Spinning the Crisis: Riots, Politics and Parenting

Event Date: 21 June 2012
Room B34
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Law on Trial 2012: 18 June – 22 June 2012

CRIME, ORDER AND JUSTICE

Are effective justice and the fairness of the criminal process always in tension? This year’s Law on Trial will address this question, which has been brought into sharp focus by events such as G20 protests, and the riots of August 2011. Sessions will consider tactics used in the policing of protest, including ‘kettling’, two sessions on the riots in the UK and gang culture, and the use of stop and search and anti-terrorism powers. We shall also examine punitive responses to HIV and AIDS.

Law on Trial provides a platform on which academics, trade unionists, practitioners and activists can present alternative and progressive thinking about law, the criminal justice system and its relationship to society and economy.

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Spinning the Crisis: Riots, Politics and Parenting

Despite clear evidence that young people affiliated to youth gangs consituted only around 10% of the people known by the police to have been involved in the August 2011, subsequent policy, outlined in Ending Gang and Youth Violence (Home Office, 2012) is predicated on a purported causal chain which links poor parenting, youth gangs and public disorder. In this presentation John Pitts interrogates the assumptions and the evidence upon which current policy is based and suggests an alternative account of events rooted in an understanding of the aetiology of the gang-affected neighbourhood and the predicament of the families within it. The paper draws upon recent research undertaken in three London boroughs and a Northern English conurbation and a seminar series which considered the developmental and mental health effects of living in gang affected neighbourhoods.

Birkbeck speaker: Paul Turnbull, Co-Director of Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Guest speaker: John Pitts is Vauxhall Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Bedfordshire. He has worked as a school teacher; a street and club-based youth worker; a group worker in a Young Offender Institution and as a consultant on youth crime and youth justice to the police and youth justice and legal professionals in the UK, mainland Europe, the Russian Federation and China. In the recent years he has acted as a consultant and researcher on violent youth gangs to local authorities, police forces and ‘think tanks’, and as an ‘expert witness’. He is a member of the Home Office Gang Strategy Expert Advisory Group.

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Introduction by Paul Turnbull (Birkbeck, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research).

 

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Talk by Professor John Pitts (University of Bedfordshire)

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