(Re)producing Guilt in Suspect Communities: The Centrality of Racialisation in Joint Enterprise Prosecutions


Joint enterprise (JE) is an extraordinary legal device deployed to punish and (re)produce those who are frequently presented as threatening the normative boundaries of the British state. In acknowledging the global relevance of over-representation and the use of collective punishment, this paper presents the accounts of prisoners who have been convicted under JE laws across England and Wales. Analysis reveals a particular process of criminalisation through police and crown prosecution teams’ construction of the ‘gang’ narrative in courtrooms to drive the disproportionate punishment of members of negatively racialised communities. Of concern, the findings reveal that young Black men in particular are at risk of being convicted and punished for offences they did not commit. This paper empirically demonstrates how such racial injustice originates from a series of targeted and criminalising policies and practices.


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Published: 2020-08-05
Pages:116 to 129
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How to Cite
Clarke, B. and Williams, P. (2020) “(Re)producing Guilt in Suspect Communities: The Centrality of Racialisation in Joint Enterprise Prosecutions”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 9(3), pp. 116-129. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v9i3.1268.

Author Biography

Manchester Metropolitan University
 United Kingdom

Becky is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests include the gendered and racialised experiences of penal and welfare policies, processes of ‘othering’ and criminalisation, and the construction of knowledge (and ignorance).