Area of Expertise
- Global Criminology
- Sociology and Social Theory
- Prisons in the former Soviet Union
- International prisons and penal reform
- Prison ethnography and qualitative research methods
- Human rights in prisons
Prize And Awards
Laura is recognised, through publications, impact, elite grant capture and academic awards as a world leading Criminologist. She has been publishing in the area of contemporary Russian imprisonment since 1995, having lived and conducted research in numerous prisons. She is a trained Russian speaker.
All her work multi-disciplinary and involves substantial leadership of international teams involving the subjects of sociology, Russian Area Studies, history, human rights and political science. I am committed to radical, feminist, creative and theoretically informed research methods.
Laura has been PI or Co-I on many grants and have completed several major ESRC studies on Russian prisons:
Grants funded by the ESRC
- "In The Gulag's Shadow: Producing, Consuming and Percieving Prisons in the Former USSR)" (2018-2021), Principal Investigator (£735k). The study is the first study of its kind in world Criminology. The team includes Dr Gavin Slade (Lead Co-I and Associate Professor, University of Nazarbayev, Astana, Kazakhstan); Professor Elena Olmenchenko (Professor of Sociology, Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg), and Professor Alexei Trochev (Professor of Criminology, University of Nazarbayev, Astana, Kazakhstan).
- "Regulating Justice: The dynamics of compliance and breach in criminal justice social work in Scotland", Co-I, with Dr Monica Barry (Law, PI) and Dr Beth Weaver (Social Work and Social Policy, Co-I), 2012-2014, £206k.
- "Women in the Russian Penal System: The role of distance in the theory and practice of imprisonment in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia"(ESRC, 2006-2010, £253,000, with Professor Judith Pallot (Oxford, PI) and Dr Dominique Moran, University of Birmingham, Co-I).
- "Work to Live: The Function of Prison Labour in Russian Prisons" (1997-2001) (ESRC, PI, £45,000);
Grants funded by the AHRC
- "The Right to Health in Brazilian and Scottish Prisons", 2018-2020 (AHRC and MRC, £180,000), Co-I and Professor Sally Haw (PI).
Grants funded by the Leverhulme Trust
- "Towards a Sociology of rights consciousness amongst Russian prisoners" (Principal Investigator, £45,000).
Knowledge Exchange: Laura has advised the United Nations and NGOs on subjects that include forced labour in prisons and Russian political prisoners and asylum seekers. She has advised the Scottish Parliament on rehabilitation in prisons and given papers at diverse international Universities including the University of Nazarbayev, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, the University of Harvard, The Higher Education Institute of Smolensk and Moscow State University. She has taught at Russian prison service training colleges, Russian police colleges and at the Central European University, Budapest.