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School of Law


The current projects our crime and criminal justice staff are undertaking.

A criminological network analysis of counterfeit alcohol distribution

Funder: University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI)

Principal Investigator: Jon Spencer

Project aim: To assist an understanding of how illegal markets in fake alcohol are formed and sustained, who engages in this activity and what are the drivers of the market and how such crimes of enterprise organised.

Conversations about radicalisation

Funder: The University of Manchester - Faculty of Humanities - Strategic Investment Fund

Principal Investigator: Jo Deakin

Project aim: Conversations about radicalisation is a collaboration between young people, school staff, interdisciplinary researchers, and creative artists, that focuses on developing an inclusive and open discussion about how schools approach extremism that speaks to, and is led by, young people.

Corpses of mass violence and genocide

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigator: Professor Jean-Marc Dreyfus et al

School of Law project member: Jon Shute

Project aim: This four-year, interdisciplinary and multi-site project seeks to understand the uses and meaning of the dead body in varied contexts of mass violence, and follows the trajectory of the corpse through three stages: destruction, identification, and commemoration. Its study missions include Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Spain. The programme is led by Professors Elisabeth Anstett (CNRS, Paris) and Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester); Jon Shute is a Co-Investigator with interests in the body's place in a penology of state violence and the application of moral neutralisation theory to manifestations of denial and deniability.

The programme website can be found via the link below:

Corruption in (non-)criminal commercial enterprise: Law, theory and practice

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Principal Investigator: Nicholas Lord

Project Aim: This AHRC funded project aims to build a research network exploring the intersections of corruption and organised crime activities in the context of criminal and non-criminal enterprise in domestic and international commerce in OECD countries.

Drug taking pathways in adulthood: The impact of ageing and adult roles

Funder: University of Manchester Strategic Investment Research Fund (SIRF)

Principal Investigator: Lisa Williams

Project aim: This project provided institutional seed funding for a scoping exercise to locate and collect further data from the Illegal Leisure cohort. Over 200 participants were found and they all agreed to take part in the study again. Consequently, a funding proposal was submitted to the ESRC which is now under review.

Food fraud: A Supply network integrated systems analysis

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigator: Jon Spencer

Project aim: To identify the points of vulnerability within the supply chain to food crimes in order to allow regulators and retailers to take appropriate action to avoid food adulteration.

Internet facilitated drugs trade: Analysis of the size, scope and role of the Netherlands

Funder: Dutch Ministry of Justice

Principal Investigators: RAND Europe

School of Law staff member: Judith Aldridge

Project aim: This aimed to examine the trade of drugs on cryptomarkets in the Netherlands and internationally, and to assess the extent to which the trade has grown in the years since the closure of the first major drug cryptomarket, Silk Road.

Mapping the contours of human trafficking

Funder: N8 Policing Partnership

Principal Investigators: David Gadd and Rose Broad

Project aim: The main aim of the collaboration is to establish a profile of human trafficking incidents and offences known to GMP since the implementation of the Modern Slavery Coordination Unit (MSCU) in March 2015. Greater Manchester Police has been collating a database of such incidents and offences since this time. The database includes details of over 250 cases, including those that were reported to the National Referral Mechanism, and those that were reported to or detected by the police. Through an analysis of the complete dataset the project will produce a problem profile that will capture the characteristics of the suspected offenders and victims, including but not limited to age, gender, ethnicity and nationality.

Marketing, advertising and promotion by retail drug dealers on cryptomarkets: establishing trust and effective market functioning

Principal Investigator: Judith Aldridge

Project aim: This project uses data scraped from drug cryptomarkets to analyse vendor-produced advertising text using qualitative content and discourse analytic approaches.

Migrant men's well-being in diversity (MiMen)

Funder: European Commission

Principal Investigator: Jon Spencer

Project aim: To evaluate the experiences of young migrant men in different domains such as at school, at work, in the neighbourhood/community, with the authorities/families/peers as well as identify their notions of well-being.

Novel psychoactive substances on drug cryptomarkets

Funder: Q-Step Internship Programme (Nuffield, ESRC, HEFCE)

Principal Investigator: Judith Aldridge

Project aim: A second year student will be a research assistant on a project examining the role of illegal drug cryptomarkets in the diffusion of often legal novel psychoactive substances in these international markets.

Personality disorders and imprisonment

Principal Investigator: Shadd Maruna

Project aim: 'The concept of the "personality disorder" (as opposed to mental illness) is an evolving one, and the implications for criminal justice practice are particularly controversial and unsettled. Criminologists in the Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice are exploring the dynamics of the personality disorder label from the perspective of both prison staff and prisoners themselves.

Plea bargaining and its historical roots in the English Courts

Funder: The British Academy

Principal Investigator: Mary Vogel

Project aim: To explore the historical origins of plea bargaining in England using a statistical approach to the analysis of coded archival data.

PROMISE: Youth involvement and social engagement

Funder: Horizon 2020

Principal Investigator: Jo Deakin

Project aim: The PROMISE Project is a comparative quantitative analysis and ethnography of ‘youth in conflict’ across Europe. The project will consider sites (public, virtual, private) and agents (adults, institutions, peers) of conflict and stigmatisation of young people. The aim is to consider the active responses of some young people to conflict and stigma alongside opportunities for change within these sites.

The Darknet as online market innovation

Funder: NESTA, UK

Principal Investigators: Judith Aldridge and David Décary-Hétu (University of Montreal)

Project aim: This project produced the hidden web crawler and scraper DATACRRYPTO, and aimed to assess the harms and benefits of drug cryptomarkets, and the extent of international and wholesale trade on these marketplaces.

The dynamic of demand in trafficking for labour and unfree labour

Funder: University of Manchester Strategic Investment Research Fund (SIRF)

Principal Investigator: Jon Spencer

Project aim: This project was submitted to the European Commission FP7 framework funding scheme. The project brings together eleven partners from across the EU that includes universities, NGOs and official agencies. The main aim of the project is to explore the dynamics of labour demand across a number of sectors and how these interact with global supply chains.

The effect of marketplace closures on cryptomarket drug trading

Funder: Macquarie University

Principal Investigator: James Martin (Macquarie University)

School of Law project member: Judith Aldridge

Project aim: To establish how marketplaces closures affects the frequency and type of cryptomarket drug trading, and an analysis of the characteristics of the Australia-specific cryptomarket trade.

The legality of football banning orders

Principal Investigator: Dr Geoff Pearson

Project aim: An assessment of the legality and effectiveness of s.14 Football Banning Orders under the amended Football Spectators Act 1989.

Understanding and improving risk assessment on domestic abuse cases

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigator: Juanjo Medina

Co-investigator: Caroline Miles

Project aim: This is an interdisciplinary research project led by The University of Manchester in collaboration with the Victoria University of Wellington and Chester University. The project aims to test statistical learning techniques to improve the accuracy of the predictions regarding risk classification by criminal justice actors, particularly police. Our ultimate goal is to develop a tested predictive model for domestic violence that could be piloted at a later stage. In doing so, it also aims to develop and engage in ethical and legal debates about the use of predictive modelling the context of policing.

Use of police discretion

Principal Investigator: Dr Geoff Pearson

Project aim: An ethnographic study of the use of police discretion at a Northern police force. The project focuses particularly on stop check, stop and search and arrest.

Virtual drug markets

Funder: University of Manchester Strategic Investment Research Fund (SIRF)

Principal Investigator: Judith Aldridge

Project aim: This project provided institutional seed funding for a number of funding bids, including European funding from ERANID (‘PATHMARK: New Markets, New Drugs, New Pathways’); and Australian bid to the NHMRC (‘Drugs on the darknet: Assessing the global health risks of a rapidly expanding market;).

Understanding desistance from sexual offending

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigators: Anne-Marie McAlinden (Queen's University Belfast) and Shadd Maruna (University of Manchester)

Project aim: This research seeks to fill an important gap in the literature around ex-offender reintegration by exploring the specific socio-cognitive changes that underpin desistance among individuals who have previously committed sexual offences against children. Using life history interviews with a sample of desisting (3-5 years post conviction) and persisting offenders (recently re-convicted) it explores how and why some individuals convicted of serious sexual crimes are able to move on from such pasts and successfully desist from future re-offending.

Youth gangs in an English city: Social exclusion, drugs and violence

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal Investigator: Judith Aldridge