Exclusion and inclusion through crime control: How perceptions of social class divisions among criminal justice agents shape crime control policy and practice


Crime control strategies in the Netherlands and abroad focus on socioeconomically underprivileged groups ? the poor and uneducated, homeless people, social housing tenants ? more than on privileged groups. Clearly, criminal justice reflects socioeconomic inequality. However, current criminology cannot fully explain how socioeconomic divisions work through in crime control. Studies offer one-sided explanations: social injustice usually is approached as a problem of exclusion, disregarding that crime control also aims to include underprivileged groups through resocialization. Studies on resocialization in turn ignore possible class bias. Other studies suggest that social divisions also shape inclusionary policies, but we know little about how this works. As a result, we have limited understanding of the conditions under which crime control results in social injustice.

This study proposes an integrated theoretical analysis and develops a new relational crime control theory. I introduce a contemporary notion of social class boundaries into the sociology of crime control. Moving beyond outdated class models, this new approach investigates whether and how exclusionary and inclusionary processes follow the same logic (interpreting and dealing with class divisions) and how the political and institutional context shape different outcomes ranging from repression (exclusion) to resocialization (inclusion). The results contribute to developing safeguards for equality in criminal justice.

A mixed-methods study in the Netherlands and the US investigates the perceptions and work practices of criminal justice agents involved in policymaking, law enforcement and corrections (with a focus on quality-of-life policing and early intervention programs for youths). Combining document analysis, surveys and ethnography, the study unravels how perceptions on class boundaries work through in various domains of the criminal justice system. The comparative approach helps to understand general mechanisms of boundary work in crime control, as well as context-specific factors such as the political and institutional context, ensuring wider relevance and applicability of new theoretical insights.


Hoofdstuk in boek

  • G van Eijk(2017): Over de muren van stilzwijgen pp. 241 - 254

Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • G van Eijk(2015): Sociaaleconomische ongelijkheid en het strafrecht: aanzet tot discussie PROCES pp. 282 - 287
  • G van Eijk(2017): Socioeconomic marginality in sentencing: The built-in bias in risk assessment tools and the reproduction of social inequality Punishment & Society pp. 463 - 481






Dr. G. van Eijk

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Departement Strafrecht en Criminologie


Dr. G. van Eijk


01/01/2014 tot 04/04/2019