Our core focus can be summarised by the theme: “Harmful Evidence and Evidencing Harm”. Such a focus emphasises the theme of evidence, encompassing, for example, evidence used in criminal justice processes.
We address questions such as:
These questions raise other issues about the nature and use of evidence in the form of research:
In short, we are concerned with how do various forms of evidence generate or potentially mitigate harm?
As part of this, we emphasise the significance of harm (rather than simply think about crime) and thereby questions such as:
In short, we ask how do we generate evidence of harm?
These critical perspectives and aims that come under HERC – and capitalise fully on our interdisciplinarity and staff base -- place us uniquely within British critical criminology as well as drawing on a long tradition of applying psychology to criminal justice. Moreover, when taken together, critical explorations within these two themes also allow a third, related aspect of our work to be developed, namely ‘working outside the CJS’. That is, we explore the systematic nature in which evidence, in the broadest sense, is used to bolster a criminal justice system which creates significant forms of harm – physical, psychological, social and economic. We explore alternatives to criminal justice and criminalisation as responses to personal and social problems. HERC is committed to exploring these alternatives through social, public and economic policy whilst seeking to reduce reliance on criminal justice and criminalisation.