Social Enquiry and Sentencing in the Sheriff Courts

Summary

This ESRC funded research project was a collaboration with Simon Halliday, Neil Hutton and Cyrus Tata at the University of Strathclyde. The study used innovative ethnographic methods to study the production of social enquiry (or pre-sentence) reports and their use by sentencers. A summary report of the project’s findings can be found in project documents, along with some related recent presentations. The fieldwork was undertaken principally by Dr Nicola Burns (now at the University of Glasgow) and was completed in 2006.

The study used innovative ethnographic methods to study the production of social enquiry (or pre-sentence) reports and their use by sentencers. A summary report of the project’s findings can be found in project documents, along with some related recent powerpoint presentations. 

A podcast of a seminar presentation analysing some of the early findings from the social work ethnography can be accessed at:  http://www.sieswe.org/node/130 

Project Documents SERs summary report
This brief report, based on the end of award report to the ESRC, provides brief details of the study’s aims, methods and main findings. Hysteresis, Risk and Redemption
These slides are from a recent presentation at the British Criminology Conference at the LSE in September 2007. The main argument is that the findings of the SERs study suggest that penal reconfigurations can only be properly understood through the development of a more fully cultural penology. Navigating the margins
These slides are from a presentation to the Glasgow branch of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending. Drawing on the SERs research, they outline how criminal justice social work is marginalised in two senses – from social work and from criminal justice – and discuss the implications of this marginalisation in terms of its impact on practice.