From 18th to 21st September 2019 VICESSE will participate at the EUROCRIM conference in Gent, Belgium (see https://www.eurocrim2019.com). Three researchers will present the findings of their research: Aram Bajalan and Marion Neunkirchner will present the findings of their master theses in the field of Sociology of Law and Criminology and International Human Rights Law, Inside Austrian Prisons: The Use of Projectile Electrical Discharge Weapons within a Deliberation Process and The Genesis of the Human Smuggling Section of the Aliens Police Act. Additionally, Norbert Leonhardmair will participate in a panel discussion on the topic Conflicting Definitions on Domestic Violence in Austria, discussing the main findings of the currently running EU-Project IMPRODOVA.
Inside Austrian Prisons: The Use of Projectile Electrical Discharge Weapons within a Deliberation Process (Aram Bajalan)
While international and regional human rights standards warrant the respect, the protection and the fulfilment of basic prisoner rights, the occurrence of violence inside prisons cannot be neglected. In such situations, authorities face the challenge to apply force in order to prevent serious injuries or death and to maintain order and security. In this context the emergence of new weapon technologies labelled as 'less-lethal' seems to guarantee safer application of force. A special role must be attributed to projectile electrical discharge weapons, devices which look and function like conventional handguns. More and more law enforcement agencies around the world seem to rely on such weapons inside and outside prison pointing towards their overall advantages compared to other force options. Against this backdrop, the goal of the present research is to analyse and evaluate the current practice inside Austrian prisons regarding the use of 'Taser' in the light of relevant international and regional human rights standards. Based on literature review and expert interviews a detailed analysis and enhanced understanding of the phenomenon could be achieved, thereby contributing towards increased awareness and capacity on how to effectively prevent potential human rights violations ultimately assisting the implementation of a dignified justice system.
The Genesis of the Human Smuggling Section of the Aliens Police Act (Marion Neunkirchner) in the criminal policy discourse is reconstructed from a functional-conflict theory perspective. The interpretive analysis follows the social constructivist Labeling-Paradigm and reconstructs the connection between criminal policy measures against smuggling and the discursive construction of human smugglers. Following a review of the secondary literature on the Aliens Police Act, it has been determined how the people smuggler is discursively constituted by means of documentary analysis. They are constituted as rational, criminally organized and abominable criminals. An interview, which has been used as a case study, with a legally convicted offender has been conducted. The analysis of this led to the outcome of the situational elements of a criminally relevant act on the one hand and the merger of a criminal organization on the other hand. The reconstruction of the genesis of the human smuggling section finally shows its restrictive development in the context of transnational Europeanization embedded in the crime policy discourse dominated by issues of security and control.
Definitions of "Domestic Violence" vary significantly across different frontline practitioner sectors in Austria. Beyond differences in formal provisions, the practical mandate tends to define, focus, and confine the phenomenon as understood by different actors in the field. Overcoming these impediments seems to be a necessary step to improving the cooperative response to cases of DV. However, the analysis of organisational and professional constraints make clear the necessity of different approaches, outlooks, and strategies. These articles seeks to identify those impediments, that cannot be eliminated, and bridge these gaps to render the understandings themselves conducive to cooperation.