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Alison Liebling

University of Cambridge, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Director of the Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre

Published onNov 18, 2018
Alison Liebling


Alison Liebling is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Cambridge, and serves as the Director of the Prisons Research Centre within the Institute of Criminology. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of prison-related subjects, including suicide and self-harm in prisons; management of challenging prisoners in close supervision centres; systems of incentives and privileges; dynamics of staff-prisoner relationships; trust-building in high-security prisons; the roles of prison officers; as well as, the analysis and assessment of prisons’ moral quality, including comparisons between public and private institutions. She has conducted evaluations on innovative programs like gamelan-music and shared-reading initiatives in environments designed for prisoners with personality disorders. Liebling has been instrumental in developing and implementing the “moral climate” survey, in collaboration with Helen Arnold and others, a tool now utilized and adapted in numerous international penal systems. The author of numerous books and articles, she co-edits the Oxford Handbook of Criminology and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Her latest project is “Moral rules, social science and forms of order in prison,” supported by a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.

With Diego Zysman Quiros (2018)

Keywords: Cambridge University, Prisons Research Centre, prison officers, effects of imprisonment, prison life and values, moral performance, managerialism, suicide in prison, new penology.

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