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Dr Rod Earle

Rod Earle

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Youth Justice
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
  • Health and Social Care
  • rod.earle

Professional biography

I joined the HSC Youth Justice team in July 2008. Before that I worked throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s as a youth justice worker in the London Borough of Lambeth, where I also completed a part-time Masters degree in Criminology at Middlesex University Centre for Criminology. My dissertation considered the prospects for restorative justice in the youth justice system of England and Wales and, in 2000, I joined the Public Policy Research Unit at Goldsmiths College to work on the National Evaluation of introduction of Referrral Orders into the youth justice system.

After that, at the London School of Economics I worked with Professor Tim Newburn on an evaluation of the use of visual recordings of police suspect interviews and then secured a fixed term teaching contract at the University of Surrey Sociology Dept, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate criminology.

In 2006 I started teaching with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in Region 13 (D315), and also taught criminology courses as a visiting lecturer at the LSE, City University and Westminster.

Immediately before joining the OU I spent two years working full-time with Dr Coretta Phillips (LSE) on an ethnographic research project examining men's ethnic and social identities in prison. I have published widely from this research and in 2014 completed my PhD by Publication in the Dept. of Social Policy and Criminology, here at The Open University.  

In 2011 I helped to establish British Convict Criminology, a group modelled on a similar group in the USA that supports and encourages ex-prisoners who are active in criminology. The group has established mentor support for prisoners studying criminology. I have published articles on the subject and my book, Convict Criminology - Inside and Out, was published in June 2016 by Policy Press. You can take a closer look here: 

Research interests

I maintain a variety of research interests around youth justice. In 2015 I completed, with my OU colleague Wayne Taylor, an evaluation of the Milton Keynes Enterpise Mentors project, funded by The Cabinet Office Vulnerable and Deprived Young People's Fund. In general terms my interests cluster around gender, race and racism, crime and social justice. More specifically these include interests in
prison research, penality and masculinities.

Every year since 2011 I have organised Convict Criminology panels at the British Society of Criminology annual conference. These provide 'user' and 'experience' perspectives on aspects of criminal justice, prison life and research and criminology.

I have been involved in establishing Convict Criminology as a group of academics that helps people with first hand experience of criminal justice and penal sanctions to develop critical perspectives on criminology. The group has been provided with some web-space on the US Convict Criminology website. Here you can find out a bit more about the project, and read my article from the 2011 British Society of Criminology conference.


Teaching interests

Youth Justice, obviously enough, but with particular reference to the idea of the research practitioner, restorative justice, prisons, penality, criminological and social theory

Impact and engagement

I have particpated in consultations and workshops about race and ethnicity with prisoners in HMP Grendon. I facilitiated workshops in Belfast with ex-prisoners to help provide prisoner perspectives on the review of the Northern Irealand criminal justice system.   

I've presented papers on my research to the American Society of Criminology, the Australia and New Zealand Society of Criminology and the Inter-University Conference in Croatia.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Externally funded projects

Building on Positive Convictions

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Apr/201631/Jul/2017ISRF Independent Social Research Foundation
The project focuses on the perspectives of men who have been imprisoned and gone on to become criminologists. It challenges conventional disciplinary boundaries and is both radical and innovative in foregrounding the perspectives of the small number of academics who can combine first hand experiences of imprisonment with theorisation of crime and punishment – convict criminologists. It asks whether these unusual combinations of prison experience and criminology can tell us something new about the role of imprisonment in society, the lives of prisoners (and academics), the experience of imprisonment and the prospects of rehabilitation. Historically, as criminology has grown police officers, probation staff, social workers and prison officers have contributed positively to the discipline, and benefitted from studying it. People from these professional backgrounds have successfully made the transition to careers in criminology, but recently something else has happened. Ex-convicts are making the journey into criminology. How does an ex-convict study crime and punishment and make sense of their personal experience? What research questions does an ex-convict have about prisons, punishment and rehabilitation? How do they teach criminology differently? Do they research prison and prisoners differently? Ethnographic pioneer, Bronislaw Malinowski sums up the epistemological thesis of the proposal: ‘In order to explain a cultural product it is necessary to know it. And to know it, in matters of thought and emotion, is to have experienced it.’ Imprisonment is much studied by criminologists, but rarely experienced directly. This research changes that.

Howard League Youth Participation

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Mar/201631/Mar/2018The Howard League for Penal Reform
A small scale evaluation of a 3-year youth participation project launched by the Howard League for Penal Reform. The evaluation will assess how project objectives are met and work collaboratively with the Howard League to develop its potential. The youth participation project delivers an advice line for young people in custody and seeks to develop other innovatory and incidental services to promote young people’s awareness of their rights in the youth justice system.


[Book Review] Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth (2019-01)
Earle, Rod
Children & Society, 33(1) (pp. 92-93)
Convict Criminology in England: Developments and Dilemmas (2018-11)
Earle, Rod
British Journal of Criminology, 58(6) (pp. 1499-1516)
Insider and out: reflections on a prison experience and research experience (2014-04-01)
Earle, Rod
Qualitative Inquiry, 20(5) (pp. 429-438)
Developing convict criminology beyond North America (2014)
Ross, Jeffrey Ian; Darke, Sacha; Aresti, Andreas; Newbold, Greg and Earle, Rod
International Criminal Justice Review, 24(2) (pp. 121-133)
‘Muslim is the new black’ - new ethnicities and new essentialisms in the prison (2013-04)
Earle, Rod and Phillips, Coretta
Race and Justice, 3(2) (pp. 114-129)
On the inside: prison ethnography around the globe (2013-03)
Drake, Deborah H. and Earle, Rod
Criminal Justice Matters, 91(1) (pp. 12-13)
What do ethnographers do in prison? (2013-03)
Earle, Rod
Criminal Justice Matters, 91(1) (pp. 18-19)
‘Who’s the Daddy?’ – ideas about fathers from a young men’s prison (2012-09)
Earle, Rod
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 51(4) (pp. 387-399)
Digesting men? Ethnicity, gender and food: perspectives from a 'prison ethnography' (2012-05)
Earle, Rod and Phillips, Coretta
Theoretical Criminology, 16(2) (pp. 141-156)
Ethnicity, multiculture and racism in a Young Offenders' Institition (2011-09)
Earle, Rod
Prison Service Journal, Sept(197) (p 32)
Boys' zone stories: perspectives from a young men's prison (2011-04)
Earle, Rod
Criminology and Criminal Justice, 11(2) (pp. 129-143)
Reading difference differently? Identity, epistemology and prison ethnography (2010-03)
Phillips, Coretta and Earle, Rod
British Journal of Criminology, 50(2) (pp. 360-378)
Ethnicity and social relations in a Young Offenders Institution (2008-09)
Phillips, Coretta and Earle, Rod
Prison Service Journal, 179 (pp. 11-15)
Convict Criminology - Inside and Out (2016-06-08)
Earle, Rod
New Horizons in Criminology
ISBN : 978-1447323648 | Publisher : Policy Press | Published : UK
Being inside: Masculine imaginaries, prison interiors (2018-02-22)
Earle, Rod
In: Maycock, Matthew W. and Hunt, Kate eds. New Perspectives on Prison Masculinities. Studies of prison and penology (pp. 43-64)
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan
Anti-racist criminology? (2017-09-30)
Earle, Rod
In: Amatrudo, Anthony ed. Social Censure and Critical Criminology: After Sumner (pp. 115-138)
ISBN : 978-1-349-95220-5 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan
Race, Ethnicity, Multiculture and Prison Life (2016-02-17)
Earle, Rod
In: Jewkes, Yvonne; Bennett, Jamie and Crewe, Ben eds. Handbook on Prisons (2nd edition) (pp. 568-585)
ISBN : 9780415745659 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Prison ethnography at the threshold of race, reflexivity and difference (2015-06-17)
Earle, Rod and Phillips, Coretta
In: Earle, Rod; Drake, Deborah and Sloan, Jennifer eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography (pp. 230-251)
ISBN : 9781137403872 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke
Men, Masculinity and Crime (2015-05)
Earle, Rod and Drake, Deborah H.
In: Brooks, Carolyn and Schissell, Bernard eds. Marginality and Condemnation - A Critical Introduction to Criminology (3rd ed) (pp. 350-370)
ISBN : 9781552667347 | Publisher : Fernwood Publishing
Prison Life, Sociology of: Recent Perspectives from the United Kingdom (2015-02-17)
Drake, Deborah H.; Darke, Sacha and Earle, Rod
In: Wright, J. ed. International Encyclopaedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences (2nd ed) (pp. 924-929)
ISBN : 978-0-08-097086-8 | Publisher : Elsevier | Published : Oxford
Inside white: racism, ethnicity and social relations in English prisons (2013-11-15)
Earle, Rod
In: Phillips, Coretta and Webster, Colin eds. New Direction in Race Ethnicity and Crime (pp. 160-177)
ISBN : 978-0-415-54048-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Law, Leadership and management (2013-07)
Earle, Rod
In: MacKian, Sara and Simons, Joan eds. Leading, Managing, Caring: understanding leadership and management in health and social care (pp. 479-500)
ISBN : 978 0 4156 5851 5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : England
Restorative justice and the right to move on: toward deinstitutionalising the stigma of a criminal conviction (2012-05-10)
Earle, Rod and Wakefield, Alison
In: Gavrielides, Theo ed. Rights and Restoration within Youth Justice
ISBN : 978-1-897160-62-6 | Publisher : de Sitter | Published : Canada
Cultural diversity, ethnicity and race relations in prison (2011-11)
Phillips, Coretta and Earle, Rod
In: Crewe, Ben and Bennett, Jamie eds. The Prisoner (pp. 117-130)
ISBN : 978-0-415-66865-1 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon,
Con-viviality and beyond – identity, ethnicity and social relations in a young mens prison (2010)
Earle, Rod and Phillips, Coretta
In: Wetherell, Margaret ed. Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times
ISBN : 9780230580879 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Living in a box: young men’s prison identities (2009-10)
Earle, Rod
In: Taylor, Wayne; Earle, Rod and Hester, Richard eds. Youth Justice Handbook: Theory, Policy and Practice
ISBN : 978-1843927167 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton, UK
The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography (2015-07-31)
Drake, Deborah H.; Earle, Rod and Sloan, Jennifer eds.
Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology
ISBN : 9781137403872 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Youth Justice Handbook: Theory, Policy and Practice (2009-10-06)
Taylor, Wayne; Earle, Rod and Hester, Richard eds.
ISBN : 1-843927-16-0 | Publisher : Willan Publishing | Published : Cullompton
Youth Justice Handbook - Theory, Policy and Practice (2009-10-06)
Taylor, Wayne; Earle, Rod and Hester, Richard eds.
ISBN : 978-1-84392-716-7 | Publisher : Willan | Published : Cullompton
Prison and university: a tale of two institutions? (2011-12)
Earle, Rod
In : British Society of Criminology (4-6 Jul 2011, Newcastle, UK) (pp. 20-37)
Men in Prison: Con-viviality, Race and Culture (2014-04)
Earle, Rod
PhD thesis The Open University


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