Our research

The Centre for Criminological Research is a leading research centre for criminology and criminal justice in the UK.


The Centre has strong international links with research centres and criminal justice organisations across the world. It is, for example, the UK lead member for GERN, the Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativités, the key European research network of some 40 university research centres and research institutes.  The Centre supports the European Society of Criminology Early Stage Researchers Working Group and was a founding supporter of this group.

Our research strengths

CCR is geographically located in the School of Law but has members from across the University, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the centre. We also have members external to the University on our mailing lists (e.g. criminal justice practitioners, policymakers and charities) who are regularly invited to our events.

We have established strengths in the following areas: police and policing, penology and punishment, inequalities in the criminal justice system, youth justice, historical criminology, victims, socio-legal perspectives, comparative and international criminology, technology and criminal justice.

Owing to our particular strengths in police and policing research, we have formal links with external stakeholders through the Sheffield University Policing Research Group and the N8 Policing Research Partnership.

Our projects

Research projects span most areas in criminological and criminal justice research, with people collaborating across disciplines, as well as undertaking excellent research of the highest international quality within disciplines.

A Decade of Policing Outsourcing: Revisiting the Lincolnshire Police-G4S Strategic Partnership 
Adam White

Find out more about this projectDr Adam White

This research examines the long term impacts and legacies of the largest police outsourcing deal in UK history: the Lincolnshire Police-G4S Strategic Partnership.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

An investigation into racial bias in court case outcomes in England and Wales
- Angela Sorsby

Find out more about this projectDr Angela Sorsby

The project uses de-identified magistrates’ and Crown Court datasets to increase our understanding of ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system. Increasing our understanding of ethnic disparities, and identifying potential explanations, is a crucial step in addressing these disparities. There is a moral imperative to further understand and address these disparities, as set out in the UK Government’s Lammy Review. The research will casts light on the relationship between court outcomes and ethnicity, after controlling for other variables in the datasets. The research also identifies whether any disparities are different for men and women.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Bhutan justice project - Mark Brown

Find out more about this project

Dr Mark Brown

Since 2018 I have worked with JSW Law, which is Bhutan's first law school (est. 2015) and where the country's sole criminal law academic resides. The aims of this project have been twofold. First, to support justice and rule of law through collaboration with local partners on research to support better criminal law and justice practice. Second, to learn from Bhutan's indigenous approaches and Buddhist visions of justice to seed new thinking within global discourses.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Bribery of Public Officials - a comparison between the UK, US and China 

Find out more about this projectThis comparative study examines criminal law solutions to grey-area bribery in the UK, US and China. Whilst there is a rich amount of comparative research on bribery and corruption between the three jurisdictions, such comparative research from a criminal law perspective is still an underdeveloped area. This study attempts to contribute to this area by adopting a functional comparative approach, examining not only the statutes and judicial decisions, but also criminal policies and criminal law theories advocated by scholars which have played an important role in shaping the law and when courts are interpreting certain statutory provisions, particularly in China.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Conceptualising and evaluating the impact of policing drug markets - Matthew Bacon & Xavier L'Hoiry

Find out more about this project

This research project is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and South Yorkshire Police. The research focuses on and seeks to advance the concept of ‘harm reduction policing’. This involves the adoption of evidence-based policies and practices which aim to reduce the adverse health, social, and economic consequences associated with drug use, drug markets, and efforts to control them through the criminal justice system.

To study the policing of drug markets through the lens of harm reduction, the research is concerned with four key questions: (1) How do the police perceive and prioritise harms associated with drug markets? (2) How do the police define success in policing drug markets? (3) How do the police evaluate the impact of their interventions on drug markets? (4) How can the police improve performance indicators to incorporate a wider range of drug-related harms?

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Designing rehabilitative prison environments - Mark Brown

Find out more about this projectDr Mark Brown

Effective rehabilitative prison environments are not merely the flip side of poor ones: reducing overcrowding, for example, is a necessary but in no way sufficient condition for effective rehabilitation. It is only recently that prisons researchers have begun to piece together the essential characteristics of an effective rehabilitative prison.

The project aims to better understand and develop policy and practice guidance on conditions conducive to effective rehabilitation in prison. It is being undertaken with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and in 2023 completed small field research studies in England, Nigeria and South Africa.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Disproportionality: Exploring the Nature of Ethnic Disparities in Sentencing through Causal Inference - Jose Pina Sanchez, Ana Morales-Gomez, Eoin Guilfoyle, Sara Gisella Geneletti Inchauste

Find out more about this project

Disparities in the criminal justice system have been well documented across jurisdictions, offence types, and sentence outcomes. However, the dominant view amongst sentencing scholars is that the observed ethnic disparities cannot be considered definitive proof of discrimination. In this project we seek to develop a new causal framework with which to take research on ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system out of its current impasse, illustrate how the hypothesis of discrimination in sentencing is potentially testable, and collaborate with key criminal justice agencies to create more robust evidence and inform any necessary reforms.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Do Remote Workers Deter Neighborhood Crime? Evidence from the Rise of Working from Home - Jesse Matheson, Brendon McConnell, James Rockey & Argyris Sakalis

Find out more about this project

This project provides quantitative estimates of the causal relationship between the rise in working from home and the 30% decrease in burglaries since 2019. We do this using crime and working from home data for 6,837 neighborhoods across England and Wales.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Mitigation and Risk in Restorative Justice - Joanna Shapland, Jamie Buchan, Steve Kirkwood & Estelle Zinsstag

Find out more about this project

The idea behind the project on mitigation and risk in restorative justice was to find out about the risk mitigation strategies experienced restorative justice facilitators use when risks to participation in restorative justice are identified for any participant or other person, as required by international instruments. There has been almost no research on this. The areas considered included how facilitators identify risks (including in serious and complex cases), what (if any) instruments they use, and their experience of the effectiveness of different risk mitigation measures.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Overcriminalisation and the Mythic Functions of Criminal Law - David Hayes

Find out more about this project Dr David Hayes

This theoretical research project explores the ways in which criminal law fulfils 'mythic functions' - socio-cultural roles that anthropologists associate with myths in a variety of different human cultures. By exploring these functions, the project attempts to explain the origins of the cluster of phenomena known as 'overcriminalisation' in contemporary Global Western societies, with a particular focus on contemporary conditions in England and Wales.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Police drug diversion: A realist, impact, process and economic evaluation - Matthew Bacon & Alex Stevens

Find out more about this project

This research project is an evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of police-led diversion (PDD) schemes for drug-involved suspects. A team of academic, policing, health and service user partners will evaluate PDD schemes that are already operating in three areas; Durham, Thames Valley and West Midlands. People on the schemes are assessed, then referred to education, treatment or support (as needed) with an ‘out of court disposal’, like a warning, which does not create a criminal record.

We will use data already collected by the police, NHS, and drug treatment services to assess the impacts of diversion on crime, hospitalisations and engagement with drug treatment. We will compare the outcomes for people eligible for diversion in the three areas to the outcomes of similar people in matched areas which do not yet use PDD (Humberside, Hampshire and Greater Manchester). In order to learn how PDD schemes work in practice, we will carry out interviews and focus groups with the people who work with these schemes, including police officers, drug treatment providers, service users and their families. We will also examine how equitable the effects of PDD are (e.g. by ethnicity and gender).

Partners in the project bring a range of skills and include the Universities of Sheffield, York and Loughborough, the Open University, Bradford Institute for Health Research, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Thames Valley Police, Durham Police and the charity Use Voice.

People with direct experience of being policed play a key role in this project. They have collaborated in designing the research, especially in creating our plans for research with service users. They will be equal partners in the collection and analysis of data. They will help share the results and our work on translating them into changes in policy and practice.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Policing Neoliberalism - Austerity, Authoritarianism, and the Police in Britain - Malte Michael Laub

Find out more about this projectDr Malte Michael Laub

Policing Neoliberalism is a book project, currently under contract with Oxford University Press. It provides a cutting-edge study of the relationship between policing, neoliberalisation, and authoritarianism by bringing together historical and conceptual analyses with case studies of policing in marginalised communities in south London as well as insights and methods from criminology, critical political economy, sociology, geography, and urban studies.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Postcolonial penalities - Mark Brown

Find out more about this projectDr Mark Brown

The project examines the challenges faced by societies that achieved independence from colonisers but have struggled to escape their colonial heritage. This is particularly acute in the domain of punishment and control, as reflected in the continuing prominence of colonial laws, institutions and infrastructure (eg, prison facilities) in many parts of the global south. My work on the persistence, or stickiness, of colonial logics in postcolonial India was awarded Theoretical Criminology's best article prize in 2017 (Postcolonial penality: Liberty and repression in the shadow of independence, India c. 1947).

I am currently working with colleagues from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi) on colonial-postcolonial continuities of control experienced by nomadic hunting communities at the periphery of contemporary Indian society. 

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Probation’s evolving frontline: An oral history of probation paraprofessionals - Gwen Robinson, Jane Dominey & Emily Rose Hay

Find out more about this project

Probation’s evolving frontline: An oral history of probation paraprofessionals is a two-year (2023-2025) Leverhulme funded project that aims to reveal the hidden history of the probation paraprofessional and bring new perspectives to the history of the service. This is an interdisciplinary project which seeks to examine the roles and experiences of ancillary workers, probation service assistants and probation service officers in England and Wales since 1968 through oral history interviews and archival research.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Prison Voices - Jim Chamberlain

Find out more about this projectJim Chamberlain 

Prison Voices is a multidisciplinary project which explores how the criminal justice system may silence the voices of those engaged in it, how and why this constitutes an injustice, and how this is a particular concern within the prison system. We consider how this kind of injustice affects its victims and its perpetrators, and ways in which, by education or management or training or by other means, it may be alleviated.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Rehabilitating Probation - Gwen Robinson (Co-Investigator)

Find out more about this projectProject website

Professor Gwen Robinson

Rehabilitating Probation: Rebuilding culture, identity and legitimacy in a reformed public service is a three-year (2022-2024) ESRC funded research project that aims to examine the implementation, experiences and consequences of a significant and unprecedented programme of public service reform that has brought formerly outsourced probation services back into the public sector.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Scrutinising discriminatory police misconduct in the Metropolitan Police - Layla Skinns

Find out more about this projectProfessor Layla Skinns

This exploratory project examines one of the ways in which discriminatory misconduct is scrutinised in the Metropolitan Police Service through misconduct hearings. In particular, I examine the form this misconduct takes, how it is responded to through misconduct hearings and the wider implications for policing. To do this, the project draws on publicly available information, including details of upcoming hearings, observation of hearings, written verdicts and media sources.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Sentencing and diversity: how do ethnicity and gender impact on the requirements and outcomes of sentences served in the community? - Angela Sorsby

Find out more about this projectDr Angela Sorsby

The project aims to improve our understanding of ethnicity and gender in relation to the requirements of community-based sanctions. Better understanding of these relationships has been identified as crucial by HM Inspectorate of Probation’s thematic inspections in relation to gender and ethnicity. The project therefore allows for better informed policy development. The project uses regression analyses to examine the relative effectiveness of different requirements of community-based orders - assessed in terms of successful completion and the likelihood of future offending - in relation to ethnicity and gender, while controlling for other variables such as age and offence.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Spatial Networks of Neighborhood Violence - Mohammed Aleinzi, Patrick Sharkey, Gwilym Pryce & Nathan Hughes

Find out more about this project

This project utilises network methods to understand the factors that link neighbourhoods in the co-movement of crime trends. We challenge the traditional concept of neighbourhoods as isolated units and highlight the importance of considering neighbourhoods as nodes in a larger network of spatial relations. Three mechanisms for interdependencies between neighbourhoods are examined: spatial proximity, shared underlying characteristics associated with violence, and flows of movement across neighbourhoods. Our empirical analysis of the co-movement of neighbourhood violence in Chicago confirm the importance of these three mechanisms, and emphasise the importance of understanding the connections between neighbourhoods when designing policies to reduce crime.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

The Social Construction of 'Evil' in Ireland: 1860-2020 - Ciara Molloy

Find out more about this projectDr Ciara Molloy

This project examines the nature, extent and impact of the concept of 'evil' in an Irish context during the period 1860 to 2020. It is divided into three main parts. The first part of the project (‘See no evil’) considers the evolution of evil through print media, focusing on the manifestation and meaning of the concept in the pages of the Irish Times newspaper between 1860 and 2020. The second part (‘Hear no evil’) examines folklore beliefs surrounding evil during the late 1930s, as captured through the lens of the Schools’ Collection, part of the National Folklore Collection held by University College Dublin. The third part (‘Speak no evil’) analyses how the term evil was mobilised during Oireachtas (parliamentary) debates between the 1920s and 2010s.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Understanding criminality in the private rented sector and co-producing solutions - Julie Rugg, Xavier L'Hoiry & Loren Parton

Find out more about this project

This project examines the affordances of private rented sector as a space which facilitates criminal behaviours and exacerbates vulnerabilities. The project is a cross-university collaboration involving universities in York, Sheffield and Newcastle, as well as a housing charity based in Bradford. The research will engage with criminal justice actors (police, lawyers, judges) and other practitioners (local authority) to better understand criminal activities in this context, to develop interventions and to disseminate best practices.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Victim-survivor views of the causes of crime, the aims of justice, and recovery - Diana Batchelor

Find out more about this project

People who have been victimised often ask “why?”: why the crime happened or why they were targeted. Yet we know little about people’s own answers to such questions, and about how these thought processes affect (or are affected by) their views of justice and their recovery. This collaborative research project based in Indonesia and the UK explores the relationship between beliefs about the causes of victimisation and victim-survivor experiences in two different legal and cultural contexts.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Watch Groups: Citizen-led Policing, Digital Surveillance & Vulnerable Groups - Xavier L'Hoiry, Keith Spiller & Amy Stevens

Find out more about this project

Watch Groups may be understood as self-mobilised citizen-led groups who perform policing and surveillance functions in response to perceived security shortfalls. These groups often target irregular migrants, ‘suspect’ young people or alleged paedophiles. The growth of Watch Groups carries potentially far-reaching and harmful consequences for those falling under their surveillant gaze, including violence, vigilantism or stigmatisation. This project will use an ambitious multi-methods approach to empirically examine the activities and impacts of five Watch Groups. The study will fill an existing research gap in this area and inform regulatory responses to the myriad and growing challenges linked to Watch Groups.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Project archive

Changing Practitioner and Policy Approaches to the Supervision of Offenders in the Community

Research Lead - Joanna Shapland

This research was comprised of 3 projects:

First Project:

The quality of engagement in probation practice (with Tony Bottoms, Stephen Farrall, Fergus McNeill (Glasgow University), Camilla Priede and Gwen Robinson) 

Project duration: July 2010 to June 2012
Funding awarded by the National Offender Management Service

This research was split into three further projects: developing ideas about probation staff views on the quality of probation supervision; a literature review; and observations of practice. The literature review has been completed and presented to NOMS, and has been published by the Ministry of Justice and the University of Sheffield in 2011. Two journal articles have been published on quality in probation supervision and more are in preparation.

Second project:

Evaluating SEED (Skills for Effective Engagement Development Project) training on one-to-one probation supervision (with Stephen Farrall, Fergus McNeill (Glasgow University), Gwen Robinson and Angela Sorsby)

Project duration: February 2011 to December 2013
Funding awarded by the National Offender Management Service

The research includes observation of training sessions and questionnaires for attending practitioners, questionnaires to service users and in-depth interviews with a smaller sample, and analysis of compliance data. NOMS has published a summary of the staff views, and a book chapter gives further details. Further publications are in progress, and analysis of the observational data on probation supervision sessions is ongoing. In 2019 it was decided to roll out SEED to train probation staff in the National Probation Service, and Joanna Shapland was asked to provide video content to accompany the programme.

Third project:

STREAM: Strategic Targeting of Recidivism Through Evaluation and Monitoring (with NOMS, Angela Sorsby, and partners in Romania and the Netherlands)

Project duration: December 2012 to October 2014
Funding awarded by the EU Commission Directorate-General Justice

The project involves three workstreams, one of which is looking at the implementation of SEED in Romania and making a comparison with its evaluation in England. SEED is a training programme for probation staff that takes place over a one year period, and includes professional development. The evaluation of that implementation falls to us, directing university partners in Romania, and using our instruments. The interim report from the project is on its website, as is the presentation to the final conference in Malta. Publications are in progress.

Project outputs

Sorsby, A., Shapland, J. and Durnescu, I (2018).  ‘Promoting quality in probation supervision and policy transfer: evaluating the SEED programme in Romania and England’, in P. Ugwidike, P. Raynor and J. Annison (eds)  Evidence-based skills in criminal justice: international research on supporting rehabilitation and desistance.  Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 193-216.

Shapland, J., Sorsby, A., Farrall, S. and Priede, C. (2017)  ‘Experiencing supervision in England – on licence and on community sentences’, in R. Armstrong and I. Durnescu (eds)  Parole and beyond: international perspectives of life on parole.  London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 19-48.

Sorsby, A., Shapland, J. and Robinson, G. (2016)  ‘Using compliance with probation supervision as an interim outcome measure in evaluating a probation initiative’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 40-61, DOI: 10.1177/1748895816653992

Sorsby, A., Shapland, J. and Durnescu, I. (2014)  External evaluation of the Skills for Effective Engagement and Development (SEED) project in Romania, at http://www.stream-probation.eu/uploaded_files/SEEDS%20Study%20Fianl%20Report.pdf

Sorsby, A., Shapland, J., Farrall, S., McNeill, F., Priede, C. and Robinson, G. (2013)  Probation staff views of the Skills for Effective Engagement Development (SEED) project.  National Offender Management Service Analytical Summary, at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/analytical-summary-probation-staff-views-of-the-skills-for-effective-engagement-development-seed-pilot

Sorsby, A., Shapland, J., Farrall, S., McNeill, F., Priede, C. and Robinson, G. (2013)  Probation staff views of the Skills for Effective Engagement Development (SEED) project.  Sheffield, Centre for Criminological Research Occasional Paper no. 4.  Sheffield: University of Sheffield, at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.293093!/file/probation-staff-views-seed.pdf (47pp)

Robinson, G., Priede, C., Farrall, S., Shapland, J. and McNeill, F. (2013) ‘Understanding “quality” in probation practice: frontline perspectives in England & Wales’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, DOI 10.1177/1748895813483763, published in print 2014 vol. 14(2), pp. 123-142.

Robinson, G., Priede, C., Farrall, S., Shapland, J. and McNeill, F. (2012)  ‘Doing “strengths-based” research: Appreciative Inquiry in a probation setting’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, DOI 10.1177/1748895812445621, published in print 2013, vol. 13(1), pp. 3-20.

Shapland, J., Bottoms, A., Farrall, S., McNeill, F., Priede, C. and Robinson, G. (2012)  The quality of probation supervision – A literature review: summary of key messages.  Ministry of Justice Research Summary 2/12.  London: Ministry of Justice, at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/research-and-analysis/moj-research/quality-of-probation-supervision.pdf

Shapland, J., Bottoms, A., Farrall, S., McNeill, F., Priede, C. and Robinson, G. (2012)  The quality of probation supervision – A literature review.  Sheffield: Centre for Criminological Research Occasional Paper no. 3.  Sheffield: University of Sheffield, at http://www.shef.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.159010!/file/QualityofProbationSupervision.pdf (55pp)

Changing the course of justice for victims and offenders - Joanna Shapland

Changing the course of justice for victims and offenders

Professor Joanna Shapland

Almost 20 years ago, in 2001, Professor Joanna Shapland and her research team at the University of Sheffield took on a momentous research project. They were to evaluate three restorative justice schemes involving serious offences in England and Wales and the effect they had on perpetrators’ reoffending and victims’ needs. This research was the first major evaluation of its kind in the world. Two decades later this work has moved further afield and is now changing the way Scotland approaches rehabilitation and justice. 

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Courtroom practices in the postcolony - Arushi Garg

Courtroom practices in the postcolony

This programme of research seeks to understand courtroom practices in Indian trial courts,
focusing specifically on the role and experience of prosecutors, judges and victims.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

 Devolving Probation Services

Project duration: March 2014 to November 2015
Funding awarded by the ESRC

Project funding
ESRC LogoDr Gwen Robinson's project 'Devolving Probation Services: An ethnographic study of the implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda', was conducted jointly with researchers at Liverpool John Moores University. The project was supported under the ESRC's pilot Urgency Grants Mechanism, which enables researchers to pursue an opportunity to conduct research in relation to an unexpected event – an opportunity which would be lost if the application went through the usual ESRC process. This project explored the impacts on probation staff of the changes resulting from the devolution of probation services, a development which was announced by the government in autumn 2013 and implemented in spring 2014.

Project outline
The Probation Service in England & Wales existed for more than 100 years as a public body, playing a key role in the criminal justice system. The public sector Probation Service was responsible for supervising offenders subject to community-based sentences as well as large numbers of offenders who are subject to mandatory supervision at the end of a prison sentence. In 2013 the Probation Service supervised approximately 220,000 offenders in the community and employed more than 16,000 staff. In 2013 the Ministry of Justice announced plans to implement a policy which would see approximately 70% of the work carried out by the public Probation Service being outsourced to other providers, including private sector companies.

The first stage in the process involved the creation of 21 'Community Rehabilitation Companies' (from 1 June 2014) which would be owned by the Ministry of Justice for a period of several months, prior to being offered for sale to a variety of potential providers, including private companies.

This project set out to examine this significant development in one part of the country, providing a case study of the 'devolution' of the majority of probation services. It looked in detail, in one metropolitan area, at the process and implications of moving the bulk of probation work (and staff) from the public Probation Service to a Community Rehabilitation Company with an uncertain future. The project sought to understand this process from a variety of perspectives, including those of senior managers involved in running the Company and probation workers engaged in supervising offenders. The researchers attended and observed management meetings, collected and analysed policy documents and conducted interviews with staff at all levels within the organisation. The research provides a detailed picture of a significant development in the criminal justice system and, more broadly, the process of 'outsourcing' a public service.

Project outputs
Robinson, G., Burke, L. & Millings, M. (2017) ‘Probation, privatisation and legitimacy’, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 56, 2: 137-157.

Burke, L., Millings, M. & Robinson, G. (2017) ‘Is constructive practice still possible in a competitive environment? Findings from a case study of a Community Rehabilitation Company in England and Wales’, in P. Ugwudike, P. Raynor & J. Annison (eds.) Evidence-Based Skills in Criminal Justice: International Research on Supporting Rehabilitation and Desistance. Bristol: Policy Press.

Burke, L., Millings, M. & Robinson, G. (2017) ‘Probation migration(s): Examining occupational culture in a turbulent field’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17, 2: 192-208.

Robinson, G., Burke, L. & Millings, M. (2016) ‘Criminal Justice Identities in Transition; the case of devolved probation services in England & Wales’, British Journal of Criminology, 56, 1: 161-78.

Robinson, G. (2016) ‘Patrolling the borders of risk: the new bifurcation of probation services in England & Wales’, in M. Bosworth, C. Hoyle & L. Zedner (eds.) Changing Contours of Criminal Justice: Research, Politics and Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Digitalisation and criminal justice - Layla Skinns and Lindsey Rice

Digitalisation and criminal justice

Professor Layla Skinns
Dr Lindsey Rice

Digitalisation and criminal justice is an area of emerging interest for academics in the Centre for Criminological research, who are examining it both empirically and theoretically

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Drugs policing - Matthew Bacon

 Drugs policing

This research project is concerned with innovation and reform in drugs policing and the interface between law enforcement and public health.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

Gendering police custody

Gendering police custody

In 2018, a team of researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, Warwick and Cardiff came together to explore their shared interests in police custody/power/dignity (Dr Layla Skinns); detainee treatment/rights (Prof Jackie Hodgson); gender/ criminal justice (Prof Vanessa Munro), vulnerability/Welsh criminal justice (Dr. Roxanna Dehaghani), police custody/criminal justice statistics (Dr Angela Sorsby); campaigning for women detainee dignity (Katie Kempen/Sherry Ralph, CEO of the Independent Custody Visitors Association (ICVA)).

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

'Good' police custody: Influencing policy custody policy and practice

'Good' police custody: Influencing policy custody policy and practice

This will be one of the first studies to rigorously examine ‘good’ police custody and to map out changes to police custody arrangements on a national basis.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR) and Impact on Society

Policing drugs in a rapidly changing environment: Challenges, innovation and reform (2018-20) (BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant)

Research by Matthew Bacon.

Globally, countries are adopting policies that favour public health strategies over a strictly penal approach to drug problems. In the UK, however, where use remains relatively high, drug-related deaths are at record levels, and budget cuts have had a detrimental effect on existing services, the Government persists with prohibition enforced through punitive interventions and has failed to introduce promising new measures. 

This research explores an interesting reform dynamic that is playing out in the policing of drugs. In the absence of policy reform at a national level, a number of police forces and police and crime commissioners (PCCs) have started exercising their discretionary authority and experimenting with innovative approaches that constitute a shift away from traditional enforcement interventions towards a focus on harm reduction.

Private military veterans - Adam White

Dr Adam White

Private military veterans

This project explores the life-course of the private military veteran – a new category
of veteran whose origins lie in the post-9/11 War on Terror.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

War in peacetime: Investigating urban violence and social trauma

War in peacetime: Investigating urban violence and social trauma

The main aim of this project is to examine life in cities experiencing high levels of violence in non-war contexts with investigations in both high and low violent crime cities in Europe, the US, and Latin America.

Categorised under: Centre for Criminological Research (CCR)

What is justice? Re-imagining penal policy 

The Howard League for Penal Reform is committed to developing an effective penal system which creates fewer victims of crime, has a diminished role for prison and creates a safer community for all. Through What is justice? Re-imagining penal policy we are seeking to develop innovative, credible and challenging ideas that build into models to change penal practice and outcomes. It will be charged with generating the climate and the intellectual debate that can act as the springboard to contest the conventional role of the penal system and ultimately promote a new, achievable paradigm that will deliver a reduced role for the penal system while maintaining public confidence, fewer victims of crime and safer communities. The challenge will be to develop an agenda for change that counters the current mores of penal populism.

Hub 1: Local justice and participation
This hub is led by Professor Stephen Farrall who is the Director of the Centre for Criminological Research (CCR) who is working with members of CCR.

The hub will generate new thinking, discussion and ideas for policy and practice around the issues of how people (including those who have broken the law or been victims of crime) relate to the state and participate in deliberation about safety and justice.

The hub will focus on three overarching issues:

1. How people relate to the state
2. How much involvement do people want in decision-making processes in the criminal justice system?
3. The lived reality of citizenship during and following involvement in the criminal justice system

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.