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Jessica Cleary


I am an Economic and Social Research Council funded PhD Student in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Stirling.

My thesis, which is supervised by Professor Margaret Malloch and Dr Hannah Graham, critically examines whether the academic study of desistance has influenced justice provisions within the community for women in Scotland. In doing so, my research aims to provide a robust overview of how community justice sector tailors service provision, which is mainly informed by criminological research on how best to support men, for women since the most recent construction of a national Community Justice Scotland agency.

This project brings together secondary analysis of key Scottish policies and official discourse; and primary interviews with key professionals within the community justice sector, and women with lived experience of community-based punishments from a range of local authorities throughout Scotland.

I am particularly interested in exploring how women with convictions could be better supported in the community to both, progress gender-informed justice provision; as well as contribute to and enhance the evidence base which advocates that community sentences are a viable and often more suitable sentencing option than prison. However, critically my work also seeks to develop the legitimacy of penal and criminal abolitionism within both a theoretical and political policy space.


My Research Interests include:

Women and Crime; Desistance from Crime; Community Justice; Qualitative Social Research Methodologies; Intersectional Feminism; Prison Abolitionism; Social Work; Institutional Cultures; Utopian Thinking