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Ben Jarman


Ben Jarman is a third-year PhD student in the Prisons Research Centre.

Termination details:

Ben Jarman is a third-year PhD student in the Prisons Research Centre.

Research Interests

Ben’s PhD, which builds on pilot research carried out for his MPhil, is a qualitative study of how men serving life sentences for murder experience and think about their sentences. It explores the ethical projects lifers construct for themselves while they are in prison, and how these relate to the nature of the conviction and the offence. The research will take a particular interest in:

  • how they respond to the moral messages received, via conviction and punishment, about the offence of murder and the blameworthiness of their own past conduct
  • the ‘ground projects’ and ethical priorities they adopt as the sentence proceeds
  • how their ethical priorities interact with the expectation that they should ‘reduce risk’ and demonstrate reformed selfhood
  • their experiences of hope and meaning, and how these alter the experience of punishment

The PhD supervisor is Prof Ben Crewe.

Ben’s other interests are in historical criminology, the history of imprisonment, and the work of voluntary sector organisations in criminal justice. In 2017/18 he worked with colleagues from Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh, conducting archival research on penal establishments where there have been allegations of non-recent child abuse by staff.


Ben has supervised undergraduates on the Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System course (Law Tripos paper 34).

Key Publications

Journal articles

Jarman, Ben. 2020. ‘Only One Way to Swim? The Offence and the Life Course in Accounts of Adaptation to Life Imprisonment’. The British Journal of Criminology, May.

Jarman, Ben, and Caroline Lanskey. 2019. ‘“A Poor Prospect Indeed”: The State’s Disavowal of Child Abuse Victims in Youth Custody, 1960–1990’. Societies 9 (2): 27.

Jarman, Ben. 2009. “When Were Jews in Medieval England Most in Danger? Exploring Change and Continuity with Year 7.” Teaching History 136: 4–12.


Policy papers

Jarman, Ben. 2018. “Scandal and Reform, 1960-2016: Can Better Policies Guarantee Child Welfare in Secure Custody?” History & Policy. 2018.