Institut für Kriminologie

The Institute of Criminology: A brief history

1962 - 1986
(under the leadership of Hans Göppinger)

The Institute of Criminology (IfK) was founded in 1962 at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, as the first criminological research institute in Germany. Founder and first head of the institute was Hans Göppinger who was also a full professor for criminology. He was trained in, and represented, the two areas which foremost influenced German criminology up to the seventies: criminal law and psychiatry. Research focus of the era Göppinger was the “Tübinger-Jungtäter-Vergleichsuntersuchung” (TVJU; Tübingen’s Comparative Study of Young Delinquents). This study aimed to gain empirically validated basic knowledge about the delinquent as an individual for the first time. The findings led to conclusions regarding the scientific concept of criminology altogether, as well as the practice of criminal justice.

1986 – 2011  (under the leadership of Hans-Jürgen Kerner)
In October 1986 Hans-Jürgen Kerner took over the position as head of institute. He continued the work on the TJVU to further study the participants’ ongoing lives along with their (re-)offences to draw conclusions about recidivism in general and its long-term development. In addition the data was successfully related to those of international developmental studies which smoothed the way for a comparative analysis. The change of the leadership also brought a re-orientation and widened spectrum of research areas at the institute. Work then focused on issues such as crime prevention, juvenile delinquency and the impact of social changes on delinquent behavior. All in all Kerner’s research concentrated on the individual and individual dispositions and values.

since 2011  (under the leadership of Jörg Kinzig)
Jörg Kinzig has headed the Institute of Criminology since 2011. Besides maintaining the institute’s traditions he also focuses on criminal sanctions, where he deals with the question of how the state should react reasonably to serious crimes. At the moment, the legal reality of criminal justice is to be explored within a project concerning plea bargains. More research projects regarding the penal system (e.g. “Muslims in Juvenile Detention”) or concerning current criminal policy issues (e.g. violence in football) complete the range of topics.