Jessica Cleary

My PhD Project

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

My PhD aims to explore whether the gender-specific needs of women with convictions are catered for within national community justice policies and localised practices and services both imposed on and offered to women in the community across Scotland.

To do this, the project brings together secondary analysis of relevant emerging Scottish policies with the primary perspectives and experiences of strategic and frontline workers across a range of statutory and third sector community justice partners who supervise, support and work with criminalised women across Scotland.

Overarchingly, this project aims to:

  • To understand what ideological, social and political priorities shape and are shaped by the official discourse relevant to women punished and supported within the community in Scotland 
  • To explore what the key priorities for the workforce who oversee and deliver community justice provision for women Scotland are

In exploring the translation of policy into practice within the intersecting areas of gender-responsive justice and community-based justice this study critically questions whether what is done on to and with women with convictions in Scotland accounts for their gender-specific needs. In particular, this project is interested in understanding if – and how – the growing policy and academic interest in supporting desistance within Scotland informs or impacts how women are punished and supported across the community justice sector.

AFKA Scotland Researcher

Alongside my PhD, I work part time as a researcher for the Association for Fostering, Kinship and Adoption Scotland, an independent charity dedicated to improving outcomes for children in care across Scotland.

In this role I support a range of research projects AFKA Scotland is undertaking in partnership with the Scottish Government and universities across the UK. As well as disseminating research updates and providing support to our practitioner members from across all 32 Scottish Local Authorities to enhance the impact of research in frontline practice.

You can read more about the projects I have completed in this role here

My Research Interests Include

Women and Justice; Qualitative Social Research; Policy Discourse; Gender Responsive Justice; Community Justice; Criminal Abolitionism; Change Implementation; Care Experience; Meaningful Inclusion; Intersectional Feminism; and Utopian Thinking