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Prisons Research Centre


From 2007 - 2010, Professor Ben Crewe and Professor Alison Liebling were co-investigators 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, focusing 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 Enquiry, 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
  • 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.

Professor Ben  Crewe
Deputy Director, Prisons Research Centre
Professor of Penology and Criminal Justice
Dr Susie  Hulley
Senior Research Associate
Professor Alison  Liebling
Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Director, Prisons Research Centre