Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

FP6

CRCC Informe resumido

Project ID: 44351
Financiado con arreglo a: FP6-POLICIES
País: Italy

Final Report Summary - CRCC (Crime Repression Costs in Context)

The present research starts from the assumption that 'it is only very recently that EU countries have started generating figures on the cost of crime, and methodological problems still exist in developing the methods of calculating these costs'. The research will point out the existing problems in costs evaluation. It will not discuss computational methods of evaluating costs of different penal strategies. In order to do this, there should be an agreement about what shall be considered as a cost and what shall be considered benefit while proposing and adopting a specific policy. In our opinion, there is actually no agreement on this point in the community of European experts. Moreover, such an agreement seems a chimera if we examine the strategies of different European penitentiary practitioners and administrators.

The costs of crime have to be connected with political and social costs that are associated to criminal policy's choices. First of all, the research will try to clarify the terminological and conceptual premises that may constitute the grounds of a non-ideological study of the penal system, starting from the observation that there are many possible ways of evaluating the costs of crime and that these different ways are not neutral as regards the fundamental political and theoretical options of a given criminological culture. Proponents believe that the first step is the definition of the different paradigms, with their implicit assumptions on penitentiary system's tasks and costs. Secondly, it is necessary to define the different assumptions that move political discourse and influence public opinion. Finally, it is crucial to study in depth practitioners' perceptions about costs and benefits. The research will then be developed at theoretical and at empirical-ethnographic level.

The work of epistemological foundation is preliminary to any discussion about the costs of crime and crime repression. Research will review existing literature and outline the legal and sociological framework of European penal and penitentiary policies. In order to do this, the research will also produce an empirical-ethnographic research, involving all the European countries where participant units are based: old EU Members States such as Italy and Germany, new Member States such as Lithuania and a Candidate Country where penal and penitentiary reforms are strongly needed, such as Turkey. Special attention will be paid to policies aimed at preventing recidivism and a specific ethnographic research on drug-related crime repression will be carried out.

The research aims at giving a significant contribution to the assessment of penal policies' costs considering the efficacy of such policies in reducing and preventing crime.

At a theoretical level it aims at producing:
a. an analysis of theoretical paradigms that inform European penal policies;
b. an analysis of the complex relationship between penal policies, practitioners' procedures, normative texts and political discourse;
c. an analysis of political and social costs of criminal and penal policies based on the different criminological and penological paradigms delineated by the research.

At empirical-ethnographical level the research will be developed in order to single out and highlight the paradigms that lead penal actors in their daily work. In order to reach this objective, the research will produce:
a. an analysis of the perception (or, if existent, of the measurement) of rates of recidivism and of the selectivity of some European penal systems;
b. an analysis of the perception that penitentiary actors have of the different selection criteria employed in the penal judicial process and of their relationship with the social structure of European societies;
c. an analysis of the perception that penitentiary actors have of the main critical aspects of some European penitentiary systems, and of their judgement on the quality and efficacy of penitentiary services in preventing crime and in minimising social costs associated to detention;
d. an analysis of the perception that penitentiary actors and social workers have of direct and indirect costs of drug-related crimes. In particular, the research seeks to understand and consider the perception of the efficacy of prison sentences and of probation and parole in avoiding recidivism.

Project objectives and major achievements

The official starting date of the research project CRCC was 1 May 2007. This activity report covers the second reporting period of the project, from 1 May 2008 to 30 September 2009, a period of 15 month due to three months delay of the project deadline.

The second year of the research, after the conclusion of work package (WP)1 and WP2, was devoted to the empirical-ethnographic research described in WP3 and WP4. General objectives of these two WPs were to study the theoretical and cultural paradigms that lead penal actors (those who work in prison, in social services, in parole and probation services, in immigration services, and in prevention of drug use services) in their daily work. To do so, the research activities, trough quantitative and qualitative methodologies, have taken into account the perception (or, if existent, of the measurement) of rates of recidivism and of the selectivity of some European penal systems, to understand the perception that penitentiary actors have of the efficacy of penitentiary systems in preventing recidivism and consequently in reducing crime. The research took into account also the perception that penitentiary actors have of the different selection criteria employed in the penal judicial process and of their relationship with the social structure of European societies.

While fulfilling these aims of the research, our activities produced also an analysis of the perception that penitentiary actors have of the main critical aspects of penitentiary systems involved in the research, also in order to identify their judgement on the quality of penitentiary services and on their efficacy in preventing crime (by preventing recidivism) and in minimising social costs associated to detention.

Finally, a specific focus has been devoted to the analysis of the perception that penitentiary actors and social workers have of direct and indirect costs of drug-related crimes. This inquiry on drug-related crimes' repression resulted particularly useful to understand what is considered as a cost of crime and as a cost of crime repression by every system, assessing the efficacy of strategies envisaged in European policies and practice for fighting against illicit drugs' use and drug-related crimes. In particular, taking into account the perception that penitentiary actors and social workers have of the efficacy of prison sentences and of probation and parole in avoiding recidivism.

The specific objectives for the second reporting period where the carrying out and conclusion of WP 3 and 4, also in the light of the results of WP 1 and 2, carried out during the first reporting period, and presented in deliverable 1 and 2.

On line platform

The on line platform has been used extensively during the project. It took a while for some of the partners to get used to the platform, but at the end it could be said that it proved to be extremely useful, providing a place to present, discuss and store all the project materials. In this way all the partners had an easy and immediate access, wherever they are, to the research materials and discussions.

Información relacionada

Reported by

UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI FIRENZE
50125 FIRENZE
Italy
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