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  3. What’s the point of criminal justice history?

What’s the point of criminal justice history?

Paul Lawrence

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary, Paul Lawrence, Asa Briggs Professor of History, delivered his inaugural lecture on how a historical approach to criminal justice contributes to contemporary understandings of crime and justice.

He explored, for example, whether we are more or less violent as a society than we were a century or two ago.

He illustrated how an informed grasp of the past can help provide perspective in the present (demonstrating, for example, that things we might think of as new and modern, such as youth violence, are anything but).

Watch the video of Professor Lawrence’s inaugural lecture:

What's the point of criminal justice history?

About Professor Paul Lawrence

Professor Paul Lawrence has taught and researched in the History Department at The Open University since 1998. He is currently the Head of History and holds the Asa Briggs Chair in History. His research interests include all aspects of criminal justice history from c.1750 to the present.

A particular focus of recent publications has been ‘historical criminology’ and theoretical reflection on the role of historical research in contemporary issues. He is the editor of the bi-lingual journal Crime, History & Societies/Crime, Histoire et Sociétés.

Read more about Professor Lawrence

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