34th Baltic Criminology Seminar held in Vilnius

On 27-28 June this year, the Lithuanian Association of Criminologists, together with the Institute of Law of the Lithuanian Social Science Centre and the Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, organized the 34th Baltic Criminology Seminar "Criminology in a Changing Context: today's answers - tomorrow's questions?".

The two-day seminar was attended not only by seminar organizers from the Baltic States of Lithuania and Estonia, but also by criminology scholars from Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Ukraine.

On the first day, various topics were presented, ranging from crime trends in Lithuania, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prisons and criminal policy, criminal gangs - clans, the problems of ecological crime, the illegal drug trade in the Netherlands, theoretical reflections on corruption, and practical ones on the state's ability to confiscate criminally accumulated assets. The day ended with discussions on the geopolitics of cybercrime, hate speech, cybercrime, stalking, and women criminologists important to the history of criminology.

The second day also covered topics requiring systemic change: juvenile justice reform in Estonia; the treatment of juveniles who have committed criminal offences; self-censorship in the digital space. Parallel sessions on the second day offered insights from experts from Lithuania and Spain on the role of information systems in criminological topics and on ongoing international criminological projects. It was also possible to listen to a discussion among the criminological scholars present on the perspectives, benefits and implications of the Baltic Criminology Seminar in a complex geopolitical context.

Dr Simonas Nikartas, Senior Research Fellow at the Criminal Justice Research Unit of the Institute of Law, gave a presentation on "Lithuanian criminals serving sentences in England: attitudes and needs in a different socio-cultural environment", in which he talked about the peculiarities of the prisons studied, the problems faced by Lithuanian prisoners in prisons: the language barrier, the lack of interpreters, the fear of deportation, and the need for more intensive socialization. For example, prisoners would like more social and religious services, more frequent meetings with family members, and more communication with the Lithuanian community.


The event was also attended by Prof. Ilona Laurinaitytė, Assoc. Prof. Ilona Michailovič and Assoc. Prof. Liubovė Jarutienė, who presented the results of the study "Persecution in the close environment: perception, prevalence and response options in Lithuania" (PERARA). The researchers analyzed one hundred stalking judgments from 2016 to 2020, which showed that, before the amendments to the law on stalking prevention came into force, stalkers were most often prosecuted for threatening to kill a victim or for terrorizing a person, while additional charges were brought for actually injuring the victim or for defamation. In 76% of all cases, the accused was male and the victim was female. Statistics were also presented on the characteristics of the persecutors, the categories of specific persecutions and the nature of the punishment imposed on the accused. The problem of persecution and the relevance of the study itself were also reflected in the numerous questions posed to the authors.


Dr Skirmantas Bikelis, Senior Researcher at the Criminal Justice Research Unit, presented the main points of the seminar on latent corruption and the possibility of confiscating criminal assets.

A special issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal "Criminology Studies" will be published on the basis of the seminar presentations.