Societies try to prevent and sanction crime by implementing criminal, civil or administrative laws and regulations to prohibit harmful behaviour. These laws are enforced by different public or private actors such as the police, the prosecutors’ office, courts, (independent) supervisory authorities or private individuals (e.g. neighbourhood watch).
After a crime has been committed, a variety of things may happen: suspects can be arrested and tried, eye witnesses may be called to testify, defendants might be found guilty and convicts can end up in prison or receive another sanction. NSCR examines different aspects of societal (and institutional) responses to crime, and focuses on both national and international crimes and responses. With an emphasis on criminal justice, we investigate the functioning and consequences of such societal responses to crime.
To study this, we use a variety of methods and datasets. For instance, we follow defendants during their journey through the legal system. We investigate police practice through interviews and observations. Using file reviews, we analyse how judges or prosecutors of the International Criminal Court make their decisions. We question prisoners or probationers about their sanction, re-offending and life-course. And, we ask citizens about their interactions with the legal system.