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Jessica Cleary


I am an Economic and Social Research Council funded part time 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, examines criminal justice policies, practices and services both imposed on and offered to women with convictions in Scotland. This project aims to provide a robust overview of how the justice sector currently tailors service provision for women beyond the prison, as well as potentially identifying any social, political or operational issues which impact this sector. To do this, the study brings together secondary analysis of key Scottish policies and official discourse; and primary interviews with a wide range of stakeholders within the community justice sector throughout Scotland.

This exploration into the intersectionality of gender, supporting desistance from crime and community based justice support is an area of growing popularity in both policy and academia. Especially within the current emerging landscape of changing Criminal Justice strategies for women and the national restructuring of Community Justice provision this project will not only be relevant for Scotland’s front-line provisions for women with convictions but also for international policies and practices which seek to better support female desistance from crime. It will also make noteworthy contributions to the academic development of gender-informed desistance scholarship and theoretical engagements regarding ‘community justice’.

If you would like to be involved in this project or hear more about its progress please get in touch via the links below.


Alongside my PhD, I am a part time research for the Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland, an independent, charitable organisation dedicated to improving outcomes for children in care. In this role I support the research projects AFA Scotland undertakes as well as providing updates on current research for all AFA Scotland member’s forums.


My Research Interests include:

Women and Crime; Desistance from Crime; Social Work Practices; Care Experience; Institutional Cultures; Qualitative Social Research; Community Justice; Intersectional Feminism; Utopian Thinking; and Criminal Abolitionism