Accessibility statement

Prisons and Penal Policy

The CrimNet Prisons and Penal Policy Strand focusses on the behaviour and experiences of prisoners and those working in prisons as well as the operation of prison regimes and decision-making processes within the wider policy context. We are keen to develop cross-disciplinary collaborations and the sharing of perspectives between academics and practitioners

Strand leaders


Professor Cynthia McDougall OBE is based at the Department of Psychology at the University of York. 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 control methodologies. Recent research has demonstrated empirically the positive impact of digital technology on prisoner behaviour both in prison - reducing adjudications, and reducing reoffending after release.

John Fisher is an experienced forensic psychology practitioner and manager who has contributed to Forensic Psychology courses at both the universities in York. He supervises various prison-based research projects. Recently involved in qualitative explorations of the experiences of prisoners and staff, he also has long-standing interests in regimes, sex offenders and terrorism, as well as risk assessment and research ethics.









The Prison and Offender Research in Social Care and Health (PORSCH) is a network of researchers and service practitioners based in the North East of England and Yorkshire. It is dedicated to enhancing the contribution of research and development to the improvement of health of offenders, the well-being of the communities in which they live and the reduction of offending behaviours.