The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice: Setting the Research Agenda

The School of Law was delighted to host a two day international, multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral conference from Monday 5th – Tuesday 6th June, entitled: 'The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice: Setting the Research Agenda'.

At this event, Dr Philippa Tomczak (Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow, University of Sheffield Centre for Criminological Research, Author of The Penal Voluntary Sector) launched the new voluntary sector in criminal justice research network for academics, practitioners and policymakers.

The event began with a focussed early career researcher session, generously funded by Philippa's British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award. Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms and Professor Joanna Shapland provided expert guidance for the early career scholars and Dr David Thompson assisted. We hosted early career researchers from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Eire, Finland, Denmark and Canada. We are excited by the potential that this group holds for future scholarship and collaboration. We are grateful to the University of Sheffield Centre for Law in Society for generous funding that enabled us to support practitioner presentations at our conference.

The main event benefitted from Philippa's funding from the Socio-Legal Studies Association (Seminar Competition). This enabled the attendance of three speakers from the USA, who greatly enhanced the presentations and provided further international context.

Speakers included:
 Dr Sarah Armstrong (Sociology Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow)
 Professor Michael Hallett (Professor of Criminology, University of North Florida, USA)
 Professor Martine Herzog- Evans (Law Professor, University of Reims, France)
 Dr Emma Hughes (Criminology Department Chair, California State University, Fresno, USA)
 Professor Tobi Jacobi (Professor of English, Colorado State University, USA)
 Dr Rob Macmillan (Research Fellow, Sheffield Hallam University)
 Dr Adam White (Criminology Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield)

 Tammy Banks (Circles of Support and Accountability)
 Nathan Dick (Head of Policy and Communications at Clinks)
 Anita Dockley (Research Director, The Howard League for Penal Reform)
 Isabel McCue (Theatre Nemo)
 Sally Taylor (Koestler Trust)
 Grace Wyld (New Philanthropy Capital)

 Dr Iain Britton (Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice)
 Dr Mary Corcoran (University of Keele)
 Professor Mike Maguire (University of Cardiff)
 Kate Williams (University of Aberystwyth)

Find out more on the event page here

Some images from the day

VSCJ Welcome

VSCJ Session 4 Panel

Some thoughts from the day 

Everyone who gave feedback rated the event overall as 'good' or 'excellent'. Feedback included:

'Good sense of humour and pragmatism in how it was organised, so lovely to be looked after. The opportunities to learn from and engage with senior academics were fantastic. Good mix of presentations.'

'Thanks so much for organising. Looking forward to the next stages.'

'Great to gather so many different people and perspectives within criminal justice. Nice venue and we were well taken care of.'

'Stimulating and intellectual. Would be keen to help support stuff to happen next. Well done to all and thank you.'

'I'll be more aware of university work and how we could be involved, and I'm interested in looking at policy together.'

.....However one participant did state that they didn't enjoy the wet weather and advised 'see what you can do'.

Contact us

Anyone wishing to join the network for future activities should feel free to contact Dr Philippa Tomczak by emailing