In current scholarly migration debates the overrepresentation of certain groups of migrants in the criminal system is a central subject of debate. The American lawyer Stumpf argues that membership theory explains so-called crimmigration: the convergence of migration and criminal law. Membership theory provides decision makers with justification for excluding individuals ... (Show more)
In current scholarly migration debates the overrepresentation of certain groups of migrants in the criminal system is a central subject of debate. The American lawyer Stumpf argues that membership theory explains so-called crimmigration: the convergence of migration and criminal law. Membership theory provides decision makers with justification for excluding individuals from society, using immigration and criminal law as the means of exclusion (Stumpf 2006). Van der Leun introduced the term crimmigration in Dutch research. She argues that this new approach would inevitably revise the idea of renowned Dutch toleration towards migrants (Engbersen & Van der Leun 2007, 443; Wermink et. al 2005). The question of over-representation is considered a recent phenomenon that is related to the large migration flows since the late 1950s.
There are clear indications, however, that the courts systematically discriminated against immigrants before the 20th century. De Koster and Reinke emphasized the interrelationship between migration and crime as a continuous issue of official concern from the 16th century onwards (De Koster & Reinke 2016). Research for various regions and periods in Europe demonstrates that distinctions between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ often resulted in biased policing and criminal prosecution. In most countries poor migrants in particular were associated with criminal behaviour and disrupting public order (Blanc-Chaléard 2001; Van Leeuwen 2000; Winter & Lambrecht 2013).
Furthermore, the early modern judicial system was characterized by legal inequality and biased prosecution policies. Moreover, the implementation of vagrancy laws created a practice of policing which specifically targeted outsiders. Vagrants and minorities such as gypsies and Jews were increasingly labeled a criminals (especially thieves) and outlawed in certain regions in early modern Europe. Endeavour to control unwanted newcomers gave rise shaped the development of urban and territorial police forces. Pioneering work on London in the 18th century demonstrates clear discriminatory patterns towards Irish migrants, which reflects patterns of stigmatization in society (King 2013; Godfrey et al. 2008). Examinations on 18th-century Holland suggest that immigrants increasingly became overrepresented amongst the accused when the economy started to decline (Faber 1983, 238; Balvers 2014).
For the Dutch Republic no systematic overview for the relationship between migrants, the police and the criminal justice exists. The Netherlands are often portrayed as a society with a relative open and tolerant attitude towards migrants. In the 17th century the Dutch Republic offered refuge to religious exiles from other countries and the 19th century is often described as age of a ‘liberal migration regime’. This will study the interrelationship between the Dutch ‘migration regime’ and the position of migrants before the criminal courts employing the conceptual framework of crimmigration. Was the image of a tolerant nation also reflected in the prosecution and punishment practices of Dutch cities? (Show less)