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Friedrich Lösel


Professor Friedrich Lösel, Ph.D., is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, where he was Director of the Institute until September 2012. He is also Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, where he was Director until September 2011. He is a chartered forensic psychologist and a member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. Formerly, he was professor of psychology at the Universities of Bielefeld and Erlangen, a university senior lecturer at Bamberg University and a university lecturer at Erlangen University. He was also director of the Social Sciences Research Centre at Nuremberg and led projects at the Advanced Research Centres "Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence" and "Socialization and Communication" of the German Research Council.

He has carried out research on juvenile delinquency, prisons, offender treatment, developmental prevention, football hooliganism, school bullying, personality disordered offenders, protective factors and resilience, close relationships, child abuse, family education and programme evaluation. He has published more than 360 journal articles and book chapters and is the author or editor of more than 30 books, research reports and special journal issues, with topics including: Self-Control and Juvenile Delinquency, Psychological Training for Prison Officers, Psychology of Crime, Social Intervention, Meta-Evaluation of Therapeutic Prisons, Children at Risk, Criminal Behaviour and the Justice System, Health Hazards in Adolescence, Origins, Prevention and Control of Violence, Psychology and Law, Residential Youth Care, Football Hooliganism, Treatment of Dangerous Offenders, Aggression and Delinquency in Adolescence, Evaluation of Family Education in Germany, Criminology and Evidence-Based Crime Policy, Long-term Outcomes of School Bullying, and Young Adult Offenders. One of his current research projects is the 'Erlangen-Nuremberg Development and Prevention Study', a combined longitudinal and experimental study of over 600 children and their families that started at preschool age and has now been running for 12 years. Other recent projects are 'Risk and Protective Factors during Resettlement of Imprisoned Fathers with their Families', 'Strengthening Transitional Approaches to Reducing Re-offending', and 'Evaluation of Social Therapy for Young Sexual and Violent Offenders'.

Professor Lösel has been President of the European Association of Psychology and Law, President of the Criminological Society of the German-speaking Countries, member of the Commission on Violence of the German Federal Government, member of the Executive Committee and chairman of the Psychology and Law Division of the German Psychological Association; visiting fellow of the British Psychological Society, division secretary of the International Association of Applied Psychology. He has been a member of the scientific advisory boards of the German Criminological Centre, the Netherlands Institute for Criminality and Law Enforcement, and the Max-Planck/Minerva Centre for Youth Problems at the University of Haifa (Israel). He was Faculty Dean at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, board member of the family survey of the German Government, reporter on crime problems to the Council of Europe, chairman of the Family Research Award Committee of the German Ministry for Family Affairs, member of the Correctional Programmes Accreditation Panel of the Auditor General in Canada, chairman of the German accreditation committee for programmes in psychology and law, chairman of the Scientific Board of the Criminological Research Centre of Lower Saxony (Germany), chairman of the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel of England and Wales, member of the Effective Interventions Board of the UK Ministry of Justice, vice-chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, member of the Sutherland Award Committee and chairman of the Sellin-Glueck Award Committee of the American Society of Criminology. Most recently he was a member of the expert group on future policy making ('Zukunftsdialog') of the German Federal Chancellor Dr. Merkel. Currently he serves, inter alia, on the Steering Committee of the Campbell Crime & Justice Group, Advisory Board of the Centre of Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University (USA), Jury of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, Advisory Board of the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), Advisory Board of the Criminological Service of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, Expert Panel of the German Forum on Crime Prevention, Advisory Group on family education of the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Advisory Board of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice on the prevention of sexual offending, and Expert Panel of the Flanders Research Council in Belgium. He is also an editorial board member of 17 national and international journals.

In recognition of his scientific work, he has received various honours including the following: Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement of the European Association of Psychology and Law, Sellin-Glueck Award of the American Society of Criminology, honorary Dr. sc. from Glasgow Caledonian University, elected fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology, honorary professor of the University of Political Science and Law at Chongqing (China), honorary professor of Zhejiang Police College at Hang Zhou (China), German Psychology Prize, Stockholm Prize in Criminology, and Jerry Lee Lifetime Achievement Award of the Division of Experimental Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.


Treating Violent Offenders More Effectively: Alternatives to Pure Punishment

Most concepts for violence prevention are in the fields of primary and secondary prevention. However, treatment and rehabilitation of offenders is also important for a decrease of violence in societies. After some skepticism due to the 'nothing works' doctrine in the 1970s such approaches are now based on numerous evaluation studies and systematic reviews. This 'what works' evidence shows that correctional treatment is more effective than the traditional focus of criminal justice on pure punishment and deterrence (in which treatment is embedded for legal reasons). According to various meta-analyses the recidivism rates of appropriately treated violent offenders are 5-30% lower than the rates in control groups. Results on the most effective types of interventions and on more complex approaches such as the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model are briefly outlined. Of course, as in other areas of violence prevention, there are still practical and methodological problems (e.g. with regard to the treatment of sexual, young, personality disordered and domestic violence offenders). A model for a view beyond the mere content of programs will be presented. This leads to various recommendations for a further improvement of the treatment of violent offenders: Development of evidence-bases in the many countries with serious deficits in this field, widen the perspective to broader interventions systems, more attention to implementation science, more well-controlled outcome evaluations, more individualized program elements, more links to neurobiology and desistance research, more direct comparisons between community and custodial measures, and more integration of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention approaches.


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