Dr Steve Kirkwood

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

Relevant 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.

Kirkwood, S., McKinlay, A. & McVittie, C. (2012). ‘They’re more than animals’: Refugees’ accounts of racially motivated violence. British Journal of Social Psychology. [Early view]

Kirkwood, S. (2010). Restorative justice cases in Scotland: Factors related to participation, the restorative process, agreement rates and forms of reparation. European Journal of Criminology, 7, 107-122.

Kearney, N., Kirkwood, S. & MacFarlane, L. (2009). Restorative Justice (Diversion) Services Monitoring and Evaluation Report 2006/07. Edinburgh: Sacro.

Kirkwood, S. & Richley, T. (2008). Circles of support and accountability: The case for their use in Scotland to assist in the community reintegration and risk management of sexual offenders. SCOLAG Legal Journal, October 2008, 236-239.

Richley, T. & Kirkwood, S. (2008). The case for circles of support and accountability in Scotland. The Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies, 14, 26-30.

Kirkwood, S. & Richley, T. (2008). Supported accommodation services for offenders. SCOLAG Legal Journal, June 2008, 141-142.

Kirkwood, S. & Dickie, D. (2008). The case for bail supervision. Scottish Criminal Law, February 2008, 264-267.

Kirkwood, S. & Richley, T. (2008). Supported accommodation services for offenders: A research literature review. Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre for Scotland.

Kirkwood, S. (2008). Evidencing the impact of criminal justice services on re-offending. CjScotland.

Brookes, D. & Kirkwood, S. (2007). Will the victim statement scheme secure greater participation for victims in the criminal justice process? CjScotland.

Kearney, N., Kirkwood, S. & MacFarlane, L. (2006). Restorative justice in Scotland: An overview. British Journal of Community Justice, 4 (no. 3), 55-65.

Nicol, W. J., Kirkwood, S. & McFarlane, L. (2006). Youth justice services evaluation report: April 2004 – March 2005. Edinburgh: Sacro.



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Phone Number:
0131 650 6646

University of Edinburgh

Chrystal Macmillan Building,
15a George Square,

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