skip to content

Prisons Research Centre



Ailie completed her BA in Criminal Justice and Criminology in 2019 at the University of Leeds, before moving to Cambridge to start the MPhil in Criminological Research.

She is a first year doctoral candidate, and is supervised by Professor Ben Crewe, with Dr Susie Hulley as a secondary supervisor.


Ailie’s ESRC-funded PhD project concerns the existential issues facing life-sentence prisoners. Ailie is particularly interested in the issues they face as they prepare for release from open prisons and upon re-entering their community. Building on her MPhil dissertation, Ailie’s doctoral work will employ a short-longitudinal design that includes semi-structured interviews with around 30 male and female life-sentenced prisoners approaching release in English prisons (T1) and two months post-release (T2).

Her study looks to explore existential issues such as the search for meaning and identity; the self and the other; feelings and emotions; shame; stigma and the impact of a life licence in relation to expectations and realities of release. In particular, the study will consider whether these aspects are consistent with regards to a) male and female lifers; and b) before and after release.

In her spare time, Ailie volunteers with the New Bridge Foundation and has recently moved to establish a support group here in Cambridge. For more information on how to get involved, please contact her (

 Ailie  Rennie
Not available for consultancy