analysing the police response to foxhunting in one English county. Despite the Hunting Act 2004 legislating against hunting with dogs, the article demonstrates how foxhunting proceeds with a ‘business as usual’ discourse. Using Vegh Weis’ (2017) under- and over-criminalisation and historical development of the criminal justice sector (CJS), the article uses foxhunting as an example of the siting of classism in ‘original criminal selectivity’ that continues to explain police practices today. The use of foxhunting is particularly pertinent given the overlap in privileged relationships not only positioned to mechanisms of criminalisation but also to the historical development of foxhunting. The article demonstrates how the under-criminalisation of foxhunting is enabling the perpetuation of violence and harms by hunts and their supporters, the latter drawing more frequently on organised violence. This violence is aimed primarily at hunt saboteurs, whose role is also examined in this article through community activism applied to an abolitionist perspective. The article concludes that the police are there to maintain hegemonic practices positioned to economic power, a relationship that is understood by the intersection of original criminal selectivity, the law and classism.

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Some of the most marginalised and exposed populations during the COVID-19 pandemic have been those incarcerated in penal institutions. In the present article we compare how Norway and Denmark handled the pandemic in their prison systems and analyse these efforts through the lens of how the authorities tried to invoke specific national cultures of social solidarity during the crisis. In both countries we find that increased isolation, inactivity, lack of information, and loss of trust and contact with the outside world aggravated the prison experience. However, in Norway a bigger effort was made, compared to Denmark, to lower the prison population, as well as to create possibilities for maintaining contact with friends and families through video-visits. We then analyse the pandemic prison policies in the context of how both governments through very specific national terminologies appealed to an alleged community spirit. We examine the role and situation of prisoners in connection with these national and cultural projects of social solidarity, and find that in several cases prisoners reacted to the restrictive pandemic regimes by displaying a censorious attitude towards prison staff and authorities much in the manner originally described by Thomas Mathiesen (1965). Prisoners, in other words, held the authorities accountable to their call for community spirit and the values of social solidarity they claimed to represent. This also raises a question concerning the degree to which Danish and Norwegian policies and practices live up to the notion of Nordic penal exceptionalism, or whether the crisis unveiled different penal values.

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Ambivalent sexism has been described as influencing relationships in intimacy and partner abuse. Among 456 Spaniards, this study aimed to explore the association between mental health, ambivalent sexism and violence among opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Results showed that participants in abusive relationships presented higher levels of ambivalent and hostile sexism, regardless of partner’s sex. Psychological violence was associated with ambivalent and hostile sexism. Moderate physical violence was linked to hostile sexism. Participants in abusive relationships reported poorer mental health indexes. These findings highlight the need of interventions to focus on dimensions as sexism towards women, even when considering same-sex couples.

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Much of the research on COVID-19 and violence against women and girls (VAWG) has focused on the impacts on victim-survivors or on organisations offering support. This qualitative study aimed at documenting the coping strategies of, and the impacts on, support workers, specifically domestic and sexual violence advocates (independent domestic violence advisor [IDVA] and independent sexual violence advisors [ISVA]), in two London based organisations. The findings revealed a double load of supporting others while coping with the impacts of the pandemic on themselves and their families. An unanticipated but revealing finding was that the conjunction of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement made visible and visceral the daily work that Black women do to manage everyday racism, including in the VAWG sector. For these women ‘returning to normal’ was an unwelcome and unacceptable prospect, making anti-racism work in the VAWG sector an urgent priority.

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This article seeks to understand the experiences of bystanders to domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales. Globally, professionals voiced concern over the COVID-19 restrictions exacerbating conditions for DVA to occur. Yet evidence suggests this also increased opportunities for bystanders to become aware of DVA and take action against it. This mixed methods study consists of a quantitative online survey and follow-up interviews with survey respondents. Conducted in Wales, UK, during a national lockdown in 2021, this article reports on the experiences of 186 bystanders to DVA during the pandemic.

Results suggest that bystanders had increased opportunity to become aware of DVA due to the pandemic restrictions. Results support the bystander situational model whereby respondents have to become aware of the behaviour, recognise it as a problem, feel that they possess the correct skills, and have confidence in their skills, before they will take action. Having received bystander training was a significant predictor variable in bystanders taking action against DVA; this is an important finding that should be utilised to upskill general members of the community.

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