Understanding punishments and their impacts

This research theme focuses on theoretical and policy-oriented research on prisons and community corrections, other forms of detention and sanction, punishment policy, sentencing and justice reinvestment. Our researchers seek to understand how, when and why states define and sanction offending behaviour, and the impact of those sanctions on individuals, families, communities, governments and societies.

Of note, our current work with probation and parole identifies and implements evidence-based best practices in offender supervision and case management.  Recent projects include trials of an opportunity-reduction model of probation and parole, community-corrections collaborations, training of community corrections officers in leading offender interventions, and assisting in the reform of Queensland's parole system.  This research has contributed to reduced recidivism rates, improved staff morale and offender satisfaction, and enhanced community safety.

Research focus

This theme builds on strong links with local and national stakeholders, and aims to develop an internationally significant research hub to link industry partners with leading researchers at Griffith and elsewhere. It also aims to develop collaborative and comparative research projects to identify best practices and reforms.

Theme leader

Associate Professor John Rynne

Areas of expertise:

  • Forensic psychology with a focus on prisons and prison quality
  • Causes and prevention of crime


NameResearch area

Associate Professor Melissa Bull

The sociology of punishment and sentencing practices

Dr Christine Bond

Sentencing and discretion in criminal justice, social inequality and justice (Indigeneity, race/ethnicity, gender)

Dr Jacqueline Homel


Dr Samantha Jeffries

Courts, sentencing

Dr Andy Kaladelfos

Sentencing, historical responses to sexual offending, policing and prosecution

Dr John Rynne

Prison and prison quality, private prisons and prison reform

Dr Lacey Schaefer

Penology, probation and parole, correctional interventions, offender rehabilitation recidivism and desistance.

Dr Catrin (Kate) Smith

Gender, crime and justice, prisons and penalty

Dr William Wood

Prisons and punishment, restorative justice

PhD students

NameResearch topic
April ChrzanowskiDelay, remand and the youth justice system: Using simulation modelling for policy analysis
Suzuki MasahiroExamining the interactional dynamics of youth justice conferencing: The importance and role of participants’ readiness on conference outcomes
Natalie ThomasThe politics of government/non-government partnerships in the Australian drug policy field
Holly SmallboneNegotiating absence and presence: a longitudinal study examining children’s wellbeing through parental imprisonment and re-entry
Corrie WilliamsThe role of social support and coercion in differential child behavior

More information

For more details, get in touch