The Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ) has a long history at Queen’s, having been established in 1995. The impetus for the ICCJ was due to a consensus among policy makers and academics that a centre for criminology and criminal justice studies was required to develop criminological and criminal justice research and teaching in Northern Ireland in the context of the developing peace process.
In the early days the ICCJ was jointly funded by the Northern Ireland Office and Queen’s University. For the first four years of its existence, the ICCJ operated as a standalone research and teaching centre within the University. However, following a rationalisation programme in 1998, the ICCJ was merged into the School of Law to become one of two teaching and research centres within the School at that time, the other being the Human Rights Centre.
While being an integral part of the School of Law, the ICCJ has nevertheless retained a distinct brand identity and for many years was one of only a handful of higher education establishments across the UK and Ireland to offer postgraduate programmes in criminology and criminal justice.
From its earliest days the ICCJ demonstrated a significant presence with a number of high-profile seminars and public events such as the annual lecture organised under its rubric. The ICCJ was also well positioned to engage with key officials in the statutory and voluntary sectors with a number of individuals from the NI Department of Justice, PSNI, Prison and Probation Service and the legal profession represented on its advisory board. Indeed, the ICCJ’s historically strong links to statutory criminal justice organisations as well as the community and voluntary sector, has allowed the ICCJ to play a key role in the debates around criminal justice reform that have occurred in the context of the Northern Ireland peace process.
To this day the ICCJ continues to enjoy a collaborative research and outreach partnership with many of the statutory criminal justice agencies in Northern Ireland.