Dr Gwen Robinson
School of Law
Reader in Criminal Justice
+44 114 222 6863
Full contact details
School of Law
I studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Sussex, and went on to complete an MSc in Applied Social Studies and a Diploma in Social Work at the University of Oxford, specialising in probation practice.
After working as a researcher at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research, I completed a PhD at the University of Wales, Swansea.
My thesis examined the changing contours of probation practice and in particular the influence of risk assessment technologies on the rehabilitation and management of offenders.
In the last 15 years I have been involved in a number of empirical research projects and have published in the areas of: offender rehabilitation and management; community sanctions/penalties; and restorative justice.
I initially came to work in the School of Law in 2002 as a member of a large research team which conducted a major evaluation of Restorative Justice schemes for the Home Office/Ministry of Justice (led by Joanna Shapland).
The book Restorative Justice in Practice: Evaluating What Works for Victims and Offenders (with Joanna Shapland and Angela Sorsby) was published by Routledge in 2011 and provides an account of that study and its findings.
I am also co-editor (with Fergus McNeill) of Community Punishment: European Perspectives (Routledge 2016) and co-author (with Peter Raynor) of Rehabilitation, Crime and Justice (Palgrave Macmillan 2009).
Since 2014 my research has focused on the impacts on probation services of the Coalition Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, which have led to their part privatisation.
In 2014-16 I was part of a small team which successfully applied for an ESRC Urgency grant to examine the transition of probation staff from a public sector Probation Trust to a privately owned Community Rehabilitation Company in one case study area.
Since then my research has centred on the rapidly changing work of the new National Probation Service in the Magistrates’ courts and I am currently developing new projects on both sentencing and legitimacy in the private probation sector.
- PhD, University of Wales, Swansea
- MSc Applied Social Studies and Diploma in Social Work, University of Oxford
- BA (Hons) Psychology, University of Sussex
- Research interests
- Non-custodial punishment
- Offender rehabilitation and management
- The sociology of punishment
- Restorative justice
- Qualitative research methods
- Restorative Justice in Practice. London: Routledge.
- Rehabilitation, Crime and Justice. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Offender Rehabilitation: Theory, Research and Practice. SAGE.
- Rehabilitation, Crime and Justice. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Community Punishment: European Perspectives. London: Routledge.
- Alternatives to Prison: Options for an insecure society. Willan Pub.
- A legitimate business? Representations of privatised probation in England and Wales. Crime, Media, Culture. View this article in WRRO
- Delivering McJustice? The Probation Factory at the Magistrates’ Court. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 19(5), 605-621. View this article in WRRO
- Probation reform, the RAR and the forgotten ingredient of supervision. Probation Journal: the journal of community and criminal justice. View this article in WRRO
- Probation practice in a velvet cage? Specialist court work after probation privatisation in England and Wales. Punishment and Society: the international journal of penology. View this article in WRRO
- Lost in transition? The personal and professional challenges for probation leaders engaged in delivering public sector reform. Probation Journal: the journal of community and criminal justice. View this article in WRRO
- Transforming probation services in Magistrates’ courts. Probation Journal, 65(3), 316-334. View this article in WRRO
- Stand-Down and Deliver: Pre-Sentence Reports, quality and the new culture of speed. Probation Journal: the journal of community and criminal justice, 64(4), 337-353. View this article in WRRO
- Probation migration(s): Examining occupational culture in a turbulent field. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(2), 192-208. View this article in WRRO
- Probation, Privatisation and Legitimacy. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. View this article in WRRO
- Using compliance with probation supervision as an interim outcome measure in evaluating a probation initiative. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 17(1), 40-61. View this article in WRRO
- Criminal Justice Identities in Transition: The Case of Devolved Probation Services in England and Wales. British Journal of Criminology, 56(1), 161-178. View this article in WRRO
- The Cinderella complex: Punishment, society and community sanctions. Punishment and Society, 18(1), 95-112. View this article in WRRO
- Fish out of water? Introduction to the Special Issue on innovative methods for comparative research on offender supervision practice. European Journal of Probation, 7(3), 171-178.
- Picturing probation: Exploring the utility of visual methods in comparative research. European Journal of Probation, 7(3), 179-200. View this article in WRRO
- Consent and cooperation of the unfree: Introduction to the special issue. European Journal of Probation, 6(3), 203-208. View this article in WRRO
- Castigo en sociedad: La improbable persistencia de la probation y otras sanciones y medidas comunitarias (Punishment in Society: The Improbable Persistence of Probation and Other Community Sanctions and Measures).
- Understanding 'quality' in probation practice: Frontline perspectives in England & Wales. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 14(2), 123-142. View this article in WRRO
- Doing 'Strengths Based' Research: Appreciative Inquiry in a Probation Setting. Criminolgy and Criminal Justice.
- Investing in 'Toughness': Probation, Enforcement and Legitimacy. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 51(3), 300-316.
- Reformer la probation en Angleterre at au Pays de Galles : revisiter l'influence de 'What Works'. Actualite juridique penal.
- Why Help Offenders? Arguments for Rehabilitation as a Penal Strategy. European Journal of Probation, 1(1), 3-20.
- Exploring the dynamics of compliance with community penalties. Theoretical Criminology, 12(4), 431-449.
- Late-modern rehabilitation: The evolution of a penal strategy. Punishment and Society, 10(4), 429-445.
- Reducing recidivism. BRIT J CRIMINOL, 48(3), 337-358.
- Experiencing modernization: Frontline probation perspectives on the transition to a National Offender Management Service. Probation Journal, 54(4), 318-337.
- Staging restorative justice encounters against a criminal justice backdrop: A dramaturgical analysis. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 7(1), 5-32.
- The future of rehabilitation: What role for the probation service?. Probation Journal, 53(4), 334-346.
- Situating restorative justice within criminal justice. Theoretical Criminology, 10(4), 505-532.
- What Works in Offender Management?1. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 44(3), 307-318.
- Implementing OASys: lessons from research into LSI-R and ACE. Probation Journal, 50(1), 30-40.
- Technicality and Indeterminacy in Probation Practice: A Case Study. British Journal of Social Work, 33(5), 593-610.
- Exploring risk management in the probation service: contemporary developments in England and Wales. Punishment and Society, 4(1), 5-25.
- Power, knowledge and ‘what works’ in probation. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(3), 235-254.
- Risk management and rehabilitation in the probation service: collision and collusion. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 421-432.
- Improving practice through pilot studies: the case of pre-sentence reports’. Vista: Perspectives on Probation, 3(3), 186-195.
- Rehabilitating Probation: Strategies for re-legitimation after policy failure. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.
- Is constructive practice still possible in a competitive environment? Findings from a case study of a community rehabilitation company in England and Wales In Ugwudike P, Raynor P & Annison J (Ed.), Evidence-Based Skills in Criminal Justice (pp. 57-78). Bristol: Policy Press.
- Opening a window on probation cultures: a photographic imagination In Brown M & Carrabine E (Ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology Oxfordshire: Routledge.
- Punishment in the community In Liebling A, McAra L & Maruna S (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Criminology Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Patrolling the Borders of Risk: The new Bifurcation of Probation Services in England & Wales In Bosworth M, Hoyle C & Zedner L (Ed.), Changing Contours of Criminal Justice Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Explaining Probation, Probation (pp. 245-261). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Introduction: Studying the evolution of 'community punishment' in comparative context In Robinson G & McNeill F (Ed.), Community Punishment: European Perspectives (pp. 1-12). Routledge
- Conclusion: Community punishment and the penal state In Robinson G & McNeill F (Ed.), Community Punishment: European Perspectives (pp. 228-241). Routledge
- Three narratives and a funeral: Community punishment in England & Wales In Robinson G & McNeill F (Ed.), Community Punishment: European Perspectives (pp. 30-50). Routledge
- Practising offender supervision In McNeill F & Beyens K (Ed.), Offender Supervision in Europe Palgrave Macmillan
- What counts? Community sanctions and the construction of compliance In Ugwudike P & Raynor P (Ed.), What Works in Offender Compliance Palgrave Macmillan
- Punishment in Society: The improbable persistence of probation and other community sanctions and measures In Simon J & Sparks R (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Punishment and Society SAGE
- Pre-sentence reports in England and Wales: changing discourses of need, risk and quality In McNeiil F, Raynor P & Trotter C (Ed.), Offender Supervision New Directions in Theory, Research and Practice Routledge
- Liquid Legitimacy and Community Sanctions In Crawford and Hucklesbury (Ed.), Legitimacy and Criminal Justice
- The dynamics of compliance with community supervision In McNeill F, Raynor P & Trotter C (Ed.), Offender Supervision: New Directions in Theory, Research and Practice Willan
- Probation in the United Kingdom In Herzog-Evans M (Ed.), Transnational Criminology Manual International Courts Assoc
- Reducing recidivism: A task for restorative justice? In Hoyle C (Ed.), Restorative Justice Routledge
- Restorative Justice In McIvor G & Raynor P (Ed.), Developments in Social Work with Offenders Jessica Kingsley Publishers
- Social work in the criminal justice system In Davies M (Ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Social Work Blackwell
- Rehabilitation Elsevier
- Purposes matter: examining the ‘ends’ of probation practice, What Matters in Probation (pp. 277-304).
- How did we get here? In Bottoms S, Rex S & Robinson G (Ed.), Alternatives to Prison: Options for an insecure society (pp. 1-27). Willan
- Pulling some threads together In Bottoms A, Rex S & Robinson G (Ed.), Alternatives to Prison: Options for an insecure society (pp. 406-424).
- Sentence management In Robinson G & Bottoms A (Ed.), Alternatives to Prison: Options for an insecure society (pp. 313-340). Willan
- Risk and risk assessment In Chui WH & Nellis M (Ed.), Moving Probation Forward: Evidence, arguments and practice (pp. 277-304). Editorial Dunken
- Social work in the criminal justice system In Davies M (Ed.), Blackwell Companion to Social Work (pp. 259-265).
- Understanding Penal Practice Routledge
- The ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ agenda in England and Wales: implications of privatisation In McNeill F, Raynor P, Trotter C, Taxman F, Ugwudike P & Graham H (Ed.), Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice
- How practitioners conceptualise quality In McNeill F, Raynor P, Trotter C, Taxman F, Ugwudike P & Graham H (Ed.), Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice Routledge
- The Rise and Fall of the Rehabilitative Ideal, 1895–1970 V. Bailey. Abingdon: Routledge (2019) 550pp. £125hb, £39.99pb, from £20eb ISBN 9780367077099; 9780367077112; 9780429022203. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 59(1), 107-108.
- Book review: Privatising Punishment in Europe?. Probation Journal, 66(4), 468-469.
- Policy Transfer in Criminal Justice: Crossing Cultures, Breaking Barriers. Edited by Mary Anne McFarlane and Rob Canton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 336pp. £70 hb). British Journal of Criminology, 55(3), 635-637.
- Just Emotions: Rituals of Restorative Justice by M. Rossner. Oxford: Clarendon Press (2013) 183pp. £65.00hb ISBN 978‐0‐19‐965504‐5. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 54(1), 96-97.
- Doing Probation Work: Identity in a Criminal Justice Occupation by R.C. Mawby and A. Worrall. London: Routledge (2013) 188pp. £85.00hb ISBN 978-0-415-54028-5. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 52(5), 546-547.
- Probation Practice and the New Penology: Practitioner Reflections by J. Deering. Farnham: Ashgate (2011) 204pp. £55.00hb ISBN 978-1-4094-0140-7. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 51(5), 537-538.
- Justice in Transition: Community Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland. CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 11(4), 388-390.
- Review: Probation in Europe A. M. van Kalmthout and I. Durnescu (eds) Wolf Legal Publishers/CEP; 2008; pp 1300; 47.50 (CEP members: 35), pbk ISBN: 978-9-05850-450-0. Probation Journal, 57(2), 198-200.
- Criminal Records: A Database for the Criminal Justice System and Beyond by T. Thomas. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 48(2), 231-232.
- Book Review: Restorative Justice, Self-Interest and Responsible Citizenship. International Review of Victimology, 16(1), 119-120.
- Book Review: Pre-emptive Criminalisation: Risk Control and Alternative Futures. Probation Journal, 53(1), 83-84.
- Probation staff views of the Skills for Effective Engagement Development (SEED) project
- Probation staff views of the Skills for Effective Engagement Development (SEED) pilot
- Understanding ‘Quality’ in Probation Practice: Findings from a study in three Probation Trusts
- The Quality of Probation Supervision: A literature review
- The Quality of Probation Supervision – A literature review: summary of key messages
- Does restorative justice affect reconviction? The fourth report from the evaluation of three schemes.
- Restorative Justice: The Views of Victims and Offenders: The Third Report from the Evaluation of Three Schemes
- Restorative Justice in Practice: Findings from the second phase of the evaluation of three schemes
- Restorative Justice in Practice: The second report from the evaluation of three schemes
- Restorative justice in practice: findings from the second stage of the evaluation of three schemes
- Implementing restorative justice schemes (Crime Reduction Programme): a report on the first year.
Theses / Dissertations
- Rehabilitation. In Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice Springer New York.
- ‘Resettlement’. In Dictionary of Probation and Offender Management Willan.
- 'Prediction'. In Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Work Blackwell.
- ‘Risk management’. In Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Work Blackwell.
- Research group
Areas of Research Supervision
- Non-custodial punishment
- Offender rehabilitation and management
- Probation practice
- Restorative justice
Title/Description: Devolving Probation Services
- Awarding Body: ESRC
- People Involved: Gwen Robinson: with Matthew Millings and Lol Burke (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Years Funded for: 2014-2015
Title/Description: Quality in Probation Service
- Awarding Body: Ministry of Justice/NOMS
- People Involved: Joanna Shapland (PI), Tony Bottoms, Stephen Farrall, Fergus McNeill
- Years Funded for: 2010-2012
Title/Description: Evaluation of 3 Restorative Justice Schemes
- Awarding Body: Home Office/Ministry of Justice
- People Involved: Research team led by Joanna Shapland
- Years Funded for: 2002-2007
- Teaching interests
All of my teaching is in the field of criminal justice and restorative justice, and in areas in which I have research and/or practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge.
In all of my teaching I endeavour to incorporate aspects of ‘real world’ issues and controversies, through activities such as debates and documentary screenings.
- Teaching activities
The modules I teach are:
Punishment and Penal Policy (LAW217)(Convenor)
Rehabilitation of Offenders (LAW317) (Convenor)
Skills for Criminologists (LAW146) (Convenor)
Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice (LAW148)
Postgraduate and MA
Restorative Justice (Convenor)
- Professional activities
- Member of the Centre for Criminological Research research cluster
- Member of Editorial Advisory Group, British Journal of Criminology
- Editorial Advisory Board Member, Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
- Editorial Board Member, Probation Journal
- Co-chair of European Society of Criminology Working Group on Community Sanctions
- Management Committee member and co-leader of a Working Group on Practising Offender Supervision, COST Action 1106 Offender Supervision in Europe (2012-2016)
- International Network of Researchers on Individual Supervision in Probation (CREDOS)