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Ben Laws

Ben Laws

Ph.D. Student

'Emotions in prison: an exploration of space, emotion regulation and expression'

Research Interests

Ben is undertaking an ESRC funded study of prisoner emotion supervised by Dr. Ben Crewe. The project aims to investigate the ways in which prisoners regulate their emotions under conditions of confinement by using a combination of research methods (semi-structured interviews and prisoner shadowing). He hopes that his findings will help us to learn more about the emotional 'survivability' of different prisons and to assist management and practitioners to ensure that prisons are positive, secure and safe environments for managing offenders.

Ben's MPhil dissertation won the Jon Sunley prize (2015) which celebrates 'excellence and impact of post graduate research into penal issues'.

Education and Background

Ben studied English (BA) at Leicester, Psychology (MSc) at St. Andrews and Criminology (MPhil) here in Cambridge. He has professional experience working in a range of mental health settings across the UK and US, mainly supporting those with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and young adults diagnosed with conduct disorders.

Key Publications

  • Laws, B. and Crewe, B. (forthcoming) 'Emotion regulation among male prisoners'. Theoretical Criminology.
  • Laws, B. (forthcoming) Fronting, Masking and Emotion Release: An Exploration of Prisoners' Emotional Management Strategies. The Howard League for Penal Reform.
  • Crewe, B. and Laws, B. (forthcoming) 'Subcultural adaptations to incarceration', in J. Wooldredge and P. Smith (eds) The Oxford Handbook on Prisons and Imprisonment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Laursen, J. and Laws, B. (forthcoming) 'Honour and respect in Danish Prisons: contesting 'cognitive distortions' in offender behaviour programs'. Punishment and Society.

Awards and Funding

2014-2017 ESRC Full award
2015 John Sunley Prize, Howard League of Penal Reform
2014 Joe Petty Prize for Criminology, Wolfson College
2014 Proxime accesserunt for the Manuel López-Rey Graduate Prize, Cambridge.