British Convict Criminology
Learn More About Us
Why We Exist
British Convict Criminology (BCC) was established in 2011 after a meeting between Andy Aresti (Westminster University), Rod Earle (The Open University) and Sacha Darke (Westminster University). It emerged from the recognition that in the UK prison conditions, prison histories and prisoner experiences are very different from those in the USA where convict criminology was first established, but that the principle and potential of combining lived experience with criminological analysis was the same. Rod Earle's book, Convict Criminology - Inside and Out, is a comprehensive, critical and personal review of what convict criminology is about. It provides an accessible and entertaining introduction to the subject by covering the emergence of the group in the USA and its earlier origins, as well as a detailed account of the methods and experiences that characterise its potentials in the UK. Further details of publications by people involved with BCC are available in The Reading Room section of the website, including David Honeywell's 'The Ambiguities of Desistance: Ex-offenders, Higher Education and the Desistance Journey. Various members of the BCC group have been involved in developing different aspects of convict criminology. This website is dedicated to promoting that work and building support for convict criminology in Britain. Our journey began in July 2011, when we presented our ideas at the British Society of Criminology (BSC) annual conference in Newcastle. Since then academic papers detailing our activities and developing our perspectives have been regularly presented at the annual conference of the BSC and the European Society of Criminology. Rod Earle’s paper at the Newcastle conference, ‘A Tale of Two Institutions’ was published in the conference journal, and can be accessed Here. Rod Earle’s Convict Criminology – Inside and out Click here
Convict Criminology in the United States
Since the late 1990s Convict Criminology in the United States has established itself as a support group for prisoners and former prisoners studying in higher education and pursuing academic careers. In 2020 a new generation of CC activists established the Division of Convict Criminology as a formally constituted group within the American Society of Criminology.
Our 3 Principles
1. Critical perspectives that seek radical reform, or even abolition, of criminal justice systems.
2. Linking up with campaigns, organisations and activism around prisoner’s experiences, prisoner’s families and post-release issues.
3. Using first-hand experience of imprisonment to theorise and research criminal justice issues
The idea of convict criminology is to combine these approaches and develop academically robust and insightful analysis of imprisonment from prisoner and ex-prisoner ‘insider’ perspectives. Implicit to this approach is the need to develop academic accounts generated by people with direct, first-hand experience of criminal justice procedures (arrest, interrogation, remand, trial and conviction) and particularly imprisonment. Experience of imprisonment is taken to be particularly significant because prisons crystallise the various social features of the criminal justice system into its most powerful, recognisable and iconic form – the prison. Imprisonment is the end-point of all the social processes around which the criminal justice system and punitive morality condense.