At its core, the ICCJ has a commitment to the interdisciplinary study of criminology and criminal justice from a range of perspectives including those of law, sociology and psychology among others.
The ICCJ maintains a broad interdisciplinary status. While the ICCJ is formally housed in the School of Law, its membership includes researchers from across the University. Members primarily come from within the School of Law and the Criminology group in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) but staff from the schools of Psychology and Medicine are also involved given the acute relationship between a range of psychological and health issues, criminal aetiology and patterns of offending.
The ICCJ enjoys partnerships and collaborations with other criminology and criminal justice research centres both nationally and internationally. Members of the ICCJ are also represented in national and international criminology and punishment and society networks such as the British Society of Criminology, the Irish Criminology Research Network, the European Society of Criminology, the Law and Society Association and the American Society of Criminology. The Northern Ireland regional group of the British Society of Criminology is hosted by the ICCJ.
The oversight of the ICCJ is provided by the School of Law through its Research Committee and by an external Advisory Board constituted by eminent members of academia, the legal professions as well as the voluntary sector. The day-to-day work of the Institute such as event planning and collaborative research engagement is the responsibility of the ICCJ Director, Dr Alessandro Corda, and Co-Director, Professor Shadd Maruna.
Mission of the ICCJ:
The mission of the ICCJ can be summarised in the following points:
- To conduct, encourage and stimulate high quality research into crime, offending, and the criminal justice system both in Northern Ireland and further afield;
- To identify models of best practice in criminal justice and criminological theorising and use this wherever possible to inform policy;
- To engage with various stakeholder groups including statutory agencies, legal professions and groups drawn from civil society and the voluntary sector;
- To contribute to teaching excellence across the various Criminology and Criminal Justice programmes and modules at Queen’s University Belfast and to incorporate research-led teaching into the curriculum where appropriate;
- To encourage the development of criminology and criminal justice as disciplines within the University and emphasise their continued disciplinary relevance to incoming and current students.
The Institute is highly productive in terms of its academic research. Besides projects and activities conducted under the aegis of the ICCJ, each member of the Institute has their own research interests and specialties. The research interests of ICCJ members are varied and reflect the imperatives of researching aspects of criminology and criminal justice in a post-conflict environment such as that of Northern Ireland, but also focus on issues and themes that are of pressing national and international concern.
The depth and breadth of ICCJ members’ scholarly and policy work keep the Institute at the forefront of research and involvement in national, regional and international debates.
Research topics covered by ICCJ members include (but are not limited to):
- Anti-social and risk-taking behaviour
- Brexit and criminal justice cooperation
- Collateral consequences of criminal records
- Community safety
- Comparative criminal justice policy
- Criminological aspects of transitional justice
- Desistance and reintegration
- Substance abuse
- Green criminology
- International criminal justice
- Penal policy and practice
- Probation, parole and community-based corrections
- Policing and police reform
- Prostitution, sex trafficking and the regulation of commercial sex workers
- Imprisonment, prison reform and the experience of incarceration
- Psychosocial criminology
- Restorative justice
- Sexual offending, sexual violence and harmful sexual behaviour
- Critical criminology
- Victimhood and victimology
- Youth crime