Accessibility statement

Carol Robinson
PhD Student



PhD (in progress) – Sociology, University of York

MA – Criminology and Social Research (Distinction), University of York

BA (Hons) – Modern History (2.1), University of Oxford

Following her undergraduate studies, Carol worked within the voluntary sector for a number of years, including as director of a charity working with young people experiencing homelessness and later as chief executive of an environmental campaigning charity.

Her interest in the criminal justice system originates in voluntary roles with the York Youth Offending Team (Feb 2005 – Jul 2007) and as a prison visitor at HMP and YOI Askham Grange (Aug 2004 – Aug 2007). Since 2010 she has worked part-time as a prison chaplain in high security, medium secure and open prisons, offering pastoral care and worship for prisoners and prison staff. She has a particular interest in how prisons function and in prison cultures and staff-prisoner relationships. 

Follow her on twitter @_Carol_Robinson



Carol is the holder of an ESRC PhD Studentship, as part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre.  Her current research, Dying Inside: deaths from natural causes in prison culture, regimes and relationships aims to describe how the growing number of prisoners dying of natural causes impacts on prison culture, regimes and relationships. It will also consider the factors influencing the responses of prison regimes and personnel to this phenomenon.

Her PhD research builds on a previous study, Prison Officers’ perceptions and experiences of working with dying prisoners in a high security prison, ‘insider’ research undertaken as part of her MA in Criminology and Social Research. This study explored how perceptions of self, of role and of prisoners influenced how prison officers worked with dying prisoners and identified examples of the emotional labour they undertake in these situations.

Carol’s previous research includes a study of the faith-based training of prison chaplains in England and Wales.

Her PhD is supervised by Professor Maggie O’Neill and Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce.


Selected publications


Robinson, C. (2017). Book review: Infinite distraction. Information, Communication & Society [Online]. Available at:


Conference papers

Emotional Labour in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Invited member of discussion panel at “British Society of Criminology Annual Conference 2017: Forging Social Justice”, 4-7 July 2017, Sheffield.

Tomato Plants and Ice-cream: Prison Officers’ approaches to dying prisoners. Presented at “Deaths at the Margins of the State, Centre for Death and Society Conference”, 9-10 June 2017, Bath.

Dying Inside: deaths from natural causes in prison culture, regimes and relationships. Presented at “Deaths in the Criminal Justice System”, 23 February 2017. York.


Other publications

Robinson, C. (2017). Not anonymous enough? Research data and issues of anonymity. 18 April 2017. Women Are Boring. [Online]. Available at:

Robinson, C. (2018). Tackling the ethical approval process. Forms over function: ethics, ethnography and the NHS. 15 January 2018. Women Are Boring. [Online]. Available at:

Public Engagement Events

Dying in Prison. Finalist in University of York Three Minute Thesis competition, 2017.

Dealing with death in prison. Presentation as part of York ‘Dying Awareness’ week, May 2017.



Carol was a seminar tutor (2016-2017) on the undergraduate module at the University of York, The Sociology of Crime and Deviance, and lectured on prisons as part of this module (2017-18).

She has also delivered seminars as part of the MA Module, Critical Perspectives on the Criminal Justice System, for the University of York’s MA in Criminology and Social Research and for the University of York Health Sciences Department CPD module on Palliative and End of life Care for healthcare professionals.

Contact details

Ms Carol Robinson
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 323578