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EKU Criminal Justice Student Published in International Journal

Melissa Pujol

Melissa Pujol, who graduated with her MS in criminal justice in 2015, has just earned her first publication in peer-reviewed journal Critical Criminology, the official journal of the Division on Critical Criminology of the American Society of CriminologyAs one of the most recognized journals with critical content,Critical Criminology boasts both a national and international readership approaching issues of political, economic and social justice from a range of alternative perspectives.

Co-authored with Dr. Victoria Collins who is an Assistant Professor in the School of Justice Studies, the research tackles the dual role of the state (the United States) as both perpetrator and prosecutor of the crime of arms trafficking. This is done by examining the apprehension and trial of notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout (made famous by the Hollywood film Lord of War).

Having secured funding through the School’s internal grant program, Dr. Collins approached Melissa about working on the project when she was assigned to Collins as her graduate assistant. “She was such a hard worker and showed tremendous interest in the process of researching and writing that she was a natural choice for the project” said Collins. Melissa then spent hours engaged in the process of categorizing and analyzing newspapers and political documents for discourse on the apprehension and trial of Viktor Bout.

The core finding of the research was that “Bout, very publically, has become the ‘‘bad apple,’’ and his prosecution not only shifts focus away from the reality of the crime, but also serves US state interests. These interests include their utilization and involvement with an international arms broker who was also working with other groups whose political interests counter those of the US, the maintenance of state legitimacy as a controller of crime, and the preservation of an illegal arms market that allows for covert interactions in a global economic system that is characterized by free market enterprise and the acquisition of capital.” Dr. Collins and Melissa conclude that “Ironically, US state involvement as both a facilitator and controller of arms trafficking crime, has suppressed the real nature of the offense which includes their own culpability.”

The paper went through several edits and revisions before it was accepted for publication by Critical Criminology on June 24th, 2015 and was then published electronically on July 10th 2015. The full article can be viewed here

Melissa is currently considering options for furthering her graduate education and is leaning towards attending Law School. As noted by Dr. Collins “independent of the school Melissa decides to attend, this is a considerable achievement for a student in a MS program, and one that should be both recognized and celebrated. I am very proud of Melissa and am excited to see all the great things she is sure to accomplish in the future.”  

Published on July 16, 2015

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