School of Sociology and Social Policy

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James Tangen

Assistant Professor in Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences



James joined the National Probation Service in 2001 as a Trainee Probation Officer in the Nottinghamshire area. During his training, and immediately following his qualification as a Probation Officer in 2003, James was seconded to Youth Offending Teams and spent over 2 years delivering the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) to prolific and otherwise priority Young Offenders (PYOs). James has also worked in a variety of Courts and has experience of supervising adult offenders. In 2006 James was promoted to Senior Probation Officer of an inner city team in Nottingham, following which he moved to supervising a community supervision team in Newark and Sherwood, a rural district of Nottinghamshire. Consequently, James has been responsible for the delivery of all aspects of probation services, from Magistrates' Court liaison to Unpaid Work. During his probation career, James worked closely with partner agencies, including the police, social care and community organisations to manage specific individuals identified as posing a significant risk of serious harm to the public. This included chairing multi-agency public protection meetings (MAPPA Level 2), and working with Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood Community Safety Partnership to develop probation involvement with local Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC).

In 2010 James took the difficult decision to leave his career with Nottinghamshire Probation Trust to pursue a long-held ambition of an academic career. Following the completion of an MA in Research Methods (Public Policy & Management), James undertook his doctoral research at the University of Nottingham. In 2015 James joined De Montfort University as a Lecturer in Probation. Over the next 7 years James developed his academic experiences to became a Senior Lecturer in Criminology; during his tenure at DMU James was responsible for coordinating two large programmes at DMU: the Professional Qualification in Probation (2017-2018) and the BA Criminology (2018-2022). In 2022 James returned to his academic home at the University of Nottingham.

Teaching Summary

James is an experienced teacher and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has taught modules on media crime, digital criminology, and research methods.

Current teaching (2022/3)

  • SOCI1011 Understanding Crime and Victimisation (Level 1, Core, Tutor)
  • SOCI2038 Research Design & Practice (Quantitative Methods) (Level 2, Core, Tutor)
  • SOCI2055 Rehabilitation, Risk and Desistance (Level 2, Elective, Tutor)
  • SOCI3001 Dissertation (Level 3, Core, Dissertation Supervisor)
  • SOCI4097 Cybercrime (Level 3, Elective, Tutor)

Postgraduate Research Supervision

James is interested in supervising postgraduate research projects related to probation practice and digital criminology, including the use of technologies in criminal justice practices and the construction of online identities.

Research Summary

Since 2017, James has been co-investigator with colleagues at De Montfort University on a project developing a model of transformative education for teaching about genocide and developing social… read more

Current Research

Since 2017, James has been co-investigator with colleagues at De Montfort University on a project developing a model of transformative education for teaching about genocide and developing social action. This work continues with an evaluation of an online programme, "Building Stronger Communities", developed in a partnership between De Montfort University and Remembering Srebrenica, with support from the Dept of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

Past Research

James completed his doctoral research at the University of Nottingham in 2016. His thesis, 'Instability in the social construction of victims of trafficking: A sociological case study of UK public policy' focused on the role of front-line workers in constructing individuals as eligible, or ineligible, for the status of victim of human trafficking. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, James' work brought the sociology of social problems into discussion with an analysis of public policy and socio-legal studies to develop new empirical evidence of instability in the victim of trafficking status.

James has supported a number of research projects. For example he provided data analysis support to a the Office of the Children's Commissioner Children in Care & Care Leavers Survey 2015, and a survey of services provided in England & Wales for the treatment of trauma and PTSD. James has worked as an independent consultant providing service evaluations for a prison mentoring scheme in 2010 and a horticultural therapy programme in 2015.

Future Research

James is currently developing a project to investigate spaces of practice in probation practice in collaboration with other HEIs. It is intended that an application for funding of this project will be submitted in early 2023.

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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