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Fabio Tartarini

Fabio Tartarini

Ph.D Student

'The role of self-empowerment in the process of human flourishing in prison.'


I joined the Institute of Criminology in 2012 with a PhD project aimed at identifying the 'institutional and interpersonal facilitators of personal development in prison' (supervisors Dr. Ben Crewe and Prof. Alison Liebling). After working as a resettlement administrator in a private prison, I wanted to understand more about how the professional and personal skills of prison staff interplay with prisoners' attitudes and motivations towards rehabilitation, and thereby affect prisoners’ decisions to engage with the prison and develop on a personal level. The framework of this project is socio-psychological and is inspired by the work on social issues of both Kurt Lewin and Paulo Freire. A broad aim of my research is to contribute to the wider understanding of social issues and promote the development of more efficient and humane social policies.

I am a fully qualified chartered occupational and consumer psychologist in Italy and a graduate member of the British Psychological Society. I qualified in psychology with a 'Laurea Specialistica' (cum laude). During this period, I was a resident student of the Collegio di Milano, a campus for the top 100 students of the universities of Milan, undertaking a cultural program complementary to my academic career.

My previous work experience comprises: Post-graduate teaching assistant at the University of Southampton; research assistant at the LLAS centre and the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Southampton; occupational psychologist consultant on work-related stress for an Italian company; consumer psychologist for an Italian market research institute; and resettlement administrator for a private prison in the UK.

Key Publications

  • Tartarini, F. (2014) Review: Cultures of desistance by A. Calverley. The British Journal of Community Justice, 12(3): 101-102
  • Canning, J., Hallagher-Brett, A., Tartarini, F., McGuinness, H., (2010). Routes into Languages: Report on Teacher and Pupil attitude survey. See LLAS Centre for Languages Linguistics & Area Studies.
  • Montali, L. & Tartarini, F. (2009) "La credenza nei fenomeni paranormali e religiosità: quale rapporto?". In Germano Rossi, Mario Aletti (editors) Psicologia della religione e teoria dell'attaccamento. Roma, Aracne editore. (Tr. "Belief in the paranormal and religiosity: what is the relationship between the two?")

Conference papers

  • Tartarini, F. "Resettlement behind bars: challenging the current views on desistance from crime" paper presented at the British Society of Criminology conference, Portsmouth, July 4, 2012.
  • Tartarini, F. "Research on desistance: could it inform sentencing policies?" paper presented at the British Society of Criminology conference, Newcastle, July 4, 2011.
  • Tartarini, F. "Desistance and the Holy Grail: what are we (re)searching for?" paper presented at the British Society of Criminology Post-Graduate Annual conference, Newcastle, July 3, 2011.
  • Tartarini, F. "Desistance discussions: a research agenda..?" paper presented at the York Deviancy Conference, York, June 29, 2011.
  • Tartarini, F. "From prison to community through the revolving door: breaking the circle of crime". Postgraduate and Early Career Research Showcase, University of Southampton, February 21, 2011 (poster contribution)
  • Tartarini, F. "Credenza nei fenomeni paranormali e religiosità in un campione di student universitary" (tr. "Paranormal beliefs and religiosity within a sample of university students") Talk presented at the International conference on Psychology of Religion, Milan, June 29, 2007

Prisons Research at Cambridge University

The Prisons Research Centre (PRC) was founded in 2000, under the Directorship of Professor Alison Liebling. The Centre has received funding from a wide range of sources, including the Prison Service/NOMS, the Nuffield Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the ESRC, KPMG, the Home Office and UKDS (now Kalyx).

The Cambridge Institute of Criminology Prisons Research Centre aims to provide a stimulating research environment in which a coherent strategy of high quality research can be pursued, and integration between funded and non-funded, and applied and theoretical projects can be facilitated. We investigate how prisons operate, socially, morally and operationally, how they are experienced, and the relationship between these moral and social qualities, and their effects.

Members of the PRC team carry out, individually and collectively, methodologically rigorous and theoretically relevant field-based studies addressing problems of human and social values, punishment practices, and the organisation and effects of aspects of prison life. We strive to forge links with other prisons researchers, scholars in the broader fields of criminology and sociology, and with practitioners. Our vision is to develop a rigorous and person-centred model of social inquiry.

You can read more about the latest projects in our Annual Reports.