n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Louk Hulsman
Founding father of penal abolitionism and gardener of the world (1923 - 2009) : editorial

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Generally speaking, Louk worked in and was interested in many facets of the field that dealt with conflict and problematic situations. This was a logical consequence of his continuous analysis of the criminal justice system and of penal law enforcement in particular. Clearly, if one requires an overview of all the "actors" involved in these incidents, every person involved - the victim as well as the perpetrator, and the surrounding social circle would have to be taken cognisance of (even though the relevant institutions forgot to involve them). Against this background it is my intention to refrain from using too many so-called "institutional" terms, since it is well-known that Louk was of the opinion that it is impossible to describe self-experienced events factually by means of professional judicial or legal language. In fact, one of the most important lessons he sought to convey was related to the precise use of language and an awareness of its significance or meaning.

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