School of Sociology and Social Policy

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Nicola Carr

Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



I joined the University of Nottingham in January 2017, having previously worked in Queen's University Belfast. Prior to this I was a Research Fellow in Trinity College Dublin and a government of Ireland scholar. Before entering academia I worked as a Probation Officer in London. My first substantive research area relates to youth, conflict and justice. This has included a focus on broad themes of justice encompassing social justice, formal justice processes, and forms of 'community' justice. I have conducted research on young people's transitions from custody, the experiences of young witnesses and young people's understanding of the criminal records. My other substantive research interest relates to penal institutions, penal politics and their cultural representations. I have a particular interest in the interrelationship between penal institutions and wider governance and experiences of penality.

I have been awarded funding from a wide range of funders including the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, the British Academy, the European Union and various governmental and non-governmental organisations. I am the Editor of the Probation Journal and I am a member of the editorial boards of the British Journal of Criminology , the Irish Probation Journal and Youth Justice. Along with Gwen Robinson (University of Sheffield) and Ebony Ruhland (University of Cincinnati) I edit Routledge's international criminology series on Probation and Community Sanctions and Measures.

I have recently been working on an edited book on Time and Punishment (with Gwen Robinson), which will be published by Palgrave in 2022, and an edited collection with Lol Burke, Emma Cluley, Steve Collett and Fergus McNeill entitled Reimagining Probation Practice - Reforming Rehabilitation in an Age of Penal Excess, which will be published by Routledge in 2022.


Teaching Summary

I am the convenor for the following modules:

  • Youth, Crime and Justice (Year 2, Undergraduate)
  • Rehabilitation, Risk and Desistance (Year 3, Undergraduate)

Postgraduate supervision:

Charlotte Brooks: Understanding the Impact of Criminal Records on University Admissions in the UK (ESRC Collaborative Studentship with UNLOCK).

Rob Ferguson: Co-Production and Probation Inspection. (ESRC Collaborative Studentship with HMIP).

Oscar O'Mara: The operationalisation of security and rehabilitation in the Prison Service.

Zoe Robinson: Exploring innovation in interventions for potential perpetrators of child sexual abuse.

Research Summary

With colleagues in Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Southampton, I am currently working on Rehabilitating Probation, an ESRC-funded project… read more

Recent Publications

  • MCALISTER, S. and CARR, N., 2017. Experiencing Youth Justice and Penality.. In: FURLONG, A., ed., Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood: Second Edition Routledge. 446-454
  • WORRALL, A., CARR, N. and ROBINSON, G., 2017. Opening a Window on Probation Cultures: A Photographic Imagination.. In: BROWN, M. and CARRABINE, E., eds., Routledge Handbook of Visual Criminology
  • CARR, N. and MAGUIRE, N., 2017. Pre-sentence Reports and Individualised Justice: Consistency, Temporality and Contingency. Irish Probation Journal. 14(1), 52-71 (In Press.)

Current Research

With colleagues in Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Southampton, I am currently working on Rehabilitating Probation, an ESRC-funded project exploring probation reform. The project runs from January 2022 until December 2024 and will explore the probation reform agenda as it unfolds.

I am also a co-investigator on a study funded by the Nuffield Foundation and led by Dr Vicky Kemp, School of Law, examining the impact of PACE on the detention and questioning of young suspects in England and Wales.

Past Research

I have been involved as a Principal or Co-Investigator on a range of research projects including studies of youth homelessness, LGBT mental health, service users' experiences of the child protection system and young witnesses' experiences of the criminal justice system. I have recently completed studies on young people's transitions from custody, the effects of juvenile criminal records, the role of pre-sentence reports in sentencing and LGBT prisoners' experiences. I also have a particular interest in comparative research and I have been involved in research exploring the practices of 'offender supervision' in Europe and youth justice practice cultures.

School of Sociology and Social Policy

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University of Nottingham
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