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Stockholm Criminology Symposium

Stockholm Criminology Symposium genomfördes 13-15 juni 2022 traditionsenligt på Norra Latin i Stockholm. Vinnaren av 2021 års pris professor Elijah Andersson från Yale University USA och 2022 års vinnare professor Francis T. Cullen, University of Cincinnatti, USA, och professor Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University, USA, hedrades.

Se mer om deras forskning på hemsidan.

Här redovisar vi några framträdanden under symposiet – på engelska.

Speaker: William Bülow O-Nils (Stockholm University and Uppsala University, Sweden)
Presentation title: Who is morally responsible for the harm caused to children of prisoners? 

It has been argued that the circumstances of many children of prisoners run afoul of established principles of social justice, regardless of whether we understand them in terms of equality and desert, the elimination of institutional oppression and domination, or the influential capabilities approach of Martha Nussbaum. In this paper, the proper allocation of responsibility for remedying this social injustice is discussed. Through a discussion of four principles for allocating remedial responsibility, as otherwise discussed in the context of contemporary moral and political philosophy, it is argued that the moral responsibility for children of incarcerated parents is shared among several actors, including the incarcerated parent, remaining caregivers, prison officials, other state officials, and, to some extent, members of the wider community. 

While incarcerated parents are partially responsible for remedying the harm caused to their children, prison officials have the responsibility to uphold the types of prison conditions under which incarcerated parents are able to fulfill their responsibilities to their children.

 Similarly, whereas the responsibility to care for the children of incarcerated parents falls on the caregivers (i.e., the remaining parent or other family relatives), states are at the same time responsible for implementing social welfare policies of the sort that can help caregivers fulfill their responsibilities for the well-being of these children. 

As for individual members of the wider community, they have an obligation not to contribute to the stigmatization and marginalization of the families of incarcerated individuals. This research has been funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), grant nr 2018-01116. 

Speaker: Shadd Maruna (Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom)
Presentation title: Surviving the pandemic lockdown in British prisons: A participatory action research study 

Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to one of the most substantial natural experiments in recent history. Beginning in March 2020, prisoners in England and Wales were locked down for 23 hours per day for months in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The objective of this study was to understand the lived experience of the lockdown from the point of view of the incarcerated. Methods: Funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and in partnership with the ex-prisoner-led User Voice organization, this study employed a participatory action research (PAR) design. We delivered an accredited 2-day ‘peer research methods’ course to 60 prisoners across the 10 facilities, explaining the basics of participant observation, interviewing and survey research. 

Peer researchers wrote field notes, conducted 1-on-1 interviews, and surveyed over 1300 fellow prisoners. We returned to three of the prisons to collaboratively analyze the results with the peer research volunteers. 

Results: Over two-thirds of survey respondents agreed that “mental health has never been worse in this prison.” Using a standardised measure of mental health, we found that 85% reported “feeling depressed or hopeless” with over 1/3 saying they had these feelings “nearly every day.” Almost half reported experiencing suicidal thoughts that they would be “better off dead.” In a regression analysis we outline the key predictors of these poor mental health outcomes. Implications:

These extreme levels of depression and anxiety are consistent with pre- pandemic research on the impact of solitary confinement, yet spread throughout the prison system as a whole they represent a potential mental health crisis with implications that could rival those of the virus itself. 

Speaker: Hannah Dickson (King’s College London, UK)
Presentation title: Education and social care predictors of offending trajectories: A UK administrative data linkage study
Co-authors: George Vamvakas and Nigel Blackwood (King’s College London, UK) 

Total annual costs of crime in England and Wales is estimated at £50bn. The age-crime curve indicates that criminal behavioural peaks in adolescence and decreases in adulthood. However, evidence suggests that this curve conceals distinct developmental trajectories. Life-course persistent offenders begin to behave antisocially early in childhood and continue this behaviour into adulthood. The majority of criminal offences are conducted by this group of persistent offenders. By contrast, adolescent-limited offenders exhibit most of their antisocial behaviour during adolescence, with a minority continuing to offend into adulthood.

 A final developmental group demonstrate no or low densities of offending behaviours. Prospective cohort study data has highlighted distinct risk factors for these offending trajectories, but this research is limited because of small sample sizes for disadvantaged groups, selection bias and infrequency of data collection. The current study began in January 2022 and is one of the first to use UK linked national crime and education records. 

The aim is to: (1) establish the offending trajectories of individuals between the ages of 10 and 32 years following their first recorded conviction or caution using national crime records; and (2) develop prediction models of these offending trajectories using administrative education and social care data. Findings from the project have the potential to identify previously unknown, or confirm lesser known, offending trajectories using real world data based on the UK population. It may also lead to the detection of previously unknown risk or protective factors for offending, which has implications for early intervention and could help inform criminal justice system responses to early antisocial behaviour. During the symposium, I will share findings on the offending trajectories identified and present some early results on the key educational and social care drivers of the offending trajectories. 

Speakers: Peggy Giordano, Monica Longmore and Wendy Manning (Bowling Green State University, USA)
Presentation title: Links between adult children’s persistence or desistance and parents’ provision of emotional and instrumental support 

Co-author: Cameron Douthat (Bowling Green State University, USA) 

Parental assistance is often required as young adults navigate uncertain paths to contemporary young adulthood. Less is known about whether adult children’s continued criminal involvement and accumulated criminal justice exposure affects parental resource transfers (i.e., instrumental and social support, co-residence).

 It is important to distinguish adult children who have desisted from the consistently prosocial. Further, different forms of assistance are affected by parental disapproval of children’s lifestyles and parents’ own incarceration history. 

The study used a life-course perspective and longitudinal data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (n=875, ages 22-29), and 33% had prior criminal justice contact. Preliminary analyses revealed that net of sociodemographic and other controls, children with prior criminal justice contact and those currently engaged in criminality received more extensive instrumental support. While parental disapproval was associated with greater instrumental support, parents’ incarceration was tied to lower levels of support. Receipt of parental social support was higher for adult children with justice contact and current criminality in bivariate, but not multivariable, regressions. Further, parental disapproval was associated with less social support. Although one-fourth of respondents co-reside with parents, co-residence was not statistically higher among those with justice contact or current criminal activity. Additional analyses will distinguish desisters from the continuously prosocial respondents. Our preliminary results suggest that the neediest adult children (i.e., persisters, those with criminal justice contact) receive more instrumental support, but that parental disapproval of their child’s lifestyle and their own justice background (incarceration history) are complicating factors. Results highlight the utility of a network perspective on desistance processes. 

Speaker: Maria Von Bredow (The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, Sweden) Presentation title: Youth Robberies in Sweden
Co-authors: Anna Öström and Sara Jonsson (The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, Sweden) 

In December 2021 The Swedish National Council of Crime Prevention (Brå) published a report on youth robberies showing that the number of reported robberies carried out by young people against people under 18, as well as the self-reported exposure to robbery among young people, have both increased in Sweden between 2015 and 2019. It also shows that increasingly more youths express worry about being robbed, and this increase is particularly noticeable among boys. Exactly how youth robberies are committed varies greatly. In some cases, no explicit threats or violence are used, while in other cases, explicit threats, violence and weapons, as well as acts of force and humiliation, are used. As a consequence, many youths who fall victim to robbery are affected by the crime not only financially, but also psychologically and physically. The report shows, for instance, that after being robbed, youths may have trouble sleeping, not want to go out or be in certain places and perhaps even need medical care. There is a need to closely watch developments in street robbery among young people, and this study offers an updated picture of these developments and the geographic distribution. The report also describes the victims, suspects and nature of youth robbery, as well as young people’s experiences of robbery. This study is based on data from Brå’s crime statistics, official registry data and geographic data from the Swedish Police Authority and Statistics Sweden, as well as surveys on exposure to and participation in street robbery targeting youths. The study also includes a review of preliminary police investigations into youth robbery and interviews with young perpetrators, victims and parents of victims. This short presentation will focus briefly on the results of the study, the methods used and the results of including young people’s experiences and perspectives in research, especially in matters affecting them. 

Speaker: Nils Duquet (Flemish Peace Institute, Belgium)
Presentation title: New firearms trafficking trends and gun violence in Europe 

Firearms trafficking is crucial for facilitating a wide range of organised crime activities in Europe. Yet, academic research for this topic tends be rather limited. Previous policy-oriented studies have demonstrated that illicit firearms markets in Europe tend to be closed markets in which criminal hierarchy plays an important role. In recent years this closed character seems to be eroding and this has resulted in easier availability of various types of firearms for a wider share of criminals and increased gun violence in various parts in Europe. New trends in firearms trafficking (eg trafficking in easy-to-convert weapons and online trafficking), source regions (eg Ukraine) and technological developments (eg 3D printing) have the potential to significantly alter the closed character of illicit gun markets and the characteristics of trafficking. In this paper we will examine these new trends and analyse their potential impact on criminal and other types of gun violence gun violence in Europe. 

The municipalities will be grouped according to changes in the share of foreign-born population and other indicators and their development of victimization and feelings of safety will be compared. Multiple regression analysis will also be conducted to further investigate any relationships between victimization, feelings of safety and immigration. Some preliminary results from these data are presented. 

Speaker: Sofia Wikman (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Presentation title: Narratives about immigration, socioeconomics, and crime Co-author: My Lilja (Malmö University, Sweden) 

This study is a part of the Forte financed project “What happened in Sweden over the last 40 years? Studies on crime, gender, ethnicity, and social class”. The aim of this qualitative study is two-fold. Firstly, it attempts to explore narratives about immigration, socioeconomics, and crime among individuals with long-term professional experience. Secondly, it will analyse narratives about immigration, socioeconomics, and crime among previously convicted individuals. The ambition is to triangulate the results from the other quantitative studies in the Forte project and describe the people behind the statistics and their stories. The study has a narrative approach and is based on semi-structured interviews with professionals and formerly convicted individuals. 

Speaker: Jerzy Sarnecki (Institute for Future Studies and University of Gävle, Sweden) Presentation title: Changes in violent crime in Swedish municipalities: Estimating the effect of immigration
Co-author: Amber Beckley (Stockholm University, Sweden) 

Studies from around the world have shown that immigration has little to no connection with crime. Scandinavian studies, however, have been generally carried out on individuals and show that immigrants are overrepresented in crime. 

In this study we analyzed police-reported violent crime in Swedish municipalities between 2000 and 2020. We found that nearly all municipalities had higher violent crime rates in 2020 relative to 2000. Municipalities with the highest increase in reported violent crime rates were contrasted with municipalities with the lowest increase in reported violent crime rates. The percent of immigrants in the municipality and excess immigration could not account for the average difference in reported violent crime rates. 

Municipalities with high crime increases, tended to be sparsely populated and have a lower SES. These tendencies became starker over time so that municipalities with high crime increases, relative to those with low crime increases, had significantly higher levels of crime correlates. We conclude that immigration seems to have had little direct impact on reported crime. 

Speaker: Belma Isakovic (Örebro University, Sweden)
Presentation title: The association between HPA-axis functioning during mid-adolescence and psychopathy during late adolescence
Co-authors: Laura Baker (University of Southern California, USA), Adrian Raine (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Catherine Tuvblad (Örebro University, Sweden and University of Southern California, USA) Brittany Evans (Örebro University, Sweden) 

The aim of the present study is to investigate the association between HPA-axis functioning in mid- adolescence and psychopathy in late adolescence. Psychopathy is linked with severe and chronic patterns of antisocial behaviors that feature persistent and severe aggression. Low physiological arousal is a well-studied biological correlate to psychopathy. A core biological indicator of physiological arousal is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, but until now, findings of a link between HPA-axis functioning and psychopathy are inconsistent. It has been hypothesized that blunted cortisol reactivity to stressor tasks might be associated to psychopathy primarily in clinical samples.

 This present study will examine the link between HPA-axis functioning and psychopathy in a community sample of male and female twins born between 1990 and 1995 (n=1228) retrieved from the Risk for Antisocial Behavior (RFAB) sample at the University of Southern California. At the age of 11 to 15 years, youth completed stressor tasks during an approximately 5-hour lab session. Samples of salivary cortisol were collected prior to, during, and after the stressor tasks as an index of HPA-axis reactivity. 

At the age of 19 to 20 years psychopathy was measured in the youths using the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM). Multiple regression analysis will be used to analyze the possible link between HPA-axis functioning and psychopathy while controlling for potential covariates (e.g., puberty, body mass index, medication, gender). Results will show whether HPA-axis functioning is predictive of psychopathy in a normative adolescent sample. 

The importance of biological indicators of physiological arousal or stress reactivity is particularly notable for the possibility of early detection of risk factors for psychopathy that could lead to better intervention. 

Speaker: Johanna Lätth (Karolinska Institutet and The Prison and Probation Service, Sweden) Presentation title: The Swedish model of treatment for individuals convicted of sexual offending Co-authors: 

Sexual offending is a severe and complex public health problem with impairment on the mental, physical and sexual health of victims, where evidence-based preventive treatment is needed for individuals at risk of (re)offending. Current recommendations include that sexual offender treatment should apply to the Risk, Need and Responsivity principles, a framework proved to decrease general recidivism. To prevent sexual reoffending, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service developed two interventions based on those principles: the shorter and manual based program Consent, and the more extensive and flexible program Sexual offender program with Individual Focus (SEIF). The Swedish model applies the risk principle by matching treatment intensity to risk-level, Consent targets low-to-medium-risk individuals and SEIF medium-to-high-risk. 

Following the need principle, the programs focus on criminogenic needs, where SEIF is designed to address more complex needs (e.g. hypersexuality and paraphilic interests). 

Lastly, the responsivity principle is primarily applied by cognitive-behavioral methods in both interventions, and a highly flexible and tailored treatment approach in SEIF, based on forensic case formulation. 

Speaker: Stephanie Langevin (Duke University USA and Laval University, CAN)
Presentation title: Life-course persistent antisocial behaviors and accelerated aging in a longitudinal birth cohort
Co-authors: Avshalom Caspi and Terrie E. Moffitt (Duke University, USA) and Michel Boivin (Laval University, Canada) 

Individuals exhibiting antisocial behaviors are in generally poorer health in adulthood and die at a younger age than their peers (Skinner et al., 2021; Wertz et al., 2021). Earlier mortality is only partly explained by unnatural causes of death, such as homicide. The bulk of the mortality gap is attributable to deaths from physical disease, and a major driver of these diseases is the process of aging itself. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between antisocial behavior trajectories and signs of accelerated aging by midlife in a prospective, population-based cohort. Participants were 934 members of the Dunedin Study, an ongoing longitudinal study following participants from birth to age 45. Antisocial behavior trajectories were identified through growth- mixture modelling. Signs of accelerated aging (pace of aging, integrity of sensory and motor systems, cognitive functioning, and brain age) were assessed using previously validated measures based on laboratory assessments. We controlled for health, environmental and individual confounders. Full- information maximum likelihood regression analyses were performed to investigate the associations between antisocial trajectories and signs of accelerated aging. Life-course persistent (LCP) offenders presented with a greater decline in physiological, motor and cognitive functioning.

 Sensitivity analyses revealed that, with the exception of brain age, the associations between LCP antisocial behaviors and signs of accelerated aging were not attributable to health, environmental or individual confounders. This association presents an opportunity for criminology to reduce the burden of age- related disease and early mortality, which would benefit individuals with antisocial behaviors as well as public health systems. Targeted interventions may interrupt the path from a youth’s antisocial behaviors to becoming a high-need/high-cost public service user, including judicial and health systems in later life. 

Speaker: Stina Lindegren (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Presentation title: Outcomes and participant experiences of sex offender treatment in Sweden – mixed method findings 

Research on sexual offender treatment programs struggles with methodological limitations, partly due to difficulties conducting randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) within the prison and probation setting and dark figures complicating accurate estimates of recidivism. Thus, there is a need for additional approaches when investigating sexual offender treatment programs. One such angle of investigation is the impact of sexual offender treatment on criminogenic needs, i.e. dynamic (changeable) risk factors for re-offending. Qualitative studies of participants’ own experiences of participation in treatment programs is another important source of information. The aim of the first study was to test whether dynamic criminogenic risk factors change after participation in a pilot run of a new cognitive-behavioral treatment program (SEIF) adhering to the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model, within a group of adult men convicted of sexual offences in Sweden. Three psychometric tests from approximately 26 participants were completed. Therapists rated 46 participants using the Therapist Rating Scale-Revised (TRS-2). Participants reported a significant decrease in hypersexuality, small to medium effect size, a non-significant, increased, internal locus of control, but no change regarding attachment styles, posttreatment. 

Therapists rated significant decrease in all treatment needs posttreatment, medium to large effect size. Results indicate the treatment program may reduce problems related to increased risk of recidivism, especially hypersexuality, motivating further implementation. However, to draw conclusions concerning effectiveness, more research, using stronger designs and larger samples, is necessary. In the second (ongoing) study, adult individuals convicted of sexual offences in Sweden are interviewed regarding their experiences of participating in Sexual offender program with an Individual Focus (SEIF). Preliminary results from a thematic analysis will be presented. 

Speaker: Lars Westfelt (University of Gävle, Sweden)
Presentation title: Foreign-born, victimization and feelings of safety in Swedish municipalities. Some preliminary results
Co-author: Samuel Nestius (University of Gävle, Sweden) 

According to the grant proposal, the WHiS project is aiming to study the development of immigration and crime in both national, international, and regional perspectives using both official criminal statistics and alternative sources. The regional analyses of crime statistics in the first study will be complemented with a study of victimization and feelings of safety in different municipalities. The analyse is based on a dataset pooling available local crime surveys that has been carried out by the Swedish police since 1998. So far it contains approximately 550 000 respondents in 191 municipalities. 


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