Comparative Penology: Current & recent projects

Current Projects

2014 ongoing, PriArcH – Prison Architecture and Humans, Chief Investigators: Elisabeth Fransson, University College of Norwegian Correctional Service, Francesca Giofre, Sapienza University of Rome, Berit Johnsen, University College of Norwegian Correctional Service. PriArcH is a network project initiated by Norwegian and Italian researchers and architect, but is open for everyone to join (see The network interests in materiality and body, architecture and prison, carceral geography and prison research opens up new questions and alternative ways of doing prison research. A forthcoming book of texts and pictures from Italy, Sweden and Norway, draw on a complex and reflexive cultural concept, understanding prison space as both bodily, material, historical and relational. With the book, we want to create a possibility for discussing places and spaces where punishment takes place.

2017-2020, European Commission Horizon 2020 MSCA-RISE-2016, Improving collaborative working between correctional and mental health services, Chief Investigators: Sarah Hean, University of Stavanger and University of Bournemouth, Berit Johnsen, University College of Norwegian Correctional Service. This project includes researchers and practitioners from Norway, Finland, UK, Netherlands and Denmark. The aim of the study is to validate the change laboratory model ready for implementation in practice as an effective means of supporting interagency collaborative practice between mental health services and correctional services. The project builds a community of practice that enriches international research capacity and cooperation to achieve this aim. It brings academic knowledge of the Change Laboratory model to the market of interagency practices between mental health and correctional services for the development of innovation and the advancement of integrated service provision to mentally ill offenders.

2012-2017 – European Research Council Subjectivity, Identity and Penal Power: Incarceration in a Global AgeChief Investigator: Prof Mary Bosworth, Oxford University. Taking the prison and the immigration detention centre as sites where local/national and global power intersect, this project will examine theoretically and empirically the ways in which people experience and negotiate such places, paying particular attention to how matters of identity, especially race, gender, national identification and their intersections, shape the experience, meaning and effects of incarceration.

2013 – 2016, European Research Council, ‘Home and Away: Gender, Nation, Deportation,’ Chief Investigator Sarah Turnbull. This project is part of a broader European Research Council funded research endeavour entitled ‘Subjectivity, Identity and Penal Power: Incarceration in a Global Age,’ led by Professor Mary Bosworth. The ‘Home and Away’ project examines immigration detention and deportation in the United Kingdom, with specific focus on the experiences of confinement and removal in relation to affective issues of home, belonging, and identity in contemporary Britain.

2015-2016, Norway-EU EEA grant, EPTrans (an Ethnography of Prisoners’ Transitions) Project, a collaboration between the University of Bucharest (Romania) and the University of Oslo. Chief Investigators of the Norwegian sub-project: Associate Professor Thomas Ugelvik and Ms Dorina Damsa (University of Oslo). The project followed Romanian prisoners in Norwegian prisons through the release and deportation process. 

Completed Projects

2011-2015, ERC-funded project, Crime Control at the Borderlands of Europe. Chief Investigators: Professor Katja Franko with sub-project headed by Associate Professor Thomas Ugelvik (University of Oslo). The sub-project was an ethnography of crimmigration prisons, meaning, briefly put, prisons that have immigration control as a purpose added to or in replace of the traditional purposes of prisons. Fieldwork was undertaken in Norway’s single high-security immigration detention centre, and its only prison designed to hold a foreign national population only.

2012-2014 ARC DECRA,  Othering’ in penal policy and practice: A cross-national study of imprisonment between Australia and Sweden. Chief Investigator: Dr Anna Eriksson, Criminology, Monash University.