Research Projects

News & Events


Sarah Armstrong is a Professor of Criminology at Glasgow University.

Her research focuses on prisons and punishment, including penal practices and policy, prison health and popular cultural representations. A separate area of interest has been about experiences of justice – what does justice mean, look like and feel like to people in different situations? She is a former Director of SCCJR (2016-19).

Recent publications

Armstrong S (2020) At Risk of Rights: Rehabilitation, Sentence Management and the Structural Violence of Prison, Critical Criminology, 28: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10612-020-09503-7

Armstrong S, McCulloch P, Weaver B and Reed D (2020) Measuring Justice: Defining Concepts, Developing Practice, SCCJR: https://www.sccjr.ac.uk/publications/measuring-justice-defining-concepts-developing-practice/

Armstrong S and McGhee J (2019) Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People in Custody: Evidence Review for HMIP Scotland: https://www.sccjr.ac.uk/publications/mental-health-and-wellbeing-of-young-people-in-custody-evidence-review/



University of Glasgow


Ivy Lodge
63 Gibson Street
Glasgow g12 8LR

Research Themes

Courts and Sentencing

Punishment, Citizenship and Communities

Law, Policy and Practice

Knowledge Exchange and Engagement

Research Methods and Criminological Theory

February 2024

Nothing to See Here? Deaths in Custody and FAIs in Scotland – 2023 

This is the third annual report we have published on deaths in custody in Scotland and the investigations into these. […]

November 2022

Still Nothing to See Here? One year update on prison deaths and FAI outcomes in Scotland

This briefing provides a one-year update since we published our reports Nothing to See Here? and A Defective System in […]

January 2022

Mapping Drug Use, Interventions and Treatment Needs in Scottish Prisons: A literature review

This Literature Review was written by Claire Toomey and Maria Fotopoulou, University of Stirling and Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow […]

October 2021

Fact Sheet: 15 years of FAI determinations for deaths in custody

As part of the Nothing to See Here? project this fact sheet is a summary of statistics based on analysis […]

October 2021

Nothing to See Here? Statistical Briefing

Nothing to See Here? Statistical Briefing on 15 years of Fatal Accident Inquiries into Deaths in Custody Authors: Professor Sarah […]

October 2021

A Defective System: Case Analysis of 15 years of FAI’s After Deaths in Prison

A Defective System: Case Analysis of 15 years of Fatal Accident Inquiries After Deaths in Prison Authors: Betsy Barkas, Linda […]

December 2020

Measuring Justice: Defining Concepts, Developing Practice

This research was funded under a Scottish Government grant call for ‘experiences of justice’, and reviews concepts and measurement techniques […]


Prisons and Sentencing Reform: Developing Policy in Scotland

This report is intended to be a contribution to current discourse on prisons and sentencing reform in Scotland. This report […]

September 2019

Taking Stock of Violence in Scotland

Approaches to violence prevention have also developed apace over the same period, with increasing acknowledgement of some of the structural […]

Measuring Justice: Victims Taskforce Presentation

VTF SCCJR Measuring Justice Slides June 2019

4th October 2021

Nothing to See Here? 15 years of FAI determinations for deaths in custody

A research team based at the University of Glasgow is investigating Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAI) that were held as a […]

3rd December 2020

Scotland in Lockdown

The “Health and social impacts of Covid-19 in Scotland” study aims to understand how the response to Covid-19 including lockdown […]

11th April 2019

Scottish Universities-Prisons Network

The Scottish UP Network brings together those currently running or interested in university initiatives in Scottish prisons. It provides a […]

22nd November 2018

Measuring Justice: Defining Concepts, Developing Practice

In this project, researchers are gathering information about how experiences of criminal justice settings and processes can be conceptualised and […]

21st June 2018

The Scottish Prisons Commission: Ten Years On

In July 2008 The Scottish Prisons Commission (also known as the McLeish Commission) published its report Scotland’s Choice. This report […]

30th January 2012

Punishing Spaces, Working Spaces: Artist in Residence at SCCJR

In this Leverhulme Trust funded residency (February – November 2012), photographer Jenny Wicks was in residence at SCCJR for ten […]

24th May 2010

Policing organised crime: effectively measuring performance

SCCJR was commissioned by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) to help them review their existing performance indicators. […]

21st May 2010

Understanding the drivers of the female prison population in Scotland

SCCJR are undertaking some analysis aimed at identifying factors that may have contributed to the increased use of female imprisonment […]

27th April 2010

Ethnography of Penal Policy

This project, funded by the ESRC, is using the techniques and perspective of ethnography to study penal reform at a […]

27th April 2010

Circles of Support and Accountability

Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA or Circles) have been operating in Canada and England for several years. Following a […]

5th February 2024

Four People Die in Custody Every Week in Scotland

1st December 2022

Record Number of Deaths in Scottish Prisons

19th January 2022

Mapping Drug Use, Interventions and Treatment Needs in Scottish Prisons

7th December 2020

Measuring Justice: New report published today

29th April 2020

New research project to investigate impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups

20th January 2020

SCCJR Announces New Director

17th September 2019

Major new report takes stock of violence in Scotland

28th May 2019

Scottish Parliament Justice Committee Consultation Responses on the Presumption Against Short Sentences (PASS)

21st May 2019

Less isolation and more access to family crucial for young people’s wellbeing in custody

3rd April 2019

SCCJR Response to Dr John Marshall comments on psychiatric assessment of children

Video Available

SCCJR Seminar: Left Out and Locked Down

19th February 2021