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JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL. LAW REVIEW.
UNIVERSITY OF TARTU (1632)

Dear reader,

Anna Markina, Jüri Saar
pp. 1-1 [PDF] [Cover PDF]

The 29th Baltic Criminological Seminar, organised by the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, took place in Tallinn on 16–18 June 2016. This year, the seminar celebrates its 30th year, continuing a tradition begun in 1987 by what was then the Laboratory of the Sociology of Deviant Behaviour at the University of Tartu. The series of annual criminological seminars was initiated by our close colleague Dr Eduard Raska (1944–2008), who was director of the laboratory at that time.

Originally, the event brought together social scientists from the Baltic States, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow in efforts to create an alternative, even competing, paradigm to that of Soviet orthodox criminology. Later, the seminar expanded in scope, and it now draws international participants from not only the Baltic region but all over the world. The Baltic Criminological Seminar has become a scientific enterprise that is highly valued by specialists in the field of crime research and control as an arena for presentation of novel ideas and approaches.

The title of this year’s seminar and collection of papers, ‘Crime, Culture, and Social Control’, was not chosen arbitrarily. Amidst globalisation and cross-cultural exposure, new forms of crime are emerging that require new means of control. Furthermore, criminology should be able to identify and monitor the social changes, in order to find alternatives to today’s dominant, West-centred approaches. Thirdly, in addition to following this ‘cultural turn’, responsible criminology must deal with new social dangers and harms that are emerging from combinations of criminality, psychopathology, and economic and military factors. Thereby, the ways of the past – positivistic precise categorisation of forms of deviance and their study – can be replaced with a holistic approach that brings synthesis.

The articles in this volume of Juridica International address developments and tendencies in crime and crime control in various countries. Some articles offer theoretical investigation of the above-mentioned problems; others present results of empirical research. Most of the journal articles elaborate upon material presented at the seminar, in addition to which there are some authors who could not attend the seminar but were able to contribute to this issue. We would like to thank all the authors and those reviewing and language-editing the articles for their work, which has resulted in a publication of high scientific quality. Finally, we are very thankful to the university’s Faculty of Social Science and School of Law for their financial support for organising the seminar and publishing this volume. 

The seminar and this issue of Juridica International are further proof, should any be needed, that the University of Tartu is an excellent place for holding international scientific events and meetings for the exchange of ideas and experience in the field of crime control. The tradition of the Baltic Criminological Seminar has stood the test of time, weathering the many changes that the region has experienced over the last 30 years. It is clear that analysis of crime that knows no borders requires ongoing in-depth international scientific co-operation, and with the current issue we aspire to respond to this need. 


pp. 1-1 [PDF] [Cover PDF]





  • A ‘Suitable Amount’ of Crime and a Cultural-Civilisational Approach
    Jüri Saar pp. 3-13 [PDF]

    The article presents the hypothesis that a normal level (e.g., optimal, reasonable, or suitable amount) of crime is an empirically measurable variable. Adequate assessment of crime in a specific civilisation is possible via comparison of crime across different civilisations. To this end, key elements for a cultural-civilisational approach, distinct from ‘cultural criminology’, are presented. In this approach, crime is an inevitable part of cultural phenomena, wherefore the definitions of crimes, punishments, and their execution manifest value specificities of individual cultures (civilisations). Three characteristics related to criminal careers – the ‘gender gap’, the ‘age–crime curve’, and a ‘dual taxonomy’, identified regularly by various studies are reviewed and interpreted anew.  


    Keywords: Suitable amount of crime; cultural-civilisational approach; criminal careers; gender gap in crime; age–crime curve; dual taxonomy in criminal activity

  • Explaining the Relationship between Social Trust and Value Similarity: The Case of Estonia
    Mai Beilmann, Laur Lilleoja pp. 14-21 [PDF]

    The article is dedicated to explaining why value similarity fosters generalised social trust in high-trust societies. Previous findings by Beilmann and Lilleoja suggest that value similarity is more important in generating individual-level social trust in countries where the overall levels of social trust are higher, while in countries with a low level of social trust, congruity of the personal value structure with the country-level value structure tends to be coupled with lower trustfulness on the part of individuals. The article explores the meso-level indicators that could explain this relationship. The relationship between social trust and human values was examined in a sample of 2,051 people in Estonia, using data from the European Social Survey, round 7. The results suggest that when differences in socio-economic factors are controlled for, value similarity remains a significant factor in fostering generalised social trust in Estonian society. However, its direct effect is relatively low when compared with predictors such as trust in certain institutions, economic well-being, and ethnicity. Trust in the legal system and the police plays a particularly important role in fostering generalised social trust in a high-trust society wherein people believe that other people in general treat them honestly and kindly.


    Keywords: social trust; human values; value similarity; European Social Survey

  • Soziale Werte in der soziologischen und kriminologischen Forschung: Überlegungen zum Begriff und Operationalisierung
    Olga Siegmunt pp. 22-31 [PDF]

    Numerous theoretical approaches include social values as a social unit. In general, the social values are defined as guidelines; they are personal and internal; and they hold together the social groups. Overall, the social values are distinguished from value‑orientations, social norms, and attitudes. A reasonable-sized body of sociological and criminological studies has analysed the structure and significance of social values for human behaviour. The article explores this corpus, discussing numerous theoretical approaches and studies with reference to a key question: how can one fruitfully operationalise the social values? The theoretical analyses in the article apply institutional anomie theory, which is presented as an example of a criminological theory.


    Keywords: social values; individualism; collectivism; institutional anomie theory

  • Bringing about Penal Climate Change: The Role of Social and Political Trust and of Perceptions about the Aims for Punishment in Lowering the Temperature of Punitiveness
    Mari-Liis Sööt, Kadri Rootalu pp. 32-42 [PDF]

     The paper presents a study demonstrating that social and political trust are good predictors of punitive attitudes. People who have low generalised social trust and low political trust would impose longer sentences on offenders. Awareness of the aims behind punishment is a strong predictor of systematically severe punitive attitudes – those for whom the aims for punishment revolve around the protection of society (rather than focusing on reforming the offender) are more punitive. The study indicates that penal attitudes are best altered in a trusting environment, and that attempts to achieve a shift away from harsh ones should be targeted principally at the most punitively minded groups in the relevant society. The assumption is that in an environment where penal attitudes towards offenders are milder, major changes in crime policy such as introduction of individualised penalties, reduction in prison terms and population would be more easily achieved.


    Keywords: Punitiveness; aims in punishment; social trust; political trust

  • Corruption as Presented in the Lithuanian Internet Media
    Aleksandras Dobryninas, Mindaugas Gilaitis pp. 43-53 [PDF]

    The article focuses on content analysis of corruption-related publications released by Lithuanian Internet media. The authors present findings from structural and semantic analysis of the online publications on corruption issues that appeared during 2015 via two influential Internet portals: DELFI.lt and Lrytas.lt. These findings are interpreted in the context of official statistical data surrounding anti-corruption activity in the country and in light of results from corruption‑related diagnostic surveys. The analysis reveals a tendency toward ‘virtual criminalisation’ of corruption in the Internet-media publications examined and, a result of such a criminal-justice framing, an absence of focus on preventive and education‑oriented anti-corruption measures.


    Keywords: corruption; media presentations; content analysis

  • Changes in the Estonian Cannabis Debate
    Marianne Paimre pp. 54-65 [PDF]

    The article analyses the discussion of cannabis regulation in the Estonian media. In the past five years, there has been a noticeable shift in discussion of drug policies in some Western countries and regions (the US, Canada, Latin America, etc.) from a punitive focus towards a more liberal approach. The Global Commission on Drug Policy recommends that countries put an end to civil and criminal penalties for drug use and possession. In this context, the article examines how the Estonian press has reacted to the situation. Which approach to cannabis (continuing to ban it vs. advocating legalisation) prevails in opinion pieces? What are the main arguments both for and against its legalisation? The media could play a prominent role in determining public opinion about illicit drugs and shaping relevant public policies. Hence, the author looks also at how the coverage has changed over time.

    A content analysis of 57 opinion articles, editorials, comments, interviews, and summaries of public speeches was carried out to study the political debate surrounding cannabis in 2009 and 2015, both years in which it was high on the media agenda. The content analysis was complemented by the method of close reading. The findings indicate that press coverage of cannabis has become more tolerant towards ‘softer’ drug policies. The chorus of ‘voices’ has become more complex, which reflects development of the drug-politics discourse. While the 2009 debate was launched by pro-legalisation lawyers and the discussion involved various professional experts (among them medical doctors, lawyers, and specialists in drug prevention), cannabis more often made headlines in 2015 because of work by civil activists, columnists, writers, etc. A strong dichotomy between traditional law-enforcement discourse and cannabis-legalisation and harm-reduction discourses has emerged. The author expresses the opinion that a shift in the global drug-policy debate alongside softened media coverage may pave the way for changes in the national drug policy. 


    Keywords: Drug policy; cannabis; public debate; media; newspapers; Estonia

  • Children’s Rights and the Juvenile Justice System in Estonia
    Judit Strömpl, Anna Markina pp. 66-73 [PDF]

    Approaching from the UN Convention of the Right of the Child (UNCRC) and the principle of best interest of the child is mandatory in all decision-makings in all EU countries. However, we can see notable contradictions between the articles of UNCRC, the best interest principle and the practice of juvenile justice systems almost in every EU member state. International organisations and national states make efforts to cross the contradictions and to guarantee the rights stated in the UNCRC. In this paper, we present some attempts to enhance the juvenile justice systems while focusing on Estonian case. Participation in two international action research projects enables authors to give an overview about the situation how the rights of Estonian children in detention are followed and what are the main tendencies in everyday practice.


    Keywords: children’s rights; incarceration; closed institutions; juvenile justice

  • Life without Crime as a Fundamental Right of the Child: On the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
    Ilona Kronberga pp. 74-81 [PDF]

     The publication analyses the concept of child-friendly justice within the context of law‑enforcement practices with regard to international and European Union law. The work is based on the premise that a child’s rights are human rights of the child. One of the fundamental rights of every child is the right to a friendly legal environment, which includes the right to grow up in an environment free from the harmful effects of crime. The discussion presented is based on several years of international research by the author, who concludes that harmful effects of crime can be manifested readily in cases wherein a child violates the law, becomes a victim of crime, or witnesses a crime. The author concludes that such harmful experiences for a child can be eliminated in practice through application of the recommendations of international law. 


    Keywords: child’s rights; child-friendly justice; prevention; relations within criminal justice

  • How Young/Old Does One Look? Sales Personnel’s and Laypersons’ Estimation of Young People’s Age
    Kristjan Kask, Mariliis Tael-Öeren pp. 82-90 [PDF]

    Several studies have found that the level of alcohol use among minors both in Europe generally and in Estonia is relatively high. However, we have less knowledge of issues related to age estimations in this field. Therefore, research was conducted to examine how accurate sales personnel in Estonia are in estimating the age of young people and, in addition, to compare salespersons and laypersons (i.e., persons not working in shops that sell food and alcohol) with regard to their ability to make accurate age estimations. For this purpose, 20 salespersons and 20 laypersons participated in an experiment in which they estimated the age of people whose faces were presented to them in images. Salespersons’ estimation of young persons’ age from the photos was more accurate than laypersons’ estimation. However, both groups tended to overestimate the age of the people shown, especially when the focus was on the difference between minors of age 17 and young adults of age 18 or 19. It can be concluded that accurately discriminating between minors’ and adults’ faces by using only facial cues is difficult. One solution for addressing this issue in practice would be to raise the age threshold for asking for ID. While many shops already pursue this approach, it is on a voluntary basis; in Estonia, there is no legal requirement to do so.


    Keywords: alcohol; mystery shopping; salespersons; laypersons; face-based estimations

  • Harsh Punishment or Alternatives: Which is the Better Crime-prevention?
    Helmut Kury pp. 91-99 [PDF]

    The classical reaction to crime is punishment, then, if it does not have the effect we are looking for, still harsher sanctions. For the most part, state powers concentrate on the offender and his or her punishment, while the victim is ‘used’ as a witness in court proceedings. Empirical criminological research in recent decades has shown more and more that ‘just punish’ is not the best solution to reduce crime. Old traditional societies, such as various Native American groups in North America, had more peacekeeping-oriented approaches to crime, dealing with both the offender and the victim. The name we use for these today is ‘mediation’ or ‘restorative justice’. In the last few decades, these measures for handling crime and conflicts have been rediscovered, and they are used more and more in Western countries, with positive effects. For example, Germany’s criminal code and, especially, the country’s juvenile penal code suggest more ways in which victim–offender mediation and restitution can be used; however, legal practice shows reluctance to use the newly specified procedures. Elsewhere in Europe at state level, these techniques are used more in Western industrialised countries, less in former Eastern-bloc states. Differences can be seen also in the role of the mediator in practice: it is seen differently in some respects. Research results show clearly that mediation has a more positive effect on offenders and also victims than the ‘classical’ court procedure does, and thereby it helps more to re-establish peace in society. 


    Keywords: Restitution; victim–offender mediation (VOM); empirical results of VOM; procedure of VOM; results of VOM from Germany

  • The Survival of Retributivism in our Modern Knowledge-based World
    Jaan Ginter pp. 100-106 [PDF]

    The article discusses the development of theories of punishment in modern, more and more knowledge-based society. Are any changes foreseeable in how we rationalise expending scarce public resources on inflicting grievances on those fellow members of our society who have behaved in a manner not approved by general society?

    Adherents to retributivism strive to justify criminal punishment by simply referring to the punishment as the consequence that the criminal plainly deserves and stating that there is no need to present any utilitarian justifications for applying punishments. There is already mounting evidence from research suggesting that certain objective circumstances cause predisposition of certain persons to commit crimes, and some research suggests that there are several treatments that may in some cases be more suitable in place of criminal punishments. The paper presents an attempt to appraise whether these novel approaches leave any room for retributivist ideas.

    The article suggests that the more the science is able to understand why certain persons commit criminal offences and is able to find opportunities to treat these conditions, the less need there will be to think of punishments as just deserts, as what simply must be applied, without looking for any other utilitarian justification.


    Keywords: Theories of punishment; retributivism; consequentialism; utilitarianism; free will; medical treatment of criminals

  • A Legal Cultural Model as a Theoretical Basis of Reintegration Strategies for ISIS Ex militants
    Liisa Abel pp. 107-115 [PDF]

     The article analyses whether the prison system in Estonia when incarcerating former terrorists will be able to fulfil the objectives behind its execution of imprisonment. The main concern was that potential for resocialising an individual who does not feel or even want to be a member of the society in which he is incarcerated may not exist unless the integration process accounts for not only the aspects of (legal) culture that are familiar and known in the society where the person is incarcerated but also those that are essential for the prisoner’s sense of belonging. To understand what helps to reintegrate former terrorists and draw them back from violent extremism, one must grasp which aspects of (legal) culture might have influenced their radical ideology. To address this, the author uses the specific legal-cultural model provided by Professor Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde for ascertaining those bearings.

    The conclusion is that integrating a prisoner who holds a radical ideology rooted in the major world religion Islam into Estonian society involves an integration interlace between two different cultures and, furthermore, that the ultimate success of the reintegration programmes largely depends on the ‘after-care’ measures. Hence, even if there is a possibility of providing adequate teacher training and the experts agree that the person is highly reintegrated when leaving prison, the question remains of whether Estonia has the financial resources to ensure all the measures required for the former terrorist to lead a law-abiding life outside prison.


    Keywords: ISIS/ISIL; Daesh; criminal policy; integration of a former terrorist; radicalisation; de-radicalisation; violent extremism

  • How to Avoid De-professionalisation of the Police
    Priit Suve pp. 116-127 [PDF]

    Police reforms in Europe in recent decades have demonstrated that most such reform is loosely linked to problems of safety and that it seldom, if ever, captures police strategies. Reasons for reforms to police structures and operations lie hidden in the economy, politics, or some other domain rather than that of public order or crime – the realm that traditionally is associated with the police. Efficiency- or effectiveness-driven reforms that ignore safety-specific strategies of the police and policing push the police to be more like the average public organisation instead of a professional player in the field of safety. At the same time, the wickedness of safety problems demands of the police more sophisticated knowledge about policing, along with an organisation that is capable of responding to the task environment and implementing various changes on its basis. The article elaborates on ideas about the organisational and strategic conditions that, irrespective of the causes or directions of future police reforms, are necessary for avoiding de-professionalisation and for keeping the police in line with the institution’s core mission.


    Keywords: police reform; professionalisation; police strategy; the police