Department of Criminology

Department of Criminology


The Department of Criminology is the oldest research unit at the Institute of Legal Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. It was established in 1955, on the initiative of Professor Stanisław Batawia, who was an outstanding scholar and the founder of the Polish school of criminology.

The studies conducted by the Department of Criminology have always been interdisciplinary in nature, covering legal, sociological, psychological, educational and medical perspectives. The key topics studied by the employees of the Department have included diagnoses of criminality in Poland, with a focus on the characteristics of particular crimes and types of perpetrators, juvenile crime, recidivism, the social maladjustment of children and youths, restorative justice, victimisation and — recently — ‘crimmigration’ and crimes connected with the development of new technologies. The Department analyses the issues of changing definitions of crime and the changing scope of criminalisation. Its staff take part in the discussion on reactions to crime, as well as attempting to assess possible changes that could contribute to the abandonment of solitary confinement. For many years, scholars from the Department have been involved in the work of the legislative commissions and working groups responsible for formulating amendments of the law.

In 2018, the Departments’ studies dealt with the topic of facing the challenges of changing societies. These include research focused on both the perpetrators and the victims of criminal acts (in particular, the criminality of women and pornography). The victimological perspective is becoming a more and more important topic of the Department’s studies in the psychological and social aspects of victimhood. Another issue covers the criminality of juveniles, as well as the purposes and rules behind the courts’ treatment of juveniles. Other current research topics within the scope of the Department’s studies are imprisonment and the processes of human mobility or international migration from a criminological perspective.

The Department of Criminology edits the ‘Archives of Criminology’ (‘Archiwum Kryminologii’), a scientific journal first published in 1960. In 2018, an extended volume of the journal was released. Another journal issued by the Department — together with the Polish Society of Criminology — is the ‘Bulletin of the Professor Stanisław Batawia Polish Society of Criminology’ (Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Kryminologicznego im. prof. Stanisława Batawii).

Research projects conducted by the Department

  • ‘Criminality and crime control in the social and political reality’, funded by the National Science Centre, Poland; 2009–2013; principal investigator: Prof. Anna Kossowska; researchers: Konrad Buczkowski, Beata Czarnecka-Dzialuk, Witold Klaus, Anna Kossowska, Irena Rzeplińska, Paulina Wiktorska, Dagmara Woźniakowska-Fajst and Dobrochna Wójcik.
  • ‘SIC: A module multi-task system for the identification of foreigners with a module of risk analysis of victims of human trafficking’, funded by the National Centre of Research and Development; coordinated by the Criminology Department at the Institute of Law Studies, the Polish Academy of Sciences; partners: the University of Białystok, Medcore sp. z o. o.; 2014–2017; principal investigator: Prof. Irena Rzeplińska; researchers: Agnieszka Gutkowska, Witold Klaus, Barbara Namysłowska-Gabrysiak, Irena Rzeplińska, Monika Szulecka and Dagmara Woźniakowska-Fajst.
  • ‘Mechanisms of the creation and development of criminal careers’ funded by the National Science Centre, Poland; 2017–2020; principal investigator: Prof. Irena Rzeplińska; researchers: Konrad Buczkowski, Witold Klaus, Irena Rzeplińska, Monika Szulecka, Paulina Wiktorska, Justyna Włodarczyk-Madejska and Dagmara Woźniakowska-Fajst.
  • Ensuring public safety and order as a justification of the criminalisation of migration’, funded by the National Science Centre, Poland; 2018–2021; principal investigator: Prof. Witold Klaus; researchers: Witold Klaus and Monika Szulecka.
  • Victimisation of the homeless in Poland’, funded by the National Science Centre, Poland; 2018; principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Witold Klaus.
  • ‘Polish migrants deported from the UK’, funded by the British Academy; 2018; principal investigator: Prof. Dr Witold Klaus; investigators: Witold Klaus and Agnieszka Martynowicz.