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Criminology Conference

Xaverian students attended the annual Criminology Conference hosted at the Sheridan Suite.  The speakers presented an array of talks that discussed real life evidence and current practical research in the field of lie detection, domestic abuse survival and what led two former criminals to turn their lives around. All of which brought a sharp and stark message that the room we filled did not echo the reality of the impact and findings of criminal psychology.

Delegates began the day by being presented with statistics and evidence of the growing and increasingly life threatening effects of domestic abuse, including the terrifyingly high statistics including that 1 out of 5 teens experience domestic abuse in relationships. Dr Lyndsey Harris engaged students with her kahoot quiz that soon had the audience gasping at the prevalence of such issues; she presented evidence from case studies into survivors and their experience through the criminal justice system. Dr Irene Zempi presented her auto ethnography research, where she dressed in an Islamic burqa including the niqab, to experience the daily social lives of women she interviewed regarding Islamophobia.

Students gained an insight into the qualitative methods used and the rich data and experience that can be recorded from such research. Dr Zoe Walkington presented on the Psychology of lie detection, explaining how the polygraph has been decommissioned as a tool used in UK courts to serve as evidence of deception.

Students were given evidence for this including the complexity of human physiological responses and the conduction of these via the polygraph. For example, how fear and deception can appear to be the same on the ambiguous lie detector graph.

The day was brought to an end by the presentation from two retired criminals and authors, the “Mafia Princess” Marisa Merico; and Noel ‘Razor’ Smith author of “A few kind words and a Loaded Gun”. Marisa depicted her struggle choosing between the life of glamour with her father’s criminal family and the life of poor comforts with her mother. At 24 she was arrested for money laundering and now 25 years later she hosts talks to highlight the housing and care of women in prisons. Noel depicts his spiral into criminality and his experiences in prison during the 80’s, echoing the words of Marisa stating that prisons need reforms. He now sits as editor of the Prison Service Journal, shared nationwide amongst inmates in HMP.

Psychology Teacher, Miss MackIntosh said, “Above all our students left having really enjoyed the conference, especially the talks given by Mr. Smith and the psychologist – they were great speakers and we were fully invested in what they had to say.  The day was well organised and I would recommend others to attend lectures like this one.  We were given an insight on areas of psychology, criminal lives and the cyber world was really informative and easy to digest.”

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