CSJ who we are

Criminal & social justice Who we are

Laura Piacentini

Laura Piacentini is Professor of Criminology, Associate Director, SCCJR and a punishment and society scholar. Her research is rooted in sociology and shaped around the disciplines sociology, criminology, Russian Area Studies, history, human rights and political science. She has been researching and publishing in the area of contemporary Russian imprisonment for over 20 years, having lived and conducted research in numerous prisons. She is Co-Editor-in Chief of Criminology and Criminal Justice with Professor Michele Burman and Dr Sarah Armstrong at Glasgow University.

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Beth Weaver

Beth Weaver is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Associate Director, SCCJR, a research consultant for the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and an appointed member to SAPOR. Her research interests and current projects are in the areas of desistance; user involvement and co-production; the regulation and governance of post-release and community supervision; experiences of punishment; the employment rights of people with convictions; and the management of those classified as high risk of serious harm.

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Nina Vaswani square

Nina Vaswani is a research fellow and research lead in the Children’s and Young People’s Centre for Justice and co-founder of BRIG. She has a particular interest in the experience of loss and grief in children and young people. Her research has focused on the increased likelihood of loss and grief among disadvantaged young people, especially those involved in offending.

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cara jardine

Cara Jardine is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Social Policy. Her research interests include prisons and punishment; the impact of imprisonment on families, relationships and communities; power and legitimacy; and poverty and social marginalisation. She is particularly interested in innovative, creative and collaborative research methods.

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Sally Paul

Sally Paul is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, research consultant for CYCJ and the Centre for Health Policy, co-founder of BRIG, and a stakeholder in the Good Life Good Death Good Grief Alliance and the Scottish Representative for the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers. She is actively engaged in a number of research projects and knowledge exchange activities with specific interests in: death, dying and bereavement; loss; public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities); children and young people; participatory research methods; and practice development.

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Melanie McCarry

Melanie McCarry is a lecturer in social policy. For over 20 years she has worked collaboratively with colleagues in academia and the feminist activist movement on men’s violence against women and children including the areas of: domestic abuse; sexual violence; abuse in young people’s relationships; domestic abuse in same sex relationships; abuse in higher education contexts;  and forced marriage. Melanie’s recent research Equally Safe in Higher Education (ESHE) and Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities (ESCU) developed a Toolkit for tackling gender based violence on campus and is freely available (tiny.cc/equallysafeHE). It is now a requirement of the Scottish Funding Council that Scottish universities implement the Toolkit to tackle gender-based violence. 

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Tia Simanovic is a doctoral researcher whose PhD on bereavement and imprisonment examines prisoners’ experiences of death related grief, both prior to and/or during custody. In addition, her research explores the institutional impacts and responses to grieving in prison, as well as potential implications for policy and practice.

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Fern Gillon is a Research Associate in the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice. She is also completing her Doctoral Research analysing the role of multi-agency early intervention projects in diverting young people from crime. Fern has experience of conducting a number of small scale research projects on youth justice issues involving both young people and professionals on issues such as experiences of custody; and stop and search.

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Ionut Cioarta is a doctoral researcher whose PhD aims to identify how social work activism is manifested in two countries, the UK and Romania, and how it influences the activity of social workers, further exploring the role of social media and it’s potential to shape the manifestation of social work. 

Daniel Horn is a research associate and joins the school following some years in the field of international development, particularly in the area of social protection in low and middle income countries (LMICs). He has worked at the international level and across several countries, remaining active in global civil society campaigns to ensure universal social protection and inclusive government. His core academic interests are in the field of welfare states, democratic participation, and the linkages between various components of welfare systems, with a keen interest in the role of ‘correctional’ systems in the framework of the welfare state. His general interests include: democratic participation and welfare systems, punishment and political economy, social protection policy and financing, and research methods and applied theory.

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Karyn Mabon is a doctoral researcher whose PhD examines the mental health of women who are experiencing community justice. The project is a collaborative one, linked with NYU. Karyn has experience of working in front-line criminal justice services and has an interest in gender and creative methods.

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Emma Christensen

Emma Christensen is a doctoral researcher whose PhD examines correctional education in Scotland and the United States. Her research will compare various educational programs in both countries, including postsecondary education, vocational education, and arts education. Furthermore, her research will explore how these programs impact incarcerated individuals both during their incarceration and following their release.

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Kirsty Deacon

Kirsty Deacon is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Social Work and Social Policy. Her research interests include children and young people, families and relationships, and imprisonment. Her doctoral research utilised qualitative interviews to explore young people’s experiences of the imprisonment of a parent and/or sibling, and as part of this explored ideas of simultaneous imprisonment where both the young person and their family member were serving a prison sentence at the same time.

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Sally Mercer is a doctoral researcher, whose PhD examines families' experience of a relative’s death in Scottish Prisons. Sally is a palliative care social worker, practice educator and freelance lecturer whose wider areas of interest are marginalised experiences of death and dying, relationship-based social work practice and critical approaches to social work research. Alongside her PhD, Sally has input into national publications around palliative care pathways, with particular emphasis on those with Motor Neurone Disease and Carers.

Ross Gibson

Ross Gibson is a Practice Development Advisor within the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice, with a particular focus on children who face, take or make the highest levels of risk; diversion from prosecution, extension of the Children’s Hearing System for all under 18s, and participation.  He is also undertaking a PhD on a part time basis here at the University, studying children’s perceptions of their admission into secure care through the use of LEGO Serious Play and metaphor analysis. Prior to joining CYCJ he was a youth justice Social Worker.

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Marijke Synhaeve

Marijke Synhaeve is a doctoral researcher whose Phd focuses on how and why research on youth violence prevention achieves (or fails to achieve) influence in policy settings. The Phd consists of a comparative case study of Scotland and the Netherlands. If the intended impacts are achieved, even partially, then this research will help contribute to addressing youth violence in ways that improve the lives of (often vulnerable) young people. Marijke Synhaeve conducts this Phd study part-time. Besides doing the phd, she is elected as city councillor, board member and works as a senior/managing consultant advising all governmental levels in the Netherlands.

 Please view Marijke's pure profile here

We're involved, in various ways, in SCCJR, a world leading research centre and CYCJ, a national knowledge exchange centre.

Discover more about Criminal & Social Justice

We accept PhD applications in Criminology, Social Work and Social Policy. To find out more please contact Kat Smith