U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Criminology and Criminal Justice in Europe (From Punishment, Places and Perpetrators: Developments in Criminology and Criminal Justice Research, P 21-37, 2004, Gerben Bruinsma, Henk Elffers, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-206450)

NCJ Number
Michael Tonry
Date Published
17 pages
This chapter explains why European criminologists may soon surpass American criminologists in their influence on government, public policy, and theory, as well as the institutionalization of research programs.
Five developments suggest a fuller development of criminology in Europe and possibly a more influential role than in the United States and other English-speaking countries. First, the gradual dissolving of borders within Europe and the emergence of English as the international language of science are creating a continent-wide scholarly and intellectual community. Second, the establishment in 2000 of the European Society of Criminology and its subsequent flowering is opening communication channels and building links that have not previously existed among national and European institutions. Third, European governments, much more than governments in English-speaking countries, are establishing and providing long-term support for a research infrastructure in criminology. Examples of such government support are the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, the Max-Planck Institute for International and Comparative Criminal Law, the Swedish National Crime Prevention Council, and the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony. Fourth, European governments are apparently more open to the application of research findings to rational and substantive policymaking processes than is the case in America and other English-speaking countries, where populist policymaking is prevalent. Fifth, in a number of European countries, criminology is becoming a recognized academic discipline, as new departments, positions, and degree programs are being established. In the Netherlands, for example, the first undergraduate degree program in criminology was recently jointly offered by Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Leiden University. 2 notes and 25 references