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).

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
Pace University and Integrated Justice Solutions, New York, NY, 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 papers will be 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 1200 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.


  • 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 (1 paper)

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“Humane Criminology”: An Inclusive Victimology Protecting Animals and People
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(9), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10090335 - 07 Sep 2021
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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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