Symposium: Crime Control in the 21st Century

Joel McGregor, University of Newcastle:

Last month, the Crime and Governance thematic group hosted a one-day symposium on the theme, ‘Crime Control in the 21st Century’. Held at the University of Newcastle Sydney campus, the day was well attended by TASA members, other academics non-members and practitioners.

We were extremely fortunate to host two brilliant keynote speakers. The first was Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity and Professor of Criminology at University of New South Wales. She has an extensive research and publication history, being the chief investigator on 16 ARC, NH&MRC, AHURI and other category 1 grants and 22 category 2–4 grants. Eileen presented a fascinating paper on hyperincarceration, criminalisation and control. Through her detailed account of the growth in the prison population, Eileen argued that we are not seeing mass incarceration but rather hyperincarceration. This is the incarceration of minority groups who are being controlled, systematically criminalised and entrenched within the criminal justice system.

Xanthé Mallett gave the second keynote address. Xanthé is a criminologist and forensic practitioner, author of Mothers Who Murder, TV presenter, CEO of Forensic Human Identification and discipline leader of Criminology at the University of Newcastle. She demonstrated how innocence initiatives are keeping the criminal justice system ‘honest’. Using the case study of Keli Lane, Xanthé detailed the flaws in the original investigation outlining how Lane was convicted of murder with no body, evidence, motive or witnesses. She argued for the potential of wrongful convictions within the criminal justice system and, therefore, the need for innocence initiatives.

It was a great pleasure to welcome both speakers to the symposium. Their extensive academic history meant that the postgraduate presenters were provided with valuable feedback on their presentations.

Five wonderful presentations complimented the keynote speakers. Harriet Westcott provided a commentary on risk classification tools for young offenders; Megan McElhone explored the policing of ‘Middle Eastern Crime’; Michelle Peterie delivered a captivating account of the ‘Secondary Prisonisation’ in Australia’s Onshore Immigration Detention Network; and, Malory Plummer presented on the efficacy of New South Wales grooming laws. Ben Lohmeyer presented on neoliberal violence and restorative practices with young people. Ben joined us from Flinders University and was the recipient of a travel bursary (funded through the Thematic Group Support Scheme). During his trip to NSW he also gave a presentation at the University of Newcastle’s Sociology and Anthropology seminar series.

All these papers were fascinating and provided excellent insight into each presenter’s field of research. The presentations stimulated excellent discussion and the presenters were offered valuable feedback.

The Crime and Governance thematic group would like to acknowledge and thank TASA and the School of Humanities and Social Science (University of Newcastle) for their generous support. As well, we express our gratitude to all speakers who made the day so enjoyable.

Share Button