Stockholm Prize in Criminology Awarded to David Farrington

British Professor’s work in early crime prevention recognized

Is it possible to prevent people’s future crimes early in life? That is one of the issues the 2013 winner of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, David Farrington, has sought to answer.

The 2013 Stockholm Prize in Criminology will go to a champion of early-life crime prevention programmes that have been tested with strong evidence. David Philip Farrington of Cambridge University, author of hundreds of scientific articles on delinquent development and early crime prevention and such books as Saving Children from a Life of Crime, was selected by the International Prize Jury to receive the Prize.

"Farrington's work is an excellent example of how good criminological research can help to reduce crime and increase people's quality of life", says Jerzy Sarnecki Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University and one of the two chairmen of the prize jury.

As Director of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development for over three decades, Farrington has followed up over 400 men born in South London in the early 1950s and contacted them in every decade of their lives, producing hundreds of research reports.

Farrington has uniquely combined his own original research with reviews of other research to influence governments around the world. He has focused his recommendations to policymakers on four key conclusions:

  1. Risk and protective factors for crime appear very early in life
  2. Children at high risk can be helped from birth
  3. A wide range of programs for children under 10 are very effective
  4. Investing in early-life programs saves vast sums of taxpayer money

Farrington has drawn both scholarly and public attention to the crucial early chances to counteract major risk factors for crime. Effective interventions include: Pre-natal care for mothers at risk, early childhood parental support, Pre-school programs for at-risk children, Parent training for parents of disruptive children, and skills training for the children to teach them to think before they act.

Farrington and his colleagues showed that the cost-effectiveness of these programs was often unanticipated; for example, a pre-school program saved $11 for every $1 expended just because of reduced crime and criminal justice costs up to age 40.

The Jury also noted Farrington's influence on the funding of specific programs by national governments, such as the early life programs mounted by Prime Minister Tony Blair in the United Kingdom.

The Stockholm Prize in Criminology is a prestigious international award that aims to highlight the work of researchers who contribute to significant developments in criminological research. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall, in conjunction with The Stockholm Criminology Symposium in June next year.

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