Research Projects

News & Events


Fergus McNeill is Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow where he works in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and in Sociology. Prior to becoming an academic in 1998, Fergus worked for a decade in residential drug rehabilitation and as a criminal justice social worker. His many research projects and publications have examined institutions, cultures and practices of punishment and rehabilitation and their alternatives. Most recently, between 2017-21, Fergus led ‘Distant Voices: Coming Home’, a major, multi-partner Economic and Social Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council project which explored re-integration after punishment through creative practices and research methods. His most recent books include ‘Reimagining Rehabilitation: Beyond the Individual’ (with Lol Burke and Steve Collett) and ‘Pervasive Punishment: Making sense of mass supervision’ (the winner of the European Society of Criminology’s Book Prize 2021).

Recent publications

Casey, R., McNeill, F., Barkas, B., Cornish, N., Gormley, C., Schinkel, M. ‘Pervasive punishment in a pandemic’. Probation Journal. October 2021. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/02645505211050871

Crockett Thomas P., McNeill F., Cathcart Frödén L., Collinson Scott J., Escobar O., Urie A. (2021) ‘Re-writing punishment? Songs and narrative problem-solving’. Incarceration. March 2021. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/26326663211000239

Crockett Thomas, P., Collinson Scott, J., McNeill, F., Escobar, O., Cathcart Frödén, L. and Urie, A. (2020) Mediating Punishment? Prisoners’ Songs as Relational ‘Problem-Solving’ Devices, Law Text Culture, 24(1/7): 1-25. Available at: https://ro.uow.edu.au/ltc/vol24/iss1/7


Fergus took part in the SCCJR’s Just Humans podcast in this episode Teejay & Mary: Two Tales of Supervision – SCCJR published 6 Dec 22.



University of Glasgow


Ivy Lodge,
63 Gibson Street,
Glasgow G12 8LR

Research Themes

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions

September 2021

Written Evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee

This paper was prepared by Dr Hannah Graham, University of Stirling, Dr Steve Kirkwood, University of Edinburgh, Professor Margaret Malloch, […]


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 […]

August 2019

Open letter about the Whole Life Custody draft proposal by Liam Kerr MSP

Dr Hannah Graham (Stirling) and Prof Fergus McNeill (Glasgow) have written an open letter to Liam Kerr MSP in response […]

March 2019

SCCJR Response to Scottish Government Consultation on Transforming Parole Scotland

SCCJR welcomes the opportunity to comment in response to this Scottish Government consultation. Our submission focuses on the following key […]

March 2017

Response from SCCJR to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey Questionnaire Review 2017

Response from Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (Sarah MacQueen, Anna Souhami and Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh; Fergus […]

Probation: 12 Essential Questions

This volume poses a series of key questions about the practice of probation as an integral part of the European […]

Prisons and desistance

The Handbook on Prisons, Second edition is a key text for students taking courses in prisons, penology, criminal justice, criminology and related […]

Evaluation of the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund

The aim of this evaluation was to assess the extent to which the Public Social Partnerships model delivers effective mentoring […]


Desistance and criminal justice in Scotland


Community Punishment: European Perspectives

In Community Punishment: European perspectives, the authors place punishment in the community under the spotlight by exploring the origins, evolution […]

26th June 2023

Penal Supervision in Comparative Context

New research on probation and justice social work supervision in five nations Professor Nicola Carr (University of Nottingham) and colleagues, […]

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 […]

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 […]

1st June 2012

COST Action IS1106 – Offender Supervision in Europe

Offender supervision in Europe has developed rapidly in scale, distribution and intensity in recent years. However, the emergence of ‘mass […]

21st May 2010

Incarceration, social control and human rights.

This project formed part of the International Council on Human Rights Policy’s inquiry on Social Control and Human Rights. The […]

11th March 2010

Evaluation of the Women in Focus Programme

The Women in Focus Programme is aimed at reducing the number of women imprisoned from the South West Scotland Community […]

26th May 2008

Scottish Prisons Commission Report

In July 2008, the Scottish Prisons Commission published its report, setting out an ambitious vision of penal reform. Sarah Armstrong […]

17th January 2008

European Society of Criminology Working Group on Community Sanctions

The European Society of Criminology has recently established a new Working Group on Community Sanctions. The group, which is open […]

17th January 2008

Collaboration of Researchers for the Effective Development of Offender Supervision (CREDOS)

CREDOS is an international network of researchers, and policy and practice partners in research, who share a common interest in […]

6th December 2007

Collaboration of Researchers for the Effective Development of Offender Supervision

CREDOS is an international network of researchers, and policy and practice partners in research, who share a common interest in […]

18th May 2021

New Just About…event series launched


4th May 2020

Penal supervision in a pandemic

29th April 2020

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

26th August 2019

An open letter about the Whole Life Custody draft proposal by Liam Kerr MSP

28th May 2019

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

27th March 2019

SCCJR responds to Scottish Government’s Consultation on Transforming Parole in Scotland

11th May 2018

Ground-breaking research sees Scotland’s songwriters collaborate with individuals who have first-hand experience of the criminal justice system

7th March 2017

SCCJR responds to proposed Scottish Crime and Justice Survey changes

30th January 2017

New Distant Voices project to challenge views of ‘offender rehabilitation’

21st December 2016

SCCJR criminologists to top the bill at British Society of Criminology conference

Punishment Futures, Justice Reimagined

16th May 2024



A Giant on the Bridge

5th March 2024

Video Available

Teaching Criminology: The Human Element

29th June 2023

13:00 BST


Video Available

Just About . . . Gypsy, Roma and Traveller People and Criminal Justice

1st June 2021