Biography

Mary Corcoran was awarded her PhD in Criminology from Liverpool John Moores University (2004). She was Lecturer at Liverpool JM University and Bath University prior to her appointment as Lecturer in Criminology at Keele in 2005. Mary was promoted to Senior Lecturer (2014), Reader (2019) and Professor (2021).

Mary is a Criminologist with an international reputation in the fields of political imprisonment, women in custody, the voluntary sector and justice, and marketisation in criminal justice domains. She conducts research which advances theoretical challenges to societal reliance on imprisonment, and works extensively with civil society and public organisations to find applied, humanitarian responses to harms arising from crime and punishment.

Research and scholarship

Mary Corcoran’s theoretical and empirical work addresses two societal problems: The first is how to reduce society’s excessive reliance on imprisonment by developing approaches, thinking and practices for creating humanitarian alternatives to prison, and supporting people to live settled lives free from conflict with the criminal justice system. These questions contribute to ‘real world’ co-productive research and problem-solving with those directly affected by crime and imprisonment. Her research on imprisonment and community punishment, with particular reference to minoritised prisoner groups (political prisoners; women; older prisoners; bereaved prisoners), has informed the design of gender-responsive and community-based services. This work encompasses several collaborations with academics and practitioners from palliative care, nursing, law, ethics, and prison and probation service personnel.

Her second theme focuses on the voluntary sector/NGOs in criminal justice. That work critically engages with the ethics, practices, experiences and politics of for-profit and voluntary sector involvement in penal spheres. Mary has worked with small, national and international charities and NGOs. One strand of this research relates to concerns with the marketisation and regulation of civic social work and voluntary activism, leading to work on possible implications for de-democratising justice systems. In answer, She is currently working with colleagues at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities to develop concepts, practices and methods relating to ‘generative justice’. This involves working with justice-affected people to generate social relationships and solidarity weakened by crime and by criminal justice processes by placing recognition, redistribution and representation at the heart of rebuilding societal relationships and sustainable modes of doing justice.

Mary has contributed her expertise as speaker, advisor, and board member to the work of major charities, government departments, trade unions and research institutes. She has contributed to strategic thinking at local government level as Chair of the Community Safety Partnership in Bath and North East Somerset, and advisor to the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Mary serves on the academic advisory boards for the Probation Institute for England and Wales, and for two charities, as well as advising government departments and international NGOs. She is also a member of editorial advisory boards for academic journals.

Funded research projects

  • 2022 ‘Generative Justice: Exploring how communities re/create solidarity after crime and punishment’, Independent Social Research Foundation. (£4,890).
  • 2017-18; Making the connection: linking classroom-based with work-related learning by Criminology students. Higher Education Funding Council for England. (£49,980).
  • 2017-18: Bereavement and loss among children and young people in custody. Barrow Cadbury Trust. (£21,254).
  • 2015-17 Principal Investigator, Voluntary sector adaptation and resilience in the mixed economy of resettlement in England and Wales. Leverhulme Trust research grant. (£161,064).
  • April 2013-August 2014: Principal Investigator, Youth in Focus ‘Sisters’ Mentoring Project Spurgeon’s and The Big Lottery. (£34,963).
  • 2013-14. The Staffordshire Integrated Offender Management Programme 2013. (Staffordshire Police. (£25,649)
  • 2011-24: Principal Investigator, The voluntary sector role in promoting desistance through offender mentoring PhD CASE Studentship. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (£31,430).
  • 2011-12: The role of the Magistracy in the 21st century. Magistrates’ Association. (£5,994).
  • 2010-2012: The third sector role in criminal justice 2010. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) research seminar series. (£15,700).
  • 2010-11: Principal Investigator, Evaluation of Chepstow House Community Project for Women Offenders, Brighter Futures. (£9,395).
  • 2006. Principal Investigator, Peer Mentoring in Prisons in England and Wales: The Listener Programme (studentship) Samaritans. (£42,000).

 

Teaching

I have taught widely across general Criminological curriculum, but specialise in teaching on penal theory; prisons and penality; ethics and penal research; criminal justice occupational cultures; and employability. I also conduct research on pedagogic practice, especially on the translation of Criminological knowledge from university to practice settings. This work has been recognised for its contribution to excellence in teaching with a prestigious Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Catalyst grant for the project, Making the connection (2017), a qualitative, systematic study into how or whether Criminology students translate their academic learning into work-based experiences.

Selected Publications

  • Corcoran M. 2021. Mary Corcoran (2021) ‘The Woolf Report 30 Years on: the third sector legacy’. Centre for Crime and Justice Studies,. link>
  • Corcoran M. 2021. Mary Corcoran (2021) ‘The Woolf Report 30 Years on: the third sector legacy’. Centre for Crime and Justice Studies,. link>
  • Corcoran M. La crise de l’accès à la justice en Angleterre et au Pays de Galles : état du tiers secteur dans le domaine du conseil juridique. Proceedings: The third sector in the United Kingdom and in France.. full text>
  • Corcoran M. 2021. Finding the Eye of the Octopus: the Limits of Regulating Outsourced Offender Probation in England and Wales. Revue française de civilisation britannique. doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran M. The access to justice crisis in England and Wales: the state of the legal and advisory third sector. full text>

Full Publications Listshow

Books

  • Hucklesby A and Corcoran M. 2016. The Voluntary Sector and Criminal Justice. Springer.
  • CORCORAN MS. 2006. Out of Order: The Political Imprisonment of Women in Northern Ireland, 1972-1999. Willan Publishing.

Journal Articles

  • Corcoran M. La crise de l’accès à la justice en Angleterre et au Pays de Galles : état du tiers secteur dans le domaine du conseil juridique. Proceedings: The third sector in the United Kingdom and in France.. full text>
  • Corcoran M. 2021. Finding the Eye of the Octopus: the Limits of Regulating Outsourced Offender Probation in England and Wales. Revue française de civilisation britannique. doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran M. The access to justice crisis in England and Wales: the state of the legal and advisory third sector. full text>
  • Corcoran M. Finding the Eye of the Octopus: The limits of regulating outsourced probation services in England and Wales. Revue Française de Civilisation Brittanique/French Journal of British Studies. full text>
  • Maguire M, Williams K, Corcoran M. 2019. 'Penal drift' and the voluntary sector. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 430-449, vol. 58(3). doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS, Maguire M, Williams K. 2019. Alice in Wonderland: Voluntary sector organisations’ experiences of Transforming Rehabilitation. Probation Journal, 96-112, vol. 66. doi> link>
  • Corcoran M and Carr N. 2019. Five years of Transforming Rehabilitation: Markets, management and values. Probation Journal, 3-7, vol. 66(1). doi>
  • Corcoran MS, Lillie A, Read SUE, Wrigley A, Hunt K. 2018. Encountering offenders in community palliative care settings: Challenges for effective care provision. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 112-119, vol. 24(8). doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS. 2017. Resilient hearts: making affective citizens for neoliberal times. Justice, Power & Resistance. full text>
  • Corcoran MS, Williams K, Prince K, Maguire M. 2018. The Penal Voluntary Sector in England and Wales: Adaptation to Unsettlement and Austerity. POLITICAL QUARTERLY, 187-196, vol. 89(2). link> doi> full text>
  • Lillie A-K, Corcoran M, Read S, Santatzoglou S, Wrigley A, Hunt K. 2016. Supporting Death, Dying and Bereavement in the English Criminal Justice System: An Exploratory Qualitative Study. JOURNAL OF PAIN AND SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT, E121-E122, vol. 52(6). link> doi>
  • Corcoran MS. 2015. La Evolución de los mercados Penales en tiempos de Austeridad: el caso de Inglaterra Y Gales. Criticalpenal Y Poder, vol. 8.
  • Corcoran MS. 2014. The trajectory of penal markets in a period of austerity; the case of England and Wales. Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, 53-74, vol. 19. doi>
  • Corcoran MS. 2014. The market revolution in criminal justice. Criminal Justice Matters, 2-3. doi>
  • Corcoran MS. 2014. How the public sphere was privatised and why civil society could reclaim it. Prison Service Journal, 39-45. link>
  • Corcoran MS. 2012. 'Be careful what you ask for': findings from the seminar series on the 'Third Sector in Criminal Justice'. Prison Service Journal, 17-22.
  • Corcoran MS and Fox C. 2012. 'A seamless partnership?' Developing multi-agency interventions in a non-custodial diversionary project for women. Criminology and Criminal Justice. doi>
  • CORCORAN MS. 2011. Bringing the penal voluntary sector to market. Criminal Justice Matters, 32-33, vol. 77(1). doi> link>
  • CORCORAN MS. 2011. Dilemmas of institutionalization in the penal voluntary sector. Critical Social Policy, 30-52, vol. 31(1). doi> link>
  • CORCORAN MS. 2010. Snakes and Ladders: circuits of penal reform for women under New Labour. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 233-251, vol. 22(2).
  • CORCORAN MS. 2008. What does government want from the penal voluntary sector?. Criminal Justice Matters, 36-38, vol. 77(1). doi> link>
  • CORCORAN MS. 2007. Normalization and its Discontents: Constructing the ‘Irreconcilable' Female Political Prisoner in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Criminology, 405-422, vol. 47(3). doi>

Chapters

  • Corcoran M, Albertson K, Phillips J. 2020. Conclusion: what has been learned?. In Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice. (1st ed.). Policy Press/Bristol University Press. link> doi> link>
  • Corcoran M, Albertson K, Philips J. 2020. Introduction: marketisation and privatisation in criminal justice - an overview. In Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice. (1st ed.). Policy Press/Bristol University Press. link> doi> link>
  • Corcoran MS and Weston S. 2018. Voluntary sector practices and the risk management of offenders. In Contemporary sex offender risk management. Volume I: Perceptions. McCartan K and Kemshall H (Eds.). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. doi>
  • Corcoran MS. 2018. Bereavement work in the criminal justice system. In Bereavement and Criminal Justice. Routledge. full text>
  • Corcoran M and Weston S. 2017. The third sector role in managing serious offenders: partners, collaborators or buffers?. In Contemporary Sex Offender Risk Management, Vol I: Perceptions. McCartan K and Kemshall H (Eds.). (vol. 1). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. link> doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS and Grotz J. 2016. Deconstructing the panacea: the benefits fallacy in volunteer recruitment in criminal justice. In The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice. Hucklesby A and Corcoran MS (Eds.). Palgrave macmillan. doi> link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS, Worrall A, Buck G. 2015. Gendered dynamics of mentoring. In Women and Criminal Justice: From the Corston Report to Transforming Rehabilitation. Annison J, Brayford J, Deering J (Eds.). (14 vols.). Bristol: Policy Press. link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS and worrall A. Integrated offender management: A microcosm of central and local criminal justice policy turbulence. In Who Knows Best? The Management of Change in Criminal Justice. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Corcoran MS and Fox C. 2013. A bit neo-liberal, a bit Fabian: interventionist narratives in a diversionary programme for women. In Women Exiting Prison: Critical Essays on Gender, Post-release Support and Survival. Carlton B and Segrave M (Eds.). London: Routledge.
  • CORCORAN MS. 2006. 'Talking about resistance' : women political prisoners and the dynamics of prison conflict, Northern Ireland. In Expanding the Criminological Imagination: Critical Readings in Criminology. Barton A, Corteen K, Scott D, Whyte D (Eds.). Willan Publishing.
  • CORCORAN MS. 2005. Researching women political prisoners in Northern Ireland : ethnographic problems and negotiations. In Researching Gender and Violence. Skinner T, Malos E, Hester M (Eds.). Willan Publishing .
  • Corcoran MS. 2004. ‘We just had to be stronger’: the political imprisonment of women in Northern Ireland. In Irish Women and Nationalism. Irish Academic Press.
  • Corcoran MS. 1999. Mapping carceral space: territorialisation, conflict and control in Northern Ireland’s women’s prisons. In Ireland in Proximity: History, Gender and Space. Routledge.
  • Corcoran M, Maguire M, Williams K. Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales. In Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Albertson K, Corcoran M, Philips J (Eds.). (20 vols.). Bristol, UK: Policy Press. full text>
  • Corcoran M, Maguire M, Williams K. Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales. In Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Albertson K, Corcoran M, Philips J (Eds.). (20 vols.). Bristol, UK: Policy Press. full text>
  • Corcoran M, Maguire M, Williams K. Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales. In Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Albertson K, Corcoran M, Philips J (Eds.). (20 vols.). Bristol, UK: Policy Press. full text>
  • Corcoran M. Market society utopianism in penal politics. In Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Policy Press. full text>

Other

  • Corcoran M. 2021. Mary Corcoran (2021) ‘The Woolf Report 30 Years on: the third sector legacy’. Centre for Crime and Justice Studies,. link>
  • Corcoran M. 2021. Mary Corcoran (2021) ‘The Woolf Report 30 Years on: the third sector legacy’. Centre for Crime and Justice Studies,. link>
  • Corcoran M. 2020. A bolder cost-benefit approach to capture the contribution of the voluntary sector. Criminal justice evidence library. link> full text>
  • Corcoran M. Building statutory, private sector and civil society partnerships: insights from research. EuroPris and European Confederation of Probation. link> link> full text>
  • Corcoran MS, Williams K, Maguire M, Prince K. The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice: A Study of Adaptation and Resilience. Summary of Early Findings.
  • Corcoran MS and Worrall A. 2015. Youth in Focus ‘Sisters’ mentoring project: Final report of an independent evaluation.
  • Corcoran MS and Worrall A. Integrated Offender Management Research Project: Commissioned by Staffordshire Police and Partners. full text>
  • Corcoran MS and Buck G. 2012. Researching Third Sector Organisations' Contribution to the Criminal Justice System. Fifth report from the ESRC seminar series ‘The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice’. Keele: Keele University. link>
  • Corcoran MS. 2011. After Corston: the rehabilitation revolution?.
  • Corcoran MS, Fox C, Worrall A. 2011. Chepstow House Community Project for Women Offenders.
  • Matthews M and Corcoran MS. 2004. ‘There’s no altruism in volunteering’: unpaid work in graduates’ lives.
  • Corcoran MS and Matthews N. 2003. Widening definitions of ‘employability’ in non-vocational degrees.
  • Matthews N, Corcoran MS, Nicholls J, Moylan T. 2002. Adapting problem based learning to non-vocational modules; some preliminary insights.
  • Corcoran MS and Buck G. The mixed economy of criminal justice: the challenges of contestability, privatisation and partnership working. Fourth Report from the ESRC seminar series ‘The voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice’.

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised seven PhD students to successful completion. Currently, I supervise doctoral projects on Christian faith-based organisations in the resettlement of former prisoners; Transgender and imprisonment - a critical human rights analysis; Life-course and reclamation strategies among adults stigmatised by having a juvenile criminal record; Phenomenology of decision-making by fraud assessors in the insurance industry; The roles of lay and professional actors in prison governance and inspection. I welcome doctoral project proposals on topics related to my specialist areas.

Completed doctorates

2018 (6 July) Robyn Emerton. Transgender Prisoners: Law, Prison Administration and the Emerging Tension Between Human Rights and Risk (Associate Supervisor).
2017 (21 June) Andrew Henley: The legal rehabilitation of people with criminal convictions in England and Wales: a critical history of the present (Lead Supervisor).
2016 (22 June) Gillian Buck: Peer mentoring and the role of the voluntary sector in [re]producing ‘desistance’: identity, agency, values, change and power (Lead Supervisor).
2014 (3 December) Kelly Prince: More than a ‘Rescue Industry’? Experiences of working in the anti-trafficking voluntary and community sector (Associate Supervisor).
2015 (6 July) Adam Snow: Understanding the experience, meaning and messages of on-the-spot penalties (Associate Supervisor).
2012 (5 December) Michelle Jaffe: Peer Support and seeking help in prison: A study of the Listener scheme in four prisons in England (Lead Supervisor).
2009 (7 October) Adam Calverley: An Exploratory Investigation into the Process of Desistance amongst Minority Ethnic Offenders (Associate Supervisor).

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