Special Issue "Human-Animal Interactions and Issues in Criminal Justice: Toward a Humane Criminology"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 16168

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kimberly Spanjol
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Iona College and Integrated Justice Solutions, New Rochelle, NY 10801, USA
Interests: animals and criminal justice; animal protection and public policy; behavior modification; cognitive behavior therapy; environmental criminology; ethical animal-assisted therapy; humane education; the human-animal bond; intersectionality and social justice; social emotional learning, and species justice
Dr. Cathryn Lavery
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University and Integrated Justice Solutions, New York, NY 10038, USA
Interests: sexual violence; human trafficking and social justice
Dr. Heath Grant
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Integrated Justice Solutions, New York, NY 10019, USA
Interests: resiliency, development and crime; social and emotional learning; social crime prevention; place based policing; reintegration programs; transformational change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The year 2020 has brought global threats to public health not experienced in over a century, continued tragedy and outcries for racial justice, and the intensification of the climate crisis with unprecedented environmental catastrophes. The vulnerability and interconnection of all life is becoming increasingly apparent to a greater number of people. These events render the importance of addressing these interconnections, including past and present relations between humans and animals in all social realms, more pressing than ever. 

The advancement of science in understanding the sentience of other animals and the deep bonds that humans share with them has exploded in recent decades. However, ethical blind spots continue to permeate the dominant culture and obscure the recognition that the plight of countless non-human species is a social justice issue.  Furthermore, the routine exploitation, victimization, and commodification of animals is interconnected and intertwined with other social justice issues that also impact humans, animals, and the environment. These ethical blinds spots are demonstrated in and impact the fields of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Relevant public policy, value systems, attitudes, beliefs and behavior that shape criminal justice interventions and legislation and impact animals is an under explored area of criminological research. This Special Issue on “Human–Animal Interactions and Issues in Criminal Justice: Toward a Humane Criminology” seeks broad contributions of original research of application and theory of human–animal interactions in Criminal Justice. This includes issues that impact companion, wild, and farmed animals and topics that include but are not limited to the following:

  • The ethical inclusion of animals in the treatment and support of people involved in the criminal justice system, particularly those that also benefit animal participants (e.g., working with rescued animals in law enforcement community relations, treating trauma victims, prison animal programs, courtroom support animals, legal advocates for animal victims of abuse);
  • An examination of social, psychological, political, and economic issues related to legislation and enforcement of harms and crimes that impact both humans and animals (e.g., LINK violence, trafficking networks, consumption demands and the commodification of animals for their meat, fur, skin, body parts, service, entertainment value);
  • Theoretical or conceptual frameworks that explore human–animal interactions and the human–animal bond in criminal justice, criminology, legislation, and related public policy;
  • Research that addresses the connections of both marginalized human and animal voices and victims.

Dr. Kimberly Spanjol
Dr. Cathryn Lavery
Dr. Heath Grant
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animals and criminal justice
  • animals and public policy
  • human–animal bond
  • human–animal interactions
  • human–animal protection
  • humane criminology
  • LINK violence
  • One Health model
  • species justice
  • wildlife criminology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
The Intertwined Well-Being of Children and Non-Human Animals: An Analysis of Animal Control Reports Involving Children
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11020046 - 27 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2974
Abstract
The well-being of children and non-human animals (subsequently referred to as animals) is often intertwined. Communities are unlikely to be able to best protect humans from abuse and harm unless they are working to ensure the safety of animals who reside there as [...] Read more.
The well-being of children and non-human animals (subsequently referred to as animals) is often intertwined. Communities are unlikely to be able to best protect humans from abuse and harm unless they are working to ensure the safety of animals who reside there as well. This study is the first to utilize U.S. animal control report data and narratives to explore how children are involved in cases of animal cruelty. Children engage in abusive acts toward animals, alone, or along with peers and/or adults. Children were found to inflict abuse most often with their hands or feet as opposed to with a weapon or other object. A total of 85% of animal cruelty perpetrated by children was toward a dog or cat. Key differences between how children are involved in acts of cruelty to companion animals compared with acts involving wild animals are described and warrant further study. The cases of animal abuse or neglect reported by children were among the most severe in the study, and often involved an adult perpetrator known to the child. Neighbors rarely report child abuse or intimate partner violence in the United States, but 89% of the animal cruelty cases involving children in this study were reported by a neighbor or passerby. Although children involved in reports as a perpetrator or reporter were most often in early adolescence, children involved in cross-reports between child welfare and animal control were often under the age of 5. Improved cross-reporting and stronger partnerships between human and animal welfare agencies may provide opportunity for earlier intervention and is likely to better many human and animal lives. Full article
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Article
The Organization of Animal Protection Investigations and the Animal Harm Spectrum: Canadian Data, International Lessons
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11010022 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2124
Abstract
This paper offers the first overview of the Canadian animal cruelty investigations landscape. First, the public and private sector organizations responsible for enforcement are explained, followed by examination of the implications of this patchwork for reporting suspected cruelty. Key statistical data are presented [...] Read more.
This paper offers the first overview of the Canadian animal cruelty investigations landscape. First, the public and private sector organizations responsible for enforcement are explained, followed by examination of the implications of this patchwork for reporting suspected cruelty. Key statistical data are presented about the types of issues and cases and investigator responses. Initial recommendations are then proposed, and the value of the animal harm spectrum is discussed, including how it can be mobilized to strengthen the operations of animal protection work and animal welfare policy across nations. Full article
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Article
Dogs as Therapeutic Partners, Not Therapeutic Tools: Ethical Considerations for AAT in the Correctional Setting
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(11), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10110432 - 10 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2058
Abstract
Although the benefits of animal assisted therapy for people are well established, the ethical considerations for the welfare and safety of the non-human animals involved are not. Without an accrediting body responsible for creating and overseeing national standards, therapy animal organizations are forced [...] Read more.
Although the benefits of animal assisted therapy for people are well established, the ethical considerations for the welfare and safety of the non-human animals involved are not. Without an accrediting body responsible for creating and overseeing national standards, therapy animal organizations are forced to create their own guidelines, creating inconsistencies within the field. Based on interviews conducted with therapy teams who have worked with Parenting, Prison & Pups (PPP), a parenting program provided to incarcerated jailed women that is integrated with the use of animal-assisted therapy (AAT), this article explores the extent of ethics training offered for AAT teams and will examine how agencies and handlers promote and ensure the safety of canine partners, especially in a correctional setting. The research suggests that specific protocols put forth by individual AAT organizations, which can provide for a national model, can afford for the safety and comfortability of canine partners, especially in a corrections environment, but implies that in order to maintain consistency and increase therapy team professionalism, national standards are a necessity. Guidelines are specifically essential for mental health professionals, who lack guidelines from their own accrediting bodies’ code of ethics, and may incorporate non-human therapy partners into their work settings, without proper supervision. Full article
Article
Using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to Study Animal Cruelty: Preliminary Results (2016–2019)
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100378 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2497
Abstract
On 1 January 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began collecting data on crimes involving animal cruelty from law enforcement agencies that participate in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in the United States (U.S.). Prior to 2016, such crimes either went [...] Read more.
On 1 January 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began collecting data on crimes involving animal cruelty from law enforcement agencies that participate in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in the United States (U.S.). Prior to 2016, such crimes either went unreported or were lumped into an “all other offenses” category, making it difficult to understand who was committing these crimes and whether there were any connections between crimes perpetrated against animals and crimes in which there was a human victim. Animal cruelty has cruelty has been linked to certain types of human violence and, therefore, it is important for authorities to know more about the people committing these crimes. Preliminary results from an analysis of the first four years (2016–2019) of data are presented. The age and gender of animal cruelty offenders, the time of day when most crimes occur, and the most common locations where offenses take place are presented. The type of animal cruelty involved and details of the other crimes that co-occur with animal cruelty are discussed. The limitations of the data are shared and recommendations are made about other types of data that could be collected in the future to add value to the data. Full article
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Article
Humane Education’s Effect on Middle School Student Motivation and Standards-Based Reading Assessment
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100376 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2397
Abstract
Students educated in the juvenile justice system face acute challenges such as lack of motivation and negative attitudes toward school. Schools in the system are expected to provide rigorous, Common Core-standards-aligned instruction. Humane education—lessons that nurture kindness and empathy towards humans, animals, and [...] Read more.
Students educated in the juvenile justice system face acute challenges such as lack of motivation and negative attitudes toward school. Schools in the system are expected to provide rigorous, Common Core-standards-aligned instruction. Humane education—lessons that nurture kindness and empathy towards humans, animals, and the environment—has been shown to motivate students and encourage their pro-social sentiments. This randomized control trial (with constraints) study of 192 12- and 13-year-old students from New Jersey asked students to complete five standards-aligned reading passages with text-based questions. The experimental-group assessments contained humane education themes and the control-group assessments had non-animal related high interest topics. The passages were equated in reading level, word count, etc. Analyses of the results showed that not only did students who received humane education passages do better overall, but also did much better on questions addressing specific Common Core Reading for Information standards. This study can be a starting point for applying and researching the effectiveness of humane education on the juvenile justice population, specifically, because they are expected to learn standards-aligned curricula and are in particular need of academic motivation and pro-social encouragement. Full article
Article
“Humane Criminology”: An Inclusive Victimology Protecting Animals and People
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(9), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10090335 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
To those who primarily associate the word “humane” with “humane society”, its connection to criminology might appear to be unrelated. The origins of “humane” and “humane society” are complex and primarily reflect an abiding interest in human and societal welfare rather than animal [...] Read more.
To those who primarily associate the word “humane” with “humane society”, its connection to criminology might appear to be unrelated. The origins of “humane” and “humane society” are complex and primarily reflect an abiding interest in human and societal welfare rather than animal welfare. Consequently, the origins and evolution of the current American association of humane societies with animal protection—as contrasted to its British association with rescuing victims of drowning—remain shrouded in mystery. A new focus that returns to the original roots of “humane” describing the implications of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect as cause for human and societal concern due to their potential as sentinel indicators and predictors of interpersonal violence, rather than a strict focus on animals’ welfare or their alleged “rights”, holds great promise for advancing legislation and community programming that improves the well-being of human and non-human animal species and the prevention of crime. Full article
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