Professor Gwen Robinson
School of Law
Professor of Criminal Justice
+44 114 222 6963
Full contact details
School of Law
I have worked at the School of Law since 2002, having completed a PhD at the University of Wales, Swansea. My first degree was in psychology (University of Sussex) and I completed a masters in Applied Social Studies and a Diploma in Social Work at the University of Oxford in 1996.
Since joining the University of Sheffield I been involved in a number of empirical research projects and have published in the areas of: probation service reform; offender rehabilitation and management; community sanctions/penalties; and restorative justice.
In the last 10 years my research has focused on the implementation, experience and consequences of a series of criminal justice reforms which saw the part privatisation of probation services in 2014, and their renationalisation in 2020. In 2014-16 I was part of a research 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. In 2020 we won a further ESRC grant, enabling us to examine the reunification of probation services in an expanded National Probation Service. This study is a collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Nottingham, Southampton and Liverpool John Moores.
I have also conducted research on the role of probation in the magistrates' courts (2017-18) and I am co-editing a book (with Dr Nicola Carr, University of Nottingham) on Time and Punishment.
- 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
- Probation reform
- 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.
- Book review: Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice. Probation Journal, 67(4), 456-457.
- Rehabilitating probation : strategies for re-legitimation after policy failure. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. View this article in WRRO
- 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.
- 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/reform
Title/Description: Rehabilitating Probation
- Awarding Body: ESRC
- People Involved: Gwen Robinson: with Matthew Millings, Lol Burke, Nicola Carr, Harry Annison
- Years Funded for: 2021-2024
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: 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)
Postgraduate and MA
Restorative Justice (LAW6903) (Convenor)
- Professional activities
- Member of Editorial Advisory Group, British Journal of Criminology
- Editorial Advisory Board Member, Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
- Editorial Board Member, Probation Journal