Completed Projects

Lincoln Centre for Crime and Justice - Completed Projects


Equality of Access to Pastoral Care for Non-religious Prisoners

Dr Katie Hunt’s doctoral research was on pastoral care for prisoners, and the direct and indirect religious discrimination that can arise in prison chaplaincy.  She conducted a qualitative, empirical study into offenders’ experiences of grief and the accessibility of support services for religious and non-religious prisoners, analysed through the lens of the Equality Act 2010.

Her PhD was awarded in 2020, and her research findings were published in ‘Bereavement behind bars: Prison and the grieving process’ (Prison Service Journal, 2021) and ‘Non-religious prisoners’ unequal access to pastoral care’ (International Journal of Law in Context, 2022). The full thesis is available through the British Library EThOS.


Just Get on With It’: A Qualitative Exploration of the Health and Wellbeing of Prison Operational Managers and Governor Grades

In 2021, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Lincoln worked with the Prison Governors Association to evaluate the state of their members’ health and wellbeing, with this being particularly pertinent following the immense pressure experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based on semi-structured interviews with 63 prison operational managers and Governor grades, the key themes of the research include not feeling valued, impact on mental and physical health, frustration over lack of autonomy and fears for the future; all of which have led some to follow a ‘path to disenchantment’. A general overview of the research can be viewed at:

The project team included Dr Lauren Smith, Rachael Mason, Professor Karen Harrison, Dr Helen Nichols (University of Hull), Dr Gary Saunders (University of Nottingham), and Dr Lauren Hall.


Neighbourhood Policing: Community, Confidence and Legitimacy in a London Borough

Dr Carina O’Reilly's doctoral research looked at how confidence and legitimacy were maintained through the processes of neighbourhood policing. The study, carried out in a single London borough, found that the mechanisms by which neighbourhood policing were originally intended to deliver confidence were still valued, but particularly susceptible to budget cuts. The London system of ward panels could support neighbourhood policing in unexpected (although not entirely unproblematic) ways.

Her research concluded that legitimacy and confidence are locally and situationally contingent, as are ideas of ‘fairness’ and other values; meaning that effective policing must also include a community-driven element; it is not sufficient to decide what it is that policing should achieve and then hope that confidence and legitimacy will follow. Findings were published in Doing the right thing? value conflicts and community policing (Policing and Society, 2022).


Gambling and Crime: An Exploration of Gambling Availability and Culture in an English Prison

Dr Lauren Smith, Professor Amanda Roberts and Steve Sharman (Kings College London) completed research in a Category B male prison to explore the prevalence and nature of gambling in the prison. Key findings included 45 per cent of people reporting gambling in prison, with 30 per cent reporting that gambling was a normal part of prison life.

Pre-prison behaviour, whether type of index offence or prior gambling, had little relationship to in-prison gambling. Frequency of gambling in prison increased with increasing gambling risk category, as indicated by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). The most common types of gambling in prison were card/dice games, sports, and ball games, while the most common motives were entertainment, excitement, or sense of challenge and to win prizes, with significant differences in motive between PGSI risk categories. Prison canteen items formed the most common currency gambled. People within the higher PGSI risk category were more likely to have borrowed items from other prisoners. The published articles can be found here:


Surviving, not Living: The Lived Experiences of Crime and Gambling

Commissioned by The Commission on Crime and Gambling Related Harms, led by Lord Goldsmith QC, and published by The Howard League, the research was carried out by Dr Lauren Smith. The report provides detailed accounts from 22 people who had experienced gambling-related harms and who have either had direct contact with the Criminal Justice System or have been affected by it as a family member. The report highlighted a lack of awareness and support throughout all stages of the Criminal Justice System.

The report is the second major project commissioned and forms part of a final report due to be launched in the House of Lords shortly. The report can be accessed here:


Body-worn Video in Policing

Professor Karen Harrison working with Dr Xavier L’Hoiry (University of Sheffield) and Dr Simone Santorso (University of Sussex) conducted an evaluation of how one Northern Police Force implemented body-worn video (BWV) into its everyday police activities.

While the research found that most officers thought that the inclusion of BWV was positive concerns were raised about issues privacy infringement and the use of BWV footage as a potential tool for supervisory surveillance. A number of unintended consequences of using BWV were also noted.