Prof Lesley McAra

Chair of Penology

University of Edinburgh


Lesley’s research interests lie in the general areas of the sociology of punishment and the sociology of law and deviance. Particular interests include: youth crime and juvenile justice; gender justice and community well-being; the politics of crime control; and comparative criminal justice. She is Co-Director (with Susan McVie and David Smith) of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal programme of research on pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of around 4,300 young people. Funded by grants from the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation and the Scottish Government, this study forms the evidence-base for the ‘Whole System Approach’ to juvenile justice which is currently being implemented across Scotland. Study findings have also been utilised in penal reform campaigns both nationally and internationally.

Lesley is a member of the Justice and Safety Human Rights Action Group (led by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and aimed at taking forward the Scottish National Action Plan for Human Rights), and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Justice Leaders Network.

She is a member of the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Criminology, Youth Justice and  European Journal of Criminology. Her previous teaching experience has covered several criminology courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level (see below) including the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Full Profile:
View Full Profile


Phone Number:
0131 650 2036

University of Edinburgh

School of Law
University of Edinburgh
Old College, South Bridge

Related Publications

Related Projects