Criminal Law and Criminology


The insecurity felt in various latitudes makes scientific dialog between the various criminal sciences pressing in the context of a renewed gesamte Strafrechtwissenchaft (Franz von Liszt).

The statute and function of contemporary Criminology - namely Empirical Criminology - has a decisive importance in relation to the strategies defined by Criminal Policy, in view of the control of crime, in terms of both high crime (organized crime, economic, and financial crime, environmental crime ), and ordinary crime (crimes against property, crimes against persons). Criminal Policy strategies that operate through the influence on the creation and interpretation of Criminal Law (in a broad sense, covering criminal law, criminal procedure, and execution of penalties) - the principles and rules of penal dogmatism, in a teleological-functional perspective, must be adapted to the social and technological evolution of crime - as well as in the area of action by the formal and informal monitoring bodies.


Overall goal: Constitute a system of interdisciplinary communication between three major scientific areas whose main purpose is to study crime and punishment. That is, it is a question of reactivating in a dynamic, current, and efficient way the project, which is not new, of the development of "Criminological Sciences", in the sense that they have defined since the 1930s in Portugal by Beleza dos Santos, Eduardo Correia, and Figueiredo Dias. Thus, it is intended to give a historical continuity to a fruitful project that, until the extinction of the Institutes of Criminology of the Ministry of Justice, produced works of national and international importance in a critical-constructive dialog between Criminal Law and Criminology, for about four decades.

Specific Objective: To clarify, through theoretical, dogmatic, and empirical research, the complexity of the criminal phenomenon in its current structural morphogenesis, and contribute: 

  1. To the definition of criminal policies supported by critical rationality;
  2. To its evaluation through the scientific method.
The Group has three Research Lines (RL):
RL1: Criminal law

Description: This research line, which is essentially theoretical, questions the great theoretical-dogmatic systems, from the finalism to the systemic-functionalism, in view of the need to transform criminal law in the face of the threats that current crime represents for the security of society and the state.

RL2: Criminal policy and punitiveness

Description: Its epistemological status within the Criminal Sciences can be summed up in the formula prescribed by Marc Ancel: the investigation of policies. Such research, essentially theoretical, has as its purpose a double opening: on the one hand, the opening of criminal law to systems and models of action and social control taking into account the history of the present time, namely the profound transformations seen in Western society from the 1970s on; and on the other hand, the opening to the empirical evidence produced by the different constituent disciplines of criminology.

RL3: Empirical criminology

Description: Criminology is restricted to its empirical aspect, that is, criminology that produces criminological knowledge through the scientific method deployed in quantitative methods and qualitative methods. Such methods apply to antisocial and pre-delinquent behavior, to the offender, to the victim, to criminal police agencies, to judicial decisions, to the penitentiary system and social reintegration, to repetition, and to deviant trajectories. They also apply to the scientific evaluation of policies and practices, namely through Experimental Criminology.


Ana Bárbara Pina de Morais de Sousa e Brito 0000-0001-8113-119X -
Ana Raquel Oliveira Pereira da Conceição 0000-0001-7384-4210 A41C-CC2D-40F8
António da Silva Rocha 0000-0001-6750-5802 D711-9834-7CC0
Cândido Mendes Martins da Agra 0000-0001-8703-5721 -
Fátima da Cruz Rodrigues 0000-0001-9578-8774 -
Fernando José dos Santos Pinto Torrão 0000-0002-6702-1194 461D-E48E-DC4A
Inês Maria Ermida Sousa Guedes 0000-0002-4804-9394 -
José Manuel Pires Leal 0000-0002-9201-9977 -
Josefina Maria Freitas Castro 0000-0001-7847-3826 FD1A-3729-3B4F
Manuel Augusto Alves Meireis 0000-0001-8603-0822 -
Marcus Alan de Melo Gomes 0000-0002-3699-5164 F117-CE45-2A66
Olga Cecília Soares da Cunha 0000-0001-9747-2343 -
Pedro José Piçarra Salreu 0000-0002-1062-3039 -
Rogério Gomes Osório 0000-0002-1072-3566 -
RP1: Philosophy of interdisciplinary links between criminal law, criminology, and criminal policies

Persons responsible: Cândido Mendes Martins da Agra, Josefina Maria Freitas Castro and  Manuel Augusto Alves Meireis

Description: Theoretical research will be developed through the regular organization of seminars participated by Law and Criminology researchers. The main objective is the interdisciplinary analysis of social problems and the definition of criminal policies.

RP2: Extremist violence from the perspective of developmental criminology

Person responsible: Hugo Morales Córdova

Description: This project is structured in three phases: The analysis of scientific literature on the radicalization processes; 2- The development of a conceptual and methodological framework supported by Developmental Criminology; 3- The analysis of radicalization trajectories and pathways.

RP3: Organized and Economic Crime

Person responsible: Fernando José dos Santos Pinto Torrão

Description: Elaboration of a monograph with the participation of researchers from various Iberian and South American universities on organized crime in Ibero-American space, highlighting their criminological background, the criminal policy strategies developed, the legal limits of criminal investigation, and the Critical analysis of the most important legal types of crime in this area.

RP4: Prison systems compared

Person responsible: Cândido Mendes Martins da Agra

Description: The Project has started in 2017 in partnership with the Faculty of Law and School of Criminal Sciences of the University of Lausanne. Ethnographic observations and surveys were carried out with the collaboration of students from the 1st Study Cycles in Criminology of the Lusíada University and Faculty of Law of the University of Porto.

RP5: The Law and the rationalities of theories, institutions and practices of formal social control

Person responsible: Cândido Mendes Martins da Agra

Description: The analyzes framed in this project follow the genealogical method of the philosopher Michel Foucault, aiming at a “history of the present”. Penal institutions, judiciary system and social control are the major objects of study.

RP6: Psychobiological predictors of positive functioning and adaptation to prison in prisoners and convicted of community work

Person responsible: Olga Cecília Soares da Cunha

Description: Collaboration with the project on "Psychobiological predictors of positive functioning and adaptation to prison in prisoners and convicted of community work", contextualized in scientific exchange with the Center for Research in Psychology for Development (CIPD - organic unit also integrated in the University Lusíada), the Center for Research in Social Work and Social Intervention (CLISSIS), the Center for Research in Psychology (CIPSI - organic unit integrated in the School of Psychology of the University of Minho) and the General Directorate for Reinsertion of Prison Services (DGRSP).