The Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology started in 1984. The Programme was initially developed to provide a common instructional framework in Criminal Justice and Criminology among several European Universities. Since that time the Programme has steadily developed into the premiere scholarly forum for the study of critical criminology. The Programme has grown over the years and now (2019) there are fourteen participating Universities in Europe and the United States.

Universities participating in the Common Study Programme host semi-annual conferences, termed ‘Common Sessions’, on a revolving schedule. The Common Sessions provide both the Faculty and Student participants an opportunity to exchange ideas and deliver papers on many of the topics and concerns that fall under the umbrella term—Critical Criminology.

The programme is student oriented (with students delivering many of the conference papers) and is intended to provide a forum for the discussion of the brand of criminology often subsumed under the aegis of ‘critical criminology’.  While many of the members identify as critical, cultural, radical, post-modern, and Marxist criminologists they generally share a broad interest in expanding the notion of crime and by extension criminology to include (social) harm beyond the narrow parameters laid out in the State’s definition of crime and harm.  This wide remit is intentional so as to allow and encourage the free flow of both scholarship and persons between member schools.

The Common Study Programme has grown significantly in the past 35 years under the careful stewardship by a number of individuals.

In memoriam

Let us know if you would like to contribute a short memorial for someone who made a significant contribution to the Common Study Programme and the study of Critical Criminology in its many facets in their lifetime please send a write up and potentially a photograph for inclusion.

Sandro Baratta

Reflections on the life and work of Alessandro (Sandro) Baratta

Louk Hulsman

Louk Hulsman“The Rotterdam penal law and criminology professor emeritus Louk Hulsman died on the 28th of January 2009 at the age of 85. He was, apart from Nils Christie and Thomas Mathiesen, one of the most important penal abolitionists worldwide.  Louk was also the director of the Rasphuys Institute and was, amongst other commitments, a leading member of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, the Netherlands representative of ICOPA [International Conference on Penal Abolitionism] as well as Chair of The Coornhert League for the Reformation of the Criminal Law.

In the Netherlands, Louk is regarded as the founder of liberal drugs policy as his influential work and stance contributed significantly to the alteration of the Opium Act in 1976. His most influential publications include the Report on Decriminalisation (Council of Europe, 1980) and Peines perdues. Le systeme penal en question (written together with Jacqueline Bernat de Celis, 1982). He is perhaps most well known for “Critical criminology and the concept of crime” which was first published in 1986 and has been widely reproduced since.”

–Dr. Andrea Beckmann, Senior Lecturer in criminology, University of Lincoln

An Interview with Louk Hulsman by Iñaki Rivera 2004 (20th Annual Common Session)

Mike Presdee

Mike PresdeeOn 10 July 2009 University of Kent Criminologist Mike Presdee passed away after a long battle with cancer.  Mike was an active contributor to the growing field of cultural criminology for which his unique take on the nexus of youth culture and its criminalisation was a natural fit.  With an intensity honed as a Royal Marine and youth educator Mike’s writing was as vivid as it was penetrating.  As we remember Mike as an active contributor and advocate of critical criminology in all of its manifestations we are reminded to not only look for the subterranean forms of resistance and carnival in the environments that surround us but to actively engage with the fete of modern life for that is where this work of ours comes alive.