The “Kriminologisches Journal” (KrimJ) is a quarterly scientific journal which is published by Beltz-Juventa. The journal features original scientific articles, discussion papers, practice and research reports on criminological theory and practice in German and English language. The thematic focus is on critical approaches to the structures and measures of social control bodies. All manuscripts undergo selective editorial and peer-review assessment prior to acceptance for publication. The peer-review process is strictly anonymous.

The “Kriminologisches Journal” is available both in print and online. Single issues and subscriptions are available at Beltz Juventa.

Issue 3/2016


Themenheft "Strafvollzug und Kritik" - Special Issue "Prison and Critique"











Thoughts on abolitionism today (German)

Überlegungen zum Abolitionismus heute

Knut Papendorf

The article starts with a presentation of abolitionism as a movement in the Nordic Countries in the end of the 1960s and the ramifications for the sociology of crime in the German speaking countries. Then the article looks at John Pratt´s assertion of a Scandinavian penal exceptionalism. Pratt´s view is again confronted with two critical country-reports from Denmark and Norway, which both have their focus on increasing punitivity and pain delivery. Next, the article discusses the thesis that Norwegian social sciences had for a too long time concentrated on the negative and abnormalities in society. Regarding prisons, this view is again confronted with the thesis that abolitionists can do both, fight for abolishing the prison and for a humane prison system. Finally, Mathiesen´s abolitionism as a stance concept is embedded in a broader discussion based on Marxist and liberation theories.


Hearing the voice of the estranged Other: Abolitionist ethical hermeneutics (English)

David Scott

This article explores the ethico-political justifications for hearing the prisoner voice from an abolitionist perspective. It starts by locating the interpretation of prisoner narratives within the specific moral context of the prison place and moves on to consider whether discourse ethics can effectively safeguard the voice of the prisoner. After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of discourse ethics and their application in liberal penologies, the discussion turns to the alternative critical theory of liberation ethics. Enrique Dussel (2013) has argued that we have an ethico- political responsibility to not only ensure material conditions are in place to facilitate voice but also to adopt the worldview of the powerless. Whilst such a position cannot be uncritically accepted, an argument is made for the selective adoption of the prisoner voice which is consistent with an abolitionist normative framework promoting emancipatory politics and praxis. The article draws to a conclusion by considering normative principles that can guide abolitionists when the prisoner voice is silenced.


Theory and Research of Prison Studies in German-speaking Countries. An Interjection (German)

Theorie und Empirie deutschsprachiger Strafvollzugsforschung. Ein Zwischenruf.

Holger Schmidt

The paper discusses observations on peculiarities and tendencies of prison studies in German-speaking countries and calls for an empirical approach, which is characterised by a theoretical, methodological and thematic pluralism and a greater sociological curiosity.


Critical reflection and reform proposals unrequested? (German)

Kritische Reflexion und Reformvorschläge unerwünscht?

Joachim Walter

For more than twenty years, the author was director of a large German penal institution housing juvenile offenders. He wrote countless reports to his superiors criticizing the situation and proposing reforms. He attended many meetings, conferences, and presentations in Germany and abroad and published more than 100 papers on criminology and penal reform. This essay connects to these reports and proposals and the reactions they garnered with policy-makers and the penal bureaucracy.


Book reviews:

Dominique Moran: Carceral Geography. Spaces and Practices of Incarceration (Richter)

Gabriele Kawamura-Reindl und Sabine Schneider: Lehrbuch Soziale Arbeit mit Straffälligen (Vietig)




Open-Access publications

Open Access publications

From issue 1/2022 onwards all English-language papers published in the Kriminologisches Journals will be made available as open access papers. The papers can be downloaded from the publisher's homepage or via content-select. Additionally the download links can be found if you click on the respective issues.

German papers can also be published via open access within the framework of the usual conditions of our publisher Beltz Juventa.

Changes on the Editorial Board

New editors-in-chief of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of Issue 2/2021the position of editor-in-chief passed over from Meropi Tzanetakis to Christine Graebsch and Jens Puschke.

Drugs and Digital Technologies

Call for Abstracts for a special issue of the KrimJ

Illicit drug markets are undergoing a significant transformation: digital technologies have a profound influence on how illicit drugs are accessed, and they have also changed information- sharing about drugs. In addition, the proliferation of information and communication technologies has changed law enforcement activity. Digitalisation also comes with rapid changes in communicative environments across time and geographic location. While online forums and other internet resources have massively increased the amount of available information and discourse on psychoactive substances for more than two decades, mobile phones, encrypted platforms, cryptocurrencies, social media and messaging applications have recently diversified the ways in which illicit drugs are distributed. This diversity includes hybrid forms of distribution, e.g. using social media applications to make physical appointments.


New Editorial Board

New Editors of the Kriminologisches Journal

As of January 1st 2021 the Editorial Board of the Kriminologisches Journal consists of Prof. Dr. Jens Puschke LL.M, Dr. Meropi Tzanetakis, Dr. Simon Egbert, Prof. Dr. Christine Graebsch, Prof. Dr. Dörte Negnal und Dr. Bernd Werse.