After graduating from St.Anne's College, Oxford in Jurisprudence Shona was called to the Bar of England and Wales and practised criminal and family law from 1 King's Bench Walk, London. Her professional experience led to her research interest in the points of intersection between family and criminal law.

Shona is undertaking ESRC funded DPhil research on the impact of maternal imprisonment on children, supervised by Dr Rachel Condry. The research explores the status of children of prisoners in English law and whether current sentencing policy protects children from 'all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status or activities of the child's parents' ( Article 2 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ). The research engages directly with children and their carers to explore the nature of the impact of maternal imprisonment, and with the judiciary to examine sentencing practice. This research builds on previous research Shona undertook when obtaining an MSc (Distinction)  from the University of Surrey in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research. Her Masters research explored  the impact of motherhood as mitigation in criminal sentencing through qualitative interviews with members of the judiciary and an analysis of sentencing transcripts.

Shona is part of the I-Hop Academic/ workforce development task force. I-Hop is an initiative of Barnardo's and the Department of Education to bring together resources and those with an active interest in the children of prisoners.

Her report on 'Motherhood as Mitigation' won the John Sunley Prize 2013 and was published by The Howard League for Penal Reform in April 2014.

Her report co-authored and published by the Prison Reform Trust on the Sentencing of Mothers, including proposals for sentencing reform, was published in November 2015. 









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Research Interests

  • Women's Imprisonment
  • Children of Prisoners
  • Criminal Sentencing Policy
  • Rights of the Child 
  • Judicial Practice 

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Criminology and Criminal Justice, Crime and the Family

Research projects