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Comparative Penology

Institute of Criminology

Studying at Cambridge



In Norway we are currently working on two out of the four sub-studies, focussing in particular on the Entry/Exit study and the ethnographies. Fieldwork started in Bergen Prison and has since involved a few other prisons and many different locations in the community.

With a few exceptions all interviews and surveys are conducted in Norwegian, which has involved a large amount of translating and thinking through meanings of words, phrases and concepts. In order to ‘test’ the interview schedules and the survey, as well as enhance our comparative thinking, the whole team did a pilot study in Bergen prison, Norway in November 2016, involving the administration and discussion of surveys, and some interviews.

We have been back and forth numerous time ever since and have so far conducted over 90 interviews with many more to come. 

logo The Comparative Penology Group is led by Dr Ben Crewe and his research team who, since 2016, have been working on a five-year project titled: 'Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis'.

The research is based in England & Wales, and Norway, and involves four inter-related studies of (a) penal policymaking and the penal field (b) the experience of entry into and release from custody (c) the daily experiences of female prisoners and imprisoned sex offenders, and (d) prisoners in the most secure parts of each jurisdiction's prison system.

This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC).