Image of Philippa Tomczak

Dr Philippa Tomczak

Position: Criminology Research Fellow / Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow/ British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award Holder
Email Address:
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 6793
Room No: CLG08
Twitter ID: @PhilippaTomczak

Academic Profile

I hold a three-year Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship entitled 'Prison suicide: Theorising its regulation'. Success rates for this scheme were just 14%. Through this Fellowship I examine the role of public and voluntary sector bodies in the regulation of prison suicide. I have also been awarded a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award to set up CRIMVOL, a multidisciplinary, international, cross-sectoral criminal justice voluntary sector research network for academics, practitioners and policy makers. The network steering group comprises 14 early career scholars, whom I co-ordinate.

I have recently published the first monograph on The Penal Voluntary Sector', which won the 2017 British Society of Criminology Book Prize. For Prof M Bosworth (Oxford), it "develops a fresh approach to penal power that should reorient the field of study". Prof S Maruna (Manchester) noted: "Tomczak's sophisticated, empirical exploration of the voluntary sector’s involvement in that most involuntary of sectors, the UK’s penal system, simply could not be more timely or more badly needed. It fills an enormous gap in the criminological literature while opening up dozens of new avenues for new research. A real path-breaker".

I was educated at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester. I have expertise in applying actor-network theory to solve research problems. Although I am at an early stage in my career, my publications have been cited by scholars based globally (e.g. Canada, Finland, New Zealand)


  • Ph.D. Criminology (2014, University of Manchester)
  • M.Sc. Criminology and Criminal Justice (2010, University of Oxford)
  • B.A./M.A. Geography (2008/2012, University of Oxford)

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research Interests

  • Punishment
  • The sociology of punishment
  • The penal voluntary sector
  • Prison Suicide
  • Actor-network theory
  • Deaths in punishment
  • Penal reform and activism
  • Penal monitoring and regulatory bodies

Member of the Centre for Criminological Research Cluster, the Centre for Law in Society and the Crick Centre for Understanding Politics

Areas of Research Supervision

  • The sociology of punishment
  • The penal voluntary sector
  • Actor-network theory
  • Prison suicide
  • Deaths in punishment
  • Public and voluntary sector prison monitoring and regulatory bodies
  • Penal reform and activism

Member of the Centre for Criminological Research.

Key Projects/Grants

Title/Description Rising Star Engagement Award
Awarding Body British Academy
People Involved Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms, Professor Joanna Shapland, Dr David Thompson
Dates 2017- 2018
Amount £14,999
Title/Description Prison suicide: Theorising its regulation
Awarding Body Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship
People Involved Professor Joanna Shapland (Mentor)
Dates 2015 - 2018
Amount £90,000

Title/Description Punishment and Charity: Conceptualising the Penal Voluntary Sector in England and Wales
Awarding Body University of Manchester School of Law Scholarship
People Involved Examiners: Professor Toby Seddon (Manchester), Professor Pam Cox (Essex)
Supervisors: Jon Spencer, Jo Deakin (Supervisors)
Dates 2010 - 2014
Amount Fees and stipend c. £17,500 p.a. for 3 years

Key Publications

Journal articles


  • Tomczak PJ (2014) Long Term Imprisonment and Mental Health In Taylor P, Corteen K & Morley S (Ed.), A Companion to Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Risk (pp. 150-151). The Policy Press: Bristol RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tomczak P (2014) Begging In Atkinson R (Ed.), Shades of Deviance Oxford: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Tomczak P (2012) 'Profiting from Punishment: Should the private sector run children's prisons?' John Howard Essay Prize 2012, Winner: Postgraduate Category. UK. RIS download Bibtex download