The CRiS research area Security, Prevention & the Police focuses on the criminological study of security. Questions and issues of security gain importance in societal discourses and increasingly penetrate citizens’ everyday life. These developments highlight a ‘thin blue line’ between issues as security and insecurity, order and disorder, legitimacy and abuse, control and repression, surveillance and privacy, and preventive and repressive measures. Therefore, the research group endeavoured sociological studies of the police, with in particular the study of routine practices, surveillance practices, citizen-police interactions and occupational cultures. Insights in the function of the police and the police organisation, as the main governmental body to respond to criminal and/or disorderly behaviour, contribute to a more democratic and legitimate police force and to the debates concerning security and freedom in our society. Consequently, our research is more and more focused on governmental views and responses regarding phenomenon of insecurity: notably prevention policies and federal and local government security policies, the privatisation of security issues, the increasing use of information communication technologies by the police and the creation of new security initiatives. We are, however, also interested in investigating the role of citizens and how they at times cooperate with and resist police authority.

Related Research Projects:

Monitored youth: Understanding the consequences of (electronic) surveillance practices on young people and their (deviant) behaviour
Researcher: Lucas Melgaço – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Public demonstrations in the information age: the role of youngsters, social networking sites, smartphones and surveillance
Researcher: Lucas Melgaço – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Policing youth in urban public space in historical and comparative perspective, early 20th-century – present (IAP Project, Work Package 2)
Researcher: Dr. Margo De Koster – Supervisor: Els Enhus – Co- supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

The CRiS research line Penality and Society is coordinated by Profs. Kristel Beyens and Sonja Snacken.
It focusses on criminological, sociological and socio-legal research of the penal and para-penal institutions, their actors, cultures and social practices, in interaction with political and social developments in late-modernity. Our current research focusses on penal decision making and discretion (sentencing and sentence implementation) and the institutions of punishment, i.e. prisons, centers for electronic monitoring and the houses of justice. More particularly, researchers of this research line publish on the issue of prison overcrowding and changing prison populations, prisoner’s rights, prison staff, elderly prisoners and situations of extreme dependency, non-national prisoners and crimmigration, pains of imprisonment, prison architecture, prison food, social reintegration, and the imposition and implementation of community sentences, such as the work penalty, probation, electronic monitoring and conditional release. Recently, our interest focusses on compliance and breach.
Since the last years the penology research also focuses on detention and expulsion of irregular migrants, in the context of prison and of immigrant detention centers. Most of these topics are studied from a national and international comparative perspective.

Related Research Projects

Capstone of the custodial sentence. A comparative research on the practices of parole in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Researcher: Maaike M. Beckman – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Miranda Boone

Elderly prisoners: doubly punished?
Researcher: Diete Humblet – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken

‘Back-end sentencing’. Exploring decision-making processes and practices of recall to prison.
Researchers: Prof. Dr. Veerle Scheirs & Lars Breuls – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens

Digitalisation in prison
Researcher: Jana Robberechts – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens – Co-supervisor: Dr. Eric Maes

The influence of legislation on relations of (extreme) institutional dependency. Forms of autonomy and participation in prisons and health care institutions.
Researcher: Ineke Casier – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert

Return to Sender. A comparative analysis of migration law enforcement regarding foreign national prisoners in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Researcher: Steven De Ridder – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Joanne van der Leun

The point of (no) return? An ethnographic study of forced removal practices in immigration detention centres.
Researcher: Lars Breuls – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Veerle Scheirs

Food in prison.
Researcher: An-Sofie Vanhouche – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens & Prof. Dr. Linda Kjaer Minke
Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Scholliers

Monitoring codes. An international comparative research about the work of the monitoring officer.
Researcher: Marijke Roosen – Supervisor:  Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens – Co-promotor: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken

Unbearable suffering and euthanasia requests by prisoners.
Researcher: Caroline Devynck – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wim Distelmans

Arisen from the darkness. The Belgian prison governor. A criminological account of local prison governance.
Researcher: Philippe Kennes – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens

Creativity and Effectiveness in the Use of Electronic Monitoring an an alternatieve to Imprisonment in the EU Member states (JUST/2013/JPEN/AG)
Promotors: Prof. Dr. Anthea Hucklesby (University of Leeds) (PI), Prof. Dr.Kristel Beyens (Vrije Universiteit Brussels),
Prof. Dr. Gill McIvor (The University of Stirling), Prof. Dr. Frieder Dunkel (University of Greifswald),
Prof. Dr. Miranda Boone (Utrecht University)

Offender supervision in Europe : COST Action, IS 1106.
Chair: Prof. Dr. Fergus McNeill (Universy of Glasgow) – Vice-chair: Prof. Dr. Kristel Beyens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
MC Members for Belgium: Prof. Dr. Sonja Snacken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Comparing punitiveness and the role of legitimacy and human rights.
Researcher: Sonja Snacken

The CRiS research area Youth Justice Studies elaborates on contemporary social and scientific developments and debates, and is in particular concerned with the following four research lines:

A first research line concerns the historical perspective on youth, deviant behaviour, crime and its treatments. This pioneering research has been performed by using rich archive files and other historical sources.

A second research line focuses on the youth protection system as a legal system and on the tensions and questions which are being developed in this particular field. Legal-criminological questions are being examined, such as process guarantees of prosecuted minors and the children-rights legal frameworks. Recent research in this context highlights and discusses the communication in juvenile courts and the interactions during police interrogations of juvenile suspects.

A third research line focuses rather on questions which must be situated within the practice of the social response to young people and their alleged deviant, problematic or delinquent behaviour.
The research elaborates on alternative sanctions practices, or the placement of minors in community institutions.

A fourth research line which is being developed, includes research topics that discuss the social phenomenon of young people and their (delinquent) behaviour in the society. Our research here discusses for example evolutions in youth delinquent behaviour or self-reported delinquent behaviour. Also, the study of background characteristics and their interaction with paths of young people in youth protection systems, as well as the study into desistance and repetition of offences.

Related Research Projects

Children’s rights not allowed? Police interrogation of juvenile suspects.    
Researcher: Camille Claeys – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sofie De Kimpe

Doing gender in the Youth Court: specific problems, specific approach? A Youth     Criminological Research on girls and boys in two Flemish Speaking Youth Courts.
Researcher: Sofie De Bus – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Minors behind bars: between resistance and rights.
Researcher: Esther de Graaf – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens – Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier

Delinquent girls become adults: A qualitative analysis of their trajectory towards desisting or persisting delinquent women.
Researcher: An Nuytiens – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens & Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier

Pathways of transferred juvenile delinquents: A qualitative study about the consequences of transfer on criminal justice pathways into (young) adulthood.
Researcher: Yana Jaspers – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens – Co-supervisors: Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier & Prof. Dr. An Nuytiens

The preventive turn in the policing of urban space, as experienced by citizens (IAP Project, Work Package 2)
Researcher: Anneke Evenepoel – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Els Enhus & Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Promoting Integrity as an Integral Dimension of Excellence in Research (PRINTEGER).
Researcher: Marijke Van Buggenhout – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Serge Gutwirth & Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Voices from inside the juvenile justice system and beyond: Pathways and life experiences of juveniles after youth justice intervention (1945-2012) (IAP Project, Work Package 2).
Researcher: Ilse Luyten – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens & Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier

Voicing Youth at Social Risk (IRP)
Researcher: An Nuytiens, Julia Villanueva O’Driscoll & Rein Haudenhuyse – Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens,                   Prof. Dr. Els Dumortier, Prof. Dr. Gerrit Loots, Prof. Dr. Marc Theeboom & Prof. Dr. Nadine Engels

Crime & the city is an interdisciplinary group within the department focused on crime within the context of the city.
It crosses the borders with urban geography, sociology, urban politics, planning, architecture and psychology.

Related Research Projects

Monitored youth: Understanding the consequences of (electronic) surveillance practices on young people and their (deviant) behaviour
Researcher: Lucas Melgaço – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Public demonstrations in the information age: the role of youngsters, social networking sites, smartphones and surveillance
Researcher: Lucas Melgaço – Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

Policing youth in urban public space in historical and comparative perspective, early 20th-century – present (IAP Project, Work Package 2).
Researcher: Dr. Margo De Koster – Supervisor: Els Enhus – Co- supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jenneke Christiaens

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