Asian journal of criminology

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The Asian Journal of Criminology advances the study of criminology and criminal justice, promoting evidence-based public policy in crime prevention, and comparative studies on crime and criminal justice. The Journal provides a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas among criminologists, policymakers, and practitioners, by publishing papers relating to crime, crime prevention, criminal law, medico-legal topics and the administration of criminal justice in Asian countries. The focus is on theoretical and methodological papers with an emphasis on evidence-based, empirical research addressing crime in Asian contexts. It presents research from a broad variety of methodological traditions, including quantitative, qualitative, historical, and comparative methods. Its multi-disciplinary approach spans a range of disciplines, including criminology, criminal justice, law, sociology, psychology, forensic science, social work, urban studies, history, and geography.
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Clarifying the Contours of the Police Legitimacy Measurement Debate: a Response to Cao and Graham

With the emergence of police legitimacy as a major indicator of good policing, scholars have continued to push our conceptual understanding of this construct. In recent years, a debate has emerged about whether four factors—lawfulness, procedural justice, distributive justice, and effectiveness—are possible sources of legitimacy judgments (Tyler in Annual Review of Psychology 57, 375–400, 2006) or actual components of legitimacy (Tankebe in Criminology 51, 103–135, 2013). My goal in the present paper is review the contours of this debate.

Response to Criticism: Understanding the Conceptual and Measurement Models of Legitimacy
Debating Core Conceptual and Measurement Issues About Police Legitimacy—Editor’s Introduction
Response to Criticism: Police Legitimacy, Beyond the Entrenched Niches of Expertise

The purpose of this article is to first re-state the key points of the rejoinder by Cao and Graham. It then proceeds to defend and clarify the arguments that we have made in our article by raising a few misinterpretations by the two reviewers. I end this article with an advice from John Braithwaite 30 years ago that we should nurture the new endeavors in criminology instead of being united against such undertakings.

Make Sense of Self in Prison Work: Stigma, Agency, and Temporality in a Chinese Women’s Prison

In this study, we highlight the temporality of agency as many choices made by incarcerated women are found to be based not only on their evaluation of the present situation but also on their reflections on the past and anticipation of the future. Guided by feminist methodology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 incarcerated women and 13 female prison officers from one Chinese women’s prison. Before entering prison, individuals are already situated in different social positions embedded in a complex intersectionality of class, gender, family, and other social relations. These differences, sometimes huge, among the incarcerated women, complicate the exercise of power in prison. By exploring self-empowerment strategies in the everyday practice of prison labor in the Chinese penal system, we illustrate, through this study, how incarcerated women’s use of language, their body, and family relationships shapes the way they interpret the meaning of prison work, perceive their position, and sustain alternative identities beyond that of an incarcerated individual. It is argued that acknowledgment of the negotiated nature of power should be understood as being intimately connected to the temporality of agency, which reflects a complex dialectic relationship between domination and resistance in both contingent and consistent ways.

Factors Associated with Drug-Related Recidivism Among Paroled Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Users in Japan

Few studies have used longitudinal data to investigate drug-related recidivism among drug users in Asia. This study examined demographic and background characteristics that predicted drug-related recidivism among paroled amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) users in Japan who participated in a mandatory educational program throughout their parole period conducted by professional and volunteer probation officers. Analyzing data released in 2017 by the Ministry of Justice in Japan, we reviewed 10-year recidivism rates of 1807 individuals placed on parole in 2003 (1561 men and 246 women, mean age = 37.5 [SD = 9.8]). We investigated the possible association between the length of parole and drug-related recidivism in Japan based on the continuing care model for individuals with drug addiction, which has not been previously explored. The results showed a 47.5% drug-related recidivism rate for all participants. Younger age, a higher number of previous prison sentences, a longer prison sentence, shorter parole, and a diagnosis of mental disorders were significantly associated with a higher drug-related recidivism rate. The presence of a higher number of previous prison sentences and a longer prison sentence were risk factors for drug-related recidivism, which suggests that incarcerating ATS users is ineffective for reducing drug-related recidivism. These results indicated a possible application of the continuing care model for assisting ATS users in Japan with further research.

The Measurement of Legitimacy: A Rush to Judgment?

In an important article on the methodological issues surrounding measuring of police legitimacy, Jackson and Bradford (Asian Journal of Criminology,, 2019) adequately warn against the use of confirmatory factor analysis as an adjudication tool for differentiating the possible sources and constituent components of police legitimacy. However, in the process of arguing against the Sun et al.’s (Asian Journal of Criminology, 13, 275–291, 2018) measure of legitimacy, they inadvertently bring attention to a more foundational issue—How should scientists conduct research and test theories in various cultures? Furthermore, their argument against the alternative measuring of police legitimacy elucidates an extensive problem facing criminology—they have brought attention paid to the interrogation of operationalizing key constructs within criminology. We argue that Jackson and Bradford’s (2019) critiques of Sun et al.’s (2018) modeling and subsequent testing of police legitimacy in China are a bit overstated. Additionally, we contend that testing theories, such as police legitimacy, across cultures should be conducted both top-down and bottom-up—neither are necessarily contradictory. We urge readers to be the ultimate amicus curiae because this issue is not a concretely right-or-wrong type issue.

Women Who Participate in Illegal Pyramid Selling: Voices from Female Rural Migrant Offenders in China

Mainly through a case study, this article examines Chinese women’s involvement in one form of organised crime—illegal pyramid selling—which is increasingly prevalent among female offenders in recent years in China. The article discusses the socioeconomic context to situate the findings and introduces the research methods and data. It then details the case study discussing the following: first, the nature of pyramid schemes and the Chinese law concerning the illicit business; second, migrant women’s entry into illegal pyramid selling and their motives; and third, the roles that women play in the criminal operations. In addition, women’s gains and losses as a result of participation in the crime are explored. Finally, it concludes the article by highlighting the empirical evidence presented and offers implications of the research.

Review of Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan, Samuel M. Y. Ho, Psycho-Criminological Perspective of Criminal Justice in Asia
School Characteristics, Strain, and Adolescent Delinquency: a Test of Macro-Level Strain Theory in China

Despite the important role of schools in influencing juvenile delinquency, limited research has investigated the contextual effects of schools on delinquency. Using the framework of macro-level strain theory, this study investigates the effects of school-level strain on delinquent behavior among Chinese adolescents. The sample comprises 1411 adolescents from 32 middle schools in Guangzhou, a large city in Southern China. Results from multilevel regression models show that school-aggregated level of strain is positively associated with both self-destructive and other-directed delinquent behaviors, after adjusting for individual strain and other sociodemographic variables. Specifically, school-level anticipated educational goal blockage and negative treatment by teachers are positively associated with self-destructive behavior, whereas school mean level of negative treatment by peers is positively related to other-directed behavior. Although individual-level strain is positively associated with both types of delinquency, it only partially mediates the effect of school-level strain on self-destructive delinquent behavior. This study also investigates whether school-level variables may condition the strain-delinquency relationship. The results show a significant interaction between personal strain and overall delinquent schoolmates on both self- and other-directed delinquent behaviors, indicating that school-level delinquent peers significantly exacerbate the effect of strain on delinquent behaviors. These findings suggest that the effort to reduce juvenile delinquency should target practices to alleviate both individual strain and aggregate strain, and provide more resources and support for students, particularly those in schools with substantial disruptive student behaviors, to legitimately cope with strains.

Illegal Drug Use Among Adolescents in Schools and Facilities: 3-Year Surveys in Taiwan

This study investigated and compared the prevalence of illegal drug use among students and detainees in Taiwan. Stratified sampling of schools in the major cities of Taiwan, including New Taipei City, Taichung City, and Kaohsiung City, was adopted, and surveys were conducted from 2014 to 2017. The sample in the study consists of 2,190 cohort school students and 125 detained juveniles in the Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung Juvenile Detention Houses each year. The response rate is 87% on average. The results show that 1.5% of students and 65.8% of detained juveniles have ever used drugs. From 2014 to 2017, the survey indicates that over 60% of detained juveniles have ever possessed and used drugs. The findings reveal that ketamine and disguised drugs (e.g., cathinone mix with methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and ketamine) are the most popularly used drugs among Taiwanese adolescents. The findings may deserve further attention in tracking and monitoring the juvenile illicit drug use from a comprehensive national prevalence survey.

Private, Hidden and Obscured: Image-Based Sexual Abuse in Singapore

This article documents women’s experiences of image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) in Singapore. Drawing from 30 IBSA cases reported to a local sexual assault service provider, it utilises McGlynn, Rackley and Houghton’s (Feminist Legal Studies 25(1):25–46, 2017) IBSA continuum and Powell and Henry’s (2017) IBSA typology to map the different ways image technologies impacted Singaporean women’s experiences of sexual violence. This article also builds on extant IBSA literature which has focused on cases featuring image dissemination, online public spheres and stranger perpetrators, to provide an account of IBSA in the private sphere. I argue that while dominant framings show IBSA intertwined with the conditions of the public sphere, these cases show how IBSA and IBSA victims/survivors remain discursively, spatially and politically hidden. This article highlights the need to include the private sphere as a site of analysis to deepen understandings of IBSA types, contexts and victims/survivors within international research.

When Law and Practice Collide: the Implementation of the Plea-Bargaining Process in Malaysia

The amendment of the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code in 2010 formalised the plea-bargaining process and introduced two new sections, 172C and 172D. The new procedures are intended to reduce the backlog of cases in the criminal courts and as a swift alternative to a full criminal trial. However, the law in action does not appear to be in line with the law in the statute book because currently the actors involved in the process are avoiding the use of the new procedural law. Instead, those actors are following the old informal practice of plea-bargaining to achieve their personal goals which may be inconsistent with the organisational goals of the judiciary and prosecution. This paper adopts a qualitative methodology, in which the primary data is obtained from semi-structured interviews with twenty respondents comprising the stakeholders in the criminal justice system.

Blurring the Distinction Between Empirical and Normative Legitimacy? A Methodological Commentary on ‘Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China’

In a fascinating study into the nature of police legitimacy in Southern China, Sun et al. (2018) present evidence that what researchers have previously been treated as possible sources of legitimacy—public perceptions of police conduct defined along the lines of procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness and lawfulness—are in fact constituent components of legitimacy. In this methodological commentary, we argue that the empirical strategy used to reach this conclusion is not fit for purpose because both conceptual stances—possible sources of legitimacy or constituent components of legitimacy—are consistent with the same fitted statistical model. Analysing nationally representative data from 30 countries across Europe and beyond, we also show that erroneous support for the approach to measurement is likely to be found wherever one looks. To be sensitive to cultural context means using a methodology that does not impose the preconditions of legitimacy, and we counsel against a trend starting in international criminology that does precisely the opposite.

Social Disorganization Theory in Contemporary China: a Review of the Evidence and Directions for Future Research

This paper assesses and synthesizes the cumulative results from the empirical research on social disorganization and crime-related phenomena at the neighborhood level in China. Our review identified 17 relevant quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method studies published in journals and books from the late-1990s to date. Our goal is to take stock of the cumulative knowledge to inspire future research in China, thereby advancing social disorganization theory. We synthesize the main findings about the effects of structural factors and intervening mechanisms from quantitative studies, summarize briefly conclusions from qualitative and mixed methods research to crosscheck our synthesis, and identify methodological and theoretical limitations. Our conclusions point to promising directions for future research with special attention to prospects for theory development through comparative criminological inquiry.

Trust in the Police in Rural China: a Comparison Between Villagers and Local Officials

Although the past decade has witnessed the rise of studies on Chinese evaluations of the police, rural villagers’ assessments of the police remain under-researched. Drawing upon performance theory and survey data from China’s countryside, this study tested whether variations in satisfaction with government performance and life are linked to villagers’ and officials’ trust in county and local/town police. We found that villagers displayed lower levels of trust in the police than local officials. Higher satisfaction with government performance and integrity were associated with greater trust in county police among both villagers and officials. Villagers’ greater satisfaction with crime control and safety led to their stronger trust in both county and town police, but such satisfaction was not significantly related to officials’ trust in both levels of police forces. Rural residents’ generalized trust and particularized trust were associated with a greater likelihood of viewing the police as trustworthy. Meanwhile, female respondents, both villagers and officials, and higher-income officials were more likely to view the police as trustworthy. Directions for future research and policy are discussed.

Thirty Years of Scholarly Influence in International Journals and Its Relation to the Most-Cited Scholars in Asian Criminology

Citation analysis provides a quantitative means of tracking the most influential scholars and works within a field. Despite this advantage, there is a dearth of research that provides more than a snapshot of influence over a relatively short time period. One exception is the citation analysis body of research conducted by Cohn and Farrington (1990, 2012), which has recently been expanded to include European (Cohn and Iratzoqui 2016) and Asian (Farrington et al. 2019) criminologies. The current paper presents a thirty-year analysis (1986–2015) of scholarly influence within four international journals (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, British Journal of Criminology, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Criminology), as well as an analysis of the Asian Journal of Criminology (AJC) over its first 10-year period (2006–2015). The main conclusions are that, while rankings over time are not generally consistent within journals, the most-cited scholars tend to remain highly ranked over time across the four main international journals. Furthermore, the most highly cited scholars in the four international journals were also highly cited in AJC. The most-cited works of the top scholars across all of the international journals, including AJC, covered four major areas, including developmental and life-course criminology, theoretical issues, statistics, and policy issues.

Review of Børge Bakken, Crime and the Chinese Dream
Examining the Links Between General Strain and Control Theories: an Investigation of Delinquency in South Korea

In modifying general strain theory (GST), Agnew has accepted the control-related variables as conditioning variables to moderate or mediate the casual process through strain into delinquency. In this regard, this study aims to empirically and theoretically address the void of connecting traditional and redefined self-control variables to GST. To explore this issue, the current study employed data derived from the Korea Children and Youth Panel Study (KCYPS). Specifically, three waves (2012, 2013, and 2014) were used to test hypotheses from GST and control theories. Both trait-based low self-control and revised self-control partially mediated the relationship between strain and delinquency. However, only redefined self-control significantly interacted with strain in producing delinquency. The current research reveals the possible integration of redefined control theory and GST.

Proactive Policing: a Summary of the Report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

This paper provides a summary of our report for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on proactive policing. We find that there is sufficient scientific evidence to support the adoption of many proactive policing practices if the primary goal is to reduce crime, though the evidence base generally does not provide long-term or jurisdictional estimates. In turn, we conclude that crime prevention outcomes can often be obtained without producing negative community reactions. However, the most effective proactive policing strategies do not appear to have strong positive impacts on citizen perceptions of the police. At the same time, some community-based strategies have begun to show evidence of improving the relations between the police and public. We conclude that there are likely to be large racial disparities in the volume and nature of police–citizen encounters when police target high-risk people or high-risk places, as is common in many proactive policing programs. We could not conclude whether such disparities are due to statistical prediction, racial animus, implicit bias, or other causes.

Real Lives and Lost Lives: Making Sense of ‘Locked in’ Responses to Intimate Partner Homicide

The problem of intimate partner homicide is featuring increasingly on national and international policy agendas. Over the last 40 years, responses to this issue have been characterised by preventive strategies (including ‘positive’ policing; the proliferation of risk assessment tools, and multi-agency working) and post-event analyses (including police inquiries and domestic homicide reviews). In different ways, each of these responses has become ‘locked in’ to policies. Drawing on an analysis of police inquiries into domestic homicides in England and Wales over a 10-year period, this paper will explore the nature of these ‘locked in’ responses and will suggest that complexity theory offers a useful lens through which to make sense of them and the ongoing consistent patterning of intimate partner homicide more generally. The paper will suggest this lens in embracing what is known and unknown affords a different way of thinking about and responding to this problem.

Multi-level Analysis of Disorder Policing and Fear of Crime in South Korea

Numerous studies have analyzed the relationship between disorder and fear of crime, but few have focused on the impact of policing against disorder on fear of crime. In order to fill in the gap of research, this study performs a preliminary analysis on the disorder policing and fear of crime in South Korea using a hierarchical linear model. The results showed that disorder policing was negatively associated with fear of crime. In addition, policing against disorder may be effective in reducing fear of crime in young females, who have the greatest fear of crime. Age was found to be inversely associated with fear of crime, and this effect was stronger in regions with more disorder policing. The results indicate a need for increased policing against disorder to reduce fear of crime, complete consideration of a region’s sociodemographic characteristics in the process of disorder policing, and more problem-oriented police activities where social disorder is prevalent.

Japan’s Reformed Prosecution Review Commission: Changes, Challenges, and Lessons

This article evaluates how Japan’s Prosecution Review Commission (PRC) has performed since it was reformed in 2009 to allow panels of 11 citizens to override the non-charge decisions of professional prosecutors. In the first eight cases of “mandatory prosecution” that have occurred since 2009, the conviction rate is 20%—far lower than Japan’s usual conviction rate, which exceeds 99%. In the ninth case of mandatory prosecution, three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company have been subject to mandatory prosecution for “professional negligence resulting in death and injury,” for failing to prevent the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima that were precipitated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, which killed 18,500 people and caused 200,000 more to flee their homes. As of 2018, the trial of the Tepco executives is still in progress. This evaluation study of prosecutorial reform in one Asian nation suggests that, in principle, prosecutors’ non-charge decisions can be checked and controlled. In practice, however, Japan’s PRC reform has done little to alter the standard operating procedures of professional prosecutors. Further reform of the PRC may be necessary.

Perceptions of Policing and Security Among Hong Kong Migrant Sex Workers—a Research Note
Establishing Trust in the Illegal Wildlife Trade in China

This study focusses on the role of trust in the illegal distribution of protected wildlife in China. This research attempts to contribute to the literature by disentangling the establishment of trust within the illegal wildlife trade based on ethnographic fieldwork between 2011 and 2016. Both traders and consumers are resorting to mechanisms of trust to foster exchange and to increase credibility of their agreements. This study discusses the existence of such mechanisms of trust within wildlife trafficking networks that are rather characteristic of illegal wildlife trade in China.

The Generalizability of Police Legitimacy: Procedural Justice, Legitimacy, and Speeding Intention of South Korean Drivers

Empirical support for procedural justice theory in criminology is robust in the developed Western countries, whereas the results are mixed for non-Western or less-developed countries. Some scholars (e.g., Reisig et al. Journal of Criminal Justice and Security, 14(2), 147–164, 2012) argue that the generalizability of procedural justice theory may be limited to particular sociological settings, such as democratic and industrialized societies. The current study aims to review the international generalizability of the theory and to test the theory utilizing a South Korean driver sample. The results show that procedural fairness predicted legitimacy and speeding intention. However, perceived legitimacy does not mediate the association between perceived procedural fairness and speeding intention for Korean drivers. Considering the findings from the current study and previous studies, it seems that industrialization may not be a sufficient condition linking perceived legitimacy and compliance, but democracy may be the most significant precursor for the theory to work.

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