Photo of Dr Gwen Robinson

Dr Gwen Robinson

Position: Reader in Criminal Justice
Email Address:
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 6863
Feedback and Consultation Availability: Please see sign up sheet on my office door

Academic Profile

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

Teaching and Learning

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.

The modules I teach are:

Undergraduate Postgraduate and MA
Punishment and Penal Policy (LAW217)(Convenor) Restorative Justice (Convenor)
Rehabilitation of Offenders (LAW317) (Convenor) Dissertation Supervision
Skills for Criminologists (LAW146) (Convenor)
Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice (LAW148)

Research Interests

  • Non-custodial punishment
  • Offender rehabilitation and management
  • The sociology of punishment
  • Restorative justice
  • Qualitative research methods

Member of the Centre for Criminological Research research cluster.

Areas of Research Supervision

  • Non-custodial punishment
  • Offender rehabilitation and management
  • Probation practice
  • Restorative justice

Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • Robinson, G. (2017) ‘Probation work in the Magistrates’ courts: theorising change in England & Wales’, European Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK.
  • Robinson, G. (2017) ‘Patrolling the borders of risk: the new bifurcation of probation services in England & Wales’, Institute of Criminology, University College Dublin.
  • Robinson, G. (2016) ‘Localism, markets and criminal justice policy’, Penal Policymaking; A Collaborative Symposium, Institute for Government, London.
  • Millings, M., Burke, L. & Robinson, G. (2016) ‘Probation in the public and private sectors: the case of England & Wales’, COST Action on Offender Supervision in Europe Final International Conference, Free University of Brussels, Belgium.
  • Robinson, G. (2016) ‘Transforming Rehabilitation and the institutionalisation of risk: critical reflections’, Probation Practitioner Forum, Liverpool John Moores University.

Key Projects/Grants

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

Professional Activities and Recognition

  • 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)

Key Publications


  • Shapland J, Robinson G & Sorsby A (2011) Restorative Justice in Practice. London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Robinson G & McNeill F (Ed.) (2015) Community Punishment: European Perspectives. London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Robinson GJ & McNeill F (2017) Punishment in the community In Liebling A, McAra L & Maruna S (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Criminology Oxford: Oxford University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Robinson GJ (2016) 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. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Robinson GJ (2015) Three narratives and a funeral: Community punishment in England & Wales In Robinson G & McNeill F (Ed.), Community Punishment: European Perspectives (pp. 30-50). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Robinson GJ & Svensson K (2013) Practising offender supervision In McNeill F & Beyens K (Ed.), Offender Supervision in Europe Palgrave Macmillan RIS download Bibtex download
  • Robinson GJ (2013) What counts? Community sanctions and the construction of compliance In Ugwudike P & Raynor P (Ed.), What Works in Offender Compliance Palgrave Macmillan RIS download Bibtex download