PERSPECTIVE: Connecting the Public with Criminology Has Been a Delight
Byline: David Wilson
I have been writing this column for almost six years and so it's with some sadness that this will be my last. But, it is time for a change.
During this time I have really appreciated the discipline that comes with writing to a tight time schedule and a defined word limit -no easy thing for an academic. But most of all I have really enjoyed the connection that the column facilitated between criminology and the wider public.
That connection often confused and delighted me in equal measure. I say 'confused' because often issues that got readers hot under their proverbial collars had very little to do with the reality of crime and punishment and so with confusion often came controversy.
I just had to poke my toe into sentencing policy -in support of community sentences as opposed to custodial ones -for example, and the letters would pour in to my office at the University of Central England.
Indeed, often the people who got most concerned about what I would write was H M Prison Service itself, which at one point seemed to have a team at their press office especiallydedicated to responding to what appeared in the column.
Equally some throw-away observations in the column started my thought processes going in relation to what we should do about paedophiles being released back into the community and led to me beingcastigated by The News of the World,who at the time were supporting 'naming and shaming'.
This in turn led to the research for my last book -Innocence Betrayed: Paedophiles, The Media and Society (Polity Press) -and my latest research is still related to children. …