Ethical Tensions in Criminology


  • Professor Joseph Pugliese
  • Dr Mary Graham
  • Emeritus Professor Richard Harding
  • Deborah Glass OBE


Criminologist have historically worked in close proximity to institutions that are subject to criticisms of oppression and injustice. Prisons, courtrooms, mental health institutions, corrections and detention centres, and often police stations themselves are locations that have been heavily criticised for their discriminatory practices, and for being arms of a state or states that are themselves sometimes unjust regimes. Ethical dilemmas confront criminologists when we intellectualise or ventriloquise the voices of oppressed or policed populations, and interaction with any state bureaucracies will be fraught when that state is itself a vehicle for oppression – such as in contexts like contemporary colonial Australia. How to act ethically, how to render an ethical account, how to resist unethical convenience, is a constant struggle of most criminological work.

This plenary panel considers some of the ethical landscapes and conundrums that face criminologists today and engages in a conversation on the many ethical struggles that haunt our field.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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