Seán McConville has taught and researched on both sides of the Atlantic, where he has also advised government departments, agencies and legislatures. His research and writing have centred on the history of punishment and on contemporary criminal and penal policy. He has extensive prison-related consultancy and litigation experience. Around this core he has followed his interests in various directions, including prison and institutional architecture and design, Islamic criminal law, the peace process in Ireland, law and poverty and research design and methodology.
In 2013 he published the fourth in his multi-volume history of punishment, Irish Political Prisoners, 1920 -1962 and also (with Anna Bryson) The Routledge Guide to Interviewing. He has contributed to major British and US newspapers, broadcasts regularly and has also in pamphlet and essay contributed to policy debates.