Dr Serena Wright

Personal profile

My research on prisons and penology has focused chiefly on long-term, life imprisonment, but also extends to short-term sentences and ‘frustrated desistance’, particularly among women.

I am particularly interested in the intersection between trauma, addiction, and criminalisation, and between health, gender and criminal justice, and have just been awarded a large ESRC grant (Co-Investigator) with Professor Ben Crewe and Dr Susie Hulley (University of Cambridge) to conduct longitudinal research with almost 150 life-sentenced prisoners. This represents a follow-up to our original cross-sectional design study on long-term imprisonment from young adulthood, undertaken between 2012 and 2016. You can read about the study here: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/research-and-teaching/departments-and-schools/law-and-criminology/research/long-term-imprisonment-from-young-adulthood-a-longitudinal-follow-up-study/

In autumn 2020, I organised a virtul launch event for our recently published monograph entitled 'Life Imprisonment from Young Adulthood: Adaptation, Identity and Time' (https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137566003), which you can view via You Tube (https://youtu.be/GKR1ySvmDFM).


The Griffins Society

Postgraduate Lead and Steering Committee member 
Prison Research Network (British Society of Criminology)

External Research Fellowship Supervisor
The Griffins Society 

European Society of Criminology
British Society of Criminology


Since 2016, I have taught various facets of undergraduate criminology, across core and optional modules at all levels for students taking BSC Criminology & Sociology, BSC Criminology and Psychology, and LLB Law with Criminology, including:

CR2013 - Key Perspectives and Debates in Criminology (Level 5, core). Course Convenor
CR3023 - Prisons (Level 6, optional). Course Convenor
CR3027 - Drugs, Crime & Society (Level 6, optional). Course Convenor
CR2017 - Youth and Crime/Criminalising Youth (Level 5, optional). Course Convenor
CR2011 - Research Methods/Data Analysis for Social Scientists (Level 5, core).
CR1011 - Introduction to Criminology (Level 4, core).

I am also the Departmental Lead for Royal Holloway's Learning Together partnership modules with two of our local prisons, HMYOI Feltham and HMP/YOI Bronzefield. Each course brought university students together with students based at one of our partner sites to learn alongside each other in a tailor-made eight-week course:

- Thinking Criminologically. Royal Holloway and HMPYOI Feltham. Course Convenor.
- Pioneering Women (funded by the College's 2018 Suffrage scheme). Royal Holloway and  HMP/YOI Bronzefield. Course Convenor.
- Contemporary Criminological and Social Issues. Royal Holloway, University of Westminster and HMPYOI Feltham.

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