Reform and Research: Re-connecting Prison and Society in the 21st Century


IIn this contribution I briefly outline some of the historical and current trends in prison research and question how a prison researcher can work towards influencing policy and practice. I discuss the current role of ‘what works’ research and the way it is sometimes utilized in a time of penal populism and rising prison populations. I argue in favour of a broader approach which recognizes the wider societal effects of imprisonment and I provide a concrete example of how one can attempt to plan research and project work in order to facilitate progression from research and knowledge production to action and implementation. Finally I discuss some of the scientific and ethical implications which can arise when working with reform and implementation projects.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2015-04-01
Pages:33 to 49
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How to Cite
Smith, P. S. (2015) “Reform and Research: Re-connecting Prison and Society in the 21st Century”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(1), pp. 33-49. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v4i1.202.

Author Biography

The Danish Institute for Human Rights
Senior Researcher