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Honours Students Present Criminology Research

19 May, 2017

Criminology Honours students with lecturer Dr Nirmala Gopal.
Honours students from the discipline of Criminology recently presented their research in the Howard College Theatre with topics ranging from developing a treatment programme for juvenile boys based on the psychological theories on juvenile delinquency, to women and crime and using conflict criminology to critically discuss whether student protests in South Africa are justified.

One of the groups presented on Women and Crime, examining the reasons behind the sudden increase in women offenders and what such women have in common. Their research revealed that many of the women had histories of physical and sexual abuse in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. They also found that women in prison experienced abuse.

Offering preventative measures for abuse in prisons, students suggested awareness programmes being implemented for correctional officers and wardens and disciplinary action against those who abuse women prisoners.

Another group, led by Ms Harsha Maharaj focused on student protests in South Africa (#feesmustfall) discussing their history, students versus media and students versus students.

Debating students versus media, the group said there was a conflict of interest between these two groups. The media was accused of distorting the narrative about student protests that have happened over the last two years.

‘The media is the main source of information about #feesmustfall,’ said Maharaj. ‘If there is shoddy journalism, it results in the public being misinformed about the protest and the reasoning behind it, possibly causing the protest to be delegitimised with a loss in public support and sympathy for the students. The media often concentrates on the violence.’

Discussing students versus students issues, Ms Belinda Majola said instilling fear, and using tear gas and verbal abuse were methods employed to recruit students for larger protest groups.

‘Conflict criminology claims that crime is inevitable in a capitalist society, thereby creating an imbalance in power and authority. The group with less power will engage in activities to restore balance,’ she said. 

Melissa Mungroo

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