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Comparative Penology

Institute of Criminology


International Carceral Geography Conference Brussels, Belgium, 14th-15th December

Anna* and Ben: Top-bunk, bottom-bunk - the geographies of cell sharing


Opening Conference of the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Alberta, Canada, 17th-19th November

Ben and Alice: 'Tightness', Recognition and Penal Power


ICPA Online Learning Academy on Innovative Models of Offender Management and Intervention: Creating a Rehabilitative Culture, 2nd November

Ben: Intervention, Support and Rehabilitative Cultures



Nordic punishment at a crossroads? Oslo, Norway 11th-12th March

Kristian: Egalitarianism from within: Hierarchy, virtues and pragmatism in prison social life

Ben: Laissez-faire inclusion and intervention in and beyond the prison



Punishment and imprisonment in the Nordic Countries Conference, 13th-14th June

On June 13th-14th, we are hosting a conference at the University of Agder, Norway with the general theme ‘Punishment and imprisonment in the Nordic countries’. Researchers with expertise on prisons and punishment in the Nordic countries will present their analysis while our team will be discussing the emerging findings from our comparative study of penal policy-making and prisoner experiences in England & Wales and Norway. Information about how to attend please click here.


Strafferetskonferencen Loen, Norway, 1st-2nd April

Julie and Kristian: Mellom inklusjon og eksklusjon. Seksuallovbruddsdømtes soningserfaringer


King’s College Cambridge Foundation Lunch, 16th of March 2019

Julie and Anna: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis




International Carceral Geography Conference, Liverpool, UK, 17-18th December

Anna* and Julie: Power, regulation and gender in women’s prisons in England & Wales and Norway

recording of the presentation here:


ESC Conference, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 29th August-1st September:

Ben: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis

Alice: Lateral tightness and ‘sex offenders’

Julie* and Anna: Power, regulation and gender in women’s prisons in England & Wales and Norway


The Society of Captives Today, University of Leicester, 27th – 28th June

Ben: Beyond ‘Deprivations’: The pains of imprisonment and the prisoner social system

Alice: The society of sex offenders


The Perrie Lectures, 6th June

Alice: Power, shame and social relationships


2nd International Correctional Research Symposium, May 2018

Julie: What is Good Prison Research?


Comparative Penology and Nordic Exceptionalism Conference, 1st-2nd February

We were pleased to hold our first COMPEN conference at the University of Cambridge on the 1st and 2nd of February 2018. You can see the final programme here.

Ben: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis

Alice: Lateral tightness and ‘sex offenders’

Julie and Anna: Power, regulation and gender in women’s prisons in England & Wales and Norway

Kristian: Risk and relational normalisation

This conference was a milestone for the project with its international and comparative focus and also offered the opportunity to meet many other experts in the field.  


Inauguration Presentation at King’s College Cambridge, 19th January

Anna and Julie presenting; title: Exploring penal spaces and prisoners’ experiences: comparative research in the UK and Norway


KRUS conference, Oslo

Alice presented: Shame and moral communication in prisons for men convicted of sex offences


Deep-end Confinement Symposium

In January 2018, we hosted a one-day symposium about ‘deep-end confinement’, with papers by Georgina Vince and Kirsty Tempest (HMPPS), Ben Crewe (University of Cambridge), Richard Sparks University of Edinburgh) and Alison Liebling (University of Cambridge), and Kimmett Edgar (Prison Reform Trust). The aim of the day was to generate dialogue between practitioners and academics working within this field, and to provide a platform for further engagement.




Global Prisons Research Network Roundtable Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2nd-3rd November

Julie: Connecting Urban and Prison Ethnographies: Security and Confinement Beyond the Limitations of Site


Seminar at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, Oslo University, Norway, 1st November

Ben: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis

Anna: ‘The pains of entry’ A comparative analysis of prisoners’ experiences of entering custody in England & Wales and Norway

Kristian: ‘Discovering’ (the lack of) risk-talk


PRC conference Cambridge, 19th - 20th October

Julie and Kristian: Ways of comparing:  ‘Discovering’ (the lack of) risk-talk


KRUS conference, Oslo, 11th - 12th October

Kristian and Julie: Penal policymaking and the prisoner experience: a comparative analysis


European Society of Criminology Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff UK, 13th - 14th September

Ben: Solitary, supermax and deep-end imprisonment

Kristian, Julie, Anna and Alice: The ‘imprisonment queue’ in Norway: Exploring the pains of waiting to do time. (abstract here).

Kristian, Anna and Julie: The pains of entry’: A comparative analysis of prisoners. (abstract here).

Alice: Orientations towards women among male prisoners convicted of sex offences (abstract here).


Rethinking Prisons Research Conference, University of Leicester, 13th-14th June

Ben: The prison as a reinventive institution


BASIS Seminar, Oslo, Norway, 1st June

Julie: ’Seksuallovbruddsdømtes fengselserfaringer – en etnografisk studie’


Annual American Association of Geographers International Conference, Boston, USA, 5th-9th April

Anna: Dialogues across carceral space: comparative research and the case of penal exceptionalism in a session on Global Carceral Geographies (abstract here).


Sykes Conference, Cambridge

Alice: The moral pains of imprisonment and the deprivation of heterosexual relationships




International Conference for Carceral Geography, Birmingham, UK, 13th December

Anna  and Julie: Confinement, Crossings and Conditions for prisoners in the UK and Norway: comparative research on penal exceptionalism

You can listen to their presentation here.



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).









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