Biography

Omar led the Equality & Diversity departments at HMP Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Latchmere House before moving into international criminal justice reform. He has evaluated several projects for UN departments and also facilitated training on UN standards. Omar taught criminology at the University of Westminster for the four years previous to joining Oxford.

Recent projects have included:

  • Research: Places of Deprivation of Liberty and Gender on behalf of OSCE/DCAF/UN Women (available in 5 languages)
  • Research: Understanding Police response and perceptions of mental health incidents on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire
  • Training: UN Bangkok Rules & Nelson Mandela Rules with Prison and Probation staff in Kenya
  • Evaluation: A gender-sensitive approach to community sanctions in Kenya
  • Evaluation: UNICEF’s pretrial diversion programme for juveniles in Zimbabwe

Other notable work:
Omar successfully led Penal Reform International’s tri-country project to improve community-based alternatives to prison in East Africa and reconceptualised the model for engagement based on the evidence. He previously lived in Uganda, successfully winning and implementing justice projects for an NGO and later conducted research on pretrial detention for the International Centre for Prison Studies.

Teaching:

Omar teaches on the MSc Course on the following modules:

  • Criminological Theories & Criminal Justice (Core module x2)
  • Race and Gender
  • Theorizing Punishment
  • Prisons
  • Research Design & Data Collection

Podcast:

Omar is also the creator and host of Justice Focus, an interview-based criminology podcast, which highlights exciting new work of academics and criminal justice practitioners. Episodes are available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and many other providers.  

 

 

Publications

Recent additions

  • S Darke and OP Khan, 'Coloniality, just war & carceral injustice in Brazil' (2021) Punishment & Society
    DOI: 10.1177/14624745211041849
    The Portuguese empire brought inescapable violence to the indigenous communities of Brazil and to those it enslaved. Throughout the centuries of colonial subjugation, driven by the Iberian monarchical traditions of hierarchy, militarism and moral crusade, ‘just war’ narratives were employed to legitimate the use of violent legal and extra-legal measures against enslaved peoples and others deemed unruly or rebellious and a threat to colonial order. Two centuries after independence, Brazil remains at war with its ‘internal enemies’. Its justice practices continue to be characterised by colonial rationalisations. This paper illustrates the contemporary coloniality inherent in the carceral system from the moment of detention pre-trial through sentencing and imprisonment.
  • OP Khan, Places of Deprivation of Liberty and Gender (DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women 2018)
    Integrating a gender perspective is important in prisons and other places of deprivation of liberty to ensure that the different needs of different groups of people are met. In particular, working with women and girls, men and boys, and transgender people each requires different approaches. This Tool reflects on new and emerging good practices in integrating a gender perspective in places of deprivation of liberty, how successes in increasing gender equality have been achieved, and persistent challenges. Drawing from good practices around the world, the Tool explores nine key features of places of deprivation of liberty that advance gender equality and integrate a gender perspective: United acknowledgement that gender makes a difference. Positive institutional environments based on safety, respect and dignity are actively promoted. A gender perspective integrated at all levels and in all available training opportunities. People are categorized appropriately and accommodated in safe locations. Policies, practices and programmes promote healthy connections to children, family members, significant others and the community. Comprehensive, integrated and culturally relevant physical and mental healthcare is offered. Equality of opportunity to improve socio-economic status is achieved via gender-responsive strategies. A system of comprehensive and collaborative community services and oversight is in place. A gender perspective is integrated into oversight and evaluation through regular and representative internal and external inspections. The Tool provides guidance to promote action at the level of the following three key stakeholders, including an institutional self-assessment checklist: National/state-level policy-makers: those able to set and reform the policy agenda. Institutional operations and leadership: those able to make direct reforms within places of deprivation of liberty. Civil society: emphasising that partnership with civil society is an important factor in achieving long-term, sustainable reform.
    ISBN: 92-9222-477-8

Journal Article (1)

S Darke and OP Khan, 'Coloniality, just war & carceral injustice in Brazil' (2021) Punishment & Society
DOI: 10.1177/14624745211041849
The Portuguese empire brought inescapable violence to the indigenous communities of Brazil and to those it enslaved. Throughout the centuries of colonial subjugation, driven by the Iberian monarchical traditions of hierarchy, militarism and moral crusade, ‘just war’ narratives were employed to legitimate the use of violent legal and extra-legal measures against enslaved peoples and others deemed unruly or rebellious and a threat to colonial order. Two centuries after independence, Brazil remains at war with its ‘internal enemies’. Its justice practices continue to be characterised by colonial rationalisations. This paper illustrates the contemporary coloniality inherent in the carceral system from the moment of detention pre-trial through sentencing and imprisonment.

Review (1)

Report (1)

OP Khan, Places of Deprivation of Liberty and Gender (DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women 2018)
Integrating a gender perspective is important in prisons and other places of deprivation of liberty to ensure that the different needs of different groups of people are met. In particular, working with women and girls, men and boys, and transgender people each requires different approaches. This Tool reflects on new and emerging good practices in integrating a gender perspective in places of deprivation of liberty, how successes in increasing gender equality have been achieved, and persistent challenges. Drawing from good practices around the world, the Tool explores nine key features of places of deprivation of liberty that advance gender equality and integrate a gender perspective: United acknowledgement that gender makes a difference. Positive institutional environments based on safety, respect and dignity are actively promoted. A gender perspective integrated at all levels and in all available training opportunities. People are categorized appropriately and accommodated in safe locations. Policies, practices and programmes promote healthy connections to children, family members, significant others and the community. Comprehensive, integrated and culturally relevant physical and mental healthcare is offered. Equality of opportunity to improve socio-economic status is achieved via gender-responsive strategies. A system of comprehensive and collaborative community services and oversight is in place. A gender perspective is integrated into oversight and evaluation through regular and representative internal and external inspections. The Tool provides guidance to promote action at the level of the following three key stakeholders, including an institutional self-assessment checklist: National/state-level policy-makers: those able to set and reform the policy agenda. Institutional operations and leadership: those able to make direct reforms within places of deprivation of liberty. Civil society: emphasising that partnership with civil society is an important factor in achieving long-term, sustainable reform.
ISBN: 92-9222-477-8

Centres

Research Interests

Omar’s research focuses on how coloniality informs criminological thinking and practice. He is currently investigating how legacies of empire influence judicial decision-making at the pre-trial stage in Brazil. Omar also works on gender-responsive projects within criminal justice settings.

Research projects