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James Finckenauer

Biography

James Finckenauer photoDr. James Finckenauer's research and teaching interests include international and comparative criminal justice, transnational organized crime, and criminal and juvenile justice policy, planning and evaluation. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited ten books, as well as numerous articles, chapters and reports.  Professor Finckenauer has been a visiting professor in Australia, China, Germany, Japan, and Russia, and studied or lectured in Europe, Asia, the former Soviet Union, Latin America and the Middle East. From 1998-2002, he was Director of the International Center at the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice; and in 2007 he was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Hong Kong.  Most recently, Dr. Finckenauer has served as a member of the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Trafficking of Women and Girls, and as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Jerry Lee Center of Criminology.  He is a member of the Core Faculty of the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers, and Co-editor of the Online Journal of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book Reviews.

 

 

 

Abstract

Criminal Groups and Violence

The perpetrators of organized crime, namely criminal groups or organizations, come in a great variety – ranging from loosely knit networks of just a few individuals up to relatively large and well-structured, hierarchical groupings.  Street gangs, particularly centered in urban settings, are a form of criminal organization.  So too are outlaw motorcycle gangs, drug cartels, various ethnic-based mafias, etc.  At least some capacity for violence and its use is characteristic of just about all of these groupings.  But both the capacities for and the actual use of violence tend to be different – often markedly so.  In addition to differences in violence capacity, there may be differences in the type of violence engaged in, e.g., impulsive and gratuitous, or instrumental, planned and directed toward some specific aim.  These differences, I suggest, have important implications for prevention and control.  The variability in the capacity for violence; the variability in the type of violence; and, the efficacy of various approaches used to confront and contain violence will be explored.  Since we currently have few, solid, empirically-based answers for most of the questions surrounding criminal groups and violence, a research agenda will also be tentatively outlined.  


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