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Cynthia McDougall
Professor

Profile

Biography

Cynthia has in-depth practical and research experience of offence-related issues, having worked as a probation officer in the community and as a psychologist in prisons, achieving the most senior psychology position in those agencies of Head of Psychology for Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS), England and Wales.  She has combined practical experience with academic expertise moving to the University of York where she set up the Centre for Criminal Justice Economics and Psychology, and the University’s MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology, of which she was the first Director. 

Cynthia has worked as a consultant to Yorkshire and Humberside Prison Service Area where she advised on suicide prevention strategies and culture change, and to Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust, where she was responsible for the development of a new behavioural risk assessment model to promote safer evidence-based decision-making on high risk offenders under consideration for release, which contributed to the implementation of the Ministry of Justice Enhanced Behaviour Monitoring Policy, 2015. She received an OBE for her services to Prison Psychology, and is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.

Qualifications and Awards

  • BA Psychology - University of Newcastle. 1978.
  • Ph.D. Psychology – University of York, 1989.  (Under supervision of Professor Peter Venables, founding Head of Psychology Department).
  • British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Psychologist
  • Associate Fellow of BPS
  • Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Forensic Psychologist.
  • Member of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL).

Career

  • Probation Officer, Co. Durham (!970-1975).
  • Psychologist – HM Prisons Acklington, Castington, Frankland and Wakefield (1980 – 1989).
  • Head of HM Prison Service Psychology (1990 – 1999).
  • Head of Psychology for Prison and Probation Services, England/Wales (1999-2001).
  • Director and Co-Director of University of York Centre for Criminal Justice Economics & Psychology (2001 – 2010).
  • Director of University of York MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology (AFP) (2004 – 2007).
  • Consultant to Durham Probation Service (now DTV Probation Trust) (2004 – 2012), in addition to lecturer on York MSc AFP.
  • Appointed by Ministry of Justice to conduct an Independent Investigation into a ‘Near Death in Custody’ under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (2008 – 2010), and defend in Court. In addition to lecturing on York MSc AFP.
  • Deputy Director of York MSc AFP. (2017 – 2019).
  • Lecturer MSci Forensic Pathway (2019 -21).

Honours

  • 1998 Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
  • 2003 Listed in ‘Top Ten Forensic Psychologists in Great Britain’ in Independent on Sunday.
  • Elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.
  • Member (research) of the Unilink team receiving Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

Research

Overview

Cynthia’s research interests are in understanding criminal behaviour, behavioural assessment of risk of re-offending, developing research-evidence based programmes to change offending behaviour and evaluating effectiveness using randomised controlled methodologies.  She has conducted a large number of evaluations of effectiveness, including: one of the few randomized controlled trials conducted in HM Prison Service evaluating the effectiveness of a national offending behaviour programme;  and a randomized evaluation of an evidence-based probation supervision programme in a  community Probation Trust area.  She has worked in collaboration with the Law Faculty of the University of Reims advising on evaluating French probation practice.   More recently, in collaboration with members of the York Trials Unit (YTU) she conducted an independent evaluation of the Economic, Social and Psychological Impact of Prisoner Self-Service Technology on prisoner behavior, and their subsequent proven re-offending. The results demonstrated improved behaviour in prison and after release.  She was later invited by HMPPS Director of Digital and Change to conduct an evaluation of the technology  in a ‘proof of concept’ prison with a view to roll-out across all  HM public sector prisons.  This research has been included as one of the Psychology Department’s Impact Case Studies in the 2021 REF. 

Cynthia has presented at numerous conferences and government committees, including a Parliamentary Justice Reinvestment Committee on the economic management of offenders, and a Justice Select Committee on Crime Reduction Policies; and has many publications in international journals.

Cynthia is a member of the Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group (CCCJ), whose principal aim is to produce rigorous systematic reviews of high quality evaluations to create an accessible source of research evidence as a basis for policy development and practice.  One of her systematic reviews on the costs and benefits of sentencing is published in the Campbell Collaboration library, and was later presented, with a CCCJ team, to selected members of the US Senate .  She has a strong interest in rigorous research that links academic theory with practice, and in finding solutions which make a real impact on the application of research to real-life criminal justice problems. 

Grants

(Total £1,415,717)

  • Part of Health Sciences Trials Unit successful bid to provide research expertise for the Youth Endowment Fund – Evaluation Panel.
  • 2008 – 9.  Evaluation of Citizenship Programme, Prison Service Regional Offender Manager.    £58,000        
  • 2008 Implementation and evaluation of ADViSOR Project, Prison Service Regional Offender Manager.   £28,041
  • 2004 -7 Evaluation of cognitive-behavioural offending behaviour programme, Home Office   £468,773           
  • 2003 Offender Needs Survey, North Yorkshire Probation £11,593
  • 2001-2 Women Offenders, North Yorkshire Probation £11,872
  • 2001-2      Quantified Outcomes of Volunteering, Home Office.  £27,938
  • 2001-4     Start-up funding. Centre for Criminal Justice Economics & Psychology, Home Office      £750,000 
  • 2014- 2015.  Independent evaluation of the Economic, Psychological and Social Effects of prisoner Self-Service Systems.   Unilink.    £59,500.  

Collaborators

  • Professor David J. Torgerson, Director of the Trials Unit, Health Sciences Department, University of York
  • Mona Kanaan, Senior Statistician, Health Sciences Department, York.
  • Belen Corbacho Martin, Economist, Health Sciences Department, York.
  • Janet Clegg, Department of Electronics, York.
  • Dominic A.S. Pearson, University of Portsmouth.
  • Professor Martine Evans, University of Reims.

Publications

Full publications list

  • McDougall, C., & Pearson, D.A.S. (2019). Technology as a means of rehabilitation:  A measurable impact on reducing crime.  In T.J. Holt, & A. Bossler (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance.  Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90307-1_71-1
  • McDougall, C., Pearson, D.A.S., Torgerson, D.J., & Garcia-Reyes, M. (2017). The effect of digital technology on prisoner behaviour and reoffending: A natural stepped-wedge design. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 13, 455-482. DOI: 10.1007/s11292-017-9303-5.
  • Pearson, D.A.S., & McDougall, C. (2017). Serious offenders: Using evidence to predict and manage the risk. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 35, 239-256. DOI: 10.1002/bsl.2288.
  • McDougall, C., Pearson, D.A.S., Garcia Reyes, M., & Torgerson D.J. (2015).  Interim Outcome Measures Evaluation.  Grant Funded Report Submission June, 2015: 2014-110 - The Independent Evaluation of the Economic, Psychological and Social Effects of Prisoner Self-Service Kiosks.  Unilink.com
  • McDougall, C., & Pearson, D.A.S. (2014).  Process Evaluation. Grant Funded Report Submission October, 2014: 2014-110 - The Independent Evaluation of the Economic, Psychological and Social Effects of Prisoner Self-Service Kiosks. Unilink.com
  • Pearson, D.A.S., McDougall, C., Kanaan, M., Torgerson, D.J., & Bowles, R.A.  (2014).  Evaluation of the Citizenship Evidence-Based Probation Supervision Program using a Stepped Wedge Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Crime & Delinquency. Published online 17 April, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/00111287145. Retrieved: 
    http://cad.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/16/0011128714530824
  • McDougall, C., Pearson, D.A.S., Willoughby, H., & Bowles, R.A.B. (2013). Evaluation of the ADViSOR project: Cross-situational behaviour monitoring of high-risk offenders in prison and the community. Legal & Criminological Psychology Psychology, 18, 2, 205-228.
  • McDougall, C., Pearson, D.A.S., Willoughby, H., & Bowles, R.A.B. (2013). Evaluation d'un project d'evaluation du risque base sur l'observation des detenus (ADViSOR). Actualite Juridique Penal, No. 4, 204-207. 
  • Pearson, D.A.S., McDougall, C., Kanaan, M., Bowles, R.A., & Torgerson, D.J. (2010). Reducing criminal recidivism: Evaluation of a structured process for probation supervision. Journal of Experimental Criminology. Published online, 15 September 2010.     Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id-111865
  • McDougall, C., Pearson, D.A.S., Bowles, R.A., & Cornick, J. (2010).  Institutional offence behaviour monitoring as an aid to community supervision of high risk offenders: Experience from Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements. In M. Daffern, L. Jones, & J. Shine (Eds.). Offence paralleling behaviour: An individualised approach to offender assessment and treatment. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 
  • Pearson, D.A.S., Torgerson, D.J., McDougall, C., & Bowles, R.A. (2010). Parable of two agencies, one of which randomises. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 628, 1, 11-29.
  • McDougall, C., Perry, A.E., Clarbour, J., Bowles, R.A., & Worthy, G. (2009).   Evaluation of HM Prison Service Enhanced Thinking Skills Programme:  Report on the outcomes from a randomised controlled trial.  London: Ministry of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/enhanced-thinking-skills-programme.htm
  • McDougall, C., Clarbour, J., Perry, A.E., & Bowles, R.A. (2009).   Evaluation of HM Prison Service Enhanced Thinking Skills Programme:  Report on the implementation of a randomised controlled trial.  London:  Ministry of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/enhanced-thinking-skills-programme.htm
  • McDougall, C., (2008). The Economic Management of Offenders. Invited submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment, House of Commons. http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/justice/. 
  • McDougall, C., Cohen, M., Swaray, R., & Perry, A. (2008). A benefit-cost analysis of sentencing. Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group Systematic Reviews. http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/CCJG/reviews/published. 
  • McDougall, C., Cohen, M., Swaray, R., & Perry A. (2006). Policy choices for a safer society: costs and benefits of sentencing. In B. C. Welsh & D. P. Farrington (Eds.), Preventing Crime: What works for children, offenders, victims and places. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. 
  • McDougall, C., Perry, A., & Farrington, D. P. (2006). Reducing crime. In A. Perry, C. McDougall & D.P. Farrington (Eds.). Reducing crime: The effectiveness of criminal justice interventions. Chichester, U.K: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 
  • McDougall, C., Perry, A., & Farrington, D.P. (2006). Overview of effectiveness of criminal justice interventions in the UK. In A. Perry, C. McDougall & D.P. Farrington (Eds.). Reducing crime: The effectiveness of criminal justice interventions. Chichester, U.K: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 
  • Godfrey, C., Parrott, S., Eaton, G., Culyer, A. J., & McDougall, C. (2005). Can we model the impact of increased drug treatment expenditure on the UK drug market? In M. Grossman & B. Lindgren (Series Eds.) & B. Lindgren & M. Grossman (Vol. Eds.), Advances in health economics and health services research: Volume 16. Substance use: individual behaviour, social interactions, markets and politics. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Ltd. 
  • McDougall, C., Cohen, M.A., Swaray, R., & Perry, A. (2003).   Cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness of sentencing:  A systematic review of the literature.  Protocol, Campbell Collaboration.  Retrieved from http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/library.php. 
  • McDougall, C., Cohen, M., Swaray, R., & Perry A. (2003). The costs and benefits of sentencing: a systematic review. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 587, 160-177. 
  • Moore, S. C., Harris, R., McDougall, C., & Clarbour, J. (2003) Male and female reasoning biases and offending behaviour. Journal of Criminal Justice, 31, 497-507. 
  • Godfrey, C., Eaton, G., McDougall, C. & Culyer, A. J. (2002). The economic and social costs of Class A drug use in England and Wales. London: Home Office Research Study 249. 

 

 

Teaching

Undergraduate

Applied Forensic Psychology

  • The Criminal Justice Framework
  • Suicidal and Self-harming Behaviour in Forensic Settings
  • Forensic Psychology in the Community
  • Technology as a Means of Rehabilitation

Undergraduate Ethics Committee (Forensic)

External activities

Memberships

  • Consultant Psychologist to Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust (2004-2012)
  • Advisor to HM Prison Service Yorkshire and Humberside on suicide prevention strategies and culture change in prisons, 2007 – 2009.
  • Invited to give evidence to Parliamentary Justice Reinvestment Committee on the economic management of offenders, 2008. 
  • Invited to give evidence to Parliamentary Justice Select Committee on Crime Reduction Policies, 2014.
  • Ministry of Justice - Independent Investigator into ‘near death in custody’ under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, 2008 – 2010.

Invited talks and conferences

  • 2019. Modernising Justice Conference.  Main Speaker at Unilink Seminar on Prisoner Self-Service Technology.  Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre. London.
  • 2018 University of York. International Stepped Wedge Design Conference in Health Sciences Trials Unit.    Invited speaker on ‘The Challenge of setting up a Randomised Stepped Wedge Design Trial in a prison setting’.
  • 2016. Modernising Justice though Technology, Innovation and Efficiency. Member of Panel Discussion.  Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre. London.
  • 2015/2016. Series of Salons for Senior Prison Service Governors presenting results of the research on ‘Economic, Social and Psychological Impact of Prisoner Self-Service Technology on prison behavior and on subsequent proven re-offending’.   
  • December 2012. University of Reims, Champagne-Ardennes. Conference on Effectiveness of Sentencing Policies. Invited presentation (in French) on Evidence-based practice in Internation Probation.
  • November 2012. Invited presentation to England and Wales Probation Chiefs Association: 'Workshop on Measuring Performance in Probation'. Plenary on: 'Common Sense in Performance Management'.
  • April 2012. University of Cambridge. International conference to celebrate the career of Professor David Farrington (2013 Stockholm Prize winner for contributions to criminology). Invited to speak on Professor Farrington's contribution to policy and practice.
  • November 2011. National Offender Management Service North East Senior Leaders Meeting.  Invited presentation on Reducing Re-offending.
  • June 2010. Durham Tees Valley Trust Inaugural Management Conference. Invited presentation on Evidence-based practice.
  • 2009 American Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Philadelphia, on receipt of Fellowship Award of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.
  • 2008 Presentation to Psychology Department, University of Bonn, Germany.
  • 2006 British Criminology Society Conference. Invited by Home Office Research Directorate as discussant of their presentation at BCS Conference in Glasgow.
  • 2004 University of Nuremburg. Open lecture at University attended by senior members of German judiciary and prosecution service.
  • 2003 Home Office Research Conference. Informing senior managers and senior civil servants of most important and recent research findings.   
  • 2003  Treasury Seminar and Treasury Advisory Meeting.  Invited as principal speaker at Treasury internal seminar to speak on effectiveness of criminal justice interventions, attended by Permanent Secretary. 
  • 2003  Scottish Parliament Select Committee on Criminal Justice. Invited as an advisor on risk assessment/risk management.       
  • 2002  Home Office Ministerial Corrections Board,  attended by Home Office Ministers and Permanent Secretary. Invited to present on effective sentencing to inform future policy development of Criminal Justice Bill.
  • 2001  Campbell Collaboration Conference presentation to invited members of the US Senate, Washington, on costs and benefits of sentencing.  Included in a small number of internationally recognised experts selected to present.

Contact details

Cynthia McDougall
Professor
Department of Psychology
Room PS/A103

Tel: 01904 322918