Research Projects

News & Events

Working Title of PhD: Exploring the Order for Lifelong Restriction

Year commenced PhD study: 2019
The University of Glasgow
Funding Source: CoSS Joined Glasgow/Edinburgh PhD Studentship
Full or part-time: Full-time
PhD Supervisors: Prof Sarah Armstrong (Glasgow) and Prof Richard Sparks (Edinburgh)

Despite academic interest and a range of research into indeterminate sentencing strategies such as the IPP (England and Wales) the Order for Lifelong Restriction in Scotland (OLR) has attracted very little scholarly attention by criminologists. The OLR is a life sentencing disposal available to the Scottish Courts designed to incapacitate those thought to pose the greatest risk to the public. The Order was introduced in 2006 against a backdrop of public and political anxiety over ‘dangerous’ offenders and the proliferation of risk-based sentencing strategies in other jurisdictions.

The OLR comprises a fixed custodial term followed by lifetime supervision upon release. Release will only be granted if the Parole Board is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the offender no longer poses a risk to the public. Should a prisoner fail to meet the criteria for release they will be held in prison indefinitely. There are currently around 180 prisoners serving an Order for Lifelong Restriction with 61% of this cohort currently post-tariff (RMA, 2019).  These men are almost exclusively held in Scottish Prisons and managed by the Risk Management Authority an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.

What is striking, is that little is known about the bureaucratic imperatives of this sentence, how it operates in practice and how it is experienced by those working with and those subject to it. This PhD project aims to qualitatively explore this knowledge gap by examining narratives of risk, decision making and offender subjectivities.



University of Glasgow


Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
University of Glasgow
Ivy Lodge
63 Gibson Street

Research Themes

Courts and Sentencing

Punishment, Citizenship and Communities

No Publications Available

No Projects Available


2nd September 2020

Covid & care experienced young people