Carolyn Hoyle has been researching and teaching on the death penalty for over 15 years. The fifth edition of her book, (jointly authored with Roger Hood), The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015 and has been translated into Spanish, Persian and Chinese. She has supervised six doctoral degrees on the death penalty, and many Masters’ theses. She has recently completed a pilot study of Foreign Nationals at Risk of Capital Punishment in Malaysia and plans further similar work across other South and Southeast Asian jurisdictions. She is currently working with The Death Penalty Project on public and ‘elite’ opinion research on the death penalty in Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Taiwan. 

Parvais Jabbar is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project. He has for over two decades represented individuals facing the death penalty around the world at the appellate level and before international bodies. A recognised expert on the death penalty and human rights law, he has an MBE for his services to international human rights.

Saul Lehrfreund is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project. He has dedicated his career to representing prisoners facing the death penalty in criminal and constitutional proceedings and also before international tribunals and courts. He is a leading authority on capital punishment and international human rights law and has an MBE for services to international human rights

Daniel Cullen is Research Officer in the DPRU, where he is responsible for the administration of the Unit and is Managing Editor of the DPRU blog. He previously worked in the Strategic Litigation team at Amnesty International, supporting the organisation’s programme of international human rights litigation, and as a Programme Assistant at the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva, with a focus on the death penalty and children’s rights. He has also worked with the Geneva-based organisation HURIDOCS, which specialises in human rights information management, and completed the graduate research attaché scheme at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in Nairobi. He holds an LLM Qualifying Law Degree (with Distinction) from Birkbeck, University of London and a BA History and Economics from SOAS, University of London.

Jocelyn Hutton is a Research Officer in the DPRU. She leads the project; Mapping Death Row, researching foreign nationals sentenced to death across the Middle East and Asia. Jocelyn was also called to the Bar in England and Wales in 2013. 

Current Oxford Research Students

Amanda Clift-Matthews is a practising barrister specialising in criminal law and human rights, with a particular emphasis on capital cases and miscarriages of justice. She was formerly in-house counsel and Legal Director at The Death Penalty Project and has represented at the appellate level individuals facing a death sentence throughout the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, including before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. She is a co-author of “Sentencing in Capital Cases” (2018) and was shortlisted for an “Employed Barrister of the Year” award by the Bar Council in 2020. Her research focuses on capital drug trafficking cases in Singapore.

Lucy Harry is a DPhil student whose research focuses on the experiences of women sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia. Through her DPhil project, she has conducted empirical research on the death penalty in Kuala Lumpur, where she was a visiting scholar at Monash University, Malaysia. For a brief synopsis of her current research, see the following Briefing Report, co-authored with Harm Reduction International. She also has an interest in the US death penalty, having previously interned at Amicus ALJ and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, North Carolina. 

Amelia Inglis is a DPhil candidate researching victims and the death penalty at the Centre for Criminology. Her research explores the experiences of homicide victims’ families in the US, seeking to understand how the protracted capital appeals process can militate against recovery for those whose defendants are sentenced to death. Prior to undertaking the DPhil, Amelia completed the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford, after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Criminology at the University of York. Amelia has also spent six months interning with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana. 

Abdul Rashid Ismail is researching the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. Rashid actively litigates in the Malaysian courts on behalf of death row prisoners and those facing capital charges. He has been and continues to be involved in landmark constitutional cases involving the mandatory death sentence, the rights to a fair trial and the rights of the vulnerable including the mentally ill facing execution. His research explores the factors that contribute to the movement for abolition in Malaysia and those that militate against abolition. 

Sabrina Mahtani is a Zambian/British lawyer. She co-founded AdvocAid, an NGO that provides access to justice for women in detention in Sierra Leone. The organisation has freed 6 women on death row. Sabrina formerly worked for Amnesty International and The Elders and currently curates Women Beyond Walls. She is an independent expert on access to justice for women and consults for a variety of organisations. Sabrina is a regular writer and commentator for a variety of media platforms. Her research focuses on the experiences of women on death row in Zambia and Kenya.  

Lucrezia Rizzelli is a DPhil candidate at the Centre for Criminology. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at the University of Florence, specializing in social, organizational and work psychology. Then, she completed her MA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, where she joined Professor Saul Kassin's false confessions laboratory and conducted research on the linguistic style of false confessions. Lucrezia volunteered at the Innocence Project, and was an investigative intern at the New York City Department of Investigation. She is researching the death penalty in Indonesia and its deterrent effect, or lack thereof, on drug crimes. The aim of this research is to examine the motivations that lead people to engage in drug crimes, or decline to do so, and to better understand the role capital punishment plays in the decision-making process. 

Serene Singh is a Rhodes and Truman Scholar and recently completed her Master's in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. Originally from Colorado, USA, Singh graduated with Bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Journalism which were awarded summa cum laude honors, as well as attaining a minor in Leadership Studies. For her DPhil, Singh is researching women on death row in the United States. More specifically, she intends to identify the influence of topics like "cruel and unusual punishment" on the ways in which women undergoing the criminal justice system's capital punishment are experiencing justice. Singh plans to work directly with women on death row in her research, making this the very first research project on this specific population of individuals to be comprehensively undertaken. 

Previous Oxford Research Students, and research affiliates: Daniel Pascoe; Michelle Miao, Liz Vartkessian; William Berry IIIChloe Deambrogio

Research Associate: Claudia Stoicescu

Global Criminal Justice Research Fellows: Ricky Gunawan, Former Director of LBH Masyarakat

DPRU Research Interns: 

Annalena Wolcke was our first DPRU Summer Intern (2021). She conducted research on why certain countries abolished the death penalty at the time they did, focusing on a few countries from Europe and South America. While her research was limited to English-speaking sources, she was surprised by the range of influences, including EU-membership, for which abolition is obligatory, larger political and legal shifts towards democracy and both national and international pressure.

DPP-Oxford Crim Internships

Since 2018, Oxford Criminology and The Death Penalty Project have collaborated on Research Internships, with Oxford MSc or DPhil students conducting small death penalty research projects under the joint supervision of Carolyn Hoyle and the DPP’s Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar.

In 2019, Anjuli Peter’s Report on Compounded Violence: Domestic Abuse and the Mandatory Death Penalty in Ghana and Sierra Leone was published on the DPP website. The DPRU Mapping Death Row project has benefitted from assistance from a number of past DPP/DPRU Research Interns: Lama Karame, Munazza Ebtikar, Caroline Vorce, Brian Egan and Emma Rice.

The DPP-Oxford Crim Research Interns for the academic year 2021-22 are: 

Charlotte Daintith is an MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice student. Her research interests lie in the impacts of capital mitigation, with a particular focus on intellectual disability. Charlotte has previously worked at Amicus and the Arizona Capital Representation Project.

Julia Udell is completing her MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice. For her DPP-Oxford Crim internship, she is researching conditions of detention for those sentenced to death in the Gulf countries.  

Karan Tripathi is an Indian lawyer studying the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice. He is interested in researching the intersection of identity, power and the politics of capital punishment, and its impact on due process protections. He has previously worked at Project 39A where he contributed to drafting appeals against the death sentences of indigent convicts. 

Preeti Pratishruti Dash is an MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice student. She completed her undergraduate studies in law in India and holds an LLM from Harvard Law School. Prior to joining Oxford, she was teaching law at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore in India. She has also worked for over four years with Project 39A, where she has researched sentencing procedures and the administration of the death penalty in India.

Rhea Singh is an MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice student from Singapore and the U.S. Her research interests encompass the ethics and morality of the death penalty as well as procedural safeguards implemented to protect the innocent, with a particular focus on South Asian countries.

Rhea Wakim is an MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice student from Lebanon with a background in psychology. She has worked in the field of disaster response as well as traumatic-incident psychosocial support, and her research interests include violent sex-related offences, crime analysis and counter-terrorism. Within the scope of her research with the DPRU, Rhea will be focusing on death sentences in the Middle East.

Valencia Scott is an MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice student and Marshall Scholar from the United States. Her research interests include prison conditions and the intersection of race, ethnicitiy and migration. With the DPRU she is looking at criminogenic conditions of Southeast Asian labour migrants to the Arab Gulf.