Le CESDIP est un laboratoire de recherches du CNRS, un service d’études du ministère de la Justice et, depuis le 1er janvier 2006, un laboratoire de l’Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin.

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CESDIP is the major venue for the study of criminal justice and deviance in France, and one of the leading research organizations dedicated to the study of crime in Europe. A division of the French Ministry of Justice as well as an affiliate of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin (UVSQ), the Center is in a unique position to connect academy, policy and research. Since its creation in 1976, CESDIP has worked to provide practitioners, policy-makers and students with a scientific approach to criminal justice.

A multidisciplinary center with representatives of all the social sciences (sociology, political science, law, economics, demography and statistics), CESDIP is a diverse community comprising more than 30 research fellows, 11 PhD students, 3 research engineers and a large technical and administrative staff. CESDIP researchers work on a wide range of topics, including : victimization and fear of crime ; juvenile delinquency and prevention ; history of crime, criminal justice, and the sciences of deviance ; criminal statistics ; police organizations, policing and security policies ; professions within the penal field ; and prison.

This vibrant intellectual community is a key player in the international development of criminal sociology. The Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativités (GERN), a subdivision of CESDIP, is in charge of federating the Center’s international network. Since 1985 GERN has come to coordinate about 60 research organizations across Europe. GERN also maintains strong partnerships with major research centers in Brazil, India and Canada. GERN has recently carried through a cross-national research program, Assessing Deviance, Crime and Prevention in Europe (CrimPrev), within the European Union’s 6th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (2006-2009). CrimPrev brought together 31 research organizations in 10 EU Member States and more than 500 researchers. Since 2002 our Center is also part of a Joint European Laboratory with the Max-Planck Institut of Freiburg-im-Breisgau and the Centre Lillois d’Études et de Recherches Économiques et Sociologiques (CLERSÉ).

Police studies are one of the Center’s principal areas of expertise. CESDIP researchers have largely contributed to the scientific literature on : urban riots, the feminization of police forces, New Public Management and the production of police statistics, the history of colonial policing, police and discrimination, Contempt of Police charges, police-community relationships, cooperation between police forces and other criminal justice institutions, and merger plans of local police forces in France. New lines of research also include : police unions, police management, and alternative security initiatives such as the creation of night correspondents in the banlieues or the development of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems.

CESDIP regularly conducts major national and cross-national surveys, and plays a central role in Europe in the quantitative research on crime, victimization and insecurity. We ushered victimization surveys in France in the 1980s, by conducting its first nationwide survey on self-reported crime victimization, and by supervising a series of regional victimization surveys in the 1990s and the 2000s. Since the 1990s we have worked in close collaboration with the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) to promote and analyze the annual national victimization survey, now an official, state-sponsored investigation. This effort has brought French victimization surveys to the same level of scientific excellence that can be found in the UK and in the US. From 2007 to 2011, CESDIP, within the framework of an ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) project, is carrying out the secondary analysis of all existing victimization surveys in France. CESDIP is also the depositary of the statistical archives of the French Ministry of justice. Known as the Davido database, after André Davidovicth, a pioneer in French criminal sociology, this unique collection serializes the Compte général de la justice criminelle from 1831 to 1981.

We are dedicated to making this scholarship available to the general public, in a format easily accessible to non-specialists. Penal Issues, a quarterly publication in the form of a 4-page bulletin, provides an overview of the most recent investigations completed by CESDIP researchers. Penal Issues is simultaneously made available online, in French and in English. The Center’s editorial activities naturally extend to scientific publications. No less than four international, peer-reviewed scientific journals are published by CESDIP. Besides Déviance et Société, the Center’s historic publication since 1977, CESDIP also supports Crime, History & Societies (a publication of the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice, a scientific forum cofounded by CESDIP), the Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines, and Champ Pénal/Penal Field.

CESDIP houses the largest specialized library on crime and justice in France, with more than 16.500 titles, 80 scientific journals, 900 electronic resources and a database of 30.000 bibliographical references. An online catalogue and rich intranet contents are provided by the Center. This rich collection is one of the most important in Europe, along with the Centre for Criminology at Oxford University and the Max-Planck Institut für Strafrecht in Freiburg-im-Breisgau.

CESDIP is involved in several research projects, educational missions and collaborative committees with the Ministry of Justice and at UVSQ. CESDIP researchers are active in the formation of magistrates and other personnel of the Ministry at ENM (École Nationale de la Magistrature) and ENPJJ (École Nationale de Protection Judiciaire de la Jeunesse). Our members also offer professional and research courses in two masters programs at UVSQ.


M. Mouhanna Christian