My name is Kate Moss and I am Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications at Wolverhampton University. My specialist areas are human rights, criminal justice and crime reduction.
I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with an LLB (Hons) degree in Law. I obtained a place to study at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge where I graduated with an MPhil in Criminology in 1989.
I was appointed Lecturer at the Law School, Staffordshire University in January 1990. Aside from my teaching and other duties, I have always been committed to the student experience and to access to higher education. As a result I undertook various types of professional development training which included becoming harassment and bullying network advisor and a trained Mental Health Review Tribunal lay panel member. I introduced to the Law School a student mentoring scheme, initiated the School’s policy on the recruitment of access students and students with disabilities and gained the Professional Development Diploma in 2000.
In 1993 I registered part time at Manchester University for a PhD with Professor Ken Pease in the [then] Department of Social Policy. The research for this thesis was carried out in medium secure psychiatric facilities where I had access to confidential patient files and locked wards. I completed this work in 1997 and had it later published in book form. My active research and publication profile dates from that time.
Between 2001 – 2007 I was based in the 5*A Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University where I acted as Programme Director for the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from 2001-2004. I was a member of the Social Science and Humanities Faculty Board and was a member the Teaching Development Sub Committee from 2001-2004.
My educational background in law, criminology and social policy has shaped my main research interest, which is the balance between the right to security and the right to liberty, with special emphasis on torture and detention without trial. I believe one of the major questions facing contemporary society in the areas of political theory and practice, law, philosophy and human rights is whether there is an acceptable balance between national security needs and the protection of civil liberties. My research has focused in my two most recent books on a range of what I see as the creeping powers of the executive, some less dramatic than others, but all of them important elements of what I consider to be burgeoning fear-driven law and practice. My particular interest has been on the use of legislation to facilitate crime control which has passed with relatively little academic evaluation and the restrictions imposed on people by the criminalising of behaviour that in many cases has long been held to be reasonable.
In my most recent book – Moss (2011) Balancing Security and Liberty: Human Rights Human Wrongs – I tackled some aspects of the debate about torture. Specifically my interest was in the legal prohibition of torture and assessing how far this is designed and deployed to prevent contemporary abuses of the ideals of the rule of law and essential civil liberties. I discussed mechanisms for evading the law on torture, the circumstances in which this occurs and the complex moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding its use. Whilst writing this book, it came to my attention that one of the most crucial questions relating to the issue of torture has not yet been addressed. Namely, what is torture? Why has academic discourse avoided a discussion that seeks to define torture? The legal definition of torture is defined by the state, and torture is historically perpetrated on the greatest scale by the state. What then is the link between the state definition of torture and state ideology, and why has this discouraged the academic discussion of other definitions of torture? What are the differences between the state definition of torture, and that which the public would consider to be torture? As a result of this I am currently working on two papers that address these issues.