• Coordination/Coordinator : Renée ZAUBERMAN
  • Maquette et diffusion/Layout and circulation : Bettino DYVRANDE
  • Traduction/Translator : Helen ARNOLD


Penal Issues est l’édition anglaise de Questions Pénales.

Jusqu’à fin 2006, cette publication reprenait, en une édition papier annuelle, les numéros de l’année précédente de Questions Pénales. Depuis 2007, Penal Issues est diffusé exclusivement par voie électronique, cinq fois par an environ.


Penal Issues is the English edition of Questions Pénales.

Up to the end of 2006, Penal Issues was published as a single annual paper issue collecting the previous year’s quarterly issues of Questions Pénales. Since 2007, Penal Issues has been exclusively circulated in electronic form, about 5 times a year.


Si cet abonnement gratuit vous intéresse, envoyez vos coordonnées complètes à : abonnement-qp-pi@cesdip.fr


The lastest Penal issues

Students’ representations of and experience with the police. A survey

By Jérémie Gauthier, Jacques de Maillard, and Sophie Peaucellier.

Now that French surveys, following the English-language countries, have taken to studying attitudes toward the police, they are gaining a better understanding of the complex relations between police officers and gendarmes and the various segments of the population.

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Students’ representations of and experience with the police. A survey

By Jérémie Gauthier, Jacques de Maillard, and Sophie Peaucellier.

Now that French surveys, following the English-language countries, have taken to studying attitudes toward the police, they are gaining a better understanding of the complex relations between police officers and gendarmes and the various segments of the population.

Read more


From one reform to the next. The ambiguities of the professionalization of forensic medicine in France

By Romain Juston

Forensic doctors requisitioned by the Prosecutor’s office perform quite a variety of medical procedures: they determine the causes of a suspicious death, measure the functional discomfort produced by a victim’s wounds, determine the age of an unaccompanied individual, assess whether a person’s health is compatible with police custody, and so on.


Restoring public’s trust in the police: auxiliaries as an innovation in French policing (october 2017)

By Jacques de MAILLARD, Carole GAYET-VIAUD and Fabien JOBARD.

The Trust in Police Auxiliaries (henceforth TPA[1]) are retired police officers whose mission is to bring the police and the public closer, in neighbourhoods identified as high-priority security-wise; that is, working-class districts, high-rises, and housing projects.

[1] The French acronym is DCPP, standing for Délégués à la cohésion police-population

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Feelings of insecurity and fear of crime: Dimensions and trends (july 2017)

By Philippe ROBERT and Renée ZAUBERMAN. Statistical treatments by Sophie PEAUCELLIER and Fadoua JOUWAHRI.

The revisiting of crime-based insecurity is based here on new data. However imperfect, they do enable us to document the various aspects of insecurity and above all, to track the current trends. Indeed, the development of victimisation surveys, repeated at regular intervals, allows for more systematic study of feelings of insecurity

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Delinquent Girls: Victims and/or Guilty? (november 2016)

By Dominique Duprez, Élise Lemercier and Cindy Duhamel.

Since offences committed by girls were viewed as statistically negligible, for a long time they received little attention from the social sciences. The research project presented in this paper aims at shedding some light on the life course of girls under criminal justice control following some offence, based on their life histories and on interviews with professionals working with them.

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Identity Checks and Youthful Parisians Analysis of the Paris Section of the 2010 ESCAPAD Survey (July 2016)

By  Sophie Peaucellier , Fabien Jobard, René Lévy and Stanislas Spilka.

The study that follows lies within the framework of these debates, since it aims at specifying who are those individuals checked by the police, on the basis of the data collected on young Parisians aged 17-18 during a one-day military preparation program, the Journée d’appel à la préparation à la défense or JAPD, subsequently dubbed the Journée défense et citoyenneté, JDC (National defense and citizenship day) (ESCAPAD survey, OFDT). The study is the outcome of collaboration between the Observatoire Français des Drogues et des Toxicomanies and the CESDIP.

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Banking Frauds in Metropolitan France: Profiles of Victims and Decisions to Report to the Police (January 2016)

By Bilel Benbouzid and Sophie Peaucellier.

Victimisation surveys enable us to take analysis beyond the quantitative estimate of the extent of fraudulent obtaining. They provide crucial understanding of the process by which victims pass from undergoing an offence to filing a complaint. With respect to reporting, banking frauds occupy a specific position on the overall complaint-filing scene. Cardholders have no obligation to file a complaint, and banks are obliged to reimburse victims rapidly. Now, contrary to expectations, the rate of reporting for banking frauds is relatively high. The purpose of this discussion is to look at the determinants of reporting for victims with various profiles, and to attempt to understand the role of banks in this process.

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The French Electronic Police Docket, a Little-Known Public Security Tool (october 2015)

By Frédéric Ocqueteau.

Since the February 24, 1995 inaugural decree, the electronic police docket (main courante informatisée, or MCI, henceforth EPD), descendant of the time-honored paper version of the police docket (MC), has become an important tool in human resources management and action in urban communities for all French police stations.

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Desistance from Crime in Brazil : The Impact of Experience with the World of Crime and the Juvenile Justice System (july 2015)

By Géraldine Bugnon.

The present paper examines the process of desistance from crime, based on the life histories collected from young Brazilians engaged in offending, in order to discover how their experience with delinquency, and with the criminal justice system (in this case, with the juveniles’ socio-educational system) influences the way they desist from crime.

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Distinction or Exit : The Upper Echelons of the Probation Services Caught Between Institutional Vagueness and Personal Dissatisfaction (november 2014)

By Xavier de Larminat.

The penal reform, with the introduction of the so-called contrainte pénale, has recently drawn attention to probationary sentences. Over and beyond debate over the legal contours of the various measures served within the community (including suspended imprisonment with probation, community service work, release on parole, and electronic monitoring), it is important to examine their implementation.

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Forensic psychiatry and psychiatrists in criminal justice in europe. A comparative study of England, Spain, Rumania, Sweden and France (june 2014)

 By Jennifer BOIROT.

For the contemporary criminal justice system, the judicial truth concerning an offence is not established merely by finding the offender and applying a legal sanction, it also involves understanding the motives and circumstances surrounding the act, so as to deal with the offender more adequately. Recourse to psychiatry and psychology now enables specialists in these fields to provide information that is henceforth considered essential for understanding the defendant’s personality, accounting for the acts and handling the legal case. Forensic psychiatrists have therefore become an all-important part of the penal and judicial process in Europe.

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First steps of the national council for private security activities (CNAPS) (february 2014)

By Frédéric OCQUETEAU.

The CNAPS, a French public administration agency created by article 31 of the March 14, 2011 LOPPSI act and the December 21, 2011 founding decree, is presently manned by 214 agents. It is entirely funded by a tax paid by companies selling security services and by in-house security departments plus the fines inflicted for violation of the law.

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A prevention scheme for paris : the « accueil réussite éducative pelleport » program (october 2013)

By Maryse ESTERLE.

Early school-leaving receives much attention, in the form of prevention and help schemes. Its effects are well known : difficulty in finding employment, isolation and drifting, youths who become delinquents or step up their illegal activities… An action-research program, implemented by Maryse Esterle in collaboration with Thomas Pierre, who was especially in charge of the quantitative aspect of the study and of consulting students’ files, was conducted from January 2011 to December 2012 in conjunction with the introduction of the Accueil réussite éducative Pelleport , a school achievement helping hand program (AREP).

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The role of tax administration lawyers in criminal trials (september 2013)

By Mélanie PÉCLAT.

Criminal trials for tax evasion clearly differ from standard trials. The Public prosecutor is not free to prosecute unless the ministry of Finance takes legal action. The complaint lodged by the ministry of Finances is filtered by the Commission on Fiscal Offences (Commission des infractions fiscales CIF), which decides which cases require criminal prosecution. Only a minority of the tax evasion cases handled by the tax administration are prosecuted.

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Cultural action for the penal population. A research on heritage projects targeting individuals in the hands of the law (july 2013)

By Delphine SAURIER and Kathia BARBIER.

Cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Culture and Communication was inaugurated in the 1980s under the auspices of Jack Lang and Robert Badinter, who wished to give access to cultural objects of all sorts to the prison population. The first two Culture/Justice agreements (1985 and 1990) defined how cultural action was to be brought into prisons. They were completed, essentially in 1992 and 1995, by instructions memos, and nearly two decades were to pass before a third inter-ministerial agreement would extend that cultural action to the entire population under Ministry of Justice control. Since 2009, this also applies to people benefiting from a non custodial sentence (a suspended sentence, probation, community service work or other).

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Police statistics on juvenile suspects (april 2013)


Police statistics are frequently used for the quantitative estimation of juvenile offending, particularly so since the series of figures available cover a long period. Series going back to 1974 may be established, provided some precautions are taken, whereas alternative sources are underdeveloped in France.

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Organised crime and the corruption of public institutions in the United Kingdom : implications for policy and practice (march 2013)

By Sappho XENAKIS.

In the UK, prosecution rates for corrupt acts and perceived levels of corruption are both low by international comparison. An audit into the nature and extent of corruption in the UK, conducted by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International UK (TIUK) and published in 2011, however, concluded that the problem of corruption within the public sector, and of the risks posed by the relationship between corruption and organised crime more particularly, had been underestimated and insufficiently explored by official bodies and independent experts alike.

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The viewer and the viewed.Circulating images of the police, between professionals, the mass media and the public (december 2012)

By Michael MEYER.

In everyday life, we all experience literary, televised, or motion picture encounters with the police. It is impossible to mention, or analyse, the police as an entity without being assailed by innumerable images, emotions, and media-informed stereotypes. How can we, as sociologists of the police, include this powerful imagery in our analyses ? How can we study this media double, whose influence is so hard to quantify but so easy to observe in the everyday relations of officers with their own professional activity and with the public ?

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Nightwatchers, a new contribution to the regulation of public space ? (september 2012)

By Jacques DE MAILLARD and Patricia BÉNEC’H-LE ROUX.

The present edition of Penal Issues draws on a survey conducted by Jacques DE MAILLARD and Patricia BÉNEC’H-LE ROUX for the city of Paris on the Paris nightwatcher scheme (Research report, « Évaluation de l’activité des correspondants de nuit de la Ville de Paris » (« Evaluation of the Activity of Nightwatchers Employed by the City of Paris »), Guyancourt, CESDIP, « Études et Données Pénales » Series, 2011, 111). It analyses the modes of regulation of public space implemented by this type of activity.

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The relations between the courts and the correctional administration. (may 2012)

By Christian MOUHANNA.

In this paper, Christian MOUHANNA discusses some findings from a study of relations between the courts and the Correctional administration. The study received funding from the « Law and Justice » Research Mission. It was conducted with the collaboration of Joséphine BASTARD, Patricia BÉNEC’H-LE ROUX, Véronique LE GOAZIOU and Benoît GAUTHIER.

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Custodial facilities for juveniles : between institutional rationales and professional practices. Comparing Juvenile Correctional Facilities, Juvenile Wings in Correctional Centres and Custodial Educational Centres. (april 2012)

By Francis BAILLEAU.

Francis BAILLEAU discusses findings from a research project on custodial facilities for juveniles, conducted in collaboration with Nathalie GOURMELON (CIRAP-ENAP) and Philip MILBURN (Laboratoire Printemps, UMR CNRS-UVSQ). Their project received financial aid from the « Law and Justice » Research Mission. Kathia BARBIER and Nadia BEDIAR contributed to data collection.

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Sentence-serving within the community : caught between criminological diagnosis and flow management. (may 2011)


Xavier DE LARMINAT is preparing his doctoral thesis at the CESDIP and working as Temporary Teaching and Research Attaché (ATER) in political science at the University Versailles-Saint-Quentin. He discusses some of his findings on sentence-serving within the community.

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Measuring burglaries in France : victimisation surveys and police statistics since the mid 1980s. (march 2011)

By Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN and David BON.

Penal Issues pursues the publication of studies on crime trends. Following the issues on homicide (September 2008, XXI, 4), non-lethal personal violence (December 2008, XXI, 5) and personal theft (June 2010, XXIII, 3), the present paper, on burglary, is based on research by Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN and David BON on contract with the Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

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Measuring car-crime in france : victimisation surveys and police statistics since the mid 1980s. (december 2011)

By Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN and David BON.

This is the next of a series of presentations, by Penal Issues, of studies on crime trends. The series started with papers on homicide (September 2008) and non-lethal personal violence (December 2008), personal theft (June 2010), and burglary (March 2011). The present paper, based on work by Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN and David BON, on contract with the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, is devoted to car crime.

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Cooperation in policing Schengen area borders : the CzechRepublic/Austrian example. (october 2010)

By  Mathilde DARLEY.

Mathilde DARLEY is a researcher at the CESDIP. She reports on the findings of a study conducted between 2004 and 2007 on cooperation between police forces, in the framework of her doctoral thesis on the control of illegal immigration in Austria and the Czech Republic.

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Rape cases brought to assizes courts : typology and geographical variations. (september 2010)

By Véronique LE GOAZIOU and Laurent MUCCHIELLI.

Véronique LE GOAZIOU is a sociologist working as associate researcher at the CESDIP (CNRS). Laurent MUCCHIELLI, also a sociologist, is a senior researcher at the CNRS (CESDIP). The present study was conducted at the request of the DACG (Direction des Affaires Criminelles et des Grâces, The Bureau of Criminal Affairs and Pardons) of the Ministry of Justice, with support from the « Droit et Justice » (Law and Justice) Research Mission.

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Measuring personal thefts in france : victimisation surveys and police statistics since the mid-1980s. (june 2010)


This issue pursues the presentation of the CESDIP’s studies on crime trends, in the wake of a first issue on homicide (September 2008) and another on non-lethal personal violence (December 2008). The present paper, dealing with personal thefts, is based on research conducted by Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN and Lisa MICELI and funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

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Preventing absenteeism and dropping out : tension in the school system. (march 2010)

By Étienne DOUAT and Maryse ESTERLE.

Maryse ESTERLE is teacher and researcher at the teacher’s school (Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres) of the Université d’Artois and member of the CESDIP. Étienne DOUAT is teacher and researcher at the Université de Poitiers (GRESCO) and associate researcher at the CESDIP for the present research project. This paper describes the approach and main findings of an action research project on the prevention of truancy and school dropout within the Académie de Paris.

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Identity checks in paris. (january 2010)

By René LÉVY and Fabien JOBARD.

René LÉVY and Fabien JOBARD outline the results of the first French quantitative study of identity checks based on direct observation. This investigation was made possible by collaboration between the CESDIP and the Open Society Justice Initiative, which financed it. It was conducted in collaboration with Rachel NEILD and Indira GORIS of the Open Society Justice Initiative and John LAMBERTH of Lamberth Consulting.

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Violence in elementary schools. The difficult construction of an educational order. (october 2009)

By Cécile CARRA.

Cécile CARRA teacher and researcher working at the Nord/Pas-de-Calais Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres (teachers training school within the Université d’Artois), at RECIFES (Recherches en Éducation Compétences Interactions Formations Éthique Savoirs), and at the CESDIP, has been conducting research on deviant behaviour in schools for several years. She reports on the main findings of her latest study of violence in elementary schools.

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Combating money laundering : sentinels ans tools at work. (september 2009)


Gilles FAVAREL-GARRIGUES (CERI-Sciences-Po), Thierry GODEFROY (CESDIP) and Pierre LASCOUMES (CEVIPOF-Sciences-Po) report on a survey of anti-money laundering professionals. This issue of Penal Issues focuses mostly on the implementation of surveillance and reporting schemes by banking organisations.

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Living and working conditions in the police in 2003. A sociological survey. (june 2009)

By Geneviève PRUVOST.

Geneviève PRUVOST is a researcher at the CESDIP, and has authored Profession : policier. Sexe : féminin (Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 2007) and De la sergote à la femme flic. Une autre histoire de l’institution policière. 1935-2005 (Paris, La Découverte, 2008). She has conducted a socio-demographic survey on the working conditions in the police, in collaboration with Philippe COULANGEON and Ionela ROHARICK (Paris, IHÉSI, 2003).

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Juveniles in detention : narratives from prison and imprisoned narratives. (april 2009)


Gilles CHANTRAINE does research at the CNRS-CLERSÉ. He discusses some findings from a qualitative study on youths detained in France’s three « juvenile detention wings », conducted in 2007-2008 within the CESDIP, for an analysis and understanding of their social trajectories and how they relate, subjectively, to confinement.

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The cesdip’s fortieth anniversary. (february 2009)


That anniversary is special enough to merit an instalment of Penal Issues, with a presentation of the team, the main research themes, the structures within which our international collaboration is developed, and the documentary resource centre, all in their present-day form.

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Personal violence in france since the mid-’80s. (december 2008)

By Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN, Lisa MICELI, Emmanuel DIDIER.

Penal Issues has set out to publish the findings of the CESDIP research programme on crime trends. Issue XXI.4 dated September 2008 was devoted to homicides. The present issue is devoted to non-lethal personal violence, as studied by Renée Zauberman, Philippe Robert, Emmanuel Didier, Sophie Névanen and Lisa Miceli in the framework of a contract (open invitation to tender) with the National Research Agency.

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Homicides in france since the 1970s : statistical analysis and overall trends. (september 2008)


Laurent MUCCHIELLI, a sociologist and researcher at the CNRS and director of the CESDIP, works currently on personal violence. He has recently published : Une société plus violente ? Analyse socio-historique des violences interpersonnelles en France, des années 1970 à nos jours, Déviance et Société, 2008, 2, 115-146.

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The juvenile court judge in context : in search of balance. (june 2008)

By Benoît BASTARD and Christian MOUHANNA.

Benoît BASTARD, sociologist, researcher at the CNRS and member of the Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique in Cachan, has published a number of studies on the justice system and social work in families, including Les démarieurs (Paris, La Découverte, 2002). Christian MOUHANNA, sociologist and researcher at the CNRS/CESDIP, has repeatedly researched criminal justice and the police. His writings include Une justice dans l’urgence (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2007), in collaboration with Benoît BASTARD, and Police : des chiffres et des doutes (with Jean-Hugues MATELLY).

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Repression of use of illegal substances : an assessment. (march 2008)

By Marie-Danièle BARRÉ.

In this paper, Marie-Danièle BARRÉ summarizes the trend in drug policies and in some penal policy indicators over the last ten-odd years. She recalls the specific contribution of CESDIP surveys on the penal repression of drug use. These show the interrelations between this particular offence and the professional logics in policing, along with the limits of its actual use, both as a signal tool for health agencies and as an instrument for criminal investigation.

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Youth gangs and « trouble in the (housing) projects ». (january 2008)


Marwan MOHAMMED is a post-doctoral sociologist at the CESDIP. He recently wrote his doctoral thesis on « The role of families in the forming of youth gangs ». He also co-edited, with Laurent MUCCHIELLI, a volume entitled « Les bandes de jeunes. Des « Blousons Noirs » à nos jours », published by La Découverte.

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Chief public prosecutor : a strengthened professional identity. (november 2007)

By Patricia BÉNEC’H-LE ROUX.

Patricia BÉNEC’H-LE ROUX holds a doctorate in sociology. She is associate researcher at the CESDIP and for several years she has been researching mainly two fields : the sociology of juvenile justice and the sociology of professions (public prosecutors, lawyers, drug abuse workers). The present paper reports on some findings of an interdisciplinary study of changes in the profession of chief public prosecutor, conducted between April 2005 and June 2007.

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Judicial processing of juveniles : the case of rioters « déférés » in november 2005. (june 2007)

By Aurore DELON and Laurent MUCCHIELLI.

Aurore DELON has two Master’s Degrees in « Political Science Research » (University Versailles-Saint-Quentin). She is a researcher under contract. Laurent MUCCHIELLI, a sociologist and researcher at the CNRS, heads the CESDIP.

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Prison entries and length of detention. The diversity of the correctional systems situation in europe. (march 2007)


Marcelo F. AEBI, professor of Criminology at the University of Lausanne, Bruno AUBUSSON DE CAVARLAY, researcher at the CESDIP, and Natalia STADNIC, researcher in Criminology at the University of Lausanne, analyze the results of the 2005 SPACE I statistical survey of prison populations, conducted under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

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Victimisation and police statistics in the île-de-france region. (january 2007)

By Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN, Emmanuel DIDIER.

The CESDIP has a long history of research on victimisation and insecurity, including surveys conducted directly by the Centre, such as the city surveys discussed in the December 2006 (Questions Pénales, XIX.5) edition of Penal Issues, as well as secondary analyses on data provided by national and the regional public agencies. In this issue, Philippe ROBERT, Renée ZAUBERMAN, Sophie NEVANEN and Emmanuel DIDIER discuss their analysis of data from a survey conducted by the Institut d’aménagement et d’urbanisme de la région Île-de-France (IAURIF) in the Île-de-France region in 2003.

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Victimization and insecurity in urban areas. The 2005 surveys. (december 2006)

By Renée ZAUBERMAN, Philippe ROBERT, Sophie NÉVANEN, Emmanuel DIDIER.

The French Forum for Urban Security has commissioned the CESDIP, which has long been studying victimization and insecurity, to conduct five urban surveys on that subject in 2005. Sophie Nevanen, Emmanuel Didier, Renée Zauberman and Philippe Robert report here on some of the campaign’s findings.

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Violence in primary schools, as experienced by teachers and pupils. (september 2006)

By Cécile CARRA.

Cécile CARRA, teacher and researcher working at the Nord/Pas-de-Calais IUFM (Institut universitaire de formation des maîtres, the teacher training school) and the CESDIP, has been conducting research on juvenile deviance for several years. She reports on the main findings of a quantitative study on violence within the school system, conducted in schools in the North of France between 2003 and 2006.

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Relativity of and gaps in sources of statistics on pretrial detention. (june 2006)


Bruno AUBUSSON de CAVARLAY, a researcher working at the CNRS and member of the Monitoring Commission for Pretrial Detention since 2002, presents an analysis of statistics on pretrial detention1 and draws some conclusions. This discussion partially reproduces some developments to be found in the annual report. His comments on these statistical sources are purely personal.

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A distinctively french custom : recurrent pardons and amnesties. (march 2006)

By René LEVY.

René LEVY is research director at the CNRS. He has recently conducted a study on the French practice of granting collective pardons and amnesties, the most significant findings of which are outlined here.

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Some aspects of violence in social relations deliberate assault and battery entailing incapacity to work tried by a paris area correctionnel court in the year 2000. (january 2006)


Laurent MUCCHIELLI is a researcher with the CNRS. He teaches at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and heads the CESDIP. His work concentrates mainly on juvenile delinquency and interpersonal violence. The present study was conducted in collaboration with Rachel Pédejouan, statistician and student at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

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