From its origins, the Centre has been a site of research excellence on prisons. We have a significant number of DPhil students studying a variety of aspects of incarceration (in prisons and immigration detention centres) and its impact. Three of the five permanent members of staff (Prof. Bosworth, Prof. Hoyle and Dr Condry) and many of our postdoctoral fellows work on such matters. The Centre hosts an international network of researchers who work on prisoners’ families, as well as the Border Criminologies group that has pioneered research into immigration detention and the experiences of foreign national prisoners. From January 2019, we will host a three-year BA postdoctoral fellow, Dr Shona Minson, working on prisoners’ children, and from March 2019, a two-year International Newton Fellow (Leverhulme Trust), Dr Francesca Esposito, working on the gendered nature of immigration detention. Many of our academic visitors and members of our advisory board (eg. Profs. Alison Liebling and Laura Piacentini, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, Dr Hindpal Singh Bhui, Dame Elish Angiolini) also work on prisons.
In terms of policy, we have longstanding and close ties with HMPPS, HMIP, the Howard League, the Prison Reform Trust, and the Death Penalty Project. Dr Jamie Bennett (Governor of HMP Spring Hill and Grendon), Mr Paul Crossey (Deputy Governor, HMP Huntercombe), and Dr Hindpal Bhui (Team Leader, HM Inspectorate of Prisons) are all current research associates at the centre. In the summer of 2018, the Centre facilitated a new initiative with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and a local solicitor’s firm, Turpin & Miller, to assist with free legal advice clinics at the local foreign-national only prison, HMP Huntercombe. Matters of incarceration also form part of the MSc curriculum, appearing in the core course as well as in specific options eg ‘Prisons’, ‘the Death Penalty’, ‘Theorizing Punishment’, ‘Criminal Justice, Migration and Citizenship’. A new reading group is in the process of being established with HMP Huntercombe, and a new research internship has been created with the Death Penalty Project in London, on matters concerning capital punishment around the world.