Professor of criminology awarded Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Date

    Mon 4 Apr 22

portrait photo of Professor Nigel South

The British Society of Criminology is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award 2022 to Professor Nigel South, Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex, in recognition of half a century of work in academic and real-world criminology.

Professor South was one of the first criminologists to highlight the consequences of the privatisation of policing and criminal justice in the UK. In the early 1980s, he worked with MPs and pressure groups to campaign for regulation of private security companies, door security, and private investigators.

Throughout the 1980s, Professor South worked at the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence and, alongside colleagues there, was a leading commentator on drugs issues and policy, and among the early champions of the ‘harm reduction’ approach. From 2004-06, he was a member of the independent Royal Society of Arts ‘Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy’.

Since the mid-1990s, his work has focused on the area of Green criminology and he is one of a small number of founding figures in this new field. This partly reflected an intellectual interest in the question of why criminology and public health fail to engage effectively given the dynamics of exclusion and poverty that drive many shared problems related to pollution, drugs, alcohol, housing, and social injustice. These connections have been even more relevant in the pandemic.

Professor South has published more than 30 books and journal special issues as author, co-author, editor or co-editor, and over 200 articles and book chapters. He is currently European Editor of Critical Criminology, and an Associate Editor of Deviant Behavior. He has previously served on the editorial boards of Sociology, The International Journal of Drug Policy, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice and The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. From January 2015 to August 2021, Professor South was Director of the Centre for Criminology at Essex, and he is a member of the Essex Centre for Environment and Society, Human Rights Centre, and Transitional Justice Network.

Professor South has provided mentoring and support to others via community activities, PhD supervision and employment of early career researchers on funded projects. In management roles he brought the strengths of a sociological and criminological perspective to various projects and partnerships, including work with the NHS, developments at new university campuses in HE ‘cold spots’ in Southend and Ipswich, widening participation initiatives, and support for schools in areas of multiple deprivation, as well as coordinating a knowledge-exchange partnership with an NHS social enterprise promoting community-based service provision. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Open Road, the drug and alcohol services charity.

President of the BSC Professor Sandra Walklate said: “ Nigel’s contribution to criminology is both nationally and internationally recognised and this award is one small way in which the Society recognises the enormous value of his contribution to the discipline throughout his career both in the UK and elsewhere. It is very well-deserved.’

The British Society of Criminology’s Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Professor South on June 29th during the Society’s annual conference hosted in conjunction with the University of Surrey.