Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Research Student: Caroline Penn

Home Detention Curfew: an analysis of the processes involved for prison staff and prisoners

Photo of Caroline Penn

My research will examine the Home Detention Curfew scheme which can give eligible prisoners early release from prison on an electronically monitored curfew. Home Detention Curfew could be used more in order to address the prison population, however the reasons it is not used more widely are not fully understood. It is therefore necessary to understand the protocols and procedures used by staff within prisons in order to assess whether the policy is used effectively, and whether it can be improved upon. After an analysis of relevant data relating to prisoners who are eligible for Home Detention Curfew, research will be conducted within a number of prisons in order to gain an understanding of the ways in which prison staff and prisoners respond to and handle the Home Detention Curfew process. It is hoped that this research will be used by prison staff and policy makers to give them a better understanding of the issues involving Home Detention Curfew. 


Having worked in the criminal justice system, for the police, and within a civil enforcement environment for the last fifteen years I made the decision to go to university in order to develop my study and academic skills. In 2011 I began a BSc in Psychology and Crime at the University of Bradford. I believe my previous work experience gave me a good understanding of the criminal justice system, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning and reading on theories relating to crime and behaviour.   

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

Whilst in my final year as an undergraduate at the University of Bradford I conducted primary research into the treatment programmes available to people who were convicted of sex offences. I enjoyed carrying out research, and with the encouragement of my supervisor I applied for a scholarship at the University of Leeds. I was lucky enough to be awarded a 1+3 ESRC scholarship which means that I have also been able to undertake an MA in Criminal Justice Studies at Leeds before beginning my PhD. The MA programme at Leeds provided an excellent grounding in research skills and theory, and meant that I was able to conduct primary research into the needs and experiences of victims of domestic violence. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I am interested in the ways in which offenders are managed both in and out of prison. Electronic Monitoring is a fascinating issue as policy makers seek to find suitable alternatives to prison. Being able to conduct research into aspects of this area of study is exciting and timely. 

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

Ideally I would like to carry on conducting research either within an academic environment or within an organisation. I enjoy attempting to understand policy and practices within the criminal justice system, and how these affect the public from a socio-legal perspective. I would like to be able to continue to do so once I have completed by PhD. 

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