Dr Steve Kirkwood

SCCJR Associate Director

Senior Lecturer

University of Edinburgh


Steve is originally from Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand, where he completed an honours degree in English Literature and Psychology and an MSc in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington.

His MSc focused on the topic of identity and indigenous rights. He then moved to Edinburgh where he worked as a Research Officer for the Community Justice charity Sacro from 2005-2009, undertaking research on a range of interventions and policy topics including Restorative Justice, supported accommodation services for ex-offenders, bail supervision, alcohol education interventions, support for street sex workers and mediation services. He was also a Volunteer Restorative Justice Facilitator for Sacro in Edinburgh from 2006-2009.

In 2009 he began a PhD in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh on the integration of asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland. In 2012 he completed his PhD and began working as a lecturer in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh. His current research interests primarily relate to the role of criminal justice social work in desistance from offending. He also has ongoing interests relating to racism, restorative justice and the use of discourse analysis.

Research Keywords:

Social work, restorative justice, desistance, discourse analysis

Recent Publications:

Kirkwood, S. (2018). Criminal justice social work. In V. E. Cree & M Smith (eds.), Social work in a changing Scotland. Routledge.

Kirkwood, S. & Munro, M. (2017). Warm words and no action: The fate of restorative justice in Scotland. Scottish Justice Matters, 5 (1), 2-3

Kirkwood, S., Jennings, B., Laurier, E., Cree, V. E. & Whyte, B. (2016). Towards an interactional approach to reflective practice in social work. European Journal of Social Work, 19, 484-499.

Kirkwood, S. (2016). Desistance in action: An interactional approach to criminal justice practice and desistance from offending. Theoretical Criminology, 20, 220-237.

Mulholland, C., Eunson, J., Murray, L., Bowen, L., McIvor, G., Malloch, M., Whyte, B., Kirkwood, S. & McNeill, F. (2016). Evaluation of the reducing reoffending change fund. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

Kirkwood, S. (2015). The presence of the absent parent: Troubled families and the England ‘riots’ of 2011. In V. E. Cree, G. Clapton & M. Smith (Eds.), Revisiting moral panics (pp. 169-178) and in V. E. Cree (Ed.), The state (Moral panics in theory and practice) (pp. 43-54). Bristol: Policy Press.

Kirkwood, S. & McNeill, F. (2015). Integration and reintegration: Comparing pathways to citizenship through asylum and criminal justice. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 15, 511-526.




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Phone Number:
0131 650 6646

University of Edinburgh

Chrystal Macmillan Building,
15a George Square,

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