Criminology draws knowledge and perspectives from a range of disciplines such as law, sociology, psychology, psychiatry and history. Initially, criminology had a strong practical focus: its role was to advise governments on issues such as policing, the management of prisons, sentencing and offender treatment. Concern with policy and practice remains, but criminologists now work in a much wider range of fields including crime prevention, corporate and white-collar crime, business regulation, drug policy and consumer and environmental protection. Criminology doesn’t take crime and criminal law for granted. As an academic discipline it continually questions why different societies define and respond to crime in different ways, and why approaches to punishment and other forms of social control have varied so much from era to era. Increasingly criminologists also study the ways cultures depict crime, whether in newspapers, television and other mass media or in films, novels and art.
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