About me

I am Professor of Criminology at the University of Bath and Honorary Visiting Professor in Criminology at the University of Melbourne. I have been a criminologist specialising in prisons and imprisonment for twenty years and have been researching prison architecture, design and technology for twelve years. I have a broad range of academic and practical experience in the field, including a history of innovative work with prison authorities in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway. The research that underpins these engagements is broadly focused on the aim to design prisons to have more positive outcomes than they currently do.

I have held Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) research grants totalling £1.3million to study the built environment of the prison and its potential to rehabilitate offenders, in addition to a small grant awarded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness to study trauma-informed design for women’s prisons. I have published 33 academic articles and book chapters on prison architecture, design and technology and am currently writing a book which draws on my experiences of custodial design around the world.

In addition to being invited to give many plenaries at academic conferences, including the British Society of Criminology annual conference (2013, 2018), ANZSOC (2016), and the prestigious John V. Barry Endowed Memorial Lecture in Criminology at the University of Melbourne (2016), I’ve given keynotes at International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA), Euro-Pris and Informa Prison Planning & Design conferences. My research has featured in many media outlets, including the Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, Telegraph, Monocle magazine and The Conversation. I have been interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s The Art of Now on ‘The architecture of incarceration’ and The Design Dimension.

My work has had considerable policy impacts in several countries, encouraging prison services and corrections departments to see prisons and prisoners through a rehabilitation lens as opposed to one focused on punishment. My research has been instrumental in fundamentally changing the thinking of the personnel I’ve worked with in prison services, correction services and ministries of justice, re-framing their long-term strategic planning decisions and thinking differently about people in prison.

I’ve worked on a number of prison projects, including :

  • Part of Design & Build of the new Auckland East male maximum security prison in Paremoremo, New Zealand (with Fletcher Construction and MODE Architects)
  • Consultant to New Zealand Dept of Corrections on design of the new medium security men’s prison in Waikeria, NZ
  • Consultant on early design plans of the new forensic mental health unit at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre for women, Melbourne, Australia (for FMSA Architects)
  • Evaluated Ravenhall Correctional Centre, Melbourne VIC, Australia, and assisted on best-practice design for Rivergum Residential Treatment Centre, Ararat VIC, Australia (for Guymer Bailey Architects)
  • Part of Design & Build team of the new Limerick women’s prison in the Republic of Ireland, working with the Irish Prison Service (IPS) to design a new 50-bed facility underpinned by a pioneering penal philosophy that focuses on humanity, hope and rehabilitation (with PJ Hegarty Architects)
  • Advisor to Ministry of Justice, HMPPS and Bryden Wood Architects on early design plans for new prisons at Glen Parva and Wellingborough, and Advisor to NOMS on interior design of HMP Berwyn.
Limerick Prison (built 1821)
What the ‘new’ Limerick women’s prison will look like (PJ Hegarty Architects)
A cell in the old Limerick Prison
A women’s prison cell post-refurbishment 2017
A bedroom in the ‘new’ Limerick prison (due to open 2021)
The ‘new’ Limerick