Why did we choose CCLJ?
During semester 2 this year, Sophie Gresham and myself, Christine Maibom, interned at the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ), supervised by Julie Stubbs and Luke McNamara. Both of us chose CCLJ for similar reasons - we hope to work in criminal law/policy focusing on social justice issues and reform in our future careers. CCLJ was a great and new experience - for me, it was the first time working in a Centre focused on scholarship and research, and moreover being a new Centre, Sophie and I were the inaugural interns!
What did we do?
Over the course of the internship, we worked on a range of interesting and challenging projects. This included preparing a report on submissions made to the NSW Law Reform Commission on consent laws, assisting with the organization of the Critical Criminology and Social Justice Conference 2018, participating in roundtables and workshops hosted by CCLJ on issues such as the NSW consent laws and the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, and preparing articles and reflections for the newsletter/website. Sophie and I were pleased at the range of tangible, interesting and at times challenging work Julie and Luke offered.
Through working on these roles, I can see that our work has had a tangible benefit to the Centre, to their wider network and organizations working in the sector. We hope that in particular the report on the NSW consent laws will continue to prove a useful tool to the Centre as the Law Reform Commission’s review progresses.
What were the highlights?
There were many highlights working at CCLJ, however, one stand out for me was definitely helping and taking part in the CCSJ Conference. I felt the conference opened my eyes to the many different areas of expertise and interests of academics in criminology, which were all interesting and social-justice oriented. Moreover, the ideas presented were provocative and challenged my own ideas and assumptions; such as prison abolitionism, considering Australia without police, and urging lawyers to advocate for those affected by the structural social and cultural barriers in coronial inquiries into deaths in custody.
Any further reflections?
Having mostly worked in legal centres or law firms previously, where I worked directly with clients, I’ve reflected on the important and tangible impacts of research and scholarship to create law reform and policy change. While law firms can provide fast, tangible benefits for clients, research can also contribute to positive developments for those around you and stakeholders in the sector in the short-term as well as long term change in policy/law reform. It was also exciting to see how working in a centre with a strong reputation means that you can have more influence on policy, law reform with the potential to bring about and positive changes for the community.
Tips for new interns
For incoming interns, I would suggest thinking about your areas of interest prior to starting, because there are opportunities to shape the internship based on your interests. I also suggest trying to attend as many seminars and conferences as you can - it’s a great way to broaden your knowledge of criminology disciplines, and to meet a lot of academics around UNSW.
Christine Maibom, CCLJ Intern, S2 2018