British Convict Criminology

Meet The Team

What are our main objectives?


• The membership and profile of British Convict Criminology has emerged through organising various seminars, guest lectures and university-based links with specific prisons. These include those organised by Andy Aresti and Sacha Darke at Westminster University with HMP Pentonville, HMP Coldingley and HMP Grendon, and Bill Davies at HMP Full Sutton and HMP Grendon. There is no formal membership of British Convict Criminology - it is a loose and informal collection of people aligned with the objectives set out on this website. It includes and welcomes people without experience of imprisonment because of the support and encouragement they can offer to those with that experience. In both the USA and the UK non-convicted academics have been central to the development of convict criminology. The people listed below are founder members and the group is growing slowly but surely. As the group becomes bigger we hope it will become more representative of the penal population to include women and those from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Below we list our main priorities and objectives: Providing support to prisoners and ex-prisoners in establishing themselves as academics in criminology and similar disciplines

• Develop critical perspectives on prisons and research with prisoners and former prisoners

• Using our collective knowledge, experiences and expertise to influence, or at least attempt to influence, policy change through our academic work and connections to advocacy/campaign groups

• Develop links with non-statutory sector organisations in the penal field

• Develop the membership and profile of British Convict Criminology through organising seminars, webinars, guest lectures and conferences

• Advance the reputation of convict criminology by producing distinctive, high quality analysis and publications, including book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles and books.

• Share experiences and develop ideas based on the convergence of the academic study of prison, criminal justice and direct experience of it as a prisoner or similar.

Dr Rod Earle


I am a senior lecturer in youth justice in the Dept. of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at The Open University. I joined Youth Justice team at the OU in July 2008. I worked throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s as a youth justice worker in the London Borough of Lambeth, where I also completed a part-time Masters degree in Criminology at Middlesex University Centre for Criminology. My dissertation considered the prospects for restorative justice in the youth justice system of England and Wales. In 2000, I joined the Public Policy Research Unit at Goldsmiths College to work on the National Evaluation of Introduction of Referral Orders into the youth justice system. At the London School of Economics I worked with Professor Tim Newburn on an evaluation of the use of visual recordings of police suspect interviews. In 2006 I started teaching with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in SE England supporting students on the D315 Crime, Order and Social Control module. I also taught criminology courses as a visiting lecturer at the LSE, City University and University of Westminster. Immediately before joining The OU I spent two years working full-time with Dr Coretta Phillips (LSE) on an ethnographic research project examining men's ethnic and social identities in prison. I have published widely from this research and in 2014 completed my PhD by Publication in the Dept. of Social Policy and Criminology, at The Open University. A full list of publications is available from Open Research Online.

Michael Irwin


Whilst in prison 2007-2013 Michael studied Criminology and Psychological Studies and earned a BA (Hons) Open and upon release completed a MSc with Queens University Belfast. Michael has attended several international criminology conferences in the UK, has delivered papers and several guest lectures at universities, facilitated a joint International gathering of Convict Criminology, British Convict Criminology alongside service providers and former prisoners in Belfast and is often invited to comment on suicide and mental health issues by the BBC on Radio and National Television. Michael facilitated a pilot Prison Smart Europe via The International Association For Human Values in HMP Maghaberry NI. Michael has published his account of prison in My Life Began At Forty and written a chapter in Degrees of Freedom. Michael is currently a board member of The Turnaround Project.

Dr Bill Davies


Bill is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University, a position he has held since 2012. Bill's PhD examined the lived experiences of short sentenced prisoners, identifying that by imprisoning people for short periods of time we are depriving those people of opportunities to better their lives. Along with a colleague, Dr Alexandria Bradley, Bill runs a Learning Together program at HMP Full Sutton, a Category A prison outside York. In excess of 40 prisoners have gained university level academic credits as a result of this program. Bill has supported a number of released prisoners with their applications to higher education. In 2017 Bill won a national teaching award for his work within prisons, being honoured by the Worshipful Company of Educators as Inspirational Teacher of the Year. Bill has published articles on prison education, suicide ideation among male prisoners, and convict criminology. Alongside Rod Earle, their paper Earle, R., & Davies, B. (2020). Glimpses across 50 years of prison life from members of British Convict Criminology. Prison Service Journal, (250), 13-19. was awarded Winner of Best PSJ Paper of 2020. The current focus of Bill’s teaching is within the association of tattoos and perceived criminality.

Dr David Honeywell


I am Dr David Honeywell. I current teach criminology at Hull University and work as a research assistant at the University of Manchester. My research interest include desistance from crime, prison reform and history. ex-prisoners who have entered higher education as a way of desisting from crime. I completed my PhD in 2018 which was a study of the ‘self”, the life changing processes that takes place through education and how individuals re-evaluate their sense of self thus adopting new identities other than that of criminal or deviant. Alongside this I am working on some other publishing projects and touring the UK giving guest talks to university students about my own personal journey to desistance through education. My interests are quite varied. I completed my masters degree in social research methods in 2003 at Teesside University then began worked as a freelance writer for several years, then in 2012, I published my autobiography, Never Ending Circles, followed by an historical biography, The Man Whose Skills Saved Millions about York’s legendary surgeon, Dr John Snow.

Ed Schreeche-Powell


Ed holds a 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Criminology and Psychology. He completed his MA with Distinction in Criminology at The University of Kent with a dissertation entitled: ‘Peer Support and Well-Being: Exploring the Impact of Peer-Led Induction on Male Prisoners’, which is an impact evaluation of the effects of a power-sharing initiative on the mental health and wellbeing of adult male prisoners. Ed was awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship for his PhD, which builds upon his MA with a multi-site investigation of this intervention through the theoretical conceptual lens of Power, Weight, Tightness, Depth and Legitimacy in prisons. Ed is an Assistant Lecturer at The University of Kent teaching Criminology to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students across the Canterbury and Medway campuses and as an Associate Lecturer at The University of Greenwich. Ed contributed an auto-ethnographic chapter to the book ‘Degrees of Freedom’ (Policy Press) on the experience of distance learning in custodial settings and the interaction with the offender identity. He had a journal article published in The Journal of Prisoners on prisons entitled Peer Support and Well-Being: Exploring the Impact of Peer-Led Induction on Male Prisoners. Additionally he contributed a well read and received article in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/im-an-ex-prisoner-and-education-behind-bars-saved-my-life-129048 and a blog post to The Journal of Working Class perspectives entitled ‘A Punishment with no End’ https://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2020/03/09/a-punishment-with-no-end-the-journey-of-a-working-class-criminal-into-academia/ . He has journal articles subject to peer review with The Prison Service Journal, The British Journal of Criminology and The Journal of Prisoners on Prisoners. Research interests Ed is interested in all aspects of research surrounding prisons and penal policy, with particular focus on offender mental health and wellbeing, safer custody and power-sharing initiatives in prisons, as well as a broader interest in punitiveness within the Criminal Justice System in Western Europe. Professional Ed is an active member of the British Society of Criminology, The British Psychological Society and The British Convict Criminologist Group. Ed also is a Peer Reviewer for the European Journal of Probation