The “Kriminologisches Journal” (KrimJ) is a quarterly scientific journal which is published by Beltz-Juventa. The journal features original scientific articles, discussion papers, practice and research reports on criminological theory and practice in German and English language. The thematic focus is on critical approaches to the structures and measures of social control bodies. All manuscripts undergo selective editorial and peer-review assessment prior to acceptance for publication. The peer-review process is strictly anonymous.

The “Kriminologisches Journal” is available both in print and online. Single issues and subscriptions are available at Beltz Juventa.

Issue 3/2022



Special Issue "Desistance and Critical Criminology"











Desistance-Forschung, Kritische Kriminologie und die Praxis der Straffälligenhilfe. Editorial zum Themenheft (German)

Desistance-research, critical criminology, and practical work in rehabilitation of convicted persons. Editorial to the special issue

Christine Graebsch

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Full papers

Desistance and the State: Revisiting the Individualization Thesis in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Monica Barry, Stephen Farral & Alan France

The growing influence of neo-liberalism in crime policy and practice has resulted in the responsibilization of individuals: criminality and risk tend now to be seen as operating at the individual level, rather than the structural level. Individuals are solely responsible for their actions, not only in starting offending but also in stopping, and are to blame for their own predicament (an epistemological fallacy). Herein, we argue that structural barriers to rehabilitation and reintegration were erected by political decision making from the 1980s. This resulted in criminal justice practitioners increasingly focussing on individual-level factors (cognition, agency, employability) and neglecting the structural causes of offending. We thus propose that the state take a more proactive stance in reducing reoffending and fostering opportunities for reintegration through broader social welfarism, rather than penal policies.

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Alldurchdringendes Strafkontinuum. Die Erfahrung ambulanter Sanktionen (German)

Pervasive Punishment: Experiencing Supervision

Wendy Fitzgibbon, Christine Graebsch & Fergus McNeill

This article deals with the methods and results of a small pilot study. We invited people who are or were subjected to penal supervision in the community to take photographs that visually represented their experiences. We also conducted focus groups and interviews with the participants to discuss theses representations. Our approach combined elements of “photo-elicitation” and “photo-voice” in providing both new forms of data about the lived experience of supervision, and in drawing attention to its specific perception by their recipients. It turned out that participants perceived community supervision after release from prison as a continuation of punishment of a pervasive nature. However, they also seeked for support that turned out to be painful even when it was helpful. They aspired after recognition and free growth instead of being judged and perceived as a risk.

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Discussion papers

Warum kritische Kriminolog:innen sich mit Desistance-Forschung befassen (sollten) (German)

Why critical criminologists (should be) engage(d) in desistance research

Christine Graebsch & Veronika Hofinger

This article presents arguments for dealing with desistance research from a critical criminological perspective. It defines areas of research that are relevant for critical criminology but were rather neglected in German-language criminology. This refers to research on lived experiences of those objected to sanctions; on non-custodial sanctions and on a praxeology for working inside the criminal justice system as well as an accessible critique of the dominant risk orientation. Finally, some commonalities between critical criminology (at its less orthodox end) and desistance-research (at its rather critical end) are mentioned.

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Subjektzentrierung als Kriminalpolitik - mit Desistance zu mehr Abolitionismus? (German)

Focussing on the individual in current crime policy: Abolitionism through desistance?

Dörte Negnal & Henrike Bruhn

Desistance always underlines a process character, which makes the concept addressable for further analytical dimensions (temporalities, contextualizations). However, the concept remains attached to the individual and his or her transformation out of “criminality” without having sufficiently integrated biography- or process-analytical approaches. The less theoretical or analytical value reveals ambitions in terms of crime and professional policy.

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Unvereinbarkeitsbeschluss (German)

Resolution of inconsistency

Helge Peters

A reference to the problem conception of the Kritische Theorie describes parts of the contours of the critical criminology. Furthermore, it becomes clear that the so called desistance concept is not consistent with this criminology.

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Desistance research and critical criminology: a conversation (German)

Christine Graebsch & Shadd Maruna

Critical criminologists in Germany have been criticized for dealing with desistance research. In the opinion of Peters (in this volume) both perspectives of research are outright incompatible with each other. This critique is based on a certain understanding of the labeling approach that is prevalent in German-language critical criminology. From this perspective, crime is understood exclusively as an attribution. Desistance research is then perceived as a backlash towards an etiological understanding of crime. Peters addresses his critique especially towards the reception of Maruna’s work that in Peters’ eyes takes crime for “real” (as of a behavioral quality) and supports the hegemonial normative system. As opposed to this, critical criminology and desistance research seem to coexist quite peacefully in international criminology – with Maruna being one of the most prominent proponents of their combination. However, their relation to each other is usually not analysed and discussed. Therefore, Christine Graebsch asked Shadd Maruna for his respective contribution. It resulted in the following conversation.

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In Discussion

Critical Criminology in action? Desistance as an approach (German)

Anna Burgard (Vienna), Christian Ghanem (Nuremberg), Christine Graebsch (Dortmund), Jonathan Kufner-Eger (Vienna), Michael Lindenberg (Hamburg) & Dörte Negnal (Siegen)

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Obituary for Gerlinda Smaus (German)

Johannes Feest

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Open-Access publications

Open Access publications

From issue 1/2022 onwards all English-language papers published in the Kriminologisches Journals will be made available as open access papers. The papers can be downloaded from the publisher's homepage or via content-select. Additionally the download links can be found if you click on the respective issues.

German papers can also be published via open access within the framework of the usual conditions of our publisher Beltz Juventa.

Changes on the Editorial Board

New editors-in-chief of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of Issue 2/2021the position of editor-in-chief passed over from Meropi Tzanetakis to Christine Graebsch and Jens Puschke.

Drugs and Digital Technologies

Call for Abstracts for a special issue of the KrimJ

Illicit drug markets are undergoing a significant transformation: digital technologies have a profound influence on how illicit drugs are accessed, and they have also changed information- sharing about drugs. In addition, the proliferation of information and communication technologies has changed law enforcement activity. Digitalisation also comes with rapid changes in communicative environments across time and geographic location. While online forums and other internet resources have massively increased the amount of available information and discourse on psychoactive substances for more than two decades, mobile phones, encrypted platforms, cryptocurrencies, social media and messaging applications have recently diversified the ways in which illicit drugs are distributed. This diversity includes hybrid forms of distribution, e.g. using social media applications to make physical appointments.


New Editorial Board

New Editors of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of January 1st 2021 the Editorial Board of the Kriminologisches Journal consists of Prof. Dr. Jens Puschke LL.M, Dr. Meropi Tzanetakis, Dr. Simon Egbert, Prof. Dr. Christine Graebsch, Prof. Dr. Dörte Negnal und Dr. Bernd Werse.