George Walters-Sleyon

PhD Student


Working Title of PhD: Philosophy, Christian Social Ethics, and Practical Theology

Year commenced PhD study: 2015
University of Edinburgh
Full or part-time: Full time
PhD Supervisors: Dr. David Grumett and Dr. Richard Sparks

Synopsis: My research is a theo-economic analysis of prisoners as “economic unites” in the mass incarceration of human beings in the modern prison system. It is a comparative investigation between the criminal justice systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. This research looks at how race, poverty, and profit intricately function in the increasing rates of incarceration in both countries in addition to the use of prisons as means of job creation.

As an “Ethical quest for just punishment,” this research reflects the argument for just treatment of prisoners. My research therefore reflects the development of a “Theology of Justice” as a theological “Theory of Justice” which highlights the Christian concepts of just punishment and restoration. The research questions are: What is the strategic role of faith-based organizations in ending mass incarceration/the use of prisoners as economic units in the modern prison system? What are the theoretical and practical tools available to faith-based organizations necessary for strategic engagement and intervention in the pursuit of criminal justice reform?

This research is interdisciplinary. It is methodologically theoretical and practical. The body of literature and theories referenced in this research include but are not limited to works from: legal experts and criminologists, Enlightenment social philosophers, Christian Ethics/Christian Social Ethics, Theology, American Pragmatism, John Rawls’ Theory of Justice, “Theistic Personalism” from Boston Personalism and its emphasis on the “inherent dignity of all human beings.” It also includes several analyses on sentencing and criminal justice reform in the US and the UK.

Keywords: Race, Poverty, Profit


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School of Divinity
University of Edinburgh
New College
Mound Place
Edinburgh EH1 2LX

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