Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Director of the Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice; Director of the Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Centre; Joint Convenor: CAMMIGRES (Cambridge Migration Research Network)
Deputy Director of the Institute

Fellow of Pembroke College.


Professor Gelsthorpe has carried out a number of research studies since the mid-1980s, including work on police decision-making with regard to juvenile offenders; the operation of multi-agency juvenile panels; the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in juvenile justice; gender issues in juvenile justice; the theory, policy and practice of attendance centres; the treatment of fine defaulters in magistrates' courts; and race and gender issues in social inquiry reports. She has also conducted work on Home Office-funded projects on inter-agency aspects of crime prevention strategies, on pre-sentence reports, on the sentencing of women and on community service orders (now known as unpaid work) as a requirement of a Community Order.
Recent and current research interests revolve around notions of criminal and social justice in sentencing, youth justice issues, women and criminal justice, the development of criminological and social theories in their social and political context since 1945, community penalties, and social exclusion, crime and justice. Empirical work includes a focus on resettlement issues for women - particularly those connected to housing as well as on diversion from the court for offenders experiencing mental health problems, deaths under probation supervision, and the criminalisation of migrant women. Loraine maintains a strong interest in methodological issues (particularly psychoanalytical dimensions of the research process).

Within the Institute she is the current Director of Undergraduate Education and the immediate past Director of the M.Phil Programme. Professor Gelsthorpe sits on the University General Board's Education, Equality and Diversity, and Researcher Development Committees, as well as the Executive Committee of the University Counselling Service.

Professor Gelsthorpe is Director of the Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Centre across the Social Sciences within the University, and Joint Convenor of CAMMIGRES (an interdisciplinary network of relating to research on migration). Nationally, she is Deputy Chair of the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework) sub-panel on Social Policy and Social Work and the current President of the British Society of Criminology. Professor Gelsthorpe also chairs the European Society of Criminology Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice Working Group.

Publications include contributions to prestigious Oxford Handbook of Criminology (edited by Maguire, Morgan and Reiner) as well as over 160 articles on criminological and criminal justice related topics, book chapters, and reports.

The following publications may be of interest

Research Topics

M.Phil students (and prospective Ph.D students) are welcome to talk to Loraine about research dissertations on the following topics:

  • What works with women (systematic review)
  • An evaluation of NEXUS which is a Cambridge based support initiative for offenders with mild mental health problems (research needs to start in October 2013 and there are research opportunities for two students)
  • Pre-sentence reports: old and new; their content, value and use
  • The supervision of women law-breakers
  • Human Trafficking issues
  • Decision-making in the criminal justice system
  • Any other topic relating to Community, Gender and Social Justice (including youth justice)