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Biko Agozino (born 27 July 1961) is a Nigerian criminologist best known for his 1997 book Black Women and the Criminal Justice System.[1]

Biko Agozino
Born (1961-07-27) 27 July 1961 (age 57)
Awgu, Enugu State, Nigeria
OccupationProfessor of criminology
EducationPhD in Criminology
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Notable worksBlack women and the criminal justice system (1997),
Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason (2003)


Early life and educationEdit

Agozino was born on 27 July 1961 in Awgu, Enugu State, Nigeria. He attended the University of Calabar where he gained a BSc in Sociology, the University of Cambridge where he gained a Master of Philosophy in Criminology, and the University of Edinburgh where he earned a PhD in Criminology.[1]


Agozino has been editor of the Interdisciplinary Research Series in Ethnic, Gender and Class Relations series of books from Ashgate Publishing. His 1997 Black Women and the Criminal Justice System: Towards the Decolonisation of Victimisation was the first of these. By 2008 over two dozen books had been published in the series.[2] He was appointed editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies and a member of the editorial board of Jenda: A Journal of West African Women's Studies and Culture.[1] Agozino is a founding member of the international governing council of the Lagos-based think tank the Centre for Democracy and Development.[1] In 2007, Agozino was appointed criminology unit coordinator and professor in sociology at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.[3][4]


Agozino's work explores the past and present impact of colonisation on the way in which racial and ethnic minorities are treated by justice systems worldwide.[5] His work develops a postcolonial perspective in African criminology.[6] Agozino challenges the criminology discipline to "decolonize" its theories and methods and to undo the harm that has been done.[7] In his introduction to Gabbidon's 2007 W.E.B. Du Bois on crime and justice, Agozino notes that "excessive punitiveness" in the criminal justice systems of the US, UK, South Africa and Russia has been increasing rather than reducing the problem of crime. He also noted the hypocrisy of British and American leaders in calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist as he was struggling with the terrorist apartheid regime in South Africa.[8] His work is theoretical in nature, discussing the development of criminology in western countries and their impact on non-western societies, particularly former colonies. It has rejuvenated the colonial perspective on race and crime.[9]

In his 1997 Black women and the criminal justice system Agozino notes the roles of race and ethnicity in negotiation of power within prison, where coloured people are greatly under-represented among prison officers and over-represented among inmates. He does not discuss the importance, at least in England, of the factors of class and geography.[10] His book also discusses fixed political positions on types of crime. He notes that when US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders said the government should seriously look into the experience of countries that had decriminalised drug addiction she was dismissed from her job by President Bill Clinton.[11]

A review of Agozino's 2003 book Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason concluded: ".., this is a book that deserves to be on all criminological reading lists, and it would be at home in any African centred studies course. It offers a generous amount of scholarly inquiry into an area that has paid scant attention to African and other “people of color’s” perspectives in the criminological discourse. It is therefore groundbreaking and a must read".[12] Another review of this book talked about the "complexity and creativity of this angry yet optimistic work".[3] A third review said "Henceforth, criminology will no longer concentrate in the study of crime and criminals, but will also include the study of justice".[13]


  • Biko Agozino (1997). Black women and the criminal justice system: towards the decolonisation of victimisation. Ashgate. ISBN 1-85972-643-7.
  • Biko Agozino, ed. (2000). Theoretical and methodological issues in migration research: interdisciplinary, intergenerational and international perspectives. Ashgate. ISBN 1-84014-557-9.
  • Biko Agozino (2003). Counter-colonial criminology: a critique of imperialist reason. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-1886-X.
  • Anita Kalunta-Crumpton, Biko Agozino (2004). Pan-African issues in crime and justice. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-1882-X.
  • Biko Agozino (2005). "Nigerian Women in Prison – Hostages in Law". In Julia Sudbury (ed.). Global lockdown: race, gender, and the prison-industrial complex. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95056-2.
  • Biko Agozino (2006). ADAM: Africana Drug-Free Alternative Medicine. ISBN 1-4116-6915-0.
  • Biko Agozino and Unyierie Idem (2008). "Chapter 4 The Militarization of Nigerian Society". In Chris Affor (ed.). Colonial systems of control: criminal justice in Nigeria. University of Ottawa Press. ISBN 0-7766-0666-2.
  • Biko Agozino (2010). The Debt Penalty. Lulu Enterprises Inc. ISBN 0-557-34094-2.


  1. ^ a b c d Biko Agozino (2006). "About The Author". ADAM: Africana Drug-Free Alternative Medicine. p. 145. ISBN 1-4116-6915-0.
  2. ^ Anne-Marie Singh (2008). Policing and crime control in post-apartheid South Africa. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. vii. ISBN 0-7546-4457-X.
  3. ^ a b Maureen Cain (December 2007). "Book Reviews: Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason". The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. 46 (5): 534–537. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2311.2007.00499.x.
  4. ^ "Professor Biko Agozino". University of the West Indies. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  5. ^ Shaun L. Gabbidon (2009). Race, ethnicity, crime, and justice: an international dilemma. SAGE. p. xi. ISBN 1-4129-4988-2.
  6. ^ Mary Bosworth, Carolyn Hoyle (2011). What Is Criminology?. Oxford University Press US. p. 251. ISBN 0-19-957182-1.
  7. ^ Martin O'Brien, Majid Yar (2008). Criminology: the key concepts. Taylor & Francis. p. 129. ISBN 0-415-42794-0.
  8. ^ Shaun L. Gabbidon (2007). W.E.B. Du Bois on crime and justice: laying the foundations of sociological criminology. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. x. ISBN 0-7546-4956-3.
  9. ^ Shaun L. Gabbidon (2010). Criminological Perspectives on Race and Crime. Taylor & Francis. p. 189. ISBN 0-415-87424-6.
  10. ^ Barbara H. Zaitzow, Jim Thomas (2003). Women in prison: gender and social control. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 146. ISBN 1-58826-228-6.
  11. ^ James Samuel Logan (2008). Good punishment?: Christian moral practice and U.S. imprisonment. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 240. ISBN 0-8028-6324-8.
  12. ^ Mark Christian (Spring 2006). "Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason. Biko Agozino. London: Pluto, 2003. 281 pp" (PDF). African Studies Quarterly. 8 (3). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2011.
  13. ^ Emmanuel C. Onyeozili (Spring 2005). "Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason by Biko Agozino. London: Pluto Press, 2003" (PDF). African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies. University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Retrieved 27 June 2011.