Miss Jessica Cleary

PhD Researcher

Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology Room 3S3 Colin Bell Building University of Stirling Stirling FK9 4LA

Miss Jessica Cleary

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About me

About me

Jessica Cleary is an ESRC funded part-time Doctoral Researcher in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research within the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling. She has previously completed a Masters of Research in Applied Social Research (Criminology) and a BA with Honours in Criminology and Sociology.

Jessica's PhD aims to explore whether the gender-specific needs of women with convictions are catered for within national community justice policies and localised practices and services both imposed on and offered to women in the community across Scotland.

To do this, the project brings together secondary analysis of relevant emerging Scottish policies with the primary perspectives and experiences of strategic and frontline workers across a range of statutory and third sector community justice partners who supervise, support and work with criminalised women across Scotland.

Overarchingly, this project aims to:

  • To understand what ideological, social and political priorities shape and are shaped by the official discourse relevant to women punished and supported within the community in Scotland

  • To explore what the key priorities for the workforce who oversee and deliver community justice provision for women Scotland are

In exploring the translation of policy into practice within the intersecting areas of gender-responsive justice and community-based justice this study critically questions whether what is done on to and with women with convictions in Scotland accounts for their gender-specific needs. In particular, this project is interested in understanding if – and how – the growing policy and academic interest in supporting desistance within Scotland informs or impacts how women are punished and supported across the community justice sector.

She has completed two doctoral internships. First in 2018, Jessica conducted a socio-legal doctoral training partnership evaluation for the SSCJR. Then in 2019 she worked as a member of the Data and Evidence team for the Independent Care Review evaluating and evidencing the methodologies employed throughout the review’s duration in partnership with Evaluate Support Scotland.

In 2022 Jessica was successfully granted a research award by the Mitacs Globalink UK Research and Innovation scheme to lead a research project at the Université Laval Canada, supported by Prof. Isabelle F.-Doufour, comparatively examining the considerations of gender within Criminal Justice approaches in both Scotland and Quebec.

If you would like to read more about Jessica's work please visit her website: www.jessicacleary.com


Jessica’s research interests include:

The Sociology of Punishment and Criminalisation – institutional cultures, policies, practice and lived experiences

Prison Abolitionism and Social Justice

Women and Criminal Justice

Rehabilitation, Resettlement, (Re)integration and Desistance from crime

Qualitative methodologies

Outputs (2)


Research Report

Critchley A, Grant M, Hardy M & Cleary J (2023) Supporting Roots: Support for birth parents in Scotland. Scottish Government. Edinburgh. https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/research-and-analysis/2023/02/supporting-roots/documents/final-report-supporting-roots/final-report-supporting-roots/govscot%3Adocument/final-report-supporting-roots.pdf



Within the Faculty of Social Sciences at Stirling Jessica supports the teaching and marking on a number of undergraduate modules including: Crimes of the Powerful; Gender, Crime and Justice; The Development of Social Theory; Understanding Social Policy; Social Differentiation; and Crime and Criminal Justice.

Jessica has also guest lectured on the following undergraduate modules at the University of Stirling:

Gender, Crime & Justice - A Gender-Informed Examination of Desistance Processes Punishment & Society - Penal Reform and Abolitionism The Development of Social Theory - Feminist Social Theory