Dr Matt Tidmarsh

Dr Matt Tidmarsh


I was appointed a Lecturer in Criminal Justice at the University of Leeds in August 2021. I am establishing a reputation as a scholar whose work enhances knowledge at the intersections of penology, criminology, and sociology. My research draws from sociological scholarship on the professions to study criminal justice supervision in the community, with a current focus on the probation service. It explores professional practice, culture, identity, and values. I seek, where possible, to embed my research into my teaching practice. Since taking up my first academic post in August 2019, I have taught on a range of topics including the history of crime, sociological theories of crime, policing, penology, and offender rehabilitation. 

I hold a BA in Sociology and an MSc in Criminology. I completed my PhD at the School of Law, University of Leeds in 2019. Before re-joining the University of Leeds, I was a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Hertfordshire. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My research has been published in criminological, sociological, and socio-legal journals. My monograph, Professionalism in Probation: Making Sense of Marketisation, was published in August 2021 by Routledge Press. I won the British Society of Criminology’s Brian Williams Prize in 2019 for my article ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: Probation practice, architecture and the art of distributions’. 

Research interests

My PhD was completed at the School of Law, University of Leeds, in November 2019. Through ethnogaphic study of a probation office in a large city in England, it explored staff experiences of Transforming Rehabilitation - a programme of reforms implemented in 2014 which resulted in most probation services being managed by the private sector. This project synthesised the literature on the changing nature of crime-control, the sociology of the professions, and the probation service to explore the effects of marketisation on professional values, culture(s), and practices.

My current research builds upon and develops the themes explored in my PhD. Following the re-nationalisation of all probation services in England and Wales, in 2021, it further explores and expands knowledge on professional practice, culture, and values. I am particularly interested in staff understandings of ‘professionalism’; professional knowledge, education, and training; and socio-economic and technical autonomy over work. In addition, my research highlights how probation operates with other criminal justice professions and how community sanctions and measures can be co-produced with offenders, communities, and the penal voluntary sector. My research is primarily qualitative, using observations and interviews.

I am keen to hear from people interested in postgraduate research on the probation service, privatisation and marketisation in criminal justice, and the sociology of the professions. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Criminal Justice Studies - University of Leeds
  • MSc Criminology - Leeds Beckett University
  • BA (Hons) Sociology - Leeds Beckett University

Professional memberships

  • European Society of Criminology

Student education

I deliver modules on the University’s BA in Criminal Justice and Criminology, including: 

  • Crime, Inequality and Social Issues
  • Penology

I also deliver modules on the University’s MSc in Criminal Justice and Criminology, including: 

  • Researching Crime, Security and Justice
  • Security, Conflict and Justice

I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in July 2021, while based at the University of Hertfordshire.