Dr Paul O'Mahony is a renowned criminologist and forensic psychologist. He has authored six books on Irish criminal justice policy, and is a founder member of the Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Drug Policy Action Group.
He has sent the following abstract outlining his planned lecture:
Many aspects of criminal justice demand a skeptical, even frankly cynical, response from citizens. Some of the more urgent problems are: the use and conditions of imprisonment; the class bias of the system and its failure to tackle the crimes of the privileged; the 'war' on drugs; and the failure to establish a reliable, genuine culture of human rights and accountability. These issues revolve around our values and principles, how honestly they are held and how effectively they are implemented. This paper critically examines the risk factors theory on the roots of criminality, which currently dominates academic thinking and government policy and spending. Despite its scientific credentials, this theory is deeply flawed and distorts perceptions in a manner that makes it easy to continue neglecting the fundamental mistakes in our approach to crime and punishment.