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Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe

Professor Loraine  Gelsthorpe

Director of the Institute

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)

Fellow of Pembroke College.

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 335377


Loraine Gelsthorpe is Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. And a Fellow and Tutor for Graduate Affairs at Pembroke College. She is also Director of the Institute, Director of Graduate Education for the Institute, and Director of a research centre within also: the Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice. Beyond this she is Co-convenor of the University wide multi-disciplinary Cambridge Migration Research Network (CAMMIGRES). She also sits on various University Committees including the General Board Education Committee and the Board of Graduate Studies. Loraine has wide interests in the links between criminal justice and social justice, looking at race, gender and social exclusion, women and sentencing, and at the effectiveness of youth and community penalties in particular. She also has a strong interest in research methodologies and research ethics.

Loraine has lived in Cambridge since the early 1980s when she came to do an M.Phil in Criminology, though the call of a Ph.D was stronger than a return to a social work career. After the Ph.D she had a number of post-doc appointments at Lancaster, UCNW (Bangor) and at the LSE, which involved work with the Metropolitan Police and London boroughs on diversion from prosecution, men's prisons in the midlands, and race and gender issues in pre-sentence reports respectively. She began working for the University of Cambridge in 1991. Professor Gelsthorpe sits on various government Advisory Committees, was deputy chair of the 2014 REF exercise (Social Policy panel), and is immediate past President of the British Society of Criminology. She chairs the European Society of Criminology Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice Working Group.

Professor Gelsthorpe is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She was an 11+ failure and increasingly sees a need to speak out about this - to encourage others whose own routes in higher education may not be traditional. Loraine is a psychoanalytical psychotherapist in her 'spare time', and a trustee of Pembroke House, a community centre in Walworth, South London, and Women's Break Out:

Publications include several books, the most recent of which is Research Ethics in Criminology: Dilemmas, Issues and Solutions

Edited by Malcolm Cowburn,Loraine R Gelsthorpe, Azrini Wahidin published by Routledge, 2016, as well as some 180 journal articles, book chapters and reports (some of which are listed below)

Research Interests


Professor Gelsthorpe is happy to discuss the following possibilities:

  • What works with women offenders?
  • Pre-sentence reports: old and new; their content, value and use
  • The supervision of offenders in the community
  • Resettlement issues in the community
  • The criminalisation of migrants
  • Diversion from the court
  • Deaths under criminal justice supervision in the community
  • Human trafficking issues
  • Decision-making in the criminal justice system
  • The development of criminal justice policy since the 1950s
  • Any other topic broadly relating to Community, Gender and Social Justice


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)

Research Abstract

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.

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. Loraine maintains a strong interest in methodological issues (particularly psychoanalytical dimensions of the research process).