Promoting Dignity or Protecting Vulnerability? Treatment of Female Detainees in Police Custody

Centre for Law, Crime & Justice

Strathclyde Law School

Research Seminar

Friday 10th May 2.30-3.50pm

To Book:

Speaker: Prof. Jackie Hodgson, Warwick University Law School, England.

This research seminar explores the concepts of dignity and vulnerability in the context of the treatment of female detainees in police custody.

It discusses the early stages of a pilot study. The team has so far conducted exploratory empirical work - gathering responses from female detainees on their treatment in police custody, and from independent custody visitor scheme managers in England and Wales.  

In contrast to earlier research around Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) practices, the approach of this research has been less focussed on the negative actions of police and more on how best to ensure that detainees’ dignity is maintained.  

The concept of dignity is an interesting and useful one, but somewhat under-explored in this context. The police are perhaps more comfortable with thinking about different needs in terms of the protection of vulnerable suspects and incorporating a series of checks and risk factors into their practice to address this. Vulnerability is problematic, however.  It can be disempowering and is over-generalised. It does not address the huge differences between for example: a young person’s needs; those of someone with mental health concerns; someone with a learning disability; someone who is at risk of suicide etc.  

Through this workshop, Prof Hodgson will welcome discussion on the concepts of dignity and vulnerability and how they might relate to female suspects held in police custody.

Dr Jackie Hodgdson is Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Law at Warwick University, England. She established the Criminal Justice Centre and the cross-faculty Centre for Operational Police Research. She holds an LLB and PhD and has researched and written in the area of UK, French, comparative and European criminal justice. Her research has attracted funding from the ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, British Academy, Leverhume Trust, AHRC, the European Commission and the Home Office.

She held a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for 2009-2010. She was awarded the Social Science Faculty Impact prize in 2013. In 2013 she was elected to the Council of JUSTICE and in 2014 she was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

She has contributed to UK policy reform through her research for the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice; her evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Europe; written and oral evidence to the Justice Select Committee review of the CCRC; and a briefing for the Scottish Criminal Justice review carried out by Lord Carloway. At the EU level she has provided a Brussels Policy Briefing re the draft Directive on Access to legal counsel and been appointed as an expert for EU impact assessments on on legal aid Directive (2016), pre-trial detention (2015-16), presumption of innocence (2013) and the impact of Brexit (2018). Her research and scholarship on French criminal justice have resulted in her expertise being sought in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, as well as in a number of European Arrest Warrant cases and Scottish and Canadian extradition cases. She has trained lawyers in connection with best practice in the provision of custodial legal advice in the light of European standards, and in making effective applications to the CCRC. She has also organised a range of public engagement events around prisoner well-being and women in prison.

To Book Your Place: