Menu Close
Lecturer in Criminology, Royal Holloway University of London

Dr Serena Wright has been a Lecturer in Criminology at Royal Holloway since 2016. Prior to this, she was a Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge (2012-2016), where she worked on an ESRC-funded study exploring the lived experience of long-term imprisonment from a young age. The findings from this research were recently published in a monography entitled 'Life Imprisonment from Young Adulthood: Adaptation, Identity and Time' (2020, pub. Palgrave MacMillan), described by Professor Jonathan Simon (Berkley) as 'the deepest empirical look at adaptation and survival in long-term imprisonment for over forty years'.

Her main research interests are prisons and the sociology of imprisonment, particularly long-term imprisonment, with a specific interest in the experience of women within the penological sphere. She is currently Co-Investigator on a new ESRC-funded study (April 2020-September 2022), entitled 'Long-term imprisonment from young adulthood: a longitudinal follow-up study'. The study, which aims to re-interview almost 150 participants from the original project, is somewhat unique in reprising the original research team, which also includes Professor Ben Crewe (Cambridge) and Dr Susie Hulley (Cambridge). For more on the study, please see:

Serena also holds a number of research-related roles within the third sector. She is a Trustee of the Griffins Society, a charity which sponsors practitioner-based research to bring about change in how women and girls are dealt with in the criminal justice system. She is also a Supervisor to a current Griffins Research Fellow who is exploring the experience of anger among women convicted of violent offences, and is also working in an advisory capacity with Claudia Vince (Research Officer, Prison Reform Trust), offering guidance on the 'Invisible Women' strand of their five-year long-term imprisonment project.

Selected and forthcoming publications:

Wright, S., Crewe, B. & Hulley, S. (2021, in preparation). 'Trajectories of hope and fatalism in the late stages of a life sentence', Incarceration.

Wright, S., Hulley, S. & Crewe, B. (accepted/in press). 'The pains of life imprisonment during late adolescence and emerging adulthood'. In L. Abrams & A. Cox (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook on Youth Imprisonment (forthcoming, 2021).

Crewe, B., Hulley, S. & Wright, S. (2020). 'The Long Road', Inside Time.

Crewe, B., Hulley, S. & Wright, S. (2020). 'Life Imprisonment From Young Adulthood: Adaptation, Identity and Time'. London: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Hulley, S., Crewe, B. & Wright, S. (2019). 'Making Sense of 'Joint Enterprise' for Murder: Legal Legitimacy or Instrumental Acquiescence?' British Journal of Criminology. 59, 6: 1328–1346.

Jewkes, Y., Jordan, M., Wright, S. & Bendelow, G. (2019). 'Designing ‘Healthy’ Prisons for Women: Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care and Practice (TICP) into Prison Planning and Design'. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 20: 1-15 , 3818.

Wright, S. (2017). 'Narratives of punishment and desistance among repeatedly criminalised women'. In E. L. Hart and E. Van Ginneken (eds.). New Perspectives on Desistance: Theoretical and Empirical Developments. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Wright, S., Crewe, B. & Hulley, S. (2017). 'Suppression, denial, sublimation: Defending against the initial pains of very long life sentences', Theoretical Criminology. 21, 2: 225-246.

Halsey, M., Armstrong, R. & Wright, S. (2017). '‘F*ck It!’: Matza and the Mood of Fatalism in the Desistance Process', British Journal of Criminology, 57, 5:1041-1060.


  • 2016–present
    Lecturer in Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • 2020–present
    Trustee/Director, The Griffins Society
  • 2012–2016
    Research Associate, University of Cambridge
  • 2009–2012
    ESRC-funded PhD Scholarship, University of Surrey
  • 2007–2009
    Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) and Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA), Early Intervention Project, Portsmouth City Council
  • 2006–2007
    Healthcare Support Worker, Residential Detox Services, Baytrees, Portsmouth PCT
  • 2006–2007
    Member (Voluntary position), Independent Monitoring Board, HMP Kingston


  • 2019 
    Royal Holloway, University of London | Advance HE, FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)
  • 2015 
    University of Surrey, PhD in Criminology
  • 2009 
    University of Surrey, MSc in Criminology
  • 2006 
    University of Portsmouth, BSc in Criminology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2020
    Long-term imprisonment from young adulthood: a longitudinal follow-up study
    Funding Source:
    Economic and Social Research Council
  • 2017
    Designing ‘healthy’ prisons for women: incorporating trauma-informed care and practice into prison planning and design
    Funding Source:
    Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness
  • 2017
    Evaluation of the efficacy and efficiency of a specialist brain injury Linkworker service within HMP Drake Hall
    Funding Source:
    The Disabilities Trust