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Dr Ben Crewe

Dr Ben Crewe

Deputy Director, Prisons Research Centre

Reader in Penology


Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 763914

Biography:

Dr. Ben Crewe has been at the Institute of Criminology since 2001, initially as a Nuffield Foundation New Career Development Fellow, and subsequently as a Senior Research Associate. He is currently Deputy Director of the Prisons Research Centre and Director of the MSt Penology Programme. From October 2015, he will hold a University Readership in Penology.

Ben is on the editorial board of the British Journal of CriminologyPalgrave Communications and thePrison Service Journal. He is an International Associate Board member of Punishment and Society, and is one of the series editors of Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology (with Yvonne Jewkes and Thomas Ugelvik).

Current research projects include an ESRC-funded study of prisoners serving very long sentences from an early age (with Susie Hulley and Serena Wright), a NOMS-funded study of the role of prison governors, and - from September 2015 - a five-year, €2 million research project titled 'Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis', which will involve extensive fieldwork in England & Wales and one of the Nordic countries.

Research Interests

Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis

Ben was recently awarded a five-year European Research Council consolidator grant, worth just under €2 million, to undertake a research programme titled: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis. The research will be based in England and Wales and one of the Nordic countries, and will involve studies of penal policymaking and the penal field, the experiences of female prisoners, imprisoned sex offenders, and prisoners in the most secure parts of each jurisdiction's prison system.

Experiencing very long term imprisonment from young adulthood

Ben is currently directing a major study of prisoners serving very long sentences from an early age, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (co-investigator, Dr Susie Hulley; research associate, Dr Serena Wright - see here for more details.)

This study has involved interviews with 125 male prisoners serving life sentences with tariffs of fifteen years or more, sentenced when aged 25 or under, and the collection of 295 surveys from a wider group of men who meet these criteria, in sixteen establishments overall, including young offender institutions, high-security prisons, category B and C prisons, and open prisons. In the coming months, our aim is to begin writing up the study while also interviewing the small number of female prisoners in the England and Wales prison system who also meet our criteria. We are also developing a research proposal in the hope of securing access to interviewing both men and women serving these sentences who have been transferred to secure psychiatric hospitals. Funding for this additional work has been provided by The Newton Trust.

Values, Practices and outcomes in public and private corrections

From 2007-2010, Ben was co-investigator (with Professor Alison Liebling) of an ESRC-funded study of values, practices and outcomes in public and private corrections. The study had two main components: (1) a comparative evaluation of quality of life, culture and practices in five private sector and two public sector prisons, in England and Wales; and (2) around 90 interviews with senior managers working in the public and private sectors, focussing in particular on professional values and motivations.

Publications that have arisen from this study include the following:

  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A., and Hulley, S. (2015) 'Staff-prisoner relationships, staff professionalism and the use of authority in public and private sector prisons', Law and Social Inquiry, 40(2), 309-344.
  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A. and Hulley, S. (2014) 'Heavy-light, absent-present: Re-thinking the ‘weight’ of imprisonment', British Journal of Sociology 65 (3), 387-410
  • Hulley, S., Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2012) 'Respect in prisons: Prisoners' experiences of respect in public and private sector prisons' Criminology and Criminal Justice February 2012 12: 3-23
  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A. and Hulley. S. (2011) 'Staff culture, the use of authority, and prisoner outcomes in public and private prisons' Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 44(1): 94-115.
  • Liebling, A., Crewe, B. and Hulley, S. (2011) 'Values and practices in public and private sector prisons: A summary of key findings from an evaluation', Prison Service Journal, 196, 55-58.

The Prisoner Society

From 2001-2004, Ben conducted a semi-ethnographic study of the everyday social world of an English Prison, based on a ten-month fieldwork period in HMP Wellingborough, a medium-security men's training establishment. The study was published as a research monograph by Oxford University Press (2009), titled: The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison. Publications that have arisen from this study include the following:

                       

 The book has been reviewed in a number of journals:

 

Miscellaneous Research

Along with Professor Alison Liebling, Ben has recently been conducting a further set of interviews with governing governors in the England and Wales prison system, as part of the Prison Service's body of research and thinking on 'the role of the governing governor'.

Ben participates regularly in 'MQPL+' exercises, in which a team of researchers from the Prisons Research Centre use.

Key Publications

Research monographs and edited collections

  • Crewe, B., Hulley, S. and Wright, S. (forthcoming) Life Imprisonment from Young Adulthood: Time, Identity and Adaptation. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Jewkes, Y., Bennett, J. and Crewe, B. (eds.) (2016) The Handbook on Prisons. London: Routledge.
  • Crewe, B. and Bennett, J. (eds.) (2012) The Prisoner. London: Routledge.
  • Crewe, B. (2009) The Prisoner Society: Power, Adaptation and Social Life in an English Prison. Oxford: OUP, Clarendon.
  • Bennett, J., Crewe, B. and Wahidin, A. (eds.) (2008) Understanding Prison Staff. Cullompton. Willan.
  • Crewe, B. (2003) Representing Men: Cultural Production and Producers in the Men's Magazine Market. Oxford: Berg

 Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Liebling, A., Laws, B., Lieber, E., Auty, K., Schmidt, B., Crewe, B., Gardom, J., Kant, D., Morey, M. (2019) ‘Are Hope and Possibility Achievable in Prison?’, The Howard Journal. 00(0), 1-23, DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12303
  • Crewe, B., Hulley, S. and Wright, S. (2017) ‘The gendered pains of life imprisonment’, British Journal of Criminology. 57(6), 1359-1378
  • Crewe, B., Hulley, S. and Wright, S. (2016) ‘Swimming with the tide: adapting to long-term imprisonment’, Justice Quarterly. 34(3), 517-541. doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2016.1190394
  • Wright, S., Crewe, B. and Hulley, S. (under review) 'Suppression, denial, sublimation: early adaptations to long-term imprisonment', Justice Quarterly. 34(3), 517-541. doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2016.
  • Laws, B. and Crewe, B. (2016) ‘Emotion regulation among male prisoners’ Theoretical Criminology, 20(4): 529-547, doi: 10.1177/1362480615622532
  • Hulley, S., Crewe, B. and Wright, S. (2016) ‘Re-examining the problems of long-term imprisonment’, British Journal of Criminology, 56(4): 769-792.
  • Crewe, B.  and Liebling, A. (2015) ‘Governing governors’, Prison Service Journal, 222, 3-10
  • Crewe, B. and Liebling, A. (2015) ‘Staff culture, authority and prison violence’, Prison Service Journal, September, 221, 9-14
  • Ievins, A. and Crewe, B. (2015) ‘Nobody’s better than you, nobody’s worse than you’: Moral community among prisoners convicted of sexual offences’ Punishment and Society, 17(4): 482-501
  • Crewe, B. (2015) 'Inside the belly of the beast: understanding the experience of imprisonment', The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(1), 50-65
  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A., Padfield, N. and Virgo, G. (2015) ‘Joint Enterprise: the implications of an unfair and unclear law’, Criminal Law Review, Issue 4, 252-269
  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A., and Hulley, S. (2015) 'Staff-prisoner relationships, staff professionalism and the use of authority in public and private sector prisons', Law and Social Inquiry, 40(2), 309-344
  • Crewe, B., Liebling, A. and Hulley, S. (2014) 'Heavy-light, absent-present: Re-thinking the ‘weight’ of imprisonment', British Journal of Sociology, 65(3), 387-410
  • Crewe, B. (2014) 'Not looking hard enough: masculinity, emotion and prison research', Qualitative Inquiry, 20(4), 392-403
  • Crewe, B., Bennett, P., Smith, A. and Warr, J. (2014) 'The emotional geography of prison life', Theoretical Criminology, 18(1), 56-74
  • Hulley, S., Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2012) ‘Respect in prisons: Prisoners’ experiences of respect in public and private sector prisons’ Criminology and Criminal Justice, 12(1), 3-23
  • Crewe, B. (2011) ‘Depth, weight, tightness: Revisiting the pains of imprisonment’, Punishment and Society, 13(5), 509-529.
  • Crewe, B. (2011) ‘Soft power in prison: Implications for staff-prisoner relationships, liberty and legitimacy’, European Journal of Criminology, 8(6), 455-468
  • Crewe, B, Liebling, A. and Hulley. S. (2011) ‘Staff culture, the use of authority, and prisoner quality of life in public and private sector prisons’ Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 44(1), 94-115
  • Liebling, A., Crewe, B. and Hulley, S. (2011) ‘Values and practices in public and private sector prisons: A summary of key findings from an evaluation’, Prison Service Journal, 196, 55-58
  • Crewe, B. (2007) ‘Power, Adaptation and Resistance in a Late-Modern Men’s Prison’
  • British Journal of Criminology, 47(2), 256-275
  • Crewe, B. (2006) ‘Male prisoners’ orientations towards female officers in an English prison’ Punishment and Society, 8(4), 395-421
  • Crewe, B (2006) ‘Prison Drug Dealing and the Ethnographic Lens’, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 45(4), 347-368
  • Crewe, B. (2005) ‘The Prisoner Society in the Era of Hard Drugs’, Punishment and Society, 7(4), 457-481
  • Crewe, B (2004) 'The Drugs Economy and the Prisoner Society', Prison Service Journal, 156, 9-14. (reproduced in Jewkes, Y. and Johnston, H. (eds.) Prison Readings (2006) Cullompton: Willan)
  • Nixon, S. and Crewe, B. (2004) ‘Pleasure at Work? Gender, Consumption and Work-based Identities in the Creative Industries’, Consumption, Markets and Culture, 7(2), 129-147

Other Publications

  • Crewe, B. and Laws, B. (in press) ‘Subcultural adaptations to imprisonment’, in J. Wooldredge and P. Smith (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Prisons and Imprisonment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Crewe, B. and Liebling, A. (2018) 'Quality, professionalism, and the distribution of power in public and private sector prisons', in Hucklesby, A. and Lister, S. (eds) The Private Sector and Criminal Justice, 161-194
  • Morey, M. and Crewe, B. (2018) ‘Work, intimacy and prisoner masculinities’, in Maycock, M and Hunt, K (eds.) (2017) New Perspectives on Prison Masculinities. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Crewe, B. and Liebling, A. (2017) ‘Reconfiguring penal power’, in A. Liebling, S. Maruna, S. and L. McAra (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford: OUP.
  • Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2016) ‘Why moral values matter’, in van Eijk, R. and de Wit, T. (eds.) For Justice and Mercy: International Reflections on Prison Chaplaincy. Oiserwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers.
  • Liebling, A., Schmidt, B., Crewe, B., Auty, K., Armstrong, R., Akoensi, T., Kant, D., Ludlow, A. And Ievins, A. (2015) 'Birmingham prison: the transition from public to private sector and its impact on staff and prisoner quality of life - a three year study', National Offender Management Service analytic summary. www.gov.uk
  • Crewe, B. and Ievins, A (2015) 'Closeness, distance and honesty in prison research', in D. Drake, R. Earle, and J. Sloan (eds) The International Handbook of Prison Ethnography. London: Palgrave, 124-142
  • Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2014) ‘Staff-prisoner relationships, moral performance, and privatisation’, in McNeill, F. and Durnescu, I. (eds) Understanding Penal Practices, Routledge
  • Armstrong, R., Gelsthorpe, L. and Crewe, B. (2014) ‘From paper ethics to real world research: supervising ethical reflexivity in when taking risks in research with ‘the risky’’, in K. Lumsden, and A. Winter (eds) Reflexivity in Criminological Research Experiences with the Powerful and Powerless. Basingstoke: Palgrave, Macmillan
  • Crewe, B. (2013) ‘Writing and reading a prison: making use of prisoner life stories’, Criminal Justice Matters, 91(1), 20-20
  • Crewe, B. (2013) ‘Compliance in prisons’, in Raynor, P. and Ugwudike, P. (eds.) What Works in Offender Compliance? International Perspectives and Evidence-Based Practice, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2013) ‘Prisons beyond the new penology: the shifting moral foundations of prison management’, in J. Simon and R. Sparks (eds.) Handbook of Punishment and Society. London: Sage
  • Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2012) ‘Prison life, penal power, and prison effects’, in M. Maguire, R. Morgan, and R. Reiner (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford: OUP
  • Crewe, B. and Bennett, J. (2012) ‘Introduction’, in Crewe, B. and Bennett, J. (eds.) The Prisoner. London: Routledge
  • Crewe, B. (2012) ‘Prison Culture and The Prisoner Society, in Crewe, B. and Bennett, J. (eds.) The Prisoner. London: Routledge
  • Crewe, B. and Liebling, A. (2012) ‘Insider views of private sector competition’, in Helyar-Cardwell, V. (eds.) Delivering Justice: The role of the public, private and voluntary sectors in the prison system. Criminal Justice Alliance publications.
  • Liebling, A. and Crewe, B. (2012) ‘Values, Practices and Outcomes in Public and Private Sector Prisons’, in Helyar-Cardwell, V. (eds.) Delivering Justice: The role of the public, private and voluntary sectors in the prison system. Criminal Justice Alliance publications.
  • Liebling, A., Hulley, S. and Crewe, B. (2011), ‘Conceptualising and Measuring the Quality of Prison Life’, in Gadd, D., Karstedt, S. and Messner, S. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Research Methods. London: Sage
  • Crewe, B. and Liebling, A. (2011) ‘Are liberal humanitarian penal values and practices exceptional?’, in Ugelvik, T. And Dullum, J. (eds.) Penal Exceptionalism?: Nordic Prison Policy and Practice. Cullompton: Willan
  • Crewe, B. (2009) ‘Gresham Sykes’, in Hayward, K., Maruna, S. and Mooney, J. (eds.) Fifty Key Thinkers in Criminology. London: Routledge
  • Crewe, B. (2008) ‘Concluding comments on the social world of prison staff’, in Bennett, J., Crewe, B. and Wahidin, J. (eds.) Understanding Prison Staff. Cullompton: Willan
  • Crewe, B. (2007) ‘The Sociology of Prisons’, in Jewkes, Y. (ed.) The Handbook of Prisons. Cullompton: Willan
  • Crewe, B. (2007) entries for ‘social relations and hierarchy’, ‘The inmate code’, ‘argot’ (with Tomer Einat), ‘deprivations of imprisonment’ (with Deborah Drake) and ‘solidarity’ (with Deborah Drake) for The Dictionary of Prisons, Bennett, J. and Jewkes, Y. (eds.) Cullompton: Willan.
  • Crewe, B. and Maruna, S. (2006) ‘Self-Narratives and Ethnographic Fieldwork’, in Hobbs, D. and Wright, R. (eds.) The Handbook of Fieldwork. Sage
  • Crewe, B. (2005) ‘Codes and Conventions: The Terms and Conditions of Contemporary Inmate Values’, in Liebling, A. and Maruna, S. The Effects of Imprisonment. Cullompton: Willan
  • Crewe, B. (2003) ‘Class, Masculinity and Editorial Identity in the Reformation of the UK Men’s Press’, in B. Benwell (ed.) Masculinity and Men's Lifestyle Magazines. Sociological Review Monographs, 51(1), 91-111
  • Crewe, B. (2001) ‘Consuming Men – Producing Loaded’, in S. Miles, A. Anderson and K. Meethan (eds.) The Changing Consumer: Markets and Meanings. London: Routledge