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Institute of Criminology



Alice has been a member of the Institute since she started her Masters in 2011. She has worked for the Comparative Penology project, conducting ethnographic research in England & Wales and Norway in prisons holding women and prisons holding men convicted of sex offences, and has been an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow. In October 2019, she started working on ‘A good life in prison? Everyday ethics in a prison holding young men’, which is funded by an ESRC New Investigator Grant. This project will explore how young adult male prisoners (those aged between 18 and 24) define and pursue a ‘good life’ while they are incarcerated. It hopes to offer a more ‘appreciative’ account of the social worlds of imprisoned young people, who are normally seen, by academics and politicians, as both dangerous and vulnerable. By making use of the growing literature in the anthropology of ethics, Alice hopes to produce an account of the way in which people in prison try to live morally meaningful lives, and to find ‘goodness’ even in a context defined by stark power imbalances, severe deprivation, and complex social relationships.

Alice is currently preparing a manuscript for a book entitled The Stains of Imprisonment: Moral Communication and Social Relationships in a Prison for Men Convicted of Sex Offences, which should be published in 2023 by University of California Press as part of their Gender and Justice series. The book builds on her PhD research and seeks to bring sociological research on the experience of imprisonment into conversation with work on the purpose of punishment and on the best way of responding to harm. Its main argument is that prisons are morally communicative institutions: they say something to those they hold about the offences which led them there and the implications these offences have for their moral character, and much of this moral meaning is communicated through the prosaic yet power-imbued processes which make up daily life in custody.


  • PhD, Criminology, University of Cambridge
    Thesis: Adaptation, Moral Community and Power in a Prison for Men Convicted of Sex Offences’
    Supervisor: Dr. Ben Crewe.  Passed without corrections
  • MPhil, Criminological Research, University of Cambridge
    Thesis: 'Living Among Sex Offenders: Identity, Safety and Relationships at HMP Whatton'
    Supervisor: Dr. Ben Crewe.  Grade: Distinction
  • BA (Hons), English, University of Cambridge
    Grade: 2:1

Prizes and Awards:

  • 2019 Winner of the Nigel Walker Prize, given by the Institute of Criminolgy to award outstanding PhD research
  • 2013 Winner of the John Sunley Prize, given by The Howard League for Penal Reform in recognition of outstanding Masters level research
  • 2013 Proxime Accesserunt in relation to the Lopez-Rey Prize, given by the Institute of Crimonology to award high performance at the MPhil


Key publications: 

Ievins, A (in progress; due for publication 2023) The Stains of Imprisonment: Moral Communication and Social Relationships in a Prison for Men Convicted of Sex Offences. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Ievins, A (in press; due for publication 2021) Breaking out of the ‘suffering slot’: The value of conducting ethnographic research with men convicted of sexual offences. In J Rainbow (ed) Researching Prisons. London: Routledge.

Ievins, A (in press; due for publication 2021) The society of ‘sex offenders’. In B Crewe, A Goldsmith & M Halsey (eds) Power and Pain in the Modern Prison: Revisiting the Society of Captives. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ievins, A, Jarman, B & Reimer, T (2021) False accounting: Why we shouldn’t ask people who commit crimes to pay their debts to society. Working Notes.

Ievins, A & Mjåland, K (2021) Authoritarian exclusion and laissez-faire inclusion: A comparison of the imprisonment of men convicted of sex offences in England & Wales and Norway. Criminology.

Crewe, B & Ievins, A (2021) ‘Tightness’, recognition and penal powerPunishment & Society, 23(1): 47-68.

Ievins, A (2020) Power, shame and social relations in prisons for men convicted of sex offences. Prison Service Journal, 251: 3-10.

Ievins, A (2020) ‘Perfectly individualized and constantly visible’? Lateral tightness in a prison holding men convicted of sex offences. Incarceration.

Crewe, B & Ievins, A (2020) The prison as a reinventive institutionTheoretical Criminology, 24(4): 568-589.

Ievins, A (2019) Finding victims in the narratives of men imprisoned for sex offences. In J Fleetwood, L Presser, S Sandberg & T Ugelvik (eds) The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology. Bingley: Emerald, pp. 279-300.

Ievins, A (2019) Prison officers, professionalism and moral judgement. In N Blagden, B Winder, K Hocken, R Lievesley, P Banyard & H Elliott (eds) Sexual Crime and the Experience of Imprisonment. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 85-108.

Ievins, A & Crewe, B (2015) ‘Nobody’s better than you, nobody’s worse than you’: Moral community among prisoners convicted of sexual offences. Punishment & Society, 17(4): 482-501.

Crewe, B & Ievins, A (2015) Closeness, distance and honesty in prison ethnography. In DH Drake, R Earle and J Sloan (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 124-142.

Liebling, A, Schmidt, B, Crewe, B, Auty, K, Armstrong, R, Akoensi, T, Kant, D, Ludlow, A & Ievins, A (2015) Birmingham prison: The transition from public to private sector and its impact on staff and prisoner quality of life - a three year study. National Offender Management Service analytic summary.

Ievins, A (2014) Living among sex offenders: Identity, safety and relationships at HMP Whatton. London: The Howard League for Penal Reform.

Ievins, A (2013) ‘This isn’t a real prison’: Prisoner safety and relationships in HMP Whatton. Prison Service Journal, 208: 10-16.