Professor Laura Caulfield

Founding Chair, Institute for Community Research and Development

Laura Caulfield
Email address: Phone number: 01902 325228 Location: Mary Seacole Building Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences School/Institute: Institute for Community Research and Development Areas of expertise: Criminal justice, social justice, research methods, programme evaluation.


Professor Laura Caulfield PhD is Director of the Institute for Community Research and Development. Laura has been working with public, private, and third-sector agencies since 2001, and is an expert in bridging the gap between evidence, policy, and practice.

She primarily works on the evaluation of programmes and has received funding from the Home Office, Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts Alliance, the NHS, the Youth Offending Service, and several third-sector organisations. Laura has significant leadership experience and is an expert in research design, and qualitative and quantitative methods.

Her latest book, ‘Criminological Skills and Research for Beginners’ will be published in March 2018.

Research interests

Laura is currently Principal Investigator on two evaluations of programmes in the criminal justice system:

A music project funded by Youth Music for Birmingham Youth Offending Service.

A fashion skills and manufacturing programme at HMP Downview, with London College of Fashion and funded by the Ministry of Justice.

Laura's work was instrumental in challenging government policy on restrictions to arts activities in prisons, has influenced the practice of arts programmes working with offenders, has developed methodological approaches in seeking to evidence the impact of the arts, and promoted a greater awareness and understanding of the arts within and beyond the criminal justice system. This is evidenced through the submission of a REF2014 impact case study, submitted by Birmingham City University to Unit of Assessment 22 (Social Work and Social Policy). 90% of the impact in Birmingham City University’s submission to UoA22 was rated as 3* ('very considerable'), highlighting the high-level of impact of this work.

In 2011 Laura received a commendation award from the Howard League for Penal Reform for her research achievements; in the same year her research was identified as ‘research that will have a profound effect on our future’ by Research Councils UK in their ‘Big Ideas’ report; her work was cited as an example of good practice by the Charities Evaluation Service in their publicly available guidance report entitled Demonstrating the Value of Arts in Criminal Justice; in 2012 Laura received special recognition from the Asian Psychological Association in bringing work on Javanese Gamelan music to the UK; in 2014 her work was used to underpin a briefing on the relationship between debt and financial issues and women's offending in response to the Sentencing Council’s Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline consultation the Justice Select Committee’s report on Women Offenders and the Women’s Custodial Estate Review. In November 2016 she was invited to speak at the House of Lords, giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the arts, health and wellbeing, and her work was included in the final report from the APPG (‘Creative Health’, launched June 2017).

Current PhD students:

Ella Simpson - Authoring Desistance: The role of the creative writing practitioner in arts interventions with prisoners
Amina El-Warari - Developing an employment intervention to promote wellbeing in professionally qualified refugees
Helen Rudge - The actor as rehabilitator

Membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology


  • PhD
  • PG Cert
  • BSc


Since 2014


Caulfield, L. S. and Hill, J. (2018, in press). Criminological skills research for beginners: a student’s guide, 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
Caulfield, L.S. and Hill, J. (2014). Criminological research for beginners: a student’s guide. London: Routledge.
Caulfield, L.S., and Wilkinson, D.J. (2014). Forensic Psychology. Harlow: Pearson.

Journal articles

Breslin, G., Haughey, T., O’Brien, W., Caulfield, L.S., Robertson, A., & Lawlor, M. (in press, 2018). Increasing athlete knowledge of mental health and intentions to seek help: The State of Mind Ireland (SOMI) pilot program. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology.
Caulfield, L.S. (2016). Counterintuitive findings from a qualitative study of mental health in English women’s prisons. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 12 (4), 216-229.
Caulfield, L.S., and Wilkinson, D.J., & Wilson, D. (2016). Exploring alternative terrain in the rehabilitation and treatment of offenders: findings from a prison-based music project. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 55(6), 396-418.
Douglas, S. and Caulfield. L.S. (2014). Controlled or controlling? Staff experiences of control in a therapeutic community prison. Prison Service Journal, 213, 24-29.
McGuire-Snieckus, R. & Caulfield, L.S. (2018, in press). Identifying talents and skills. An evaluation of a pan-European group programme for offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.
Wilkinson, D. J. & Caulfield, L. S. (2017). The perceived benefits of an arts project for health and wellbeing of older offenders. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 13, 16-27.
Wilkinson, D. J., Caulfield, L. S. (2017). Delusional Ideation, Cognitive Processes and Crime Based Reasoning. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 13, 503-518.
Wilkinson, D.J., Caulfield, L.S. & Jones, T.J. (2014). Investigating schizotypy and crime based reasoning with qualitative methods. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 52, 158-172.

Book chapters

Caulfield, L. S. and Simpson, E. (2018, in press). Arts-based interventions in the justice system, in Ugwudike, P., Raynor, P., McNeill, F., Taxman, F., Trotter, C., and Graham, H. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice. Abingdon: Routledge.
Caulfield, L.S. & Wilson, D. (2015). Prison music programmes for female offenders. In W. DeKeseredy &. L. Leonard (Eds.) CRIMSOC Report 4: Gender, Victimology, and Restorative Justice. California: CreateSpace.

Grant reports

Caulfield, L.S. (2015). The role of music programmes in English women's prisons: engaging the vulnerable and the 'hard to treat'. Report for Good Vibrations.
Caulfield, L.S. (2014). Final evaluation of the Artist in Residence at HMP Grendon. Grant report to the Motesiczky Charitable Trust and Grendon Friends Trust.
Caulfield, L.S., Curtis, K. & Simpson, E. (2017). An independent evaluation of Making for Change: skills in a Fashion Training & Manufacturing Workshop. Grant report to the Ministry of Justice.
Caulfield, L.S., Simpson, E. & Jacobs, C. (2016). An evaluation of the Youth Offending Service Youth Music Project. Final grant report to Birmingham Youth Offending Service.
Caulfield, L.S. and McGuire-Snieckus, R. (2014). An evaluation of Talent 4… European programme: A Group Programme to Identify Talents and Skills. Final grant report to Rideout and the EU Leonardo da Vinci programme.
Wilkinson, D. & Caulfield, L.S. (2015). Good Vibrations: health and wellbeing of older offenders. Report for Good Vibrations.

Further information

Teaching interests

  • Social research methods
  • Criminological psychology

External academic roles

  • Editorial board, Journal of Criminal Psychology
  • Editorial board, Forensic Update
  • Editorial board, Journal of Applied Arts and Health
  • Peer reviewer for numerous journals and publishing houses
  • ESRC reviewer
  • External consultant, BSc Psychology, International University of Malaya-Wales (2014-present)