New Prison Research Network established at university
The Prison Research Network was launched at an event held at the University, with Leeds Beckett researchers presenting their current work before a keynote lecture from Nick Hardwick, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons.
The network has been established by Helen Nichols and Dr Bill Davies, criminology lecturers and prison researchers within the University’s Centre for Applied Social Research. Dr Davies explained: “The Prison Research Network is a supportive network of academic and non-academic professionals with an interest in the prison and its wider impact on society. The aim of the network is to bridge the gap between previously separate academic disciplines to create a central hub of knowledge and support.
“The network has active members from across Leeds Beckett University and includes the following subject areas: sport science, physiotherapy, health promotion, speech and language therapy, architecture, history, law, playwork, criminology, sociology and psychology. The network also includes members from the NHS and the Prison Service, along with local prisoner-based charities and other national charities with a vested interest in penal reform.”
The launch event showcased the work currently being done by members and aimed to open the network to a wider audience. Current research presented on the day included: Dr James Woodall’s National Institute for Health Research-funded work on peers in prison; Mike Wragg’s studies around children’s stress when visiting parents in prison; and Karl Lenton’s Wellness Pod, an initiative based at the University’s Enterprise and Innovation Hub, bringing portable spaces within prisons and currently being trialled at HMP Leeds.
Dr Davies added: “The launch was attended by academics and organisations with an interest in prison and the social impact of imprisonment and included, amongst others, representatives from Probation, Prisoners’ Education Trust, Safe Innovations, Intelligence Project and HMP Full Sutton. With a pleasing turnout, the launch created a valuable networking opportunity which has resulted in connections being made to produce exciting research opportunities. Feedback received so far has been very positive.”
Image l-r: Nick Hardwick, Helen Nichols, Dr Bill Davies