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Birkbeck academic recognised with prestigious award from Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

Dr Sappho Xenakis from the School of Law won the annual Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award from the US-based Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

A Birkbeck academic has been recognised for her teaching and research by a leading international association of criminal law education in the United States.

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) awarded Dr Sappho Xenakis with the prestigious Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award for 2017, recognising the work conducted at Birkbeck’s School of Law on the political economy of crime and punishment.

The award honours ‘distinguished accomplishments that represent issues related to critical criminal justice through scholarship, teaching, or service’ over a two-year period.

Dr Xenakis, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Assistant Dean for Research, said her work looks at the political nature of efforts to frame organised crime and corruption, which she feels is commonly overlooked.

She said: “Winning this award is humbling, given both the international reputation of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the achievements of previous winners of the award.

“But it also means such a lot to have my research, teaching and public engagement work considered in the round and to receive the Critical Criminal Justice Section’s commendation,” she added.

Dr Xenakis is the founding convenor of the MSc programme in Global Criminology and of the public Birkbeck Criminology Seminar Series. She is also a Co-Director of the Birkbeck Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies.

Dr Xenakis said: “More recently, my research has also been engaging with compelling and urgent debates about the causes behind the excessive use and stubbornly inhumane conditions of imprisonment.”

The ACJS promotes education, research and policy analysis within criminal justice for both educators and practitioners.

The award committee noted that Dr Xenakis' work and dedication in the area of critical criminal justice was ‘highly representative of the work we all strive to accomplish'.

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