Collaborative research by PGR and experts reveals new insights into sentencing policies

A PhD student's collaboration with academics and the Sentencing Academy has produced a data bulletin offering significant insights into sentencing severity and its impact on criminal justice reform.

In a recent collaborative effort, a new data bulletin has been released by a research team, prominently featuring the work of Lilly Crellin, a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds at the School of Law, the Geographic Data Science Lab at the University of Liverpool, and the ESRC Data Science Centre Doctoral Training Programme. The bulletin, published by the Sentencing Academy, provided significant insights into sentencing severity and its broader impacts in England and Wales; yielding timely and impactful contributions to ongoing discussions around sentencing policies and criminal justice reform.

I think the findings of our data bulletin shine a light on the significant impact that sentence severity can have on custodial rates and prison overcrowding. With debates ongoing around criminal justice reform and sentencing policies, our research provides timely and data-driven insights. Policymakers, advocacy groups, and the public can use these findings to inform discussions around sentencing guidelines and strategies to create a fairer, more transparent, and effective criminal justice system.

Lilly Crellin, PhD candidate at the School of Law

This collaborative work, which included School of Law Professor Jose Pina-Sánchez, Dr Jonathan Bild from the Sentencing Academy, Emeritus Professor Julian Roberts from the University of Oxford and Professor Mark Hough from King’s College London, has been pivotal for Lilly, providing a foundational experience that has shaped the core focus of her research. The complexities and nuances uncovered within sentencing data have sparked numerous additional research questions, driving her passion for the field and her pursuit of a deeper understanding of sentencing through her work.

The most rewarding aspect of this project has been its real-world relevance and potential for impactful change. Lilly says:

“Knowing that our findings could inform important policy discussions and potentially contribute to positive changes in the criminal justice system was incredibly fulfilling.”

Additionally, the collaborative process, enriched by the expertise of both Professor Pina-Sánchez and the Sentencing Academy, has not only contributed to the student's academic growth but also to the broader discourse on criminal justice reform.

Looking ahead, Lilly hopes to produce further data bulletins and research papers that will delve deeper into the factors influencing sentencing severity. Lilly’s ongoing work aims to continue contributing to the critical discussions around sentencing reform and criminal justice policy, with the hope of fostering positive changes within the system.

Discover the impactful research at the School of Law by clicking here.