Kirsty Deacon

Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Strathclyde


Kirsty Deacon has seventeen years’ experience of working across a variety of organisations within the criminal justice system, including academia, and gained her PhD from the University of Glasgow in 2019 with a thesis titled “Families – Inside Prison and Out: Young people’s experiences of having a family member in prison”. The thesis drew on qualitative research with two groups of young people who were experiencing, or had experienced, the imprisonment of a family member – with a focus on parental and sibling imprisonment. The inclusion of participants who were serving a prison sentence themselves, as well as having experienced a family member’s imprisonment, allowed the thesis to challenge the dominant narrative that imprisonment can only bring distance and disconnect into family relationships. It also highlighted the experience of simultaneous imprisonment where both the young person and their parent or sibling were serving sentences at the same time, whether in the same or different institutions – challenging the often assumed binary that you can only be a prisoner or the family member of a prisoner. Kirsty currently holds an ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde which is allowing her to work on publications arising from her PhD as well as further develop the ideas arising from her thesis, particularly those in relation to the concept and experience of simultaneous imprisonment.

Research projects & programmes

Global Prisoners' Families