PhD and Masters Theses
The Internet Journal of Criminology presents PhD and Masters theses considered by the Editorial Board to be worthy of publication.
The IJC will only publish theses that meet this criteria.
Exploring Drug Smuggling: Police Officers’ interpretations of Motivations, Networks, Desistance and the 21st Century
The motivations of smugglers can vary considerably, but the strongest appear to be financial, through deprivation or pure gluttony (Decker and Townsend
Chapman 2008, Baily 2013). These smugglers do not often engage in this risky behaviour alone, they are commonly found as a part of a wider Organised
Crime Group (OCG). Yesilyurt (2014) investigated into these networks, and suggested that they can be more efficient when they are hierarchical and
organised. This research aimed to investigate how police officers interpret Drug smuggling. Is there a strong consensus or very different opinions between
the officers, when considering the seriousness of drug smuggling? Furthermore, has smuggling developed over the past decade? Additionally, what is needed
in order to combat drug smuggling? This study attempts to answer these questions through primary research. It found four main themes with the Police
Officer participants. The first being, the perceptions of drug smuggling, which includes techniques and motivations. Following on is the opinion of the
participants upon the smugglers themselves, which delves into frustration and enjoyment. Next is the perception concerning the punishment for
smuggling, comprising of discussions upon recidivism. The final theme relates to the influence of the 21st century and how smuggling has developed
in recent years. There is a significant consensus between the officers, albeit with a few diverse opinions with relation to networks and desistance.
From the analysis, certain theoretical concepts were drawn upon, the most resilient being Rational Choice Theory and Strain Theory. Finally, recommendations
for policy are created, including concepts on punishment and funding. Future research is also proposed, the exploration into desistance and using more
experienced officers should aid to the drug smuggling literature.
Impacts of Homicide and Death Penalty Experiences: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach
There exists a culture of surviving victims who possess a body of knowledge stemming from their experiences of dealing with homicide. In reviewing the literature on surviving victims, whether they are survivors of the victim or the accused, it is evident that their diverse views are often unrealized or ignored by the very citizens and policymakers responsible for initiating and evaluating criminal justice policies. Ignoring this group, perhaps those who could contribute most to the dialogue surrounding criminal justice policy, limits the body of cultural knowledge which can be transmitted and used to educate the citizenry, thereby resulting in producing flawed public policy that, ultimately, negatively impacts citizens and the entire nation.
The significance of the study calls for future research to enrich the understanding of how surviving victims have been affected by tragedy
and then to use that cultural knowledge to educate others, whether it be other surviving victims, research scholars, policymakers, media,
uninformed citizens, etc. To be informed is essential for the success of a democratic state, being
that the majority’s views prevail, which influences the direction of government and public policy.
Combatting Hate? A Socio-legal Discussion on the Criminalization of Hate in Canada
Decades of political dealings as well as judicial exchanges on lawmaking pertaining to hate in Canada have resulted in the creation
of hate crime legislation. The contemporary debates on hate usually focus on the legalities of this hate crime legislation. This
research, however, using a liberal consensus approach as well as a conflict approach, critically explores whether the criminalization
of hate effectively combats hate in Canada.
Synergies of Syntheses: A Comparison of Systematic Review and Scientific Realist Evaluation Methods for Crime Prevention
This thesis makes two significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge within crime prevention. The first of these is to evaluate the success of repeat victimisation prevention interventions. Interventions across four crime types are assessed herein, and the context-mechanisms-outcome configurations examined. The second contribution of this thesis is to assess two techniques of meta-evaluation: systematic reviews and realist syntheses. Each of these techniques is used in turn to assess the repeat victimisation prevention interventions. The contribution of each technique to the knowledge pool is then discussed, and the question of whether they are complementary or contradictory approaches answered.
The thesis is framed in the context of evolutionary epistemology, which is the philosophy underpinning both approaches to meta-evaluation addressed herein. The thesis starts, with an examination of: firstly, how the evaluation methods in question have evolved, and the background to their scientific worth; and secondly, how situational crime prevention measures have evolved over time. The thesis then examines the two competing approaches for their contribution to the evaluation ecosystem by using both to assess repeat victimisation prevention interventions. Finally, the last section poses the question of whether it is survival of the fittest, or whether co-existence or adaptation could be the key to survival for these two meta-evaluative methodologies.
Repeat victimisation prevention is revealed as an effective way of reducing crime, with a need for further research to apply the principle
across further crime types. A requirement is identified for a greater breadth and depth of information to be included in future crime prevention
evaluations. The systematic review is shown to be a useful way of assessing the overall effectiveness of the interventions, whilst the realist
synthesis fills in the detail of why some interventions work and others fail. It is concluded that both approaches to meta-evaluation have useful
contributions to make, and that a ‘third way’ incorporating the best elements from each method should be developed.
Understanding and Contextualising Racial Hatred on the Internet: A Study of Newsgroups and Websites
This thesis builds upon the growing body of criminological literature in the field of racially motivated offending by embracing two
key aims. Firstly, it aims to investigate the way in which Internet newsgroups create an enabling environment for the expression and
development of on-line racial hatred and therefore endeavours to understand how newsgroups may be used to facilitate criminal and other
harmful activity. Secondly, the study examines three newsgroups in depth and a number of Websites with an aim to understand their
structure, organisation and dynamics as well as aspects of recruitment, dissemination of hate literature and the command and control
of members. This thesis also places online bias, prejudice and hate speech within a social and historical context by arguing that the
foundations for online hate speech did not merely arise with the development of the Internet in the 1970s but is bound up within an
historical and social context that began some three and a half centuries ago during the Atlantic slave trade and hardly curtailing
in the US and the UK until the 1960s.
Challenging privacy: Using the National DNA Database to support victims of sexed violence
The National DNA Database raises controversial issues over privacy, consent, human rights, crime prevention and control. Taking these themes as
guides, I will develop a critical discussion on the issue of sexed violence to exemplify how the law has failed to provide sanction for victims of
this crime due to hegemonic masculinity. Campaigning groups for Violence Against Women call for more robust case-building in cases of sexed
violence where DNA forensic evidence is crucial. The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s recent report ‘Without Consent’ highlights the low
conviction rate for rape suggesting that this section of the criminal justice system is in a state of crisis. I will argue that it is
necessary to utilise and develop the database as a tool for improved conviction rates and a possible reduction in incidence, through the
power of detection and deterrence. However various human rights groups object to the existence and development of the database on grounds of
privacy. I will challenge this notion of privacy and suggest that civil rights are founded through perceived threats and fear. Furthermore I
will problematise whether there is a modern concept of privacy as masculinist that is employed by some human rights discourse. This concept of
privacy operates a patriarchal hegemonic discourse to oppose women’s justice by keeping active criminals protected from investigation, therefore
objections to the database on this basis should be contested in order to allow and accept DNA databasing as a crime control method against sexed
violence. A compromise is necessary between operation and regulation. I will ask whether the database is only a small infringement on the rights
of citizens for the assurance of improved detection, crime reduction and justice within today’s society.
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