User Views of Punishment


Sarah Armstrong (Glasgow University) and Beth Weaver (Strathclyde University) are conducting research, in cooperation with the Scottish Prison Service, into the experience of doing short prison sentences and community-based sentences (probation, community service). We want to know what those affected by these punishments are going through and how such sentences help or hinder the ability to reduce offending and get people’s lives on track.

We will post information here about the progress of our research, any findings we write about it and links to information on these issues. If you have any questions about this project or woud like to take part please email (Part of this research was conducted as part of an ESRC Grant, RES-000-22-2881, which is gratefully acknowledged.)

PROGRESS: As of December 2010, we’ve published one research report and given a number of presentations on this work:

What Do the Punished Think of Punishment? Research Report, Presentation, press release

Sentencing Provisions of the Criminal Justice and Licencing (Scotland) Act – Presentation

This work focuses on the effects of short prison sentences, with some attention to the effect of community sentences. We are now preparing a report focusing on community sanctions, and are also preparing a number of journal articles.


RESOURCES: Mark Johnson, a former offender, writes a column for The Guardian Newspaper called ‘Inside Out’ from the perspective of those on the receiving end of criminal justice services. It’s an excellent resource, for a selection of his writing, visit:

He also helped found a charitable project called, User Voice, information about it is here: