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Home Office and University launch new Centre for Criminal Justice, Economics and Psychology at York

Posted on 19 March 2001

A new Centre for Criminal Justice, Economics and Psychology, with funding from the Home Office, begins work in April at the University of York.

The major aim of the Centre will be to develop and evaluate approaches to reduce the impact of crime on society. Through research, staff hope to provide practical answers to pressing practical questions.

The Centre will bring together the skills of the University's departments of Psychology and Economics, in order to assess the effectiveness of criminal justice projects. The University and the Home Office have formed a strategic partnership to develop the Centre.

Initially, the Centre will concentrate on evaluation studies of the costs and benefits of various interventions for the prevention and reduction of crime. In the longer term, the Centre will develop research that will try to improve understanding of criminal behaviour.

The Centre will also play a major role in disseminating knowledge on criminal behaviour and policy issues and will host courses and secondments for a variety of Home Office staff. In the longer term it will also undertake research projects funded by other organisations with key interests in criminal justice.

The first director of the Centre will be Professor Cynthia McDougall OBE, a psychologist with wide experience in the criminal justice field and, until recently, Head of Psychology for prison and probation services. Her range of practical and research experience in forensic psychology, especially anger management, risk assessment, and understanding hooliganism and bullying, will be brought to bear on the work of the Centre.

"The Centre for Criminal Justice, Economics and Psychology has the potential to make a huge contribution to public policy development," said Professor Tony Culyer, head of the department of Economics and Related Studies. "York has an acknowledged expertise in evaluating public policy and practice in a range of fields, and this is something the Centre can build on."

"The Home Office recognises the role of psychology in the formulation of programmes to reduce the impact of crime on society and in understanding criminal behaviour," said Professor Charles Hulme. "We hope that the reputation of both departments and of the Centre's director, Professor Cynthia McDougall, will help to establish its credentials from the beginning."

Notes to editors:

  • The Home Office chose the University of York to host the Centre based on evidence of the excellent performance of the University and of the two contributing departments. The department of Psychology has a score of 5* and Economics a score of 5 in official research ratings, which range from 1 to 5*. Both departments scored 24 out of 24 in recent teaching quality assessments.
  • The University has a strong reputation in public partnerships and evidence-based policy analysis. Research centres of international repute at York include the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, the Centre for Health Economics and the York Health Economics Consortium.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153