Griffith Criminology Institute News Archive
15 July 2016 - Griffith Criminology Institute's International and Industry Advisory Board Member to receive Honorary Doctorate
Judge Kingham will receive her honorary doctorate in recognition of her distinguished service to the legal profession, Griffith University, and the wider community. Judge Kingham helped transform the Queensland legal system through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and was responsible for amalgamating the jurisdictions of 23 bodies into a single one-stop shop, allowing people easier access to legal services. She was co-founder of the Women’s Legal Service in Brisbane and was awarded the Agnes McWhinney Award by the Queensland Law Society in recognition of her significant contribution to making justice more accessible to the community, and bridging the gap between land and resources issues and Indigenous communities.
Are people with mental illness more likely to be violent or victims of violence? How do connections between mental illness and violent affect others in the community? These are just some of the questions to be explored at Griffith University’s Challenging the Mental Illness/Violence Nexus Conference in Brisbane on July 13 and 14. Convenor Professor Paul Mazerolle from Griffith’s Violence Research and Prevention Program said the conference would focus on ways to help some of society’s most vulnerable people as well as discussing the broader consequences of mental illness.
More effort needs to be put into tracking the mortality rates of prisoners post-release from incarceration according to one Griffith University researcher. Professor Stuart Kinner said monitoring of the number of people who die shortly after being released from prison was an important issue to consider. "There's not a great deal of public sympathy for people moving through the prison system," he said. "We aren't talking about a separate species of people, we are talking about people in our community. Their health is the health of our community." Professor Kinner used a range of data available to him to explore the post-release mortality rate of prisoners and found there was a high risk of preventable death in the first four weeks after leaving prison. A lot of research has been done in the area, but Professor Kinner said he wanted his research to demonstrate that it is possible to monitor the situation for a greater public health benefit.
NICK GRIMM: Deaths in custody in the nation's prisons, cellblocks and watch houses, particularly those involving Indigenous Australians, has over the years generated a raft of inquiries, reforms and even a royal commission. But now emerging data is showing death rates are actually higher in those prisoners released from custody. The findings also reveal a lack of support services for those who have been released back into the community. Katherine Gregory reports. KATHERINE GREGORY: Release from prison may spell freedom, but it also comes with significant risk of dying from suicide, drug overdose and injury. New research using Centrelink data showed that between 2000 and 2013 on average each year 32 people across Australia died within a month of being released from prison. One hundred and eighty-eight died in the first 12 months. Researcher Stuart Kinner from Griffith University says that puts that's a higher mortality rate than deaths in custody.
Emotion must be stripped away from public debate around Australian gun controls, a national policing summit has heard. Samara McPhedran, a Griffith University senior researcher and chair of Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH), says emotions have muddied the crafting of firearm regulations. "Unfortunately, many decisions in this area seem driven by emotion rather than informed debate," Dr McPhedran told police forces and counter-terror experts in Sydney on Thursday. "And we seem to struggle to inform our thinking as the world changes around us." But Roland Browne, the vice president of Gun Control Australia, says emotions are inextricably linked to discussions around firearms. "The reason that (emotion) is a driver for a debate about gun laws is that fear is a driver for people's demands for change," Mr Browne told the conference.
6 May 2016 - ARC Linkage Project Success
Congratulations to Professor Janet Ransley, our Policing and Security theme leader, who is part of a team that has recently been awarded an ARC Linkage grant. The team comprises of Professor Alexander Brown (School of Government & International Relations), Professor Janet Ransley (Griffith Criminology Institute) and Professor Jason Sharman (Centre for Governance and Public Policy). The project, titled Strengthening Australia’s national integrity system: priorities for reform has been awarded $248,000. The project is due to start in 2016 and will be completed in partnership with Flinders University, University of the Sunshine Coast, Transparency International Australia, the NSW Ombudsman and the Queensland Integrity Commissioner.
In 1842 the prominent colonial barrister Richard Windeyer wrote inaccurately, but with greater prescience than he knew, of the ‘grand fundamental law’ among a people he abused with the epithet ‘savages’: ‘…that those should take who have the power and those should keep who can.’ Windeyer’s mendacious rhetoric is a prime example of the perversity of the colonial imagination. The ‘grand fundamental law’ he ascribed to the ‘savages’ was in fact an apposite description of precisely what the ‘civilised’ had been doing in Australia since 1788. Reading his words in the early twenty-first century reveals just how prescient Windeyer was. Not only did he disclose colonial rapacity, his adage resonates as a neat characterisation of the corrupting privileges of power in our own day.
5 May 2016 - RealWell Initiative Officially Launched - Professor Ross Homel and Dr Kate Freiberg
Queensland researchers have developed a fun computer game to help measure child wellbeing
A unique suite of online resources that aims to promote community-wide understanding and advancement of children’s wellbeing was launched at Griffith University’s South Bank campus on Thursday, May 5.
The first of its kind in Australia, the RealWell initiative is overseen by Professor Ross Homel and Dr Kate Freiberg from the Griffith Criminology Institute.
Much has been done in Australia to raise awareness of mental health issues but it seems we're better at dealing with some than others. Professor Katie Holmes has been researching the history of mental illness focussing on the inter-generational impact. She believes Australians are good at talking about anxiety and depression but still have a lot of trouble dealing with schizophrenia. She joins historian and criminologist Professor Mark Finnane in The Drawing Room with Patricia Karvelas.
A mobile app which measures people’s fear of crime will soon be implemented on the Gold Coast as part of a Griffith University PhD study. The pilot study led by Michael Chataway aims to examine people’s fear of crime in their natural environment.
Susanne Karstedt is truly an international scholar, as demonstrated by the places of her academic appointments, her research topics, and her service in and for professional societies and institutions. Susanne Karstedt has made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society by her remarkable research; her bridging of sociology, socio-legal studies, and criminology; her world-wide service in and to law and society academia; and, not least, bringing together in conferences, small and large, researchers from all over the world who understand their combined work as a transnational and international endeavor. Hence we believe Susanne Karstedt is a highly deserving recipient of the LSA International Prize.
There is no political value more corrosively deployed in democratic politics today than security. The allure
of security, both global and domestic, has paved the way to war with no end in sight. Under its blandishments, we have entertained torture and rendition. In quest of its mercies, we incarcerate the innocent and victimise the vulnerable in regimes of detention that are deliberately hidden from public scrutiny. In its name, we have acquiesced in the transformation of citizenship, the foundation on which democratic government is supposed to rest, into a conditional gift from governments increasingly subservient to populist neuroses. The paradox at the heart of democratic politics today is that, as we recoil from the horrors of insecurity, we are driven ever closer to the terrors of security.
Professor Kinner of Griffith University said it was no surprise that long-term prisoners like Pecotic failed to adapt to society after their release. "That's one of the fundamental issues with the notion of incarceration: we deprive people of their liberty, we don't let them make any choices," Prof Kinner said.
"Then we send them out into a community where they're probably extremely disadvantaged. They have lots of challenges, and we tell them to make all their decisions correctly or we'll lock them up again. Doesn't sound very clever when you put it that way, does it?"
1 March 2016 - To believe or not to believe: child witnesses and the sex abuse royal commission - Robyn Blewer
Testifying from Rome on Monday, Cardinal George Pell told the royal commission into child sex abuse that the Catholic Church had a “predisposition not to believe” children who made complaints about abuse. You would be forgiven for thinking such attitudes towards children were common “back then”. Maybe they were. You might think that children were only ever seen, not heard “in those days”. Not so.
Practical initiatives to prevent radicalism and violence were the focus of a two-day symposium held in Brisbane recently. The High Commission of Canada, in partnership with the Griffith Criminology Institute, and supported by the Queensland Police Service, organised a Canada-Australia Symposium on the Radicalisation of Youth at Griffith University's South Bank campus.
The government earlier this week published a report from Roger Gyles, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, on the controversial Section 35P of the ASIO Act.
Attorney-General George Brandis intends to introduce amendments to the act that incorporate Gyles’ recommendations. This will go some way to making it more difficult to prosecute journalists under Section 35P. But, ultimately, the proposed changes will do little to reduce its significant impact on press freedom.
A simple booklet and just four phone calls are enough to help ex-prisoners – who often have complex and treatable health problems – access the healthcare they need.
Professor Stuart Kinner from the Griffith Criminology Institute and Menzies Health Institute Queensland is the lead investigator on a world-first research study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
On December 4 2015 the Australian Research Council released the results of the latest Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment. The Criminology submission from Griffith University, comprised of members from the Griffith Criminology Institute, was awarded a top score of 5 on a 1-5 quality scale. A 5 identifies submissions considered to be “well above world standard” and this excellent achievement is a clear indication of the overall breadth and quality of research being carried out in GCI as well as a reflection of the world class researchers who are members of the Institute.
The Griffith Criminology Institute and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice are celebrating the Excellence in Research (ERA) 2015 results which rated Griffith's Criminology research a "5", well above world standard.
Australian criminology and firearms experts are divided on whether the national gun laws directly caused a black market for pistols to develop.
2 November 2015 - Victims of online romance scams, often females aged 50-59, are not simply "gullible"
Online romance scams are now the most common type of "advanced fee fraud" emanating from West Africa, according to Griffith University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice lecturer Jacqueline Drew, whose research shows victims, often females aged 50-59, are not simply "gullible". Ms Drew said scammers spent months targeting and grooming victims dealing with major health issues, relationship breakdowns or the death of a partner – people not "thinking straight".
2 November 2015 - Manifestos of mass shooters reveal chilling common traits among them
Dr McPhedran said social isolation was sometimes a factor in mass killings, and there was evidence it may have been a contributor among killers who didn’t have meaningful connections to friends, family or community, or who struggled to meet social milestones such as finding a job or forming a romantic relationship. Dr McPhedran said studying killers’ manifestos was a valuable exercise as part of wider research into mass shootings, which she said remained an almost exclusively US phenomenon. But she doesn’t think seeking a one-size-fits-all explanation for such tragedies is helpful.
Targeting doping networks as well as individual athletes will help disrupt elite sporting drug rings according to new research from Griffith University. Dr Peter Bell from the Griffith Criminology Institute and colleagues from QUT and USC analysed the 2012 US Anti-Doping Agency's investigation of Lance Armstrong & the USPS Team.
In his first interview as Prime Minister with The Today Show on Monday, Malcolm Turnbull responded to questions about increased funding for women escaping family violence by declaring “real men don’t hit women”. Given recent statistics on the prevalence of violence against women in Australia, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of this message.
31 August 2015 - Griffith launches new research study website featuring Associate Professor Kristina Murphy's video
One of the most innovative aspects of research is trying to break new ground, and I think one of the best ways that you can do that is to bring people from a range of different backgrounds, a range of different histories and working together, we can come up with the solutions to deal with some of our big problems.
Judges take a risk when they step outside the courtroom to play the role of royal commissioner, writes Janet Ransley.
The cancellation of Operation Fortitude, a joint law enforcement agency operation involving the Australian Border Force (ABF) slated to be held in Melbourne over the weekend, was put down to a “clumsily worded” press release.
Judges take a risk when they step outside the courtroom to play the role of royal commissioner, writes Janet Ransley.
Classifying killers into particular types is intuitively appealing. It helps us make sense of what otherwise seems senseless. However, this approach tells us only the smallest fraction about what motivates public place murderers. It says little about what factors may lead to public acts of lethal violence.
Reports of the recent Coalition partyroom meeting on same-sex marriage suggested that Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg invoked Robert Menzies’ endorsement of a free vote on the contentious issue of divorce reform as a precedent worth following.
While the Queensland government’s commitment to taking stronger action on domestic violence is, in many ways, playing catch-up with other states, in one crucial area it could set a new national benchmark on public accountability – to make sure words are turned into real action.
17 August 2015 - Addicted Dealers and Organised Gangs: What makes certain British drug scenes far more violent than othersCriminologist Ross Coomber, a professor at Griffith University, set out to answer this question by comparing the experiences of those involved in drug markets in two English urban coastal areas, Plymouth and Southend-on-Sea.
27 July 2015 - Regulating people - not just guns - might explain Australia's decline in mass shootings
Few events provoke as much as fear as mass shootings – incidents where four or more people are killed by one offender. Australia learnt this the hard way in 1996, when an unlicensed gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur using two military-style semi-automatic rifles.
Pathways into and out of youth crime, youth gangs and community-based approaches for preventing violence are just some of the topics to be explored at the Youth Violence: Cutting to the Core conference this week (July 20 and 21).
The Queensland Governor, His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC officially opened the Griffith Criminology Institute (GCI) at Griffith’s Mt Gravatt campus last night (July 16).
Led by Professor Anna Stewart, a team from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has won the 2015 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award for their research project – The Queensland Linkage Project: Advancing Life-Course Criminology.
Parents play an important part in helping young drivers comply with road rules and thereby reducing traffic violations and accidents according to a Griffith University study.
The long-term effects of family support on crime prevention in disadvantaged Australian communities have been relatively unknown until now.